Behind every successful actor, there is someone who encouraged them to chase their dreams. No wonder then, even after tasting success, most actors go the extra mile to acknowledge the role their mentors played in their lives. Here are some of our favourite Bollywood stars who believe they wouldn’t have been where they are, if not for the guiding forces of their gurus.
Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar
Alia Bhatt has always been vocal about her love and admiration for the director who launched her in Student of the Year (2012). Not only does she consider Karan Johar to be her “eternal mentor,” the Raazi (2018) actor also shares a wonderful camaraderie with the filmmaker and believes that she owes a lot of her work ethic to him. She is also known to be very close to his twins—Yash and Roohi.
Sidharth Malhotra and Shah Rukh Khan
While Shah Rukh Khan and Sidharth Malhotra are yet to share screen space, the Shershaah (2021) actor claims to have been awestruck by the superstar when he was working as an assistant director on the sets of My Name is Khan (2010). Bhatt’s co-star in Student of the Year (2012), Malhotra believes that Khan’s valuable advice and guidance helped shape him into a better actor.
Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra
When filmmaker Yash Chopra’s son, Aditya Chopra, decided to don the director’s hat, he enlisted his friend and relative Karan Johar to be a part of his maiden outing. The latter was not only an assistant director on the sets of Chopra’s directorial debut Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), he also did a memorable cameo as the lead’s best friend in the iconic film. It is no secret that Johar learned the tricks of the trade from Adi—he even dedicated an entire chapter of his autobiography, An Unsuitable Boy, to his “mentor and best friend”.
Vicky Kaushal and Anurag Kashyap
Before Vicky Kaushal became the sensation he is today, he assisted Anurag Kashyap on Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), and one can only imagine what a masterclass in acting and filmmaking it must have been for the young fledgling. The Masaan (2015) actor has often acknowledged the maverick director’s influence in his life, revealing that Kashyap and he share a deep friendship now. So far, Kaushal has even acted in three of the director’s films—Bombay Velvet (2015), Raman Raghav 2.0 (216) and Manmarziyaan (2018).
Shah Rukh Khan and Divya Seth
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when Shah Rukh Khan wasn’t a superstar, but back when the aspiring actor was part of Barry John’s theatre group, he met Divya Seth, another Bollywood hopeful. The two hit it off and even worked together in Lekh Tandon’s 1988 television series, Dariya Dil. The bond of friendship endured over the years and even today, the superstar acknowledges her as his ‘first teacher’. In a tweet from a couple of years ago, he posted a selfie of the two of them with the caption: ‘My bestest friend Divya, who taught me acting. Don’t hold the bad ones I do, only the good inspired by her teachings.’
Manoj Bajpayee and Barry John
He is certainly one of the finest actors of this generation, but even Manoj Bajpayee had his share of struggles as a budding actor. Acting coach Barry John took him under his wing, training the National Award-winning for seven years. Bajpayee believes that his ‘mentor and guru’ is the reason where is he today. “He believed in me and understood the conflict within me,” he said in an interview with a leading daily about John’s influence on him. Even after all these years, Bajpayee makes it a point to wish his teacher on his birthday every year and also attends his workshops whenever he is in Delhi.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Pradeep Guha
Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s journey to showbiz began as a model when she won the Miss India pageant and then went on to be crowned Miss World in 2000. An ‘outsider’ in the industry, she soon found a mentor in film producer Pradeep Guha. When the media baron passed away two months ago, she posted an emotional note with their picture, calling him ‘my forever champion’. She has even acknowledged that, apart from her parents, he was her strongest supporter.
Kiara Advani and Salman Khan
Kiara Advani’s connection to Salman Khan dates back to the time when her mother, Genevieve Advani, grew up in Bandra with the actor as her neighbour. In fact, Advani has revealed in interviews that Khan even briefly dated her aunt, Shaheen. When the Lust Stories (2018) actor expressed a keen desire to join the film industry, it was Khan who encouraged her to go for it. Apparently, he is also the reason she changed her name from Alia to Kiara, stating that there shouldn’t be two actresses of the same name in the industry.
Original posted at www.vogue.in