Actor Inaamulhaq says he has made this far in the film industry purely by staying true to his virtues, even if he had to refuse films for which he was offered a lot of money.
Inaamulhaq made his debut in 2008 with "Firaaq" but his second project "Filmistaan" came six years later.
In the last few years, he has featured in "Airlift", "Jolly LLB 2" and is currently awaiting the release of "Lucknow Central".
"The journey to reach this position was extremely difficult in terms of taking decisions. You have to take some really tough decisions," Inaamulhaq says.
"A man with a bag full of money will offer you a film when you have just Rs 17 in your account. You need guts of steel to refuse and say, 'I don't like your script, I am happy with my Rs 17'," he told PTI in an interview.
"Once in the initial phase of my career, I just had Rs 11 in my account when I refused a film - because the script was poor but I was being paid Rs 5-10 lakh," he reveals.
The actor is aware that such decisions come at the cost of sacrificing little joys in life - a vacation with family or a better lifestyle.
"When you take those decisions, your well-wishers criticise you, call you mad for refusing money. But it is extremely important to say 'no' in life to things you don't feel like doing. Sacrifices are born out of small things. I notice the sacrifices my wife makes," he says.
"We can't afford to go to a holiday so she gets upset. All her friends went, but we couldn't. That's a sacrifice. I value them. I still stay in a rented flat. I never had the aim to buy a bungalow. So there is a sword hanging on you, that you may have to vacate it anytime," he says.
Inaamulhaq has realised that it is not the talent which helps one grow, but the choices a man makes which decide the course of his life.
"There are several people who are more talented than I am, but I am grateful to the Almighty for giving me the wisdom to make the right decisions. Sure, there are short term losses when you make tough choices but you always reap long term benefits," the actor says.
The long gaps in his films have been pointed out to him by people who call him "mad for working so less", but Inaamulhaq feels, "Not the temptation of money, nor the length of my role. It is only the script which matters."
"'You have to be seen more here' people tell me, but I am not a salesman. I don't know how to sell myself and I am not here for that. I am an artist and I have always followed my heart," he says.
Hailing from Uttar Pradesh -- where he featured in several plays -- Inaamulhaq came to Mumbai after graduating from the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi.
While others might be in the rat race to achieve a certain position in the industry, the actor says he has no fear of losing out in this game.
"What did I come to this city with which will be gone? I came borrowing Rs 500 from my friend in Delhi. One friend booked my ticket, the other gave me a roof to stay. I didn't sell my property and struggled, because I never had one," Inaamulhaq says.
"I started from zero, so the only thing I am scared of is the phase when you can't handle success. I always pray to the Almighty, 'sheet may thand se aur jeet may ghamand se bachaye rakhna' (save me from cold in winter and keep me humble in victory). I am scared of this (arrogance), the Almighty and a little bit of my wife," the actor says.
As of now, the actor is confident of his film "Lucknow Central", which releases tomorrow.