A wide variety of skills can support a career as an entertainer. If one sings, one could be called to display one’s talent at parties, marriages and corporate events. As an actor, one could channelise one’s skills into doing impressions of famous personalities (film star impressions have always been in demand in India). Stand-up comedians are also seeing renewed interest thanks to television programmes that profile such talent. Dancers are also in huge demand for entertainment events. Singers and actors can also do voice work for dubs and advertising jingles.
What do they do?
Be it the serious-minded music aficionado or the casual reveller, live entertainment holds a similar draw for both. The entertainers who provide this special ingredient are both revered and reviled — depending on subjective tastes — thus have to be ready for both. But central to their sense of fulfilment are opportunities to display their talent, a sense of recognition and developing their skills. And, it takes a special person to make it… as well as to last in this profession. “The traits one should have (to be a successful entertainer) are confidence, determination, dedication and focus and more than anything, a person should know what s/he is doing,” says Kailash Kher, renowned playback singer who can attest to the struggle that is part and parcel to success in this industry. Before making it to Mumbai, Kher had succumbed to his parents’ wishes and started an export-import business, which was a failure. The passion for music was, however, lasting and the dedication thereof is what has helped him attain his present position of fame and respect. Industry veteran Sikandar Khan concurs: “One should have vision, imagination, determination, work ethics, adaptability, an understanding of one’s audience, a passion to entertain, a positive attitude, innovativeness, self-confidence, discipline, and an ability to create a friendly atmosphere” to make it as an entertainer. Khan, popularly known as the ‘voice of Amitabh Bachchan’ due to his fantastic impressions of Big B’s voice, is currently director-events of Star Beats Entertainment, a Mumbai-based entertainment company that specialises in events that feature Bollywood stars. Khan also suggests people should get to know the industry well, and work out how they intend to entertain that is, get their act together. Being a very competitive place, opportunities are scarce and rarely present themselves. So, don’t keep industry people guessing about your potential — give them a good presentation of your talent the first chance you get. The entertainment industry reacts to and acts like a mirror to society, so it’s important to be aware of current events and topics, Khan adds. Given that judgment of one’s talent is dependent on the subjectivity of people who are established in the industry, one must learn to accept a level of cynicism and deal with disappointment. “In every career, there are hurdles and there are lows and highs. A beginner has to be ready for both failure and success, especially in the creative field. According to me, what we call failure is also the gateway to success,” encourages Kher, who was ‘discovered’ while doing advertising jingles before he became the new voice of Sufi music. Say you have the talent and resilience to make it as an entertainer. Apart from fame, what kind of money can one expect in the profession? “My belief is that there is no set formula for earning more or less money. Only your hard work, sincerity, honesty, dedication, devotion and, on top of that, destiny can decide how, why, how much and when one can earn,” says Kher. Khan says, “Earning money has no limit in the field of entertainment. It depends on how popular and entertaining the entertainer is and the number of assignments one has in hand. To maximise one’s earning one should be unique, talented and a popular entertainer. Build a big network of clients by giving one’s best performances so that one remains visible in the entertainment market,” says Khan. Kher has a unique take on people looking for advice. He cautions people to listen to their heart alone and not to look for advice from here and there in the hope of fast-tracking one’s journey to success. “My advice is there shouldn’t be any advice because most confusion arises because of imperfect advice. If you want to really grow in any career, please experience it on your own. Be your own guide and be your own guru,” he says.
. High standards of fitness . Acting/ singing/ comic skills . Discipline . High sense of professionalism . Networking skills . Mental strength . Self-confidence . Gel with the audience . Showmanship
How do I get there?
Evaluate your talent and hone it with the help of professionals or through assignments. Actors should build an acting resume, if necessary starting with student productions and then, along with a good covering letter, circulate the portfolio to directors, producers etc. Singers should take on voice work and jingles to build their resume. Getting an agent does help to find regular work.