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Carpenter, waiter, chemist: Odd jobs celebs took up before making it on the big screen

·5-min read

The entertainment business abounds in stories of common people working simple or odd jobs who eventually made it big in the cinema world. These actual rags to riches stories are the stuff of legend and feel like they’ve been taken straight out of the plot of a movie.

Following are some examples of these famous actors and actresses who made a prominent mark in the film industry after beginning their career working odd jobs:

Rajinikanth

CHENNAI,INDIA SEPTEMBER 15: Tamil super star Rajnikanth during the audio launch of the film I in Chennai.(Photo by Jaison G/The India Today Group via Getty Images)
CHENNAI,INDIA SEPTEMBER 15: Tamil super star Rajnikanth during the audio launch of the film I in Chennai.(Photo by Jaison G/The India Today Group via Getty Images)

Before breaking into the film industry, he worked in a variety of jobs. After completing his education, Rajinikanth worked as a dockworker and carpenter, eventually landing a job as a bus conductor. He began his career by appearing in several plays, followed by his enrollment at the Madras Film Institute to study acting. His first film role was in 1975's Apoorva Raagangal.

Sonakshi Sinha

MUMBAI, INDIA - OCTOBER 23: Indian actress Sonakshi Sinha attends the trailer launch of film
MUMBAI, INDIA - OCTOBER 23: Indian actress Sonakshi Sinha attends the trailer launch of film "Davangg 3" on October 23, 2019 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Prodip Guha/Getty Images)

Sonakshi completed her education and pursued a career as a fashion designer. She began her career as a costume designer with Mera Dil Leke Dekho (2006). She did not have to struggle because she came from a prominent movie family. She received her first major break in Bollywood in 2010 when she co-starred in Dabangg with Salman Khan.

Akshay Kumar

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar looks on as he attends Mumbai's police launch of Segways, a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter, to patrol Worli Sea Face in Mumbai on January 2, 2021. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar looks on as he attends Mumbai's police launch of Segways, a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter, to patrol Worli Sea Face in Mumbai on January 2, 2021. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)

He initially moved to Bangkok, intending to teach martial arts. While there, he began learning mixed martial arts while working as a waiter and sommelier. When he arrived in India, he started teaching martial arts in Mumbai. When one of his students suggested he try modeling, his life changed dramatically. He got his first modeling job, and soon his first role in the film Saugandh.

Parineeti Chopra

NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 19: Bollywood actor Parineeti Chopra during an interview for the promotion of her upcoming movie Kesari on March 19 2019 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Gokul VS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 19: Bollywood actor Parineeti Chopra during an interview for the promotion of her upcoming movie Kesari on March 19 2019 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Gokul VS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

She went to London for further education aged just 17. She was in charge of the food section at the Manchester United fan club, which allowed her to learn about soccer. She moved to Mumbai in 2009, where she lived with her cousin Priyanka Chopra. She started her career as a student trainee for Yash Raj Films. In 2011, she made her acting debut as the lead in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui attend the 'Mid-Day Showbiz Icon Awards 2020' on December 17, 2020 at hotel Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. (Photo by Azhar Khan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui attend the 'Mid-Day Showbiz Icon Awards 2020' on December 17, 2020 at hotel Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. (Photo by Azhar Khan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

After completing his undergrad degree at the Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya in Haridwar, he worked as a chemist in Vadodara. Following that, he relocated to Delhi in search of opportunities. He found the field of cinema appealing after attending a play in Delhi. Before being accepted to the National School of Drama, he appeared in several productions. His early acting career began with a supporting role in the film Sarfarosh.

Ranveer Singh

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 09: Actor Ranveer Singh attends the press conference of
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 09: Actor Ranveer Singh attends the press conference of "Gully Boy movie during the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany on February 09, 2019. (Photo by Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

After completing his undergraduate studies at Indiana University in the US, he returned to India and found work in advertising. He made his film debut in 2010 with Yash Raj Films’ Band Baaja Baraat, in which he co-starred with Anushka Sharma as the character Darmani. Today he has established himself as one of Bollywood's major stars.

Riteish Deshmukh

Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh poses for photographs during the promotion of his upcoming romantic action Hindi film 'Marjaavaan' in Mumbai on November 13, 2019. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh poses for photographs during the promotion of his upcoming romantic action Hindi film 'Marjaavaan' in Mumbai on November 13, 2019. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)

He received his architecture degree from Mumbai's Kamla Raheja College of Architecture and then worked for a year as an architect for an overseas architectural firm. His film career began in 2003 with the Bollywood film Tujhe Meri Kasam, in which he co-starred with Genelia D'Souza.

Boman Irani

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 14: Actor Boman Irani attends the 2017 International Indian Film Academy Festival at MetLife Stadium on July 14, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 14: Actor Boman Irani attends the 2017 International Indian Film Academy Festival at MetLife Stadium on July 14, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

He finished a two-year waiter training program at Mumbai's Mithibai College. He began working as a server at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower after completing his education. It took him two years at Taj Mahal Palace before being promoted and eventually hired as a server at Rendezvous, the hotel's top-floor cafe. While on a self-discovery journey, he got a job as a photojournalist, finally filming for the first time when he turned 41.

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