GUWAHATI: From a beggar on the streets to a virtual celebrity — life has indeed come a full circle for Assam youth Manoj Roy, courtesy PK. Manoj was chosen from among eight beggars for a scene in the Aamir Khan-starrer, set for countrywide release on Friday.
The scene lasts for about five seconds, but it was enough to shoot Manoj to fame overnight. Born in northern Assam’s Sonitpur district and son of a daily-wage earner, Manoj lost his mother when he was all of four days old. He dropped out of school and chose to beg. “I left for Delhi and started begging at Jantar Mantar, pretending I was blind. One day, two gentlemen came calling asking me if I knew acting. I said it was ‘acting’ that is giving me two square meals. They gave me Rs 20 and a phone number before leaving. When I called up, I was asked to go to the Nehru Stadium. The next day, when I reached the stadium, I was taken to a place for audition where I saw seven other beggars, all blind. I knew nothing about the film,” says Manoj. He said he could not believe his eyes when he was accommodated in a five-star hotel in Delhi. “In the slums, water scarcity forced me to go without a bath. But at the hotel, I could cool off my heels in the swimming pool. I could also rub shoulders with Aamir and Anushka Sharma,” he says.
Back home, I got a hero’s welcome. The promo was enough to win hearts. People now call me ‘PK Honey Singh’. I have a Facebook account and a job in a village shop. Also a girlfriend. I will meet her for the first time on Christmas. It’s all because of Aamir Khan,” Manoj says with a chuckle.