Beckon of Tinsel Town


I was cleaning up things before Durga Puja as is done in a typically Bengali household. I came across my copy of English exercise book. I last read it when I was in class seven. I was casually turning over the pages wondering how I learnt English and why mother still kept it in our book shelf, neatly folded. My eyes got fixated on a word – “Tinsel Town”. If you search in the Google with this word, you come to know that it refers to Hollywood. In Indian context, it would be Bollywood represented by all handsome hunks and beautiful women. Let us randomly check a few international and national celebrities – Julian Moore, Julia Roberts, Eva Mendes, Cyndi Crawford, Bar Refaeli, Brad Pitt, Keeanu Reeves, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Milind Soman, Rajeev Mulchandani [seems unfamiliar, he was famous for his off-screen dalliances with Aishwarya Rai]. How do you feel reading these names? Don’t you feel the urge to quickly open a browser and search? Why do you feel so tempted to know them? Tinsel Town always beckons us, pulling us towards it.

How is this force generated among us? I should say we are indoctrinated by the milieu we are in. I still remember how I got the first taste. I was given a toy camera with a photo roll tugged inside it at the age of eight. You push the shutter and you can see an image of a celebrity. I pressed the shutter for the very first time and saw poonam dheelan. Then came TV serials. We got exposed to it in mid-teens. It broadened the exposure and consolidated the glare. Finally movies, national and international events join the bandwagon. Glamour and money become synonymous with Tinsel town. The luxurious life they lead attracts a lot many people. Take the example of Ameesha Patel who is a graduate in economics from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She started acting not because of money. Money whatever she could earn leveraging her educational background could not have given her instant fame, a household name, after the movie, kaho na payar hai. So the thought – the combination of glamour and money is lethal and can pull anybody in – is something that one can easily imagine but the question remains whether the attraction is so powerful as to override the dirt lying beneath the carpet.

We can hear so many scandals; perceive moral degradation at every level. The town is abuzz with news of so many break-ups, casting couch incidents. We can refute the charge saying that with glamour and money, scandals always come as a by-product.

So far, the discussion hovered around the people in Tinsel town who are successful. Obviously, nothing succeeds like success. Let us look at the unsuccessful attempts made to reach the top: life of so many aspirants who come to the tinsel town to make a mark in life end in roles of extras. Bengali Life, Sukhna Lanka depicts it. There was a TV serial; Valley of the dolls, adopted from a novel by American writer Jacqueline Susann depicted the lives of unsuccessful actors and actresses. If we take a careful look at Bollywood Empire, we cannot see beyond Amitabh Bachchan, Khan Trio, Ajay Devgan in 2 decades. Others sank leaving not much trace. Still people are attracted to it. Before, we search for answer to this question, let us find out the answer of another question: What Amitabh Bachan or Shahrukh Khan carried with them when they went for first audition. The answer is not tricky. We need to take a dive in Greek Mythology. You must have heard the name of Pandora’s Box. Think about who could not come out of the box……………….HOPE………….

Yes, Hope. This is required in every profession but not of this scale as is required in this profession.

When we prepare a proposal for a multi-national client knowing our competitor is Infosys or Wipro, we obviously hope to win the order. But we also carry with us our qualification, experience and well-though-out differentiation factors. When Amitabh Bachchan went for audition at Akashbani, the interviewer did not find his voice suitable. Lather he was recognized by his voice over the world. So he was against vagaries of likes and dislikes of an individual. What stood him in good stead was the hope that he would rise to the top one day. As long as we hope for success, tinsel town in spite of squalor hidden in its sleeve, continue to beckon us……….whether we proceed to tread on the path or stay as a distant onlooker would be determined by the degree of the pull getting intensified by the degree of passion or I should say lust for money and glamour lying dormant in our subconscious mind………..

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