Acting Jobs: How To Become An Actress In Bollywood

Acting Jobs: How To Become An Actress In Bollywood
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So, you want to be an actress in Bollywood? Read this acting career guide to getting acting jobs in Mumbai and learn how to become an actress in Bollywood.

I want to be a Bollywood actress! Where do I start? What do I need to become an actress in Bollywood? If these are the questions that keep you up at night, you’ve come to the right place.

Being recognised everywhere you go, having the trappings of luxury, working with superstars on screen and being part of the world’s largest film industry – these are the benefits of an acting career in Bollywood.

More Indian women are interested in pursuing an acting career nowadays because they believe it’s their gateway to fame and fortune. However, getting acting jobs in Bollywood is much more than its glittering veneer.

It’s sweat and toil, wrapped up in the alluring package of fame and wealth, and presented to aspiring actors to lure them to Bollywood’s mesmerizing capital, Mumbai..

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Do I Have What It Takes To Be An Actress?

So, you want to be an actress? It is not at all an impossible dream, but you have to be ready to work harder than most people of your age.

The truth is, most celebrities started out playing small roles on television and in the movies before they get their big break.

So if you plan on starting an acting career in Bollywood, chances are you’ll have to endure the same ordeals until a director or executive producer sees that you’re ready for a major role.

If you think it only takes beauty or a Miss India title to get into Bollywood, think again! Just look at the rising stars nowadays and you’ll see that most of them are not what you would call classic beauties.

Their popularity has turned their looks into a non-issue. Even with a not-so-covetous body, a talented actress like Smriti Irani can go head to head with the best on the small screen and even win the race.

Smriti Irani
Ministry of Textiles (GODL-India)

When it comes to an acting career, beauty is not the only yardstick, although it helps if you’re a photogenic actress and good look on screen. The most beautiful actresses may rise to superstardom, but without the talent to back them up, they’ll end up fading into the sunset.

Only those who really have talent will endure and go on to make more movies. In fact, even if you’re not as beautiful or as sexy as other actresses, your talent can help you excel and outshine them.

It’s not even necessary to be “fair-complexioned” anymore, as the success of stars like Deepika Padukone and Bipasha Basu show.

Besides acting talent, you also need the virtues of persistence and patience for a successful acting career. Some people may discount it, but luck plays an important role too.

Just look at Frieda Pinto, a small-time model, who is today enjoying working with some of the best actors and directors in Hollywood (and giving the rest of the Bollywood beauties heartburn).

She was not even a star when she was chosen to play the role of Latika in Slumdog Millionaire. Her lucky break has given hope to millions of girls who are considered nobodies in show-biz.

Slumdog Millionaire screening at Ryerson: Jeff Karpala Derivative work: Bill William Compton [CC BY-SA 2.0]

The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether or not you want to be a professional actor. This simply means you have to be committed to it. This may mean giving up your expectations and doing some things along the way that take you out of your comfort zone.

If you’ve decided to learn how to become an actress in Bollywood, remember one thing – you’ll have to do whatever it takes to create a brand of your own.

Once you have psyched yourself up, it is time to pack your bags and move to India’s movie mecca, Mumbai, since most Bollywood movie auditions take place here.

Many wannabe actors from small towns, as well as other metros, come to Mumbai every single day with stars in their eyes and starry dreams of becoming the next big Hindi movie heroine.

While there are plenty of acting opportunities in India, there’s also cutthroat competition, so the chances of becoming an actress in Bollywood are not very promising.

On top of that, if you’re a woman, you can’t ever let your guard down to protect yourself from exploitation when you attend a Hindi film audition.

Even more in Bollywood, WHO you know is even more important than WHAT you know. The best way to get into acting is to network with influential people who can endorse you for your acting skills.

This means you’ll need to build a network of Mumbai film industry contacts, friends and supporters before you can plunge into mainstream cinema.

Before we delve into the details of how to begin an acting career in India, let us inspire you with some stories of self-made Bollywood actresses, who reached the apex without any ‘Godfather’ in the industry.

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Famous Bollywood Actresses and How They Started Out

Mumbai film industry contacts are so important that dreams of acting careers are built or crushed on the basis of who you know. This is why nepotism has always been a relevant issue for people outside the film industry, with little or no contact in Bollywood.

Many of these wannabe actors have come from all over India, and even the UK and other countries to attend acting auditions in Mumbai, only to find to their dismay that a star kid has been chosen for the role and they’ve landed the role of a Bollywood side actor.

