Mumbai: In his almost two decade-long career in films, actor Ranvir Shorey says he has managed to stay afloat on his own, courtesy critically-acclaimed films like "Khosla Ka Ghosla", "Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd" and "Bheja Fry".
The 47-year-old actor said he was "sidelined" by mainstream cinema, which initially affected him, but he pushed himself to work in the independent space. "I was lucky enough to stand out in independent films. I am surviving on my own, it is a great achievement for me. I had to crawl inch by inch to make my space. Wherever I am today is not thanks to so-called mainstream bigwigs as they have tried their best to sideline me," Shorey said.
The thought of quitting Bollywood crossed his mind multiple times, but the actor said his passion for the craft kept him going. In the aftermath of Sushant Singh Rajput's death which sparked conversations ranging from mental health to nepotism, Shorey opened up on social media about facing "professional and social isolation, bad mouthing press, and the psychological trauma" in the years 2003 to 2005.
He believes the 'insider vs outsider' debate won't change the film industry, but talking about it might make the environment "less toxic". "I brought it up now is because I saw a lot of similarities to what is being reported in Sushant's case," Shorey said, referring to his "Sonchiriya" co-star who passed away in June.
"When certain people have power they abuse it. I was a victim of it at that time. I have been through a dark period and this business can break you. It had a deep impact (on me) not just emotionally, but also professionally." Shorey made his debut opposite Manisha Koirala in 2002's "Ek Chhotisi Love Story" and followed it up with next year's "Jism".
He said he was "wiped out" as he only got to play "small parts" in films like "Waisa Bhi Hota Hai 2", "Lakshya", and "Shiva". "I had to start again from scratch from TV. I did 'The Great Indian Comedy Show', then I started building my career again. Then 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' happened in 2006," he said, noting the Dibakar Banerjee-directed comedy.
"Nobody gave me meaty or lead roles in mainstream films, except one film 'Ugly Aur Pagli'. It didn't do well and after that nobody gave me a chance. If a star kid has a flop, it is not that they will not be given a lead role. If I give one unsuccessful film at the box office, the chances of getting a lead film in mainstream are over."
Shorey is currently awaiting the release of his next "Lootcase", which will be out on Disney+Hotstar on July 31.