Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, John Abraham, Arjun Rampal — what’s the common connect among them? They’re all models who’ve made a successful transition to films. And now, amid this whole outsiders versus insiders debate in Bollywood gaining momentum once again after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, we wonder if rank new models, with no prior association with the world of films, face any kind of prejudices.
Muzamil Ibrahim was among the top Indian models before making his debut with Dhokha in 2007. Talking about the challenges he faced, he says, “There was a lot of buzz about me around at that time, everyone wanted to launch me. I got a lot of critical appreciation for my role in the film.”
The actor, who starred in films such as Will You Marry Me (2012) and Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss (2009), adds, “But post that, I auditioned more for the following films I did than I did before doing Dhokha. I don’t understand what they see you as. It gets to you after a point of time.”
Model-turned-actor Dino Morea says that rather than facing prejudices, people welcomed the fact that he was already a known name, and had the experience of facing the camera.
“As a model, I had done a lot of commercials and music videos. It was not just all about fashion shows and shoots. So, it kind of prepped me well,” says Morea, who made his debut with Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999), followed by Raaz (2002).
Sharing a similar story, Mugdha Veira Godse, who left behind the fashion industry and entered Bollywood with a bang in her debut film, Fashion (2008), says she faced no trouble at all and her transition was quite smooth.
“Models becoming actors was okay and well accepted at that time. I didn’t feel that I was entering a different world. In fact, my modelling career helped me a lot,” she shares.
So, do fashion models keep getting films on the basis of their talent or do they also get categorised as ‘outsiders’ or imports from some other industry?
Morea says that he can’t blame his failures on the attitude of the industry. “There are some of the decisions that I made that weren’t so great. Careers depend on that and on advises you get, not on any stigma or prejudice,” he quips.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan agrees that Bollywood has been quiet welcoming towards models and ultimately “it all depends on talent. That is what will help you survive and that applies to everyone.”
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