Popular actress Juhi Parmar has tasted success as an actor with her talent shining through every time she stood before the camera. Here she writes about the pros and cons of being an actor exclusively for Indianwikimedia

An actor lives a very exciting life no doubt, predominantly because he/she gets to play different kinds of characters in one life. This is possible only and only if you are an actor. Otherwise if you are a doctor, you are only a doctor all your life. The same applies to all other professions. We, as actors, get to experience emotions and actually get to be into the skin of so many different kinds of characters and that is the most exciting part of it.

An actor’s life is quite exciting if you ask. And they tend to live the life they want to. But at the same time, there are too much of pressures involved in the profession. The line of acting is very unpredictable and has an up & down graph. So at times, one is able to live the life an actor wants to. But at times, one is forced to curb movements and not live the life that’s expected. This unpredictable scenario keeps the actors on tenterhooks; it keeps changing usually and only few are lucky to have that kind of stability in life.

Opting for something which involves compromising on self respect, is not going to take you a long way

As an actor, it is important to be dignified, and that is connected to self-respect. Of course, you can live life the way you want and make friends with whosoever you like. But there is a thin line that one cannot cross, you should take a call if you ever feel that the work you are doing is not giving you respect. Opting for something which involves compromising on self respect, is not going to take you a long way. Before you do a deed that is questionable, you need to ask yourself whether you will feel respectful towards yourself after taking up this line…

In the same way, I don’t approve of beating one’s conscience and this is not only for work, but for all the things you do in life. If after doing a certain thing you get on a guilt trip, it will only affect your state of mind and pull you down further. So it is important to do what is right. Of course, the parameters of right differs for everyone. So I am not here to set any benchmarks for rights and wrongs. Everyone needs to be aware of it and it is a very subjective thing. However, even if you are part of a little wrongdoing, it harms your karma.  Don’t compromise for work. Work will surely come your way if you deserve it and you are destined to get it. If that is not meant for you and you end up beating your conscience, and it does not even stay with you, you will be in a totally bad shape.

In my life too, I have been through situations where I have chosen to be unhappy. But I overcame it and got back to being happy

Talking about encountering tricky situations myself, I will like to say that I have faced a few of them in the beginning of my career. But I never gave in to it, as I was confident about myself. I gave myself a time frame of 2 to 5 years to do what I wanted to with all the respect. If not successful, I was ready to go back. I had promised myself that I will not stoop low in order to achieve something in life. Today, I am proud of the fact and thankful to God for giving me a good body of work without resorting to any ill.  To tell you more, I have always auditioned for the roles that I have done in my career. Never have I taken the shorter route of getting in through recommendations or through a friend’s support. I have always deserved what I got. As an actor, it is very important to feel good about what you are doing when you are working. So when I faced such situations, I have asked myself about my priorities in life and have never given in. I also hope that lot of actors choose this path for success.

The learning curve for an actor comes when he or she gets to remember that fame does not last forever. The earlier we understand this it is better. The best of actors have made it in this field, and have gone on to lose it. Some of them have made it again but few have not been able to make it back. So it is important to never take it to heart. I have realized that it is very difficult for an actor to do anything else after being an actor. Somewhere in some corner of your heart you should be prepared for the possibility of losing all fame. In such cases one should not shy away from doing something different. One should feel lucky and fortunate to have tasted success in this line till it lasted. We can always pray that it lasts forever, but if it does not, it is important to take it in the stride.

The art of acting can be learned too. There have been so many actors who started off being non-actors and have gone on to polish their skills

As for actors, many of them don’t know how to handle success and money. I have seen a lot of this myself. The newcomers who come from small towns tend to lose the path without knowing how long the success will continue. I am also from a small town and many from small towns have made it big in the industry. But I have always wondered on seeing a few who lose it in the bargain. Actors do not realize that theirs is a very unstable income and bask in the glory of one show and as a result, add more pressure on themselves by buying an expensive car, house, getting into the show-sha of having the best phone and lifestyle that cannot be continued if they do not have the show in hand. This happens when you stretch even before you have gained enough. My advice to such actors is to not get carried away by the new-found success. Secure yourself first and if your income allows you to get into all the splurge and enjoy life, so be it. But securing your life is very important. For example, I bought my house at the age of 25. At that time, if I had spent all the money on a lot of things it would not have been great.

Professionalism is a virtue that will take you far!! I feel that in today’s times, lot of people become actors not because of their passion for performing arts, but in order to gain overnight name, fame and money. So it is very important to be sincere and professional towards your work. This pays you in the long run. The shelf life of a show on TV is very unpredictable; sometimes a show can go on for many years, and in some unfortunate cases, it can end within six months. So one needs to take work seriously. If an actor has been sincere and professional during the show’s run, he /she will be in demand and will get called back for a new show. So it’s not good to take success for granted. It will not be sunny days always. There will be rainy days, and sun might or might not shine all over again. If an actor’s show ends, he is practically out of work and it is not by choice. So be true to your work, and when you are on a break and want to get back, people will welcome you with open arms. One should never forget this while climbing the ladder of success.

In today’s times, lot of people become actors not because of their passion for performing arts, but in order to gain overnight name, fame and money

Working hard to achieve success is one thing and looking good is another!! I will not say that it is a must for actors to look good. There are brilliant actors who have made it big even though they do not look good. Yes, being good-looking is an added advantage as you are offered much more roles and you have much more options to choose from. However, it is not a must for sure!!

Above all, there is no mantra for happiness. And this applies to actors as well as people in other professions. If you choose unhappiness over happiness, no mantra can work for you. It is a choice to be taken to be happy. In my life too, I have been through situations where I have chosen to be unhappy. But I overcame it and got back to being happy.

Also, the art of acting can be learned too. There have been so many actors who started off being non-actors and have gone on to polish their skills so well to become brilliant actors. At the same time, we have non-actors who have always stayed to be non-actors. So all is about the grasping power, the talent and creativity that an actor has inside him and the extent to which he can bring it out.

The learning curve for an actor comes when he or she gets to remember that fame does not last forever

Women, who are actors, also need to balance family and work, especially after having a child. When I did not have my kid, I used to not worry about my shooting hours. But when you become a mother, it is important to give time to your child too. So one needs to identify the support system he / she has. In my case, my support system has been my parents who offered to be with my daughter 24/7 when I was away. As a mother, I never believe in leaving my kid at the hands of maids. That is not the way I want it. I just feel that everyone has to discover that support system and that can be anyone.

I have to say that God has been very kind to me for having given me the kind of work that I have done so far in the TV industry. The only thing I will want to do now and have not done till date is to do something interesting in films. The difference between TV and films is that in TV you get to play a character for a long period. Kumkum went on for seven years. In the case of films, an actor tends to shoot for it, move on and get into another role. So the versatility and hunger of an actor are taken care of in movies more than TV in terms of the time frame. I look forward to and hope that will happen someday.

(As told to Srividya Rajesh)

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