8 Ways to Succeed in Bollywood

Bollywood is evolving. Not maturing, but evolving. It’s the era of money. If a film makes money it’s good. If not, well…. Critical acclaim be damned, we want entertainment. A movie’s fate is decided in 3 days. There are no silver jubilees, no 100 days. It’s all about 100 crores. The new benchmark of Bollywood. So how do we reach that coveted title? Here are a few tips and tricks to make a profitable Bollywood career.

1. Be Mediocre

You read it right. Be as mediocre as possible. Don’t overdo the creativity. If you have a great intellectually stimulating script, dumb it down as much as possible. Add stale humour and fluff it up like Lays potato chips and voila! we have a blockbuster.

Case in point: 3 Idiots.

Remove the moral and add moronism
Remove the moral and add moronism.

2. Don’t Be Original

While this is a given, it needs to be stated just to be sure. Watch a lot of English, Japanese, Korean and Thai movies and get “inspired” by them. Feel free to lift scenes as they are from the original and add it to your film. Trust me, no one will notice.

Case in point: Barfi!

Find the creative differences
Do you see any similarities? I don’t.  (via)

3. Use Emotional Blackmail

This is a very Marley & Me type of thing. But with a twist. Main character + disability = Hit film. Wouldn’t you cry if a mother was separated from her dyslexic child? Won’t you shed a tear if the child died? Any mental disability should be projected as… well… mental. Talk and act like a Bihari asking for directions in Kannada in Tamil Nadu. The mental-er the character is, the more emotional and Shri Shri Ravishanker-ed they should be. In other words, give all the emotional dialog to the one who’ll die at the end of the movie or the one who is incurable. Cha-ching!

Case in point: Paa and Taare Zameen Par.

Emotional Atyachaar
Emotional Atyachaar. Works like a charm.

4. Get Karan Johar/Rohit Shetty/Prabhu Deva to Direct the Film

Their success ratio is over 50% which is a huge advantage. On the plus side you won’t have to prepare for any role. If you’ve done it once, you’ll be doing the same all over again. A win-win.

Case in point: Movies by the aforementioned.

5. Star Alongside Aamir Khan

This is a sure-fire hit. Even if the film is a boring remake of a brilliant film, a no-brainer with little or no acting required or just people walking like zombies it will be termed three things because of Aamir Khan. It will be “original”, “perfect” and “brilliant”. All you have to do is show up on set and hope they don’t delete your scenes.

Case in point: Aamir Khan films post 2001.

Once you are Oscar material, you'l always remain Oscar material. (via)
Once you are Oscar material, you’ll always remain Oscar material. (via)

6. Add Someone/Something Controversial in the Film i.e. Create Shock Value

Movies like Murder, Jism 2, Dhoom 2 have been under the moral scanner for showing too much skin, introducing an adult film star or just for kissing scenes. Whatever the reason, controversies have helped these films and many others. So go ahead and scandal away.

Case in point: The aforementioned films.

7. Be Over-The-Top

Ham it up as much as possible. Stunts must be so unrealistic that the disclaimer “Do not try this at home” wouldn’t be necessary. Cry like a Twilight fan. Lip sync songs like you’re singing it. Widen arms as much as possible. Project anger as though someone has stolen the essence of your chair.

Case in point: Bollywood movies.

Ham it up. (Source)
Conclusion – Ham it up. (Source)

8. Have it in Your Genes

While this is out of your control it is definitely a bonus to be born with the silver spoon. If you are unsuccessful in the hands of any director, fear not. Your kin will rescue you. Hrithik Roshan’s biggest successes have been Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Koi Mil Gaya and Krish. Directed by papa Rakesh Roshan. Uday Chopra has a career because of Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra. With the exception of Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar, 90% of today’s generation of actors are star-kids. You theoretically “audition” and “work hard” and “struggle” like every other nonentity but the chances of you being “perfect for the role” are greater if your last name sounds familiar.

Case in point: Dhoom series.


The choice is yours. Either make/star in movies for the masses or the classes. You can’t do both. All the best.


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