If you have stars in your eyes.
By Vibhor Sharma
During their years growing up, girls dream of becoming movie stars and established actresses by entering the Hindi film industry. The glitz, glamour, fame, and fortune to leaves an impact on the impressionable minds of the youth.
However, acting as a profession is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires hard work, dedication, persistence and a host of other characteristics that only a few are bestowed with. However, there are various ways through which stardom can be achieved. The tips below will help you in transforming your dreams into reality!
Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you think you are good looking and a cut above the rest? Do you have a fit body? If so, ask your family and friends what they instinctively feel about you, your looks, your body shape and height. By seeking the genuine perspectives of people you know, you will be able to garner various points of view about your appearance. By asking your friends if they think you have what it takes to become an actress, you will only help yourself in gaining confidence that there is something in your outer appearance that makes you stand out among a crowd.
Next, think if you have the confidence of public speaking, acting abilities, dancing abilities and physical fitness in terms of endurance, strength, stamina, flexibility, agility and, most importantly, if you are a girl who is not too touchy, emotional, or sensitive by nature.
An actress is supposed to do more than just act in front of the camera. She is expected to be a good dancer, having great command of Hindi and English, be the perfect choice for being the brand ambassador for products, having exceptional oratorical skills to engage with the media and the general public, and to have the charisma to keep them attracted for as long as she speaks. By being emotional, moody, impulsive or arrogant, a girl can never become an actress in Bollywood as she has to be mentally balanced, have the ability to be calm in all circumstances and display nothing but fearlessness and oodles of confidence in tackling anything and everything which comes her way!
Acting is not all in a day’s work. It requires sleepless nights rehearsing scenes, dialogues, dance sequences, giving up on food and comfort. It also requires you to be truly talented, to actually excel in your work and outshine your colleagues. So just thinking you have what it takes, is not good enough! This is where an actual, well established institution can help you. Sign up with any leading acting school in India or abroad. For instance, Barry John’s School of Acting in India teaches aspiring actors the skills they need to make a mark and name for themselves in Bollywood. Similarly, the world renowned New York Film Academy in the United States has its campuses located in the United States and across the world to offer acting aspirants from around the globe, the set of skills they need in order to become established actors. However, such acclaimed acting schools cannot teach you how to act per se; since that is an ability which you either have or don’t! Moreover, acting courses from prominent professional academies, come to a few lakhs of rupees.
Every insider in Bollywood says, that you must “look good” first, and acting comes later! While this may appear shallow and narrow-minded to some, there’s nothing really that can be done, since this is the way the cookie crumbles in the Hindi film industry! You need to have a striking face, an amazing body, good personality, and a healthy dose of talent. While talent can be polished, what to do about your body? In order to look presentable and most importantly likable to directors, producers, audition agents, media persons, and the public in general, there are a host of things that you can adopt. For starters, yellow teeth are a big no-no. Teeth whitening is an absolute must, which can be easily done through veneers. These veneers can either be all-ceramic veneers or composite veneers. Hair-straightening also helps in giving a cultured demeanour. This can be done at any professional salon. Moreover, if there are any bodily defects, or certain areas of your body which are of deep concern to you, such as disproportionate nose structure, droopy eye-lids, fat deposits in the abdomen region or upper thighs, flat breasts, or protruding backsides, etc, all these can be corrected through a reputed plastic surgeon.
While these cosmetic surgeries come at a hefty price, what they also carry are a bag full of medical risks and complications, which are either post-operative or risks involved during surgeries. These risks can sometimes even be fatal, so only you have to take a call, as to whether and if you wish to go under the knife or not! Cosmetic surgeries don’t always give you the desired results. These surgeries can sometimes drastically change your physical appearance to such an extent that you yourself might not recognise who you are. And many a times, once a surgery is done wrong, repeated surgical procedures to correct the original wrong procedure will only make your appearance more unreal and tampered with. And if such be your case, then your acting career’s obituary will be written even before your career begins!
