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Shilpa Shetty, Do You Have Any Idea What ‘Real Struggle’ Is?

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of the Humans Of Bombay social handles. The stories they share are truly inspiring, and I’ve found myself teary-eyed after reading them on more than one occasion. Tales of the resilient human spirit can have that effect on anyone. Yesterday, Humans Of Bombay uploaded another one of these ‘inspirational’ stories, except it wasn’t inspirational at all. It was actress Shilpa Shetty’s account of her struggle in Bollywood.

Now I know, Bollywood is a cruel place. A place that discriminates based on your looks, your talent and your family background. Remember the whole nepotism debate? And yes, Shilpa Shetty had no godfather. So kudos to her for beating those odds. But aren’t there a bunch of other celebrities who’ve had it much worse? If Shilpa’s struggle was in fact terribly tough this post definitely didn’t capture it.

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“I was this dark, tall & lanky child who had her life pretty much laid out for her. I’d graduate & work with my dad. Even though in my heart I wanted to do something different, something bigger & better, I never felt like I could.. But when I participated in a fashion show, just for fun, I met a photographer who wanted to click my photos. For me it was a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. To my complete surprise, the photographs came out really well! That opened the doors of modelling for me. Soon, I got offered my first film! There was no looking back from there, I was going onwards & upwards. But nothing worth having comes easy. I was all of 17 when I entered the industry, I hadn’t seen the world or even understood life. With all the success came scrutiny. I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t know how to speak Hindi, I shuddered at the thought of being in front of the camera. I reached a point where after a few films my career hit a lull. I tried hard but it always felt like I was lagging behind. It’s not easy to be celebrated one moment & ignored the next. I remember there were producers, who without any reason, threw me out of their films. The universe wasn’t in my favour, but I had to keep trying no matter what. It was at that time that I decided to reinvent & entered Big Brother. It was a chance to do something unique. But it ended up leaving a huge impact! I was publicly bullied & discriminated against just because of the country I belonged to. It wasn’t easy – I was all by myself in that house! But I kept me going – I couldn’t give up, not after reaching this far. When I won, people kept telling me, ‘You’ve made us proud.’ That’s when I knew that all of that struggle & persistence was worth it. I had stood up not just for myself, but for all of those who had faced racism. My life has been filled with ups & downs. I went from being the shy girl to someone who was front & center on the silver screen. There were terrible times, but there have also been some great accomplishments. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! It’s made me who I am today – a strong independent woman, a proud actor, a wife & a mother. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

A post shared by Humans of Bombay (@officialhumansofbombay) on

According to the Humans Of Bombay post, Shilpa was scouted by a photographer while still in college. A photo shoot later, she landed a career in modelling. She later got her first film in Baazigar in 1993 alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, a break most actresses would have killed for! Nevertheless, Shilpa talks about her fear of facing the camera for the first time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that all of us in our first jobs? We’re all unsure of ourselves to begin with, and no one laid out a red carpet for us either. Yes, the criticism is on a whole different level, but that only comes with the industry.

“I reached a point where after a few films my career hit a lull. I tried hard but it always felt like I was lagging behind. It’s not easy to be celebrated one moment and ignored the next. I remember there were producers, who without any reason, threw me out of their films,” says Shilpa. Surely this couldn’t have been easy; but a struggle?

Being dark, tall and lanky, being unsure of yourself early in your career and being discriminated against thanks to your colour – isn’t that every Indian girl ever? We’re a country of dusky women and we’ve all faced racism at some point. So, we’re not saying it’s all hunky dory, but that’s just life! And Shilpa’s frankly doesn’t seem any different!

When it comes to fitness, Shilpa Shetty’s inspiring AF, but this account of her journey in Bollywood definitely is not! We wish Shilpa had spoken up and given us the un-airbrushed version of her story. We wish she had revealed the harsh reality of coping with rejection, humiliation and bullying, instead of a whitewashed story that reeks of privilege. God knows that would have been moving!

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