However, some actresses have still managed to make it to the top on their own steam, through sheer talent and grit, and these are the people you should look to as role models. Here are some of them:

Vidya Balan

From Hum Paanch to Parineeta, Vidya Balan has seen the best and worst times in her Bollywood career. Being an outsider, she had to struggle throughout her initial days and started out with TV commercials and music videos.

Bollywood Actress Vidya Balan
By Bollywood Hungama, CC BY 3.0

She was offered a South Indian movie, in which she was paired against Mohanlal. When the movie did not do well as expected, she was even considered a jinx and cast out of other South Indian films.

Her journey of struggle ended, however, when she was paired opposite Saif Ali Khan in her debut Bollywood movie, Parineeta. We all know how it worked out for her after that.

Watch a candid conversation with Bollywood actress, Vidya Balan, by Merril Diniz of SHEROES in this promotional interview for her movie, Shakuntala Devi.

Kangana Ranaut

This strong, talented actress from the hills has, no doubt, made a huge impact in the industry, in spite of being an outsider.

Her amazing talent did not go unnoticed by Bollywood casting directors, and she started her journey with her debut film, Gangster, in 2006.

Bollywood Actress Kangana Ranaut
Bollywood Hungama [CC BY 3.0]
Today, she already has three National Film Awards and four Filmfare Awards in her kitty and aspires to win more.

Kangana is not only known in the industry for her acting skills, but also her ability to be vocal about pressing issues in the industry like sexual harassment and nepotism.

She doesn’t wait around for Bollywood acting opportunities to fall in her lap but creates her own opportunities by directing her own movies like Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.

She is also regarded as a youth influencer and a motivational speaker by the millennials.

Anushka Sharma

Another influential person who has made it big in her acting career in the Bollywood industry, is the model-turned-actress, Anushka Sharma. She gave an audition for Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, without knowing that belonged to the Yash Raj Films stable.

Bollywood Actress Anushka Sharma
Bollywood Hungama [CC BY 3.0]
Although her debut film with King Khan, was not recognized for her performance, her next film, Band Baja Baraat, opposite Ranveer Singh, turned out to be a blockbuster, and there’s been no looking back for Anushka since then.

Besides being a good actor, Anushka is also known for being vocal about social issues, being an animal lover, and for her no-nonsense attitude. Her marriage to Indian cricket captain, Virat Kohli, only helped elevate her brand.

Priyanka Chopra

When it comes to Bollywood female actors, Priyanka Chopra’s name invariably tops the list. By winning the Miss World title in 2000, she negated the racist Indian mentality by flaunting her dusky complexion and a million-dollar smile.

Bollywood Actress Priyanka Chopra

She did not stop at that, however, and began her work in Bollywood through numerous films, not all of which did well at the box office. However, she never lost hope and gradually joined the circle of top actresses in the Hindi film industry.

Being a versatile actor, Priyanka Chopra did not bind her dreams to Bollywood and flew to Hollywood to take on that industry, and succeed she did. She was bullied and trolled, but she never stepped back from doing what she wanted to do.

Deepika Padukone

The daughter of famous badminton player, Prakash Padukone, Deepika made her Bollywood debut in Om Shanti Om opposite none other than Shah Rukh Khan in 2007.

Bollywood Actress Deepika Padukone

She had a smooth sail as compared to other actresses, because of her dimpled smile, her heart-stealing looks and her incredible acting skills. She was appreciated by critics and viewers alike, as she gave one hit after another.

Like Priyanka Chopra, she too acted in a Hollywood film, XXX – The Return of Xander Cage, where she was appreciated widely. Today, Deepika is one of the highest-paid actresses in Bollywood and also a well-known name in Hollywood.

Katrina Kaif

This model/actress has been modelling since the age of 14 for Models 1 modelling agency and has been the face of campaigns for the fashion brand, La Senza, and even walked the catwalk for London Fashion Week.

Katrina Kaif Photo

Two years after her arrival in Mumbai, the actress landed her first breakthrough role with a cameo as Abhishek Bachan’s girlfriend in Ram Gopal Verma’s “Sarkar” in 2005.

That same year, she landed her first major role opposite Bollywood heart-throb Salman Khan in “Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya”. She has received high praise and acclaim for the roles she has portrayed.

Her impressive list of awards and nominations include a nomination for best actress in the prestigious Filmfare Awards, two Star Screen Awards for Entertainer of the Year and Best Actress (Popular Choice), a ZeeCine Award and two nominations, one IIFA award and two nominations as well as two Stardust Awards and three nominations.

How The Concept Of Beauty Is Changing

Until a few years ago, traditional beauty in India meant fair-skinned, and light-eyed, with a curvy body and long hair.

