The casting couch exists. Everyone gets approached with an offer to sleep with someone or the other when they are trying to make it. If not directly, then indirectly, but it does happen. Sex is an important part of this industry. The sooner you learn this, the better and easier it is for you. You have to rethink your morals.
Also, know what is right or wrong, and black or white, because here, everything is grey. Even top people are sleeping with someone or the other. That’s just how it works. But because everyone is in the group, nobody talks about it. It’s better for these things to stay hidden and only among industry professionals, because fans and people who watch movies won’t be able to digest all this. That’s why no one talks about it.
Money also works. If you have enough of it, you can pay a director or producer to cast you in their project. I had a friend who got asked for Rs 5 lakh to be cast in a commercial.
Rejection is an everyday problem. It can either hit you hard or make you harder. People who can’t take failure should not come to Mumbai. But other than rejection, why people lose the plot is because they can’t handle the lifestyle in Mumbai. They come from small towns and go crazy over the glitz and glamour and want to party all night. They want to live in big houses and buy expensive clothes. But they don’t have the means to do this and eventually fall apart. These people usually go back to where they came from.
After struggling for a long time, I have realised that only people who have strong willpower can survive here. Smart work pays, not hard work. You also have to learn how to talk to people. Everything has to be handled with tact and restraint. It’s all a matter of time. It’s not hard to make money in this industry, but you can’t expect to be a Shah Rukh Khan. You have to have realistic expectations.
(This person has been trying to make it in the Hindi movie industry for the last four-and-a-half years)
As told to Aastha Atray Banan