Is there a set formula to achieve stardom in Bollywood, or is it simply a case of being in the right place, at the right time?
Some of Bollywood’s biggest names give their take on stardom.
Every actor probably aspires for this tag, but how does one achieve a superstar status in Bollywood?
HT’s film critic Anupama Chopra chats with Bollywood actors Deepika Padukone and Tisca Chopra, filmmaker Karan Johar and author Priyanka Sinha Jha on what it takes to be a superstar, on her TV show.
Anupama Chopra: Stardom, the ability to connect with millions of people and to embody their dreams, is a modern day miracle. Deepika since you have achieved it, let’s begin with you. What does it take to be a superstar?
Deepika Padukone: I don’t think there’s a formula. I think you learn along the way, at least for me, because I don’t come from a film family. Every day on a film set, I’ve learned something new, whether it’s from a co-star, from a director, from various people that I interact with. I think it also comes from passion. If you’re really passionate about what you do, you have the interest and the drive to want to know more and to learn. For me, success was never about how popular I want to be, it’s always been about the kind of filmmakers I want to work with or how people react to a role I’m doing in a movie. That has been my goal.
AC: Karan, of all the filmmakers in Bollywood, I believe that you know stars most closely. You have directed the biggest names. You have worked with them. You’re best friends with them. Is what Deepika’s saying right? Is it just a matter of passion?
Karan Johar: In her case, what she should have said is that, ‘I’m stunning and therefore I’m a movie star.’ That is one of the biggest prerequisites. I mean, how many people do you know in this world who are stunning and have not had an aspiration to be a movie star? Someone as stunning as Deepika Padukone was born for celluloid. So in her case, I don’t think her explanation really qualifies. I saw her on the ramp six years ago and I turned immediately to a friend and said, ‘She is going to be a movie star.’ She had the look, the height, the poise, she was everything. She was born to be a celluloid dream.
AC: And talent?
KJ: Talent came much later. As she said, she picked up so much on the job and eventually in the last two years, people have completely shifted focus from her beauty and now to her talent. But that’s a recent development and she herself will tell you that it is something that people have acknowledged recently. Certain beautiful women in this world, in this country, are meant to be for celluloid; like Aishwarya Rai was born to be in the movies. So, you can talk about Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and what made them movie stars, because they were unconventional in their looks. But, Aishwarya Rai and Deepika Padukone have to be movie stars, there’s no other choice they have.
AC: Priyanka, you have studied superstars for you book, Supertraits of Superstars. What are your observations about stardom?
PSJ: I feel that, in each scenario, that ‘X factor’ differs. You can have the talent, you can have the beauty, but you become iconic or legendary because of certain qualities which go beyond that. So with Mr Bachchan, it’s hisdiscipline. He is so many things, but his discipline stands out.
AC: Tisca, in your book, Acting Smart, you said that to be a successful actor, you not only have to be a sensitive artist, but also an entrepreneur. Why is that necessary?
TC: Superstardom is that rare, mythical bird. You may or may not be able to approach it. But the book is written with a small town person’s perspective in mind ... If you’re good, if you’re committed, if you’re in alignment with the universe and everything else is correct for you at that moment, stardom will happen. But if you don’t like acting and you like stardom, it’s not going to happen.