If you’re fair-skinned, you get the successful groom, the big bungalow, the great life, and Heaven help you if you happened to be a shade browner than Kareena Kapoor.

Perhaps Aishwarya Rai Bachhan was one of the last few “traditional beauties” that the world saw in Indian cinema.

In the last decade, there has been a huge shift in the attitude of Indians towards appreciating true beauty in women, that is not based on skin colour alone.

When Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe in 1994 despite not being the conventional fair beauty, the Indian mindset was shaken. Perhaps beautiful didn’t mean only fair, we began to think.

When you see Freida Pinto at Hollywood do’s and models like Carol Gracias and Monikangana Dutta being the most sought after to walk the ramp, it is truly heartening.

Bollywood actresses like Kangana Ranaut have turned down lucrative ad offers for fairness creams, because of the harmful signals sent out to the public.

Today, women in India are making more of an effort than ever before to “look good”. This includes starving themselves (sometimes to death!), nose jobs, lip jobs and various other jobs going under the knife as if it were as regular as eating a slice of toast.

When Kareena Kapoor went from being the Punjabi “kudi” with a curvaceous body and a twinkle in her eye in “Jab We Met” to a barely recognizable anorexic shadow of herself in “Tashan”, it had a huge impact on how young women in India perceive beauty today.

Size Zero became the new “beautiful” and it has been a classic example of how Bollywood affects our thought process. There is a lot of pressure all around when it comes to beauty. Everyone wants to look good, and it is no longer a thing of “occasion”.

However, with the shift in attitude towards dark-skinned girls or girls from different races, one thing has become clear – you need to wear your individual persona to look good.

Attitude is what counts more than traditional good looks. Confidence, the ability to hold a conversation, and carry oneself gracefully, are all a part of being beautiful today.

In the video below, Konkona Sen Sharma joined Merril Diniz of SHEROES for a heart-to-heart chat, discussing the actor’s first web series, Mumbai Diaries 2611, and looking back at the contribution of frontline workers, what it means to be an independent woman and more.


How Roles For Female Actors Have Changed

The role of female protagonists in Indian cinema has evolved with the times and today a typical Bollywood flick would have you meet leads who break taboos and play parts that today’s audience can relate to. Both Bollywood and regional Indian cinema has been to some extent, male-centric.

Male actors have more often than not, held the responsibility of the entire movie on their shoulders with the female actors providing a refreshing break with a sultry song and dance sequence or merely playing the supporting actor in the production.

The 1950’s, 60’s and early 70’s saw heroines being cast in roles that were of the “Sati Savitri” mould. They played society’s perception of what women should be like, ideally good wives and mothers.

Lead actresses shied away from these roles and those who did end up playing the “bad” role of the other woman, i.e.: a raunchy secretary or a woman with loose morals who had no inhibitions in shedding off her clothes and morals.

It was, however, always the “good” woman who triumphed sending out an unconscious message to the impressionable society on how women should behave. Movies such as “Mother India”, “Madhumathi” and “Kagaaz ka Phool” illustrate this point.

While the late ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s saw Bollywood actresses breaking away from this mould and taking on more daring roles, they, unfortunately, fell into another bracket.

Playing the damsel in distress became the trend with heroines performing dance sequences around trees with the heroes and dress up as glamour dolls.

While this trend brought about the “feel good” factor that Hindi movies are famous for, it reduced the role of the female protagonist from an actor to that of a heroine.

Nevertheless, these films brought about a change to Bollywood movies, transforming them from solemn films to entertaining movies.

The 21st century saw Bollywood movies undergo a new transformation. The new breeds of actresses were ready to pave their own paths in cinema like never before.

They understood that being an actress was just a job and the characters they played did not define them as individuals.

This realization gave filmmakers the chance to experiment with roles and subjects they did not dare to venture into before. Even the actresses of previous generations were inspired to take on new roles.

Take, for example, Tabu played the role of a 34-year old woman in love with a man 30 years her senior in an unconventional love story in the Amitabh Bachan starrer, “Cheeni Kum.

Cheeni Kum Poster

In another movie, “Page 3” set against the glamorous backdrop of media and celebrity life, Konkona Sen Sharma plays a journalist reporting on the glitzy world of celebrities only to get disillusioned by it in the end. These movies touch on topics that are relevant to today’s audience.

Konkona Sen Sharma

The role of women in Bollywood has undergone an awe-inspiring journey over the past five decades. Women have evolved in their roles and have seen several transformations from playing the ideal wife/mother to glamour doll to a serious actress.

