LAHORE: One of the greatest motivators for people wishing to become famous is money. The dream of getting richer is what attracts many to showbiz and perhaps that’s why those in it are often seen bragging about their financial aplomb with abandon.
Critics are always whining about how the rich keep getting richer and, more often than not, they’re right. But sometimes, they’re not.
Zoom in on any entertainment industry across the world and you’ll find a number of stars who went from riches to rags, losing it all soon after gaining it. One such example is that of Shahid Naseeb, an actor forced to become a painter by a lack of work.
You may recall Shahid as the villain in the recent action drama Whistle. In fact, he also served as the co-writer for the project. A resident of Toba Taik Singh, the actor has numerous television serials such as Dullari, Jab Usse Mujh Se Mohabbat Hui and Iltaja under his belt. But as his luck would have it, the aspiring star has had to take up menial labour to make two ends meet.
“I have had some good roles in both drama serials and telefilms but mostly, I have struggled very hard over the last ten years,” Shahid told The Express Tribune. “Whistle seemed like a solid opportunity to me back in the day; I thought it would open a lot of doors for me but unfortunately, I was wrong. Now I am painter strangers’ houses to earn some bread,” he added.
“I left my village ten years ago, hoping to become a star. Since then, I have travelled to Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and now Lahore in search of work but things are not looking up for me,” Shahid continued. “I feel worse now because I cannot go back to my village because everyone will laugh at my failure there. Even the labourers I work with taunt me by calling me names like ‘Shahid Rungwala’ and that makes me feel very sad.”
Shahid revealed that many producers exploited his ambition to make it big by asking him to paint their homes in exchange for work. “This made me realise that it’s almost impossible to have genuine relationships with anyone in the entertainment industry. Just because I am a poor artist, the producers of Whistle didn’t include my name in the film’s credits, although I wrote the whole script myself!” he shared.
Nowadays, Shahid is toiling away day and night, barely getting by on Rs20,000 a month. “I have been trying to save some cash so I can release a song of my own now,” he said. “I’ve met with some musicians in Lahore who are asking for Rs100,000 to help me compose the track and my mission is to collect that much.”
Besides painting, Shahid also performs at one-off private functions to earn some fast cash. “I eat only once a day. I don’t have a home here in Lahore so sleep on the roads; my budget doesn’t allow me the luxury of renting something out,” he shared. “Things are extremely tough for me right now but I know that there are many others in Lollywood and Bollywood who have faced such adversities before making it big.”
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