Somy Ali: It’s important and mandatory for actors with clout to take a stand if they witness or find themselves encountering any injustice, bullying or cruelty

By Bollyy
New Update
Somy Ali

When artists of AR Rahman or Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ stature talk about politics, bullying and camps in Bollywood, it is reassuring for the newcomers that an open environment can be achieved to air one's feelings and frank opinions. Somy Ali feels that celebs speaking up gives hope to new and aspiring artists to speak up for themselves and try their attempt to bring forth a change.

“I deem it is not just important, but mandatory for actors with clout to take a stand if they witness or find themselves encountering any injustice whether it is bullying or any cruelty. Established actors have a responsibility given they are a part of the film fraternity to help aspiring actors and above all, listen to what they are going through and help them if they are being bullied or facing any sort of injustice. We are all meant to be in this together and stick up for one another, however, unfortunately, that is not the case due to many people walking around with gargantuan egos and refusing to care or help a new actor or someone who has not obtained their level of success and tends to be struggling. Words are simply words unless they are followed up with actual actions to help others in any industry, not just the Hindi film industry, but in any field,” says the Bollywood actor turned humanitarian, who now runs her Miami-based NGO, No More Tears.
Somy Ali (3)
What also is important in this whole situation is that if a star like Priyanka cannot get work, it is a scary proposition for newcomers. No doubt the situation only gets worse for them.

“Priyanka is larger-than-life when it comes to being an actor and so is Deepika . Both these women were able to cross over from Bollywood to Hollywood and show how immensely talented they are irrespective of the industry and performing with perfection in a different language,” she adds.

Somy explains that it is difficult in any field for someone who is a newcomer and unfortunately bullying and taking advantage of people is not just a new and recent phenomenon.

“It has been there for generations and cruel people are a harsh reality of every realm in life. We have to take a stand for ourselves and find solace or seek advice from someone who is genuinely good-hearted because not everyone is malicious or else our world would fall apart. Keep in mind that no matter how talented one is, fate and destiny play a pivotal role in one's success with the inclusion of pure luck. We have seen many superstars and how their children or siblings were unable to obtain the same kind of success. There has to be a point in life when that realization should hit an individual and they must move on to doing something else in the same field. They can become directors, scriptwriters, producers, and even assistant directors to hone brand-new craft. Again, we have examples of those who entered the Hindi film industry to pursue acting but ended up becoming big-shot directors or producers. There are and always will be other options if an individual is keen enough to stick in the field of movie making,” she says.

Somy shares that one has to be pragmatic enough to know when to stop and that's the most difficult choice for someone striving to be an actor. Their egos get the best of them and they are pushed from one corner to another for years without any positive outcomes.
Somy Ali (1)

“It's a very harsh and difficult profession and being a good actor is no joke. It takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice as Shah Rukh has always said that if you want to succeed forget about eating, sleeping, slacking, and spending time with your friends, and even your own family. There are many sacrifices to be made in order to succeed and if you have given 100 percent and you still have hurdles, it's more than a sign to choose another career. Fortunately, for me, I never really was interested in acting and the irony is that I ended up doing 10 feature films with the biggest stars in the Hindi film industry. For me, it was pure luck and nothing else, because I was not familiar with the craft at all and nor was I keen on learning it. My calling was social work and my NGO, which I have been successfully pursuing for the past 16 years now. Thus, my advice to the younger generation, who is simply not satisfied with the kind of acting gigs they are getting or lack thereof, is to find something that interests them and don't waste another single minute trying to pursue something that is simply not working out for them,” she says from personal experience.

A lot of modern actors turn to production, even while their acting careers are flourishing. It acts like a plan B for them to fall back on.

“We all must always have a plan B because we see people come and go in this field of acting and as harsh as it may sound every individual is dispersible. No one is exempt from that fact whether you have immense talent or come from a film background. All of us are easily dispersed and there is always someone else to take your place, therefore, yes, delving into production is an excellent way to safeguard your future financially,” she adds.

Once a star has moved on from Bollywood, it can be both easy and difficult for them to make a comeback in the future. And, Somy feels that it all depends on how that actor left the industry.

“Here I am speaking of whether or not they continued to maintain certain relationships with producers, directors, and even their co-stars. All of this comes into play if one wants to make a comeback to the Hindi film industry. It's not feasible or helpful to burn bridges if one wants to return, but not at the cost of one's self-respect and dignity, which is where someone as powerful and successful as Priyanka comes to mind because no one has been able to accomplish what she has attained. She is a strong role model for women universally and decided that she will not tolerate being mistreated or bullied, thus, made a choice of starting from scratch which in itself is beyond commendable. For an actor as successful as Priyanka, going for auditions in New York is a core example of her humility and also being a badass. I salute her for her courage for several reasons including for her work with Unicef. Above all, for not putting up with being bullied and harassed in Bollywood. Similarly, I have the same amount of respect for actors like Deepika who raised her voice on mental health and initiated her own foundation to help many suffering from what she herself endured. Then we have stars like Shah Rukh who even at this level of success and stardom do not depict an iota of ego. That too is a rarity and I have tremendous respect for anyone who leaves their egos out of the door when they enter any field of work. It is key to always remember that we are going to end up leaving all the materialism we are running after behind, thus humility is all that matters. Nothing lasts forever. Cherish the time we have on this planet and keep reminding yourself that there will always be someone better than you and more successful than you. This thought and understanding will always help bring stability in your life and keep you grounded,” she signs off.

Latest Stories