They have continued to break conventions and set the bar higher for their male counterparts. Most importantly, they continue to make cinema that touches their audiences, both in India and worldwide.

How Much Are Female Actors In Bollywood Paid?

Many actresses look for jobs in the Bollywood industry to earn loads of money and enhance their living standards. If you’re one of them, and money is your first priority, you should know how much female actors in Bollywood are paid in general.

According to an article by Forbes in 2017, India’s gender pay gap extends to the Bollywood industry, to no one’s surprise. Women are believed to earn 25% less than their male counterparts, according to the Monster Salary Index 2016.

Actresses like Aditi Rao Hydari, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranaut, have raised awareness of this pay gap in the Bollywood actress’ salary and against gender inequality prevalent in the industry.

Here are some stats to give you an idea of how much these actresses are paid on average:

  • Kangana Ranaut: She charges about INR 10 to 11 crores per film.
  • Deepika Padukone: With a net worth of about $7.5 million, she charges INR 10 to 12 crores per film.
  • Kareena Kapoor Khan: The self-proclaimed queen of Bollywood, Bebo charges INR 9 to 10 crores per movie.
  • Priyanka Chopra: Her net worth is $8 million, and she charges INR 8 to 9 crores per film.
  • Katrina Kaif: She has a net worth of $18.3 million, and charges INR 6 to 7 crores for every film.

So, if you can make it to the position that these actresses are in, you could end up living lavishly in the lap of luxury, if that’s what you desire.

Now that you’re inspired by the stories of these amazing actresses and know how much they earn, here’s what to do if you want to be an actress in the Indian film industry.

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How to Become a Bollywood Actress In India: 11 Steps To Success

Before you step into your acting shoes, you should be aware that Indian cinema is not synonymous with just Bollywood. In fact, more than 2000 feature films in 40 regional languages are released every year in the country.

However, Bollywood is still regarded as the face of Indian cinema because of the widespread use of the Hindi language, and the influence it has across the country.

So if you crave recognition, fame and luxury, you would do well to find jobs in Bollywood films and establish your career through your acting talent.

The following steps to becoming an actress will show you what you need to become an actress and how to join the Bollywood film industry.

1. Join an Acting School

So, you’re passionate about acting from an early age, right? But just passion is not going to take you anywhere if you don’t have the skills to match.

Learning how to be a Bollywood actress takes more than just good looks and personality. You need to learn how to emote, and for Bollywood movies, how to dance and stay fit as well.

But, how to learn Bollywood acting, you ask? The fastest route to an acting career in Bollywood is to join an acting school to hone your talents and turn your hobby of acting into your profession.

A number of successful film actors and actresses have made it big in the industry after they were trained in professional acting schools and colleges.

If you seek a career in the film industry after the 12th, enrol in a renowned acting school to enhance your existing skills and develop new ones. You’ll get acting tips here that you won’t get elsewhere.

Acting is a traditional art form and many famous actors learned their craft in established academic institutions like the London Academy of Film, Radio and TV and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Some actors train at a variety of different places, learning both classical acting techniques and modern acting techniques.

Method Acting is a modern acting technique in which the actor strives to be as realistic as possible, drawing on personal experience of emotional situations rather than dramatizing.

Actors today are also required to possess many skills such as physical strength and dexterity, vocal imitation and charisma. Bollywood actors may also be required to possess dancing skills..

A good acting course will give you a thorough appreciation of the filmmaking process and an understanding of how to create a character that is rounded and believable on-screen.

Understanding the technical process of filmmaking will develop your confidence in front of the camera, and if you know what a director wants, it should be easier to give it to them. Any knowledge you learn about the technical aspects of filmmaking will be to your advantage.

An acting school should be a positive learning environment and a forum for ideas and criticism, where no one is afraid to open up and enthusiasm is encouraged. Large class sizes are not always a bad thing as they give you the opportunity to network and make friends in the industry.

Look for acting courses that provide script analysis and understanding as part of the curriculum. The script is your starting point and being able to see which characters work better than others or are more believable and three-dimensional, will enable you to work more efficiently with the director or writer.

The course should also highlight the difference between stage and film scripts, as being good at understanding one doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be as competent with the other.

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A film acting course can offer information and techniques for stage acting, even though they’re quite different, and some aspects of stagecraft can prove quite useful in front of the camera.

All of this training and coaching in the film school will hopefully be provided by industry veterans or experienced professionals. If you don’t get any background information about your acting school instructors, you can always turn to the internet to research their filmography.

A good acting school should be able to supply you with plenty of testimonials from previous students to help you decide if it’s the right one for you. Don’t choose an acting school just because one famous movie star graduated from there. It’s better if a school produces a lot of good working actors than one superstar.

