He was born in a 10×12 sq ft chawl with five siblings. While growing up amidst poverty in a mud house in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, he always missed his first home Mumbai. Without any proper education or backing, and no one for guidance, he realized that there was just one thing that kept him going — cinema.
As a 17-year-old boy, with dreams in his eyes and a passion for acting running in his veins, he eloped from his house and came to Mumbai with just Rs 500. From seeing his mother who could not afford even a sari on Diwali, to getting a bungalow for his parents; from playing the role of Sita in Ramleela, to being a Bhojpuri superstar, Ravi Kishan Shukla has had a rough fight with life.
But he accepted everything that life threw at him and played it by ear. With more than 200 films under his belt in the Hindi and Bhojpuri film industry, the actor has left his impact both on minds and hearts of the audience.
In a pleasant conversation with KenFolios, Ravi Kishan talks about his struggles to make his place in the film industry, his principles in life, and why no one should give up on their dreams.
“People come to Mumbai walking but I had to crawl to reach here. There was a time when I would distribute newspapers in Bandra and earn Rs 25 a month. Alongside this, I completed my graduation and had nothing but an honest dream. I would just wait for the next sunrise.
I always believe that there is no legacy as rich as honesty.
My family was financially unstable. Meri zaruraton ne mujhse sab kuch karwaaya (I had to do whatever it takes to become a provider). But I think God has blessed me. I did not plan anything, as many a times even the best-laid plans go wrong.
When I was not getting work in the Hindi film industry, I got a film in Bhojpuri that was rejected by everyone else. We were not even sure if they will make the film but that was the start of my career. I always dressed myself for success that has kept me going.
Exams of life
My life was like a gamble. I just went on with the flow, with nothing much but my dreams. I was scared that I would not get a chance to come back in Bollywood after doing Bhojpuri movies but I worked hard, day and night, for it. And eventually, it happened. We must always remember that success depends on our backbone, not wishbone.
I always believe that one must never give up and keep working hard honestly. My honesty has made all the difference. During the initial days of my struggle in the industry, I accepted my limitations and then worked on my abilities. Generally, people don’t stand the test of time and that is why we see the same people who come to Mumbai with great enthusiasm, giving up on life and struggle.
Bambai pehle pariksha leta hai, fir samiksha karta hai aur ant mein jeet thama deta hai.
Either survive on vada pav or sleep on the pavements, but don’t give up. If you know that you are talented, fight for it and be persistent. Keep nourishing your dreams and take up challenges in life. Remember that strong reasons makes strong actions.
Always be truthful to yourself and be dedicated towards your work. Do not lie to turn things in your favor. Every human being has to see lows in his life, it does not matter if he is successful or not. But you should always do good karma and help every person, big or small, by Re 1 or Rs 1 crore. By helping others we lighten someone’s burden and this makes us feel light too.
In the end, as always, I will just say that Zindagi jhand ba, phir bhi ghamand ba. Never lose your self-esteem and self-respect for anything or anyone. It is one thing that will earn you respect and keep you going.”
Conceptualized by Sparsh Upadhyay