INDIA. New Delhi. Passion. Patience. Perseverance. A teacher at school often told us the importance of these three words. But it wasn’t until I met Solanki Diwakar and saw his unparalleled love for cinema that I truly began to appreciate these words. Hailing from a small town called Achhnera in the Agra district of Uttar Pradesh, Solanki Diwakar came to Delhi at the age of 13. In Delhi, he did all kinds of works, ranging from sweeping to ironing. But, it all started when as a ten-year-old, he started selling papad as a local cinema hall where his friend ran a canteen. Every day, after returning from school, he used to spend the rest of his at the theatre. During the interval time, he used to go inside the hall to sell papad. That’s where he would get a glimpse of the heroes and heroines gracing the big screen. It was really a magical experience for the young boy. He would often wonder how these lively images of his favorite heroes and heroines appeared on the humongous screen. His impressionable young mind started giving him fanciful ideas as he began to see himself on the silver screen in his dreams. But it wasn’t good enough for young Solanki, for he wanted it to be for real.
It was this quest that brought him to Delhi. A long struggle ensued. But his passion, patience, and perseverance kept him going. All he could do in the name of acting all these years was to imitate popular Bollywood actors. But his passion for acting kept on growing stronger with each passing day. He worked at a filmmaker’s house in Delhi for about a decade and it was there that he slowly began to get the realization that the world of movies may not be as far-fetched as it had seemed to him for years. And since then he never looked back. He finally got his first break with Kanu Bahl’s Titli. He has subsequently appeared in films like Kadvi Hawa, Halkaa, Bhor, Sonchiriya, and Dream Girl.
Solanki Diwakar is fully aware that at this point in his career he cannot hope to make a living from the acting jobs. While acting jobs aren’t coming his way on a regular basis he is quite determined to make most of what comes his way. The situation has been made worse by COVID-19. He was supposed to act in Sharmaji Namkeen alongside the legendary Rishi Kapoor, but the film’s Delhi schedule had to be postponed owing to the lockdown. In the interim the veteran actor passed away. The 38-year-old actor was deeply shocked by the sudden death of one of his favorite Bollywood stars whom he idolized since his early childhood.
In order to support his family during the COVID-19 times, the Dream Girl actor has gone back to selling fruits on the streets of Delhi. While he continues to get audition calls for movies, short films and series, he realizes the importance of sustaining himself until normalcy returns. “I am sure work will come my way once things begin to get normal but right now my priority to support my family financially. A lot of people call me on a daily basis, from India as well as abroad. They not only appreciate my work but they also offer to help me financially. But I tell them that I can manage things on my own,” reveals Solanki. “Earlier when I didn’t have any acting work I used to make a decent amount of money selling fruits in South Delhi from morning to evening. But these days it’s very difficult to make even a few hundred bucks. So I try to be content with whatever money I can make on a given day and hope to improve on it the next day,” he adds.
Solanki Diwakar will next be seen in the Netflix film ‘The White Tiger’ and the Amazon Prime Video series ‘Tandav’.
Editor’s Note: Murtaza Ali Khan first broke Solanki Diwakar’s story on his blog ‘A Potpourri of Vestiges’ back in September last year. A few months later, The Quint followed up on his story. Subsequently, Solanki Diwakar has been featured by several leading newspapers, magazines, online portals, and television channels in India.