If you’re to get a thorough understanding of the life of an actor your course should give guidance on auditions, including such aspects as monologues, casting call requirements and even details on agents.

Your acting school instructor should give you a realistic insight into the ups and downs of an actor’s life and some advice on how to survive the arduous life of an actor.

By enrolling in an acting school, you’ll not only find the answer to the question, “Do I have what it takes to be an actress?” but you can learn Bollywood acting from veteran actors and actresses of the Indian film industry.

This is also one of the best ways to get auditions and casting calls for Bollywood movies and nab the best roles for new actors, as these veteran actors are well connected and will gladly put you in touch with their influential connections.

Here are some of the most renowned acting schools in India:

Get into one of these institutes and turn your dream of acting into a reality.


2. Take an Online MasterClass

A number of movie and television actors and professionals have started offering online classes through the MasterClass website. Here are some of the award-winning actresses, writers and directors you can learn from.

  • Helen Mirren

Academy Award-winning actress, Helen Mirren, whose powerful and versatile performances have earned her numerous awards, including the Academy Award in 2007 for her performance in The Queen, a Tony Award in 2015 for her performance in The Audience, and four Emmy Awards, teaches her process for acting on the stage and screen.

  • Natalie Portman

Oscar-winning actor, Natalie Portman, star of The Black Swan and Marvel’s Thor shares the techniques at the heart of her acting process — and teaches you how to tackle your next role.

  • Jodie Foster

Go behind the scenes with two-time Oscar-winner, Jodie Foster, star of Silence of the Lambs and director of Little Man Tate. Jodie discusses her experience on both sides of the camera to guide you through every step of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding to casting and camera coverage.

  • Mira Nair

Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Mira Nair, approaches directing with the “heart of a poet and the skin of an elephant,” spurred by rejection and fighting to bring uncompromising stories to film.

In the Golden Lion-winning director’s MasterClass, learn to make a big impact on a small budget in film production, evoke the best from actors and nonactors, and protect your creative vision so you tell the story that can only come from you.

  • Shonda Rhimes

When Shonda Rhimes pitched Grey’s Anatomy she got so nervous she had to start over. Twice. Since then, she has created and produced TV’s biggest hits.

In her screenwriting class, Shonda teaches you how to create compelling characters, write a pilot, pitch your idea, and stand out in the writers’ room. You’ll also get original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from her shows.

  • Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin wrote his first movie on cocktail napkins. Those napkins turned into A Few Good Men, starring Jack Nicholson. Now, the Academy Award-winning writer of The West Wing and The Social Network is teaching screenwriting.

In this class, Aaron Sorkin teaches you the craft of film and television screenwriting in 35 exclusive video lessons. You’ll learn his rules of storytelling, dialogue, character development, and what makes a script actually sell. By the end, you’ll write screenplays that capture your audience’s attention.

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3. Create a Portfolio, Website and Social Media Presence

If you’re already a model, you should have a portfolio that you created for your modelling career. However, an acting portfolio is a bit different.

  • Get your actor portfolio made

Unlike a modelling portfolio where all you have to do is look good, your acting portfolio needs to showcase different expressions and roles that you’re capable of.

You can hire a professional photographer to create an impressive portfolio with headshots for every kind of role that you think is suitable for your talent.

For example, if you wish to apply for a comic role, make sure your facial expressions in the headshots match the casting directors’ expectations. If you want to apply for action movies, your headshots, moods and expressions should match the look you’re going for.

You may also be asked to make Bollywood actor’s auditions tapes and send them in for a role, especially if you’re an NRI or foreign actor who wants to apply for a Bollywood movie job from abroad.

Mail your portfolio to a Bollywood acting agency or casting agencies and if possible, to big production houses in the movie or television industry.

  • Build a website on your own domain name

You should also buy your own domain name and create your own actor website so that you can easily send the link to anyone on Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. This website is one way of creating a powerful personal brand.

  • Grow a large social media presence

All big actors and celebrities have a large social media following. If you want to become a famous Bollywood actress, you need to be present on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter.

Create an account for your name on all these websites. If you plan to use a stage name, create your account under that stage name. If your name is taken, you can add the prefix or suffix “Actor” or “Actress” or use a more creative profile name.

Try to keep the same name across all social media profiles to avoid confusion and establish your brand. Start sharing your portfolio images, selfies with famous personalities, and photos that you are allowed to share from shoots on your social profiles.

If you can afford it, hire an online branding consultant. Once you have a large number of followers, you can even tie-up with brands as an influencer and charge money for a shoutout or promotional post.

