Everybody loves a success story. And Bollywood is notorious for breeding one too many. Apparently, Anil Kapoor lived in a chawl; Amitabh Bachchan was labelled awkwardly tall; Akshay Kumar was a chef; and Shah Rukh Khan came to Mumbai when he didn’t have money to pay his ‘chaiwallah’ outside Jamia Milia Islamia Institute, Delhi.
Frequently thought questions — who first spotted them? Did anyone actually spot them? — can’t be answered, but now there are locations tucked into tinsel town where you stand a good chance of spotting tomorrow’s Shahid Kapoor.
Those who aren’t already acquainted with Mumbai’s Bollywood suburb, welcome to Andheri. Contrary to popular opinion, Bollywood stugglers don’t visit these places to get noticed. Joints like Café Coffee Day (CCD), Costa Coffee, Barista and Mocha in Oshiwara, Olive in Bandra and Prithvi in Juhu are hubs for meeting people, and offices for artistes who don’t have one.
“A lady walks in to the CCD, Oshiwara, in the morning with a laptop and meets people all day. The coffee shop doesn’t mind as all who come to meet her end up drinking a cup of coffee,” says Karan Agarwal, a creative consultant who used to work in the area.
These places are ideal for young women who are asked to attending ‘Bollywood business meetings’. “I wouldn’t want to go to a producer’s house or office. I’m safer at a coffee shop,” says Ankita Parol, a struggler from Delhi (name changed).
To be spotted
Even in Madhur Bhandarkar’s film Fashion, based on a starlet’s life, Priyanka Chopra was seen strolling into this iconic coffee shop (CCD). Olive, Bandra is for strugglers with a good bank balance, who stand a chance of bumping into stars and directors alike. “Hopefuls also go to places like Prithvi Theatre where they’ll spot a director talking to newcomers and intrude, happy to get a role,” says starlet Neera Wadhwa.
Just Around The Corner, Bandra too used to be a popular hangout but recently shut for renovation. Aarey Milk Colony, is audition central. The Barista adjacent to CCD at Oshiwara is popular among TV folk.
Visiting such places teaches onlookers about ‘actors’ — they’re in love with themselves and always have their act on.
After all, they do stand a chance of being seen on the big screen tomorrow. Even if it’s only one in a million.