Much as is the case in Los Angeles, breaking into Bollywood is not easy. But that doesn’t stop thousands of aspiring actors from all over India from turning up in Mumbai every year to try to make it on the big screen. Mumbai has a population of at least 18 million, according to 2011 census data, making it one of the more densely populated cities in the world.
“There’s so much happening here, there are so many opportunities for people that live in smaller towns,” Bachchan told CNBC’s “Trailblazers” about Mumbai. “It’s been said that if you come to this city, you won’t spend a night without a meal or you won’t be hungry … there’s always something to do, some job to do where you can survive.”
Bachchan was born in the city of Allahabad in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. He completed his college education in Delhi, and spent seven years working in Kolkata before making his trek to Mumbai. It was by chance that at the same time that Bachchan was about to arrive in Mumbai, a film producer was looking to cast new faces for a project.
“I was coming in search of joining the movies, but had actually made some initial ground,” Bachchan said. “Because there was the producer of the first film that I did, who was looking for fresh faces.”
Bachchan’s brother, at that time living in the city, was the one who first learned about the producer. Bachchan said his brother “pushed my photograph to the gentleman, and he seemed to want to meet me. And so I was arriving for that, and fortunately the day I arrived I got the job, my first job.”