As Instagram is one of the most important social channels for actors, you should spend some time learning how to grow your Instagram account.


4. Learn Hindi or Try Regional Films

The first step to becoming a Bollywood actress is to master the Hindi language and improve your diction with the help of a professional coach. In an audition, the first thing you will be criticised for is your appearance as well as your diction.

If you’re not from a Hindi-speaking background, it becomes all the more important for you to master speaking Hindi with a good accent. It is advisable to hire a language and voice coach before you appear for your audition.

Another option is to take a role in a regional film whose language is your native tongue. You’ll be in good company as Bollywood actresses like Priyanka Chopra, Rani Mukerji, Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone and Sharmila Tagore, all made their debut in regional films.

5. Network with Influential Bollywood Insiders

Do your research and find contacts in the industry to get insider information on Bollywood movie auditions and vacancies in the Bollywood industry.

Another must-have in Bollywood is a good agent, someone with the connections to provide you with the latest news and to connect you with influential Bollywood insiders. Having someone do the marketing for you helps a lot in opening up opportunities.

Your agent is also the person who will help you gain entry to the hottest parties so that you can get noticed or maybe secure a slot for you in an audition. This will also give you the opportunity to meet directors, producers and even the actors themselves.

Another must-have is a stylist who will help you look presentable at every function. Remember that getting a break in Bollywood is all about how you present yourself, and you need to be well-dressed in order to get noticed.

One thing you should be cautious about is scam artists that will tell you they can make you famous when all they will really do is steal your money or exploit you.

Don’t let your guard down at any cost, be observant of people, and trust your instincts without letting on that you know what they’re thinking or revealing your true feelings to them.

Network and make new friends. But don’t make the mistake of trusting every person you meet. This industry has more than its fair share of sexual predators.

Creating a personal brand in Bollywood is the toughest job there is. But, if you’re ambitious and clever enough to make your way, you’re very likely to succeed..

6. Approach a Casting Agency

There are a number of struggling actors in Mumbai, who never miss a single audition to try and prove their worth. If you don’t want to join their ranks, you need to give yourself an edge by applying to a Bollywood casting agency.

Here are some Bollywood casting agencies that can help you get your foot in the door.

Contact these casting agencies online on Facebook or email your portfolio to them and follow up with them. Also, get your manager to help you apply for such roles.

Beware of individuals who pretend to be talent agents and ask you to pay a certain amount upfront. Run from them because the authentic agents only get paid when they land you a job and not before.

Look for Bollywood auditions and vacancies in TV serials online. If required, move to a big city and make temporary living arrangements there so you can attend more auditions in less time.

7. Use Social Media to Find Acting Auditions in Mumbai

The advent of social media has created an easy way to build a network online. So don’t hesitate to use social media in your search for Bollywood casting auditions.

You can join acting groups and online forums like Indiwood.com to get news and updates on acting auditions in Mumbai for serials.

You can also join Facebook groups, like the ones below, that advertise Bollywood auditions, casting calls, and actress jobs in Mumbai.

Disclaimer: We have no connection with any of these Facebook groups or the people who run them. Please use caution and always be careful when connecting to anyone on social media who posts about an audition for acting in India.

Create a Facebook Business Page as a “Public Figure” and brand yourself on social media. Upload videos and photos from jobs you’ve done. Grab every opportunity that you get to showcase your talent online.

Engage with your followers and keep them updated on new roles you’ve done. Follow the handles of big stars’ on Twitter and Instagram and engage with them too.

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8. Attend every Hindi Movie Audition you get called to

In the early days of your career, you need to attend every Hindi movie audition that your manager or agent lines up for you. You can liken it to attending numerous job interviews when you’re looking for that dream job.

You may attend a number of auditions but can choose your roles only when you’re selected in most of them. So, make it a point to be a well-known face in every audition, whether it’s for a minor role or a major one.

As Woody Allen so famously said, “80 per cent of success is just showing up.”

If you’re wondering how to apply for auditions in Bollywood, consult your acting school or your manager. They are usually informed about upcoming auditions and will recommend the best Bollywood job vacancy for you.

9. Join CINTAA

Once you have been hired for or done any roles or advertisements, you should also apply for membership of CINTAA (Cine & TV Artistes’ Association), if you’re serious about becoming a Bollywood actress.

Indian nationals who “play a significant role in a feature film, TV serials, Telefilms, live performances, advertisement films shown on screen, digital or any new media” are eligible to join. NRIs and foreign nationals can obtain a work permit for a limited time.

