Delhi boy Manish Paul came to Mumbai 11 years ago in September 2005, co-incidentally around the same time that dna was launched! Manish arrived in the city with the dream of becoming an actor and the determination to settle in the city. Cut to 2016, Manish is a big name in the television circuit and has also forayed into films. Not only has his dream come true, he has also put down his roots in the city with nothing less than a plush four-bedroom house in Andheri. After all, as Manish says, it’s the maximum city. Here, the popular TV host and actor talks about how Mumbai has owned him and what he loves about the city… and what he doesn’t.
“Eleven years ago, when I came to Mumbai, I stayed in Chembur in my nani’s house for some time. I didn’t have much money, I used to travel in buses then. manish paul didn’t take trains, because I am claustrophic and people had scared the sh*t out of me saying it is terribly crowded. I used to walk from Chembur to the domestic airport because I had nothing else to do. I would take a cab, bus or rickshaw, (whatever was convenient) to Andheri.
I would sit on the stairs of Fun Republic, the whole day with my bag. I used to have a sandwich from a guy stationed outside Yash Raj Studios and that would be my snack and lunch. That was the cheapest that was available. I was struggling then, meeting people and telling them I am available for work.
Though I was new to the city, as I started getting work, apnapan lagne laga. It felt as if the city is giving me a hug saying ‘I don’t mind you staying here’. Later, I rented a house in Malad, but I all alone and I hated that. A couple of my friends including Saiwyn Qadras — the writer of Neerja — used to come and stay with me. I was doing one serial and had got a job as a RJ. Things were fine and I got married to Sanyukta in 2007. However, the following year was a struggle. I was working and earning money, but wasn’t happy with what I was doing. That’s when I took a call and stayed at home for a year. My wife was supportive of my decision.
There were times when I would breakdown, but I never felt like giving up or leaving the city. In 2009, I got a show to host on Zee TV, then red carpet shows happened followed by stage shows and finally big reality shows. There was no looking back after that.
From then to now, I have loved everything about the city except the traffic. Every monsoon, it’s the same story. I remember when I was working as a RJ a decade ago, we used to make jingles on potholes — even those jingles are the same. However, I can’t stay away from Mumbai for long. I love the vibe the city gives to a workaholic like me. People here are chilled out. They never interfere in your life, they keep to their work. At the same time, if you are sitting on the road worried, ek ya do log pooch hi lenge what is wrong and will be helpful. Most importantly, the city never sleeps, which is a big thing for someone like me because it’s only after 11 pm that I set out to roam!
I have seen most of the places in Mumbai from Hanging Gardens to Elephanta Caves. However, when my cousins come down to visit me, they are more interested in seeing where all the actors live! Earlier, I would drive them down around Bandra and Andheri and show them Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan’s houses. Now, I just send a car and driver with them!
The one place I love to unwind in Mumbai is Marine Drive. My wife and I check into Trident at night and early in the morning we go and sit at one end of the boulevard. I find the corner extremely peaceful, there’s no noise and you can hear the sound of water. It’s wonderful.
I think I was destined to come to Mumbai. This is where I found my calling and now there’s no question of my ever leaving the city. In fact, I made sure that both my kids — daughter Saisha and son Yuvann —. were born here only though my wife’s parents wanted her to go to Delhi.”