Some simple tips worth repeating on “making it” in Bollywood.
Some say all you need is determination and funding, but part of the “determination” is tirelessly researching, reading, going to acting classes, watching films and generally immersing yourself in the Bollywood world.
First of all, you will need enough money to support yourself. Do not ever blindly come to Mumbai without having any plans. Why do many young people give up? Because they can’t stay here for long. Mumbai is a very expensive place to live in.
So get a job, if you need to – as good a job as you can get in Mumbai. If you’re a graduate, it helps, but if you insist on trying the acting game before college, you’ll have to take what you can get unless you’ve got rich, friendly parents or uncles. You have to figure it out yourself. Your job will pay for your acting class fees, your clothes and accessories, gym membership, transportation, and of course to maintain your hair and skin. Oh, and you’ll be able to eat. Don’t expect to be noticed at your job, though. Experiences like Sushant Singh’s (Ekta Kapoor noticed him as he was waiting tables) are rare. And he had taken acting and dance courses, so he was ready!
Work on your acting skills with a reputed acting course like BJAS. You can learn other skills that will get you on the set— singing, dancing, camera, lighting, etc. Get into whatever shows you can, to build experience and your résumé. Some recommend reality shows, where you may not do much acting, but you’ll get exposure and experience. Try to research on reality shows and then you will get a good idea of what you can do and how far you can go. Take voiceovers if they’re offered, take commercials and even modelling shoots. Go for as many TV shows and web series and short films as possible and keep improving yourself. The classic case is SRK who began with Barry John in theatre and then charmed his way to become a lead in a popular TV show, after which he aggressively and confidently pursued roles in films.
Join a theatre group. Many casting directors look for promising talent in theatre artists. Plus, you get to learn very good acting techniques while at it. Find a mentor. Through theatre you may meet many casting directors, movie makers, side actors etc. Once you know who is who of the Bollywood fraternity, you will also learn about your best mentor. Volunteering or working backstage is also an opportunity you could choose to be noticed and to learn your craft. The Many famous stars started off working in the background.
Take auditions and meetings seriously. Do your research, learn your lines, and be on time. Go in with confidence. You’ve worked hard and you deserve a chance. But listen to directors when they offer suggestions, even if you don’t get the role. More than once a director has been known to remember a long-ago audition and call the actor, even years later, when there’s a role that fits.
And remember: Always be nice to everyone. Image and reputation matters a lot. If you are nice to people, they may spread good things about you. Try to be a little witty and funny. Learn to give good replies and also, dress well. This does not mean “suit up”, just being neat and not too wild.