The plunge into Hindi cinema
Taking the big plunge into the big bad world of Bollywood, even today, is not easy. First things first, an aspiring actress needs to arrive in the city of Mumbai with financial support. Without money, nothing moves! You need cold hard cash to pay for a professional photoshoot that costs anywhere between a lakh or two rupees. A photoshoot is an absolute must because these will be the photos that you will show at several auditions. A photoshoot done by a thorough professional in comparison to a run-of-the-mill photographer greatly increases your chances of being picked up as the face of, say, a beauty product, an ad film, music video, or even a full-fledged Bollywood film. For an aspiring actress, a safe place to reside at is also immensely important considering the surging crime rates in cities these days.
Get your dream team
As an actress, in order to be successful in the glamorous and competitive world of Bollywood, you alone can’t move mountains. You need people under you who are willing to help you become an even bigger actress. The people you need should be those who share your dream and passion, and are willing to put in their 100 per cent, just like you do every day. So, once you have achieved a few ad films, magazine photoshoots, and have done a couple of films either small budget or big budget, and you can see that you have been able to create sufficient buzz about yourself in the minds of the audiences as also the industry folks, you next need to build your team.
The team of a Bollywood actress primarily comprises a manager who manages her projects and assignments, builds a fee structure for the actress to seek from every assignment, and is the main person who helps the actress get work, one project after another. A manager maintains a schedule for the whole year, comprising dates given for various projects to movie production houses, fashion and lifestyle brands, public events, product launches, fan meet and greet sessions, etc. A manager is to be paid by the actress, meaning, every assignment, no matter how small or big it may be, a sum of money or ‘cut’ from it naturally goes in the manager’s pocket.
The next team member is her driver or as they say, her “chauffeur”. A loyal and dedicated driver of the actress is expected to be on call round the clock, to pick up and drop the actress from home to shooting sets, and vice versa. He is expected to be present for the arrival of late night flights bringing the actress home after she has had an out station locale schedule for a film. A driver is handed the responsibility to safely and securely transport an actress, seeing to it that no harm is done to her in any way.
When one talks about the entourage of an actress, it is impossible not to talk about her make-up artist. An actress irrefutably needs to have a professional make-up artist in her team. This is because the make-up man or woman in the team is that one person who makes sure that the actress always looks good, either on film sets or while doing television interviews. A make-up artist keeps stock of the latest hair and beauty products and is always on the lookout for innovative beauty products which deliver great results. The make-up artist gets to be with the actress all the time and is therefore aware of the products that work on the actress and which don’t. The skill to conceal a blemish, pimple, or an injury scar just before a shot or appearance in front of the camera, is considered as the most important thing a make-up artist can do for an actress, and therefore they stand truly irreplaceable.
A public relations manager or PR person is essential in building a brand out of an actress. This individual sees to it that no media report comes to light which may harm the reputation of the actress. This is also the same person who informs media persons about the happenings in the personal life of an actress, so that accurate information is disclosed to the public through print media and the filtered information that is coming out with regular consultation with the actress herself, is not liable to misrepresentation or fudging of facts. A PR manager is directly in touch with the actress over the phone and constantly seeks her views or quotes over questions raised by the media. A PR manager is the only person who helps in creating positive publicity about the actress.
While an entourage keeps an actress going, there are various anti-social elements out there who are waiting for celebrities to utter something which can be blown out of proportion and therefore be used to create bad blood between the personality and the public. To handle such miscreants an actress has to have in her team, a lawyer or a team of lawyers from a reputed law firm. This is crucial because an actress’s lawyer will be the legal and authorised representative of the actress in cases which are frivolously filed against her in court. These baseless cases could be on subjects such as obscenity, defamation, etc. Having a legal advisor in the form of a lawyer will never hurt considering the vexatious image that certain people have in the public as also in the industry.
As an immensely talented aspiring actress, getting into Bollywood without any contacts or connections is extremely difficult, but never impossible. One has to face all the obstacles and shams that are created, and one simply has to overcome them with a gulp and a smile. You cannot be disheartened easily, if you truly believe in yourself and your talent. There is no such thing as “being at the right place and at the right time”. You have to take that extra step to see to it that you outshine all others, and are able to impress the industry people with your work. There is nothing wrong with “star kids” wanting to make it big in Bollywood just like their parents, but equal chances and opportunities should be given to all, so that they are able to prove their mettle, and claim their rightful place under the sun.