10. Set Goals and Constantly Improve Yourself

When you’re ready to start your career in the Bollywood film industry, create a goal for every step on your journey to success. There’s no point waiting for an eternity for something to show up.

Decide where you want to be in a year, 2 years, 5 years and 10 years, and work towards it. If you’re always on the go and ambitious to boot, you will push yourself more, and your momentum will pave a path to success for you.

  • Take care of your appearance

Many wannabe actresses use their beauty as a stepping stone to a career in Bollywood. It’s no coincidence that so many beauty queens and Miss India contestants, like Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta, also go on to act in Bollywood.

Learn basic makeup steps and the art of applying makeup with this makeup brands list of step-by-step basic makeup products for beginners.

Your looks are very important to have a long and successful acting career, so you’ll need to master your skincare routine to a professional standard. Learn how to make life-altering changes so you can reverse ageing and look 10 years younger naturally.

Source: www.bfi.org.uk
  • Make health and fitness a priority

You should also learn how to stay fit and healthy, as fitness is very much required in an acting career, not only on screen but also to be able to undertake strenuous acting schedules. Your health will affect your looks, body, and also your energy levels.

You can work towards becoming healthier and fitter with a personal trainer. However, you’re more likely to stick to a workout routine that doesn’t need any workout equipment, can be done in the comfort and privacy of your home, and on your own schedule.

  • Cultivate a sense of style

Most great actresses are expected to have an impeccable sense of style and those who don’t are roundly criticised for it. What you wear and how you present yourself matters, especially when you’re famous and live your life in the public eye.

Learn about different necklines and jewellery that will complement your fashion, what is your fashion personality, how to undergo an entire closet makeover and get tips for shopping your style while saving money.

  • Learn how to speak English

All actresses need to be able to speak fluent English, preferably with a native accent. If your English is not very good, take steps to improve it as it’s the language which dominates the entertainment and online worlds. These easy hacks will help you learn spoken English (इंग्लिश बोलना कैसे सीखे?) so you can communicate fluently.

You can also choose from a wide variety of free online English courses on Glow & Lovely Careers, where you can learn English for interviews and for various industries so you can communicate effectively. No previous English knowledge is required.

You’ll learn the English language so you can start speaking real, grammatically correct English fluently, effortlessly and confidently and build and develop your practical communication skills in English speaking, writing, reading, fluency, and grammatical accuracy..

  • Learn how to communicate with confidence

Communication is not just about how well you speak. It’s also about the words you say, the ideas you communicate and your body language.

Learn how to calm your public speaking nerves and start speaking with confidence with these tips to overcome your public speaking anxiety and fears.

In the Glow & Lovely Career Community, you can also do free online courses that will help you learn perfectly spoken English and important communication skills on the best online learning platform.

These free online courses with certificates will also help you improve your personality, communication skills and social etiquette. These are some of the essential skills you will need at every step of your acting career.

Free Social Etiquette Course

Get a communication coach to teach you how to talk to the media, do interviews on television and become a confident public speaker.

Work on your flaws and constantly improve yourself. Who knows, you may one day be called to do an acting role in Hollywood, where English is an absolute must.

11. Have Faith and Patience

Although you should never expect to become a star in your first movie, you should opt for bigger and more challenging roles once you’ve established a presence in the industry.

The life of junior actors in Bollywood is not one that most people wish for. So, start small, but make sure you move forward and don’t stay in the same position for long.

Have faith and patience if you don’t get good roles at the beginning of your career. Prove your worth in the roles you do get, and you’ll soon get noticed by your audience as well as by casting agencies in Bollywood.

These requirements to become an actor in Bollywood may seem quite burdensome. But if you can sail through them successfully, you’ll increase your chances of reaching the top of the acting profession in India.

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Bollywood Acting Career Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few frequently asked questions that wannabe actors ask when they start thinking of an acting career in Bollywood.

1. Can you be an actor with no experience?

Are you thinking “I want to be an actress but have no experience”? If you’re wondering how to join Bollywood without any prior experience, then yes, it is definitely possible to do that.

Follow the steps above and join one of the acting schools listed above for Bollywood acting tips, and to learn the professional skill of acting in movies.

You can also read and research the qualifications needed to be an actress in Bollywood and work on yourself to tick all the boxes.

Some of these skills include being a good dancer, having a pleasant voice, being able to express your emotions and create the facial expressions necessary to emote on the big screen. And, of course, it never hurts to have good looks and charisma.

Getting into acting with no experience is not a cakewalk, but it is always possible if you have the talent and the determination to prove yourself, learn new skills and grow along the way.

