I had shot for The Dirty Picture on the 5th of November, 2011. The film released on the 2nd of December. Since then, I had been following up with my casting director and with Balaji Films to get paid for the part. A month ago I was given Aditya’s number – the same AD Aditya who had helped me on the sets of TDP with my scene. Aditya gave me the Account-In-Charge’s cell number and asked me to get in touch with her. I called her several times before she asked me to come down on the 9th of April, 2012 and collect my cheque. I called once again on the 9th just to confirm whether I can come to get my cheque and she got pissed. She said – “Sir, when I told you to come on Monday and collect your cheque, it means you should come on Monday and collect your cheque”. I did not understand this sarcasm and attitude. I felt like telling her – “Lady, I called you 15 times before you gave me a date to come and get my cheque. I thought it made sense to just confirm before I come down all the way. It needs just a 2-second acknowledgment! The attitude is uncalled for!” However, I kept quiet as I thought every person has busy, tiring days and at such times, they end up being rude to those who are in need of them. It’s human!! J
I did go to the Balaji office on the 9th of April at 6 pm. I was asked to meet Piyush from accounts. They gave me a visitor’s card and asked me to go to the 6th floor. I went there and met Piyush who handed over my cheque to me – my first pay cheque for my first film! J I looked at the cheque once, then out it in my bag and left but not before saying a filmy line to Piyush – “This is my first pay cheque.. Always remember that you were the one who gave it to me!!” Piyush gave me a huge smile and I left with a smile too. I thought that when I do become a big star, Piyush will remember this day and so will I 😉
When I reached the main gate and was returning my visitor’s pass, I was reminded of something that I had completely forgotten about! About 8 years ago, when I first thought I want to become an actor, I left home one day to try and look for work. Balaji Telefilms was the talk of the town back then and its soaps were really at their peak!! I found out where the Balaji office is – Andheri West, Veera Desai Road, Near Fun Republic. I did not know how to get there as I used to live in Navi Mumbai and had nothing to do with this part of the city. I found out, took a train, then a bus and around 3.5 hours after I left home, I reached the Balaji office. I told the watchman that I am looking for some work in acting. He looked at me as if I am the most ridiculous species on the planet and asked me to go away. He even told me – “Tu pagal hai kya?? Acting line mein kyu ghusna hai tujhe?? Jaa ghar jaake padhai kar!!Kuch aur kaam dhoondh!” I told him that I am done with my HSC and will be pursuing Engineering but I want to act. He just did not listen to me and asked me to go away. I had no choice but to leave but I wanted to gather as much info as I could before I left. I saw that there was a number mentioned on the gate – Mr. Jeet – to be contacted for casting-related stuff. I noted down his number and left with a heavy heart.
Today, after 8 long years, life had taken a full circle. I was at the same gate from where I was shooed off.. and I was collecting my first film’s pay cheque!! Nostalgia.. and tears in my eyes yet again!! I got to my bike, looked back at the building and thanked Balaji Films for the role it has played in my life!
I am now curious to see when and for what I’ll go to that building again… 😀