While most come to Mumbai with big dreams, Munna Thaakur had only one goal in mind — “To simply earn a living and send financial support to my family back home.”

Born and raised in a humble household in Akola, Maharashtra, Munna was no stranger to hardships.

Growing up with three siblings and one earning member, he felt the responsibility of supporting his family at a very young age.

“After finishing Class 7, I decided to give up school and look for work. I would only think about how I could bring money in the house,” he recalls.

It was during a conversation with his friends that Munna decided to move to Mumbai in search of a better-paying job.

“I just wanted to get a good job and send some money home. So in 1991, I packed my stuff and decided to leave home. I was quite young and naive at the time,” he shares.

When Munna reached Mumbai, he had only Rs 24 in his pocket and started looking for work.

After weeks of struggle, he landed a job as a newspaper distributor unaware that this will land him his first break as a photographer.

For eight years, he worked odd jobs such as as a diamond polisher and cutter before he found his passion in photography.

“I started interning in a photography studio in 1997. I loved what the photographers did and wanted to try my hands at it, but they did not let me,” he says.

His friend from the studio Bilal taught him how to use the camera. “I was instantly intrigued and learned the ropes very quickly. Bilal agreed to become my first model so I could build a portfolio.”

He used to deliver newspapers at Arjun Rampal’s home and on several requests he became the first ever celebrity that Munna ever photographed.

This was the starting point for Munna. Presently, he has worked with many Bollywood celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Tapsee Pannu, Salman Khan, and Kriti Sanon.

“The journey was gradual, it took me a decade only to find my passion and footing in the city. My dream to support my family is a reality now,” he says.