You must have read to term ‘Rags to Riches’ multiple times. Jackie Shroff’s life is a perfect example of the phrase. His is really a ‘rags to riches’ story that includes a lot of struggle, hardships, surprises and luck.
Jackie Shroff who took birth as Jaikishen Kakubhai Shroff on 1 February 1957, is a popular name in Hindi cinema. In his four decades of journey in the industry, he has worked in around 207 movies in nine different languages.
He might be a big star today, but life had never been so easy for him. He spent his childhood in a one-room apartment in Mumbai’s Teen Batti area. His father Kakubhai Shroff was an astrologer and the money he used to earn from his profession was not enough for the family of four. His mother Rita Shroff was a housewife. Jackie’s elder brother Hemant died while saving a kid from drowning.
Education and career
After his brother’s demise, Jackie was the only child, but it was still difficult for his parents to afford his education. Initially he attended Master’s Tutorial High-School, Nana Chowk, but the struggle his parents faced didn’t allow him to attend college.
As a youth, he wasted his time roaming around as a local toughie. He used to be called “Jaggu Dada” in his chawl. Soon he realized that he needs to earn money and started looking for a job. He had interest in cooking and to make career as a cook he applied at Taj as a chef apprentice, but he got rejected due to lack of degrees. The same thing happened again when he applied at Air India for the profile of Flight Attendant. After getting rejected at different places just because of his lack of education, he finally got a job as a ticketing agent at a travel agency, Trade wings.
Modeling came as a game changer
From his job he was just able to earn for himself. The good luck was waiting for him and it came to him as a modeling contract. Once while walking down the road, an executive of modeling agency spotted him and offered him an opportunity. Money was the only thing Jackie wanted at that point and the straight question from him was ‘Paise dega kya?’
His first assignment was for Centurion and after this there was no looking back. He kept getting new projects and money started coming in.
Struggle in the Bollywood
Though he started getting work as a model, becoming a hero in the movies was not that easy for him. He gave auditions for two movies but got rejected due to his skinny physique.
Jackie met Suneil Anand at the acting class and soon he introduced Jackie to his father Dev Anand. At that time, Dev Anand was looking for fresh faces to cast in his new film Swami Dada. This was the first film of Jackie’s career. Though he got just two or three shots where he had to stand behind Shakti Kapoor as a henchman, at least, he got a break.
Luck was waiting for him in disguise
This was Subhash Ghai’s Hero that changed Jackie Shroff’s destiny forever. Subhash Ghai spotted him in Swami Dada and offered the lead role in ‘Hero’. The movie was a big time hit and made Jackie a superstar over night.
After the huge success of the movie, a ‘bhai’ became a demanding actor, whom every director wanted to cast in his movie. In his career he has tried every type of role including the main hero, a villain, comedian as well as a ghost in ‘Bhoot Uncle’.
The love and affection for the street kids
No matter how rich or popular he has got now, Jackie still loves the street kids. He never forgets his past and the life he spent due to lack of money. He keeps his past with him and tries everything he can do for the betterment of the underprivileged kids.