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Beyond the glamour and the shutterbugs hitting you, there is another side to glamour. A struggling model shares her life.
Like most Indians, the world of show biz attracts me. Who does not love watching a Shahrukh or Deepika walk in the red carpet? Let us face it, we are a celebrity obsessed nation or a generation. We make our choices according to them. We women get obsessed trying to get a Deepika Padukone figure. With the rise of social media, we put out our private lives in public. Our holiday pictures go out for public consumption, in other words we are trying to ape the celebrity lifestyle. May be it is a way to satiate our need of being important, or may be our last means to defeat death. The means by which we believe people will remember us.
Personally, I don’t know stars. There is no celebrity I know. I come from a middle class family, where we all work in offices. My friends and neighbors do the same. But last week, I had an opportunity of spending some time with an upcoming model or in other words a struggling one. She came to stay for a month in our PG. Infact she was shooting as a junior artist in an upcoming movie that is shot in Delhi. Her role is to run alongside the protagonist. No, she does not have any dialogue. But she is grateful, as she says, its work and she is getting paid for it.
At 24, she is one of those lakhs that lands up in Mumbai every day to become a star. They all want to be a movie star. “Everything looks so easy when you go,” she said.” “You feel, you will land up in the next big movie. You will be the next star. Staying in Mumbai is expensive. When you leave home, you take a flat for yourself at first. But after a month or two, you start sharing your one BHK.” Now 5 girls share the flat she first took with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend returned to Delhi and decided to go to Mumbai later to try his luck once again.
I started talking to her. She kept telling me, that she would never ever be compromising with anyone for a role or a campaign. Her boyfriend trusts her and she also trusts him. I asked her about her first break and how does she survive in Mumbai. “It’s not easy,” she says.” Even for a cameo role you have to wait in long lines. For a role of 3 minutes, you will find a queue of two thousand people. That can be overwhelming. It’s like a reality check, to the world, you are stepping in. You realize that you are a part of a long queue.”
The first time, she ever saw a queue was when she accompanied her boyfriend to an audition. It was for a cameo in a TV serial. He did not make to the selections, though he thought his auditions went well. Then she says that the struggle began. She added, “It’s strange in Mumbai, that after the audition, if you ask, they will say good things, but you are not called for the role.”
She remembers a day when they had no food to eat and had to sleep hungry. But luckily next day a production house needed a few junior artistes to be a part of a crowd. She and her boyfriend got a chance. Food was served. That was a day, she said, taught her a lot. She learnt that, work is work. You do whatever you get. Luckily for her she started getting print shoots for saris or other dresses for online shopping websites. Each dress she wears for a shoot brings her 1000 bucks. That way she says, she is good with money now.
I asked her if she had friends. She looked into my eyes and confessed that no one is a friend unless you have money. Her four roommates are from the same profession, but none shares any information. It’s funny when they all meet at the same auditions, trying to avoid each other. In gist, none wants the other to succeed. Her own cousin turned against her.
As, the conversation continued I asked her, what is next for her. She is trying to break through the television industry. She wants to be a lead character in a serial. She hopes she does. At present in Delhi, she is doing corporate events. Last she did for a camera brand. She just had to sit and lot of people shot her. The money and food was good, she said with a smile.
Her parents are supportive. They are proud of her. They are from a small town and believe that her face is made to be a leading role in Indian Cinema. She believes in it too. But then, she started fiddling with her handkerchief and said how so many come back bitter, they don’t even get a cameo or print shoots. They come with pride and hope but go back with anguish. Many stay but end up doing, things they are not proud of.
As, I looked into her bright face, I asked her, isn’t she scared that it might just occur to her too. She snapped back saying that she was sure, someday some big director will find her and life will change.
I looked at the Television that was blurring infront of me. Some film awards were being shown. I got stuck to the lights and the colors. Everyone looked so happy. From the corner of my eyes, I saw her folding her clothes and telling her boyfriend on phone that the Delhi auditions are over, she did not get the role, she so hoped for.
On the television, Shahrukh Khan started dancing with his trademark pose of opening his arms. My roommate joined in, we increased the volume gluing to the screen. Everything else became blurred.
Cover image via Shutterstock
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