FAME is the most coveted word in the present day entertainment industry. Many years back ‘recognition’, ‘reputation’ and ‘eminence’ were used to describe it. However, the past fifteen years has witnessed an exponential growth of the television world, which in turn gave birth to a more prominent term; CELEBRITY. Be it print media, television channels or social networking sites, the word ‘celebrity’ is tagged like an educational degree upon the budding personalities of the entertainment world.
A smile for the shutterbugs, a prominent glossy photo on Page 3 of a national daily the following day and poof!!! One becomes a celebrity. One attains fame and stardom. I often ponder while turning the pages of a newspaper; does success come to the doorsteps like the everyday milkman? Has it become so effortless to attain something that every single human craves for? If my ever-increasing grey hair has imparted me with some maturity in life, I would say that in today’s fast-paced life
Fame is certainly easy to attain but awfully difficult to maintain
Entertainment through television did not materialise in a single day. It was a gradual evolution. Praise must be given where it is due and here it goes to one of the most famous production house of India, Balaji Telefilms. Within a matter of months even mundane aspect of everyday lives like household chores became a source of entertainment. Intricacies of human relationships, extra-marital love affairs, hurdles for womanhood, impoverished societal norms; almost every minutiae of life captivated the thoughts of various production houses.
Viewers were subjected to dramatic episodes interlaced with cliff-hanger endings which made people feel as if it was their own lives being telecast on screen. Each character of daily soaps won over a certain member of the household due to unnerving similarities one could relate to. As the days passed, the number of serials kept increasing while churning out similar storylines of running around the bushes to convey the underlying message. The advent of technology and continuous monetary inflow led to more and more members of the populace choosing television as a therapeutic medium, which in turn seemed to oddly justify the progress of the entertainment industry.
While the spirit of showcasing trivial family issues remained immortal, reality shows and game shows carved a niche for themselves in the minds of the audience as well. The basic business strategy has always revolved around utilizing manpower to the hilt for attaining honeyed success. The resulting domino effect led to a sudden spurt in demand for new faces. Any girl epitomising the concept of perfect figure and complexion captured the attention of the casting directors. Handsome guys with cherubic looks were continuously being hunted for. At one point of time, a subtle change occurred in the minds of the working class. People began to view acting as the easiest job in the world. Gorgeous members of both the sexes were thrust with the complex dexterities of acting.
Gradually the intricacies of dramatics smoothened down and everyone portrayed characters like the next door guy or girl. With storylines usually revolving around a common man’s predicaments, actors portraying the titular roles were imbued in everyone’s mind. The young blood, just another individual, became a recognizable face in a crowd. Those who were once onlookers suddenly became inspirational figures to look upon. Along came fame, hugging them tight, gluing the tag of celebrity upon them. The wheels of life always keep turning and never remain at the same spot, though.
Change is something which is permanent, inevitable and is one of the bitterest realities. The bad fades away with time and so does the good. In today’s showbiz industry, the pace of change appears faster than in any other career. A new face appears irreplaceable in his/her maiden performance. Bit by bit, the same ‘irreplaceable’ face climbs the ladder of success, making their presence felt in two more memorable performances. Their coffers brim with a sudden inflow of money but soon, the outflow becomes equivalent, if not more. The sudden hefty bank balance throws their ‘perfect’ world out of inertial orbit. Spending on luxuries to showcase success becomes priority number one. As they soak into the glitzy world of showbiz, change reaches their threshold.
Gradually stagnation knocks their doors. The restless consumer markets clamour for some other new faces. This stagnation is often shrouded with a term called career sabbatical. Some intellectual souls invest their previous hard earned money into alternative businesses while others go through a complete transformation in the form of a wedlock to someone with brimming coffers. However, many get tangled in the unrewarding desire to remain at the pinnacle, which is more often than not, fulfilled by making an appearance in some reality shows. These valiant efforts prove successful in certain cases, for some do get a boost in their career graph. Alas! fate is something impenetrably unknown. It varies from person to person akin to unique variations in our genetic makeup.
What works wonderfully for one becomes perilous for the other. Declination in the career graph becomes the brutal reality. The ultimate shudder emanates while coping with the financial constraints. Some endure this arduous phase through family and friends. Others set on a journey seeking solace through a steadfast relationship with the opposite sex. In this unkind world where money and luxury matter the most, it is extremely rare to find some helping hands or those lending their shoulders to lean upon. That illusionary pinnacle of success slowly evaporates into nothingness and is buried alongside their dreams within the darkest recesses of their memories. The burning flame of fame is smothered. All that remains is inky black darkness and the deeply detested tag of ‘also ran’.
The microbiologist within me often relates the lifespan of fame akin to the growth curve of the bacterial world. There exists a lag phase, which is the preparatory phase for bacteria, and is quite similar to the first phase of a TV artist’s life. Dreams are woven, plaudits are fabricated and the zeal to be a part of the showbiz industry takes birth. The second phase is the exponential phase or the multiplying phase. This mirrors the growing prosperity of the artistes during which essential elements are provided to aid their bloom.
Multiple job offers come their way which helps in showcasing their potential. The third phase is the stationary phase which reflects the stagnation period. Offers abate and dormancy kisses the actors. The actors get a new gig but lose the old one. This is the phase where the rate of growth is equal to the rate of attrition. Finally, there is the death phase. In some artistes, the flamboyant nature of living dies while in others, the very dream of becoming a superstar dies a pitiable death.
Fame doesn’t necessarily bear the same fate in other fields where it seems a tad easier to do all the right things to make it work and pull it off thereafter. But if one asks me about fame in the showbiz industry I would say,
Fame is volatile. Fame is Fickle. Faster the Fame is , sooner the fade is