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It’s hard enough to stand in the same frame with an actor of his caliber: Somy Ali remembers doing a film with Om Puri….

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Staff Reporter : Mumbai, 20th. May 2024. Former Bollywood actress and founder of No More Tears, an NGO that assists victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking, Somy Ali, shared Somy came to Mumbai at the age of 16 only for her teenage crush, Salman Khan. She then made her Bollywood debut with Krishan Avatar in 1993, along with Mithun Chakraborty. During her time in Bollywood, between 1991-1998, she was paired opposite the who’s who of Bollywood and featured in movies like Anth, Yaar Gaddar, Teesra Kaun?, Aao Pyaar Karen, Andolan, and Mafia, to name a few.

She said, “For me, it was my last film because I had to act opposite Om Puri ji, and it’s hard enough to stand in the same frame with an actor of his caliber, let alone be the lead of a movie opposite him. I was extremely happy when Om Puriji broke the ice immediately when we met for the first time with a joke, seeing how nervous I was, and would practice all my lines with me prior to the filming. I consider myself one of the lucky ones who ended up being a lead with the biggest actors in the film industry, many of whom I grew up watching as a kid, and to be even in the same frame with them is not something I would ever forget or take lightly. I will always cherish my memories of working with the likes of Om Puri, Aamir, Sanju, or Chintuji, be it a film or a photoshoot, I still have the utmost respect for all my colleagues and thank them for being extremely kind towards me.”

She also remembered her first pay check and said that it was the inauguration of a jewelry store where she was invited to cut a ribbon. She added, “I can’t recall the name, but I do remember it was a check for one lakh rupees, which I handed over to my father since I could care less how much money I was getting or making for any movie or photo opps. Yes, it’s true that only people who come with money often say that money is not everything.”

She further said, “I believe that it is a load of rubbish because ask a person who doesn’t come from money nor has it, and they will tell you exactly how important having the privilege of being well off is and how much and what money can buy for them. Thus, while it’s a cliche that money doesn’t buy everything, I totally disagree and have seen that only the wealthy go around saying that and live an oblivious life. Eventually, I remember my father taking me to a bank in Bandra somewhere to open up an account for me, which is where I would later learn to deposit any checks I received for my movies or commercials.”

However, for Somy, it was never about money, and she never took on more jobs to earn more money. “I wish I could say this without coming across as conceited or repulsive, but I truly didn’t care for money, and it was never a prominent factor during my time in the film industry. All that changed in 2007, when I initiated my NGO,” she said.

Somy also revealed that she went through a financial crisis, and that’s why she started earning at a very young age. “When I was 14 years old, I began babysitting our neighbor’s kid in the U.S. because I had no means of getting money. I recall getting six dollars an hour for my babysitting job and ten dollars an hour for my second job when I worked in a snooker club cleaning toilets. I was 15 years old at the time and dealt with the worst of humanity because there was a barrage of disgusting elderly men making a pass at me in that snooker club. I finally had to quit because of the perversion that came along with it. However, at this point in life, my biggest concern about money has been since the very first day I rescued a victim of domestic violence and saw that she didn’t have the resources to purchase diapers or baby formula as she was entirely dependent on her husband financially, who was also her abuser. That day cemented the significance of having money and how every young girl, woman, or man should be financially independent,” she said.

“I have learned the value of money, furthermore, because of my NGO. It has humbled me and taught me a great deal about what is important in life and how one can buy their designer dress as long as they help the needy simultaneously. Both of these tasks do not need to be mutually exclusive, which is why I have immense respect for the wealthy who give a great deal to charity, including my organization,” she added.

Do you believe in saving for the future? “My only belief when it comes to money is to get as much as I can for my NGO so I can save more lives. I literally live and exist for that sole purpose because nothing has brought me so much joy and peace as saving lives, which is why I always say it’s the most selfish thing I have ever done. So to answer your question, I do not have any savings, and I live to get funding for No More Tears on a daily basis,” she said.

“My relationship with money has been very complex, from living in a mansion as a child in Pakistan, to being broke while being a teenager in the U.S. to being wealthy again while living in India from 16-24. And now, ever since I left India, I live in the present for the present because all that is meaningful to me is to make sure there is money in No More Tears’ account so I can keep doing what I love,” Somy ended

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