2. How to audition for upcoming Bollywood movies?

The fastest way to get a Bollywood film audition is to hire a manager or agent. These people are very well-networked and have influential connections and an ear to the grapevine of the industry.

All Bollywood actresses have a manager who represents them for a percentage of their earnings. That means they are invested in getting you good roles for a good salary as their earnings depend on how much you are paid.

You can also use social media to find information about Bollywood auditions online. We have listed several Facebook groups above that circulate information on auditions for acting in Bollywood movies.

Keep track of these forums to get the latest updates about acting jobs in Mumbai. You can also find out if there are Whatsapp groups that announce auditions for upcoming Bollywood movies and join these groups for regular updates on auditions in Mumbai.

The internet has made it really easy for us to connect to people online and there’s nothing stopping you from connecting to production houses directly in your quest to become a Bollywood actress.


3. How to become a TV serial actress in India?

One alternative to an acting career in Bollywood is to find a TV serial job. The television industry has created a large number of Hindi serial jobs.

This has provided immense opportunities for fresh talent across the country, and you could even land a lead actress’ role if you can learn how to become a TV actress in India.

The issue of nepotism is not as widespread in the television industry, as it is a relatively new industry. Many famous TV actors and actresses have moved on to Bollywood after starting out on the small screen.

If you’re wondering how to become a TV actress, it’s very similar to the steps above for applying for any film industry job in Mumbai. You can even do a TV serial acting course with a local theatre group or with one of the acting schools listed above.

To get a Hindi serial job, you need to learn who is looking for an actress required for serials and how to get called for Hindi serial auditions, such as Disney channel auditions. From there, your acting skills and talent will pave the way to getting work in TV serials.

4. How to find Bollywood jobs for freshers in the Mumbai film industry?

Finding acting jobs in the Bollywood film industry in Mumbai is not easy, and it has never been. Acting is like any other job, where you need a professional resume with a cover letter and a portfolio.

Being cast as part of a show is like applying for a job. Sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t. If someone else is chosen, don’t feel bad because there will be other opportunities in the future.

  • Try a non-acting job in Bollywood

You can seek out acting opportunities online on job search portals and LinkedIn – the biggest social media channel for professionals. But it might also be a good idea to try out other film industry jobs in India that don’t involve acting.

Actors like Parineeti Chopra and Bhumi Pednekar started their careers from behind the screen. Freshers can take on Bollywood jobs as assistant directors or casting agents before they finally step into their acting shoes and get acting jobs in India.

Read our interview with Bollywood actress and director, Nandita Das, for some inspiration in looking beyond acting roles.

  • Get voice over jobs

If you have a sonorous voice that sounds good on audio, you can also become a voice actor for advertising, presentations, movie trailers, product videos, video games and get voice-over jobs. Many Hollywood and Bollywood actors earn very good money as voice actors.

You can find voice-over jobs on gig websites where people from all over the world offer a variety of different tasks аnd ѕеrvісеѕ to customers. The best thing about providing voice-over jobs on gig websites is that you can earn a lot of money from gig extras..

  • Work as an air hostess

An air hostess job can help you learn a lot of the skills, such as proper grooming, good communication and social etiquette that will serve you well should you decide to become an actress.

Many current Bollywood actresses used to work as air hostesses or flight attendants. Learn all about cabin crew jobs for freshers and how to get an air hostess job in India.

  • Make money without a day job

The acting business is tough and your chances of making a full-time income are slim because, in real life, you need to be able to make money while you build your dream career. It’s one of the reasons why so many wannabe actors take up part-time or freelance jobs from home.

You can find legitimate remote work in various roles – including customer service, sales and lead generation, content creation, travel, remote sales jobs in the insurance industry when you become a Certified MARS Partner with the SHEROES platform, which helps women get certified as remote professionals..

If you have a part-time work-from-home online job that helps you earn some money to support yourself financially, you’ll have different avenues to experiment with while you build your network inside the industry and learn how to become a heroine in Bollywood.

Want more career advice and money-earning avenues for women in India? Download the SHEROES app for women and get free online counselling on careers, relationships, emotional health and more.

If you found this article on Bollywood actress jobs useful, do let us know in the comments below and share your own struggles of starting a film career in Mumbai.

Author bio:

Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.

Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links. For more information, read our disclosure.

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Acting Jobs - How To Become An Actress In Bollywood

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  • Hi.. thanks for the useful stuff, it’s really good. I want to be an actress but at present i didn’t face any audition. I’m New in Mumbai and I have no connection with anyone who belongs to industry … so how can i start to get update for audition? What should I do ?

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