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The Overnight Stars Need Lessons In Humility



Nothing saddens me more than to see actors wrap their heads around their own illusory stardom and strut around with the attitude that one would expect a  man of Mr Bachchan’s stature to adopt.

 But wait. Mr B  doesn’t behave like a star. He has never made me feel that he is a star. In a room full of people he moves forward and hugs you like a long lost -friend. He makes you feel special without trying.

No, I’ve never had to worry about Mr Bachchan or Anil Kapoor, Dharmendra, Asha Parekh Jackie Shroff, Waheeda Rehman, Aishwarya  Rai Bachchan or Akshay Kumar changing.

It is the ones that are a star in their own heads who bother me. I’ve seen the change in a lot of the younger actors who have come in through family connections. Some of them like Harshvardhan Kapoor and Sooraj Barjtaya don’t even have one success to their credit. And still they behave like stars , empowered as they are by parents who have slogged hard to get their place in the hierarchy.

I made the mistake of telling these two newcomers that they were underwhelming in their debut film. They stopped all conversation with me , wrote me off as an enemy.

Stardom is a crippling notion. It stops all growth in the one who believes he is a star.The very talented Nawazuddin Siddiqui has lately become repetitive . The same  dark roles  being done  over and over again. He needs to emerge from the blinding darkness  of his characters and enjoy some  light .

But  who is going to tell him? And will he listen? The biggest star of the our Hindi cinema Rajesh Khanna stopped listening to criticism. He only liked yes-men around. Anyone who pointed out the flaws in his fabulous success streak was an enemy.

It takes a  lot of courage to face up to criticism when you are riding the crest of success. It takes even more courage to point out mistakes in a successful star. The most useless exercizes  in self-congratulations are film premieres where everyone makes the right noises, no one says the truth at these premieres. Not as as long as the star is in hearing distance. Once out of premiere they bitch the films out.

I’ve heard only one filmmaker tell the truth to another even at the risk of causing great offence. It was Vidhu Vinod Chopra at  the  premiere of  a Sanjay Bhansali film. Mr Chopra didn’t like the film and he  didn’t hesitate  in  telling his ex-protégé  so, even at  the risk of causing offence. How refreshingly removed from this  other filmmaker whom I heard praising the same film  on Sanjay Bhansli’s face during intermission.Minutes later he was sending bulks text messages to the entire film industry.

Only two words.  “Shit Film.”

The tragedy  of  our entertainment  industry is that  it has better  actors off the camera than  on it. And some of  these brilliant off-camera actors are not even professional actors.

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