The Outcasts

How Bollywood shuts its doors on the poor

01 July 2016
Kirti Jadav dreams of becoming a film star. In pursuit of this dream, she travels for up to four hours every Sunday, from her home in a far-flung Mumbai suburb to an acting class in Dharavi.
RITESH UTTAMCHANDANI FOR THE CARAVAN
Kirti Jadav dreams of becoming a film star. In pursuit of this dream, she travels for up to four hours every Sunday, from her home in a far-flung Mumbai suburb to an acting class in Dharavi.
RITESH UTTAMCHANDANI FOR THE CARAVAN

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EVERY SUNDAY, KIRTI JADAV leaves her house in Bhiwandi, a far-flung suburb of Mumbai, at around nine in the morning. She walks for ten minutes and boards a bus, which, in an hour and a half, brings her to Vasai Road station. From there, she takes the Mumbai local train, which reaches Dadar in an hour. At Dadar, she boards another train, and in around 20 minutes arrives at Sion. Jadav then walks for another 20 minutes to reach the famous slum of Dharavi, located in central Mumbai. Even on a good day, the journey takes over three hours. With bad traffic or train delays, it can easily take four.

And yet, Jadav treasures her Sundays. Because on these days, she gets to do what she loves most: act. In Dharavi, she heads to the home of Baburao Laadsaheb, whose living room serves as the studio for a weekly acting and dancing class. Students above the age of 16 are charged at Rs 100 per hour, and those below at Rs 10. Laadsaheb teaches the poorest ones free of cost.

Tanul Thakur is a Mumbai-based film critic and independent journalist. He has written reviews, features and opinion pieces for, among other publications, GQFountain InkMan's World, Yahoo! India, the Wire, Firstpost, and OZY. In 2015, he received the National Film Award for Best Film Critic and the Mumbai Press Club Award for Best Lifestyle and Entertainment Story. He's on Twitter as @Plebeian42.

Keywords: Bollywood junior artistes casting poor wealth
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