There are countless stories of dreams blooming in the most unexpected places. One such story is of Maleesha Kharwa, the Mumbai slum dweller who captured the attention of Hollywood.
Her life and journey were chronicled in a documentary short film, “Live Your Fairytale,” by Jas Sagu and Arsala Qureishi. It provides a glimpse into her relationship with her family, including her father Mukesh, a clown impersonator at children’s parties, and her younger brother.
Born and raised in a slum in Bandra, Mumbai, Maleesha’s talent was spotted by Robert Hoffman, a notable actor from Step Up 2. The actor had traveled to India to film a music video featuring Maleesha’s cousin.
However, due to the sudden closure of borders during the pandemic, he ended up stranded in India. This unexpected situation led to a serendipitous meeting with Maleesha, who shared her dreams with the Hollywood star. Impressed by her talent and aspirations, Hoffman created an Instagram page for Maleesha, which has now amassed over two lakh followers.
Describing his first encounter with Maleesha, Hoffman said it felt “like a scene from a movie.” He noticed her standing amidst a group of slum dwellers, her distinctively beautiful face standing out.
He expressed his surprise that she hadn’t been approached for child modeling before. “Perhaps, it’s the entrenched Indian perception that beauty is in extremely light skin,” he speculated. But for Hoffman, there was no doubt that he wanted to “open doors” for this ‘slum princess,’ as Maleesha’s followers affectionately call her.
Gracing the cover of a leading fashion magazine, Maleesha has since proven her star quality. Despite her humble beginnings, she radiates positivity, saying, “I love my life. I find it odd when people ask me how I can be such a happy person, implying that it’s not normal to be happy because I am poor.
But I love my life. Right now, my life is leading me on adventures that I can’t believe. I am thrilled that so many people are reaching out to me, telling me that my journey has inspired them to pursue their dreams fearlessly, no matter how big or small they may be.”
As we follow the inspiring journey of Maleesha Kharwa, it’s clear that this young talent’s story is just beginning. The ‘slum princess’ is not just breaking barriers but also changing perceptions, proving that talent and dreams know no boundaries.
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