We all love our Bollywood stars, and surely envy the fame and fortune they make. But how does it all start? What does it take to get the first break?
But what if you are a common man, someone who’s from a remote part of India and is trying to get the big break in Bollywood?
In that case, it could be a tough journey, something that could make you wait for years as well, for that big break.
But then who said life is easy, and that too in films.
The good thing is that India produces close to 1000 films every year (including regional films), so you can definitely keep your fingers crossed and keep trying.
Here’s a typical day (in pictures) of an aspiring (struggling) actor, as he tries to get his big break in Bollywood.
Aspiring actor “Ram” rehearses his lines for an audition.
Thousands of wannabe actors come to Mumbai every year, hoping to be the new “Salman Khan or Kareena Kapoor”, and auditions are the first step.
This is indeed a notice for an audition outside a film studio
Welcome to the reality; not everything is going to be plush, and not all the work you get will be for the big banners!
Performing for an audition
This is how you know where you stand (and even the casting guys)
Ram visits his former dance teacher in his studio in Mumbai.
“Pappu can’t dance saala?” You have to learn to dance (besides learning the local language) if you want to survive in Bollywood. Song and dance routines are a fundamental part of most Indian films, doesn’t matter if they’re relevant to the plot or not!
Most strugglers/aspiring actors watch films regularly. That’s the only way to stay motivated.
Answer to a typical “Kaun Banega Crorepati” Question: The first feature film made in India was Raja Harishchandra, which was premiered at the Olympia Theatre in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 21 April 1913
When not pursuing his acting career, Ram works as a tailor; He came to Mumbai eight years back from a small village.
And you though it was easy? “Between saying (dreaming) and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.” – Italian Proverb.
Wallet with pictures of his favorite film stars
I’m sure he has got more favorites, which can’t fit in there.
“When walking through hell keep walking” – Winston Churchill
Worn-out socks…sleeping at the platform, skipping meals, sharing a room with 10 others, these are quite common for many in their earlier struggling days, especially for those who come from outside Mumbai.
“Rishtey me to hum tumhare Baap lagte hai, naam hai”…in front of a poster of the legendary Amitabh Bachchan (from the blockbuster 1975 film Deewaar).
The Big B was once dubbed as a ‘one-man industry’ by French director François Truffaut.
A typical chase scene for the film “Black Home” on the outskirts of Mumbai.
However, most big budget Indian films are now shot at exotic foreign locations, with several foreign governments coming forward to offer incentives to Bollywood filmmakers (helps them attract Indian tourists)
In a remote location in India, even this is quite big! A man soliciting business for a travelling cinema in Mumbai.
The Indian film industry now produces close to 1000 movies a year (including those made in regional languages) and that’s one of the reasons that foreign studios are interested in setting up shop in India.
Ram practices martial arts moves, gymnastics on the beach as joggers pass by him.
Action movies have always been popular in Indian films. From the “dishoom-dishoom” sequences of the 1970s to the more spectacular fight scenes in recent times, action will always be a popular genre in Indian cinema.
And the grim reality, till you get that break! Ram sleeps in a playground in a residential colony in Mumbai.
And what’s it like if you hit the Jackpot? Besides the fame, there’s lot of moolah as well. Shah Rukh Khan is estimated by Forbes India to have earned $38m (£24.7m) in 2012…Pretty cool!