Actress Somy Ali, who runs a US based NGO called No More Tears, was a big part of Bollywood some years back. Be it success of failure, she has seen in all. She says that while stardom comes with a price, it also has a lot of perks.
“Who doesn't want to be famous? If they tell you that they are solely in it for the art, they are blatantly lying. Being famous has many perks and one gets away with many things with zero consequences. Even murder and I am not exaggerating because look at O.J. Simpson and many others. Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby raped and abused women for years and got away with it. I can't even begin to imagine what goes on in the Hindi film industry when it comes to knowing there will be absolutely no consequences to whatever you want to do to someone given you have fame which equals power which leads to the abuse of power,” she says.
Loneliness, is another thing that comes with success, she says, adding, “I also believe that many of these stars are quite lonely at the top. This is why they maintain relationships with those who they were friends with prior to being famous. I have also personally witnessed old friends taking advantage of stars once they are suddenly famous. It's a catch 22 and there is no way out. You are essentially selling your soul to the devil and many do it with no remorse whatsoever while some regret it in the long run. I have mostly seen stars very content with the perks, the money, the attention, and the nonstop curiosity an average layperson has about their lives.”
People assume struggle is less when they see successful stars, but this is not true, she says. “If people assume achieving stardom is easy then that is the most naive thought one can enter the industry with and they will face severe psychological hardships. Again, one is rolling the dice of luck and kismet in this field and if both those aren't on your side, you are going to be experiencing eternal doomsville,” she says.
She adds, “There are many examples who have maintained success with luck and immense hard work like Aamir, Shah Rukh, Akshay and some have been simply huge stars tasting the best dish stardom serves while they have zero acting skills. I have seen those actors back when I was there and they are still reigning the industry and yet again with the consistency of absolutely no talent.”
Talking about success, she says, “Success, for me, is to make others happy and I always say there is no altruism in selflessness because it makes the individual happy. Hence, I am not doing anyone any favours because helping others and fighting for justice for others and myself is the life I have chosen to live and it brings me immense happiness.”