I was in my third year of college at Virginia Tech when I dropped out. Back then, I had nothing but a passion for Hindi films. I told myself that I was born for acting in films, even though I knew absolutely nothing about how the film industry functioned.
I believed that as long as you were passionate about something, you would achieve success. I was naive that way. As a result, I bought myself into the lies of the world.
I knew nobody in Bombay, except one friend who was kind enough to let me stay. Then, I started looking for auditions.
However, it was not easy to find auditions, as there wasn’t any platform from which I could find reliable auditions. I started calling up people, production houses and showed up at the offices of film directors without prior appointments. I hoped that somebody would meet me. Needless to say, I went through all the ordeals of a struggling actor, during this period.
After getting a tip-off on an audition, I had to stand in the heat for hours hoping to get selected as the fourth lead in some Telebrands commercial. That’s when I realised something. I realised that I was not the only one there. I was surrounded by hardworking artists who would all be stripped off any artistic credibility, by the end of the day.
Struggling actors in Bombay are probably among the most hardworking people in India. Most of them leave their homes to pursue a dream of which they only have a vague idea. Moreover, they practise an art form which now mostly focusses on appearances and bodily features like abs and jawlines. At the time of the audition, this vulnerable and desperate community of actors was being abused and shouted at for not maintaining a line.
Depressed at not getting the role of Rajneesh Duggal’s sidekick, I returned home. That day, I just couldn’t avail of an auto or a cab. The taxi drivers refused me, while the auto drivers simply ignored me.
On the brink of breaking down, I ordered a Uber cab, which arrived within two minutes. This led me to wonder how this was so easy. Therefore, I thought: “Why not have such an easy and convenient system for actors to find auditions?”
Thereafter, the engineer and actor in me met. This led me to think about developing Strugler. I met my friend who used to participate in theatrical activities with me. He also owned a tech company, which had been successful.
Together, we roped in a colleague from IIT for coding duties and formed Strugler Tech. Then we launched the app and website.
To our surprise, we became quite popular within a few weeks of our launch.