Bollywood Actors

The acting community in Mumbai is an incredible melting pot mirroring today’s India, with every different type of person, from every different region, religion and social background, speaking a myriad of languages… this is masala!

Bollywood masala through its films and fraternity is the feast of the nation, the recipe of a collective narrative that serves not only its own, but is the global voice of a people living together as one. The Hindi film industry a.k.a. Bollywood, is an industry so deeply embedded in the Indian culture that nearly every song you hear on the street and every flashy dance you see at an event is from a famous film. And Bollywood stars are treated unlike any Hollywood star to date… they are beyond loved. In the devout culture of India, stars are cherished, idealized and even prayed too.

It would not be an exaggeration to assume that at some point in every Indian’s life, he or she has dreamed of becoming a famous Bollywood actor: living the tabloid life of luxury on the set, chilling in an air-conditioned vanity van, sipping imported bottled water and winning awards, all whilst signing autographs for the masses. Yet, beyond the glitz and flashbulb glam life what do Bollywood actors really do day-in and day-out? How does life really look on the inside? The life of an actor, any actor, may seem like a dream but the bleak and over-crowded reality of the business is something quite different. It is a reality that few dedicated desi’s (Hindi for ‘Indians’) consider as they pack their bags and head for the big city. And in Mumbai, the Bollywood dream rains down like the monsoon, showering every starry-eyed actor with hopes of grandeur.

This book project began in 2010, during my maiden voyage to India. It started as a simple comparing and contrasting photo-essay between the acting communities of Los Angeles and Mumbai - affectionately ‘Hollywood and Bollywood.’

"Living the Dream: The Life of the 'Bollywood' Actor" (Harper Collins) is complete, with 112 photographs and interviews from the beginning student to the biggest star in the country and everyone in between. This is the story of many, that only few know.

Vidya Balan: ©MarkBennington

Kareena Kapoor: ©MarkBennington

Kareena Kapoor: On a commercial ad shoot for sunscreen on Madh Island. “Yeah everyone gossips but I’m not really affected by it, I think it’s much different here than it is in Hollywood… See, I come from a film family and a tradition… so it’s more intimate and never vindictive... most everyone from here is pretty good natured."

#bollywood  #bollywood actor book  #bollywood actors  #deepika padukone  #kareena kapoor  #living the dream the life of the bollywood actor

Living the Dream: The Life of the 'Bollywood' Actor

Struggling actor Nitin Gupta working out at Diljit’s Gymko in Seven Bungalows section of Mumbai. "I want to work but never did the casting couch, even though I faced it in the early days. When I went for auditions, some male coordinators called me to their places and said, “Okay, you sleep with me and I’ll give you work.” Just like that. I came here in 2009 and never went to acting class. I just did the Bollywood dance classes and joined the gym. It’s very competitive here, but at the gym I feel like I’m the best."

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Ranveer Singh: ©MarkBennington

Ranveer Singh on the balcony at the 2011 Global Indian Film and TV Honours ceremony, a month after his debut in the hit film "Band Baaja Baaraat", and just moments before dramatically flying down on stage using a harness. He has since become one of the most celebrated actors in Bollywood.

#bollywood  #bollywood actor book  #bollywood actors  #deepika padukone  #living the dream the life of the bollywood actor

Chitrangada Singh: ©MarkBennington

Model turned actress, Chitrangada Singh during a press conference for the film "Yeh Saali Zindagi" in 2011. She is known as one of the most beautiful actresses in Bollywood, who, although having done few films, has multiple brand endorsements. "I don’t like watching myself on screen. I just cringe (because) I find too many faults."

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Salman Khan: ©MarkBennington

On location in Pune, crowds gather at dusk on nearby buildings to get a glimpse of one of the country’s biggest and most beloved stars, Salman Khan.

#bollywood  #bollywood actor book  #bollywood actors  #deepika padukone  #living the dream the life of the bollywood actor