The Road to Stardom

A Novel in Two Books
by N. K. Johel

The intrigue!

The drama!

The Dhoom-Dham!

The mirrachMasala and Mazza of it all!

What could be juicier than gossip, gup-shup, nava samachar around what is happening with your favorite - and not so favorite - stars? The good girls, the handsome leading men and the overtly sexy bad girls who heat up the big screen.

Yeah - all that money, fame and fortune beyond your wildest dreams. The kind of power that makes the whole world fall at your feet.

Who wouldn't want to BE like them?

Okay, not everyone dreams of fame and fortune, but for those who do, the fever and need to get there is intoxicating.

"But how do you get there?"

The first thing is talent, obviously. However, there are many talented people in the world who may have what it takes, but still haven't been able to find that role or opportunity to strike it big.The next thing is Luck. Being at the right place at the right time. The most famous story in Hollywood is how Lana Turner was 'discovered' sitting at

Currie's Ice Cream Parlor

sipping a soda by Billy Wilkerson a Hollywood reporter

. So, girls began dressing up and hanging out at soda shoppes sipping sodas waiting to be discovered by a Hollywood agent.

Lightening hardly strikes twice in the same place...The grim reality is that for every star that is born, there are many more whose light burns out. It's a lot of work getting yourself up to go to yet another audition after being rejected over and over. If you are an actor of any worth, you must spend hours and hours of honing your acting, singing, dancing skills and abilities - without little or now pay or any guarantee thereof.

Poverty is a reality when you are an artist. Few people actually make a living at it. After a time, some people realize that acting will just be something they do in their spare times in community theater groups and are happy with that. Others, determined to get there no matter what the cost, fall into traps where they are used, abused and compromise themselves in many ways, hoping it will get them their gold ring.

casting couch is infamous in the entertainment business - Hollywood, Bollywood, Jollywood, Lollywood. No movie industry is immune. The cynical ones will say: "It's not who you know - it's who you blow." Yes, it's crude. People have reputably slept their way to the top, but - as the example of sitting and waiting to be discovered while sipping a soda in an ice cream shoppe - it doesn't always work.

You'll either end up fat, or pregnant.

Or worse...

"And if you want these kinds of dream it's Californication...."

There are the gutters along side the road to stardom and people fall into them. Sex, alcohol and drugs is almost synonymous with the entertainment industry. The yearning to be the best, to make it to the top at any cost draws people to try, despite the challenges. It's a strange kind of fever.

In my novel

Bollywood Storm - An Elanna Forsyth George Mystery

there are people who are doing what they can to get noticed. Minor actor Gary Dhami is good looking enough to be a leading man, but lacks charm, charisma and savvy -- or an uncle who has influence in the industry. He tries to use his looks to try to get close to big stars, but it's not working. He finds himself aligned himself with some very powerful and questionable people and becomes their

chamcha -

a stooge - hoping to ride someone's coat tails to the top.

The infamous Pinky and her girls; three aggressive and scantily dressed starlets who appear to be more trouble on set than they're worth. Despite their machinations, and rumored erotic flings with the director, they haven't managed to secure a single significant role among them - and their youth is fading quickly.

At a party we overhear actors complaining about the compromises they have had made to get a role - including a cut in pay. A washed up actor sits in the corner and drinks himself into oblivion. A starlet comes out of a private washroom wide-eyed and sniffling having imbibed some 'nose candy.'

The character of Rakhi in

Bollywood Storm

has it all - talent, passion, charisma - and luck. She's nobody's fool and has sense to not engage in the debauchery that surrounds her. Not because she is better than everyone else, morally, but because she is an innocent.

....all she wants to do is dance!

Rakhi simply knows what she wants and literally just goes and gets it. How? Well, I guess when you're a manifestation of the Goddess Kali Ma, obstacles are less of an issue.

Gotta love fiction!

N.K. Johel