In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer. Sometimes my prayer was ‘Help me.’ Sometimes a prayer was ‘Thank you.’ What I’ve discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away.
Acting as a profession is an inherently risky proposition for it depends upon one’s ability to make other people, sometimes millions of them like you. We know how difficult it is to get our neighbors to like us leave alone the whole wide world!
It requires a tremendous amount of self belief to launch your face and profile into the midst of a multitude of people and expect them to like you- warts and all. You will have to lay bare your deepest emotions and have the world scrutinize them and pass judgment.
They may like you instantly, take time to like you and reject you or consign you to oblivion in a minute. There have been mega stars whom generations of movie goers venerate, who began their careers delivering successive flops before one iconic film changed their fortune and made them the biggest movie star that their country had seen.
There are examples of some not very good looking male actors starting their movie career as a villain owing to their unconventional looks eventually graduated to playing the lead roles, romancing the leading beauties of the movie world with the audience adoring them for his audacity. There are others who came from some not so fashionable districts, yet stepped into the film world on the back of their reputation as a fantastic dancers and boy, did they dance right into our hearts!
What is it that gave these seemingly ordinarily endowed people the ability to extend themselves and their abilities and manage to have the whole world enamored by their charm? Surely it can’t just be luck or hard work. Destiny perhaps, but that too needs to be shaped. What made these people face up to the many knocks they surely must have received on their way up and keep striving till they got what they truly believed was theirs?
They all prayed. The power of prayer is immense, not in a miraculous sense, but in a transformative one. Prayers enable one to unburden one’s cares, worries and frustrations to a higher power, leaving one to focus on the positive. The impact that this has on the human psyche is actually miraculous-it makes one believe that anything is possible.
You could be a thin and gawky and might have to face the mortification of film producers laughing at your audacity to dream of a career in films. “How could you dare imagine taking the place of so and so,” they would probably be thinking. Yet that has been known to happen before with the unlikeliest of contenders ending the long reign of a superstar Prayers in fact have been a constant source of succor to many an actor -both superstar and not so successful ones who would have suffered their own share of vicissitudes. From serious accidents and illnesses and prison terms- many have been the upheavals that actors around the world have faced and overcome. Invariably they have attributed their resurrection to the power of prayer- by themselves and their fans.
A popular Indian film star of the nineties who too rose to national stardom from relatively humble origins begins his days by praying for the well being of his entire extended family. According to him, this gives him the confidence that his near and dear ones will be looked after even as he goes out and performs his duties as an actor. He’s another actor who is going from strength to strength and still gets to play the leading man well into his fifties. He has also forayed internationally and found tremendous success there.
There have been other Indian mega stars of the Nineteen Nineties who have led tempestuous lives, yet managed to emerge unscathed every time. Perhaps it is the power or prayer alone that makes these worthies rise like the phoenix again and again.
It is not just in India that film stars have a spiritual bent of mind and pray to the almighty. Many leading Hollywood stars have long been devotee of the Dalai Lama and often comes to India to pray. There are other devout actors who defying age and still getting to play leading parts and movies and even perform death defying stunts that people half their age would be afraid to perform
If any of the readers are thinking of taking up acting as a career or already have they might mull over the importance of praying regularly to not just see them through the inevitable days of struggle, but also to give them stability once they have made it.
Today there are far more opportunities to do well as an actor. There are training schools, casting agencies, a large number of movies and television shows being produced every year and an expanding audience. The pay is very good and for those with fire in the belly and the requisite talent, the sky is the limit. But there are grave pitfalls as well-the competition is sever and cut-throat, there is constant pressure to not just do better than your prayers, but also your own last performance and lastly there are temptations galore that can waylay the most sorted of individuals.
It is important that one’s priorities in life be sorted and having the support of family and friends is crucial. But it is prayers and prayers alone that will see you through the bad times-the times of self doubt, ruthless criticism, rejections and career setbacks. Prayers will give you the ability to bounce back from the worst set back and when the going gets good again, it will help you to stay sane and grounded.