Karan Johar points out the eight things you need to do to become a modern-day movie star
I believe that we have a special industry and that our films are unique. They have an ethos that’s different from the rest of the world cinema. So the qualities that go into the making of a mainstream Bollywood star are different from the attributes required from a movie star at the global level. The eight qualities addressed here will be applicable, strictly to Bollywood.
1. To start with, the most important thing is to love Hindi cinema. You have to love everything about it — the song and dance, the hero, the typical hero-wali entry or the heroine’s nakhra. You have to love all these things which stand for mainstream Hindi cinema. Whoever has done well in our industry in the past has had tremendous affection these elements.
2. You will also need a good combination of sincerity, commitment and hard work in abundance. This could hold true for other industries too; but in Bollywood especially, you need to fight your own battles. In their absence, you won’t be able to ‘walk tall’ in movies.
3. You should be able to make a fool of yourself! Yes, sometimes, you should be able to do things that otherwise you can’t think of doing on a regular day. I come across some young actors who don’t have the ability to laugh at themselves. Get out of your comfort zone and do things that don’t necessarily come out of your body organically.
4. Take chances and go against the norm. There’s no textbook of what’s wrong or right in the industry. You have to use your instinct and blend it with the inherent sense of making the right choices. The prime example is Ranbir Kapoor, who has always gone ahead with abstract choices. That is what, I feel, defines his stardom. You should do what comes naturally to you.
5. Of course, there’s always destiny. So the right chances plus luck equals success. Destiny plays a large part in modelling a star’s career.
6. A star must always be versatile. If you want to be an all-rounder, then you must be able to sing and dance and look good too. Don’t forget, being an all-rounder will make you a national-level heartthrob. You can’t say I am an actor so I won’t dance or I won’t work on my physique. You have to be fit and look good. You can’t be condescending about it.
7. Learn to tackle the media. You need to realise that it is an existing platform that must be leveraged intelligently. It’s no longer cool to be media-unfriendly. You can no longer say that you don’t need the media because the truth is that you do. And at the same time, exercise restraint in terms of appearances. Dealing with the media intelligently is a crucial part of being a star.
8. Finally, the last and probably the most important thing is to have that X-factor. Over and above everything else, you just can’t plan this factor. It’s an element that can break the clutter and establish the feeling that there’s something that only you can do and no one else. It’s the only quality that you can’t work towards. You either have it or don’t, simple. Audiences will decide on it.