There’s good, bad and ugly

Let’s talk attitude. Because showtown personalities can be exasperatingly bipolar — either arrogant or companionable. And I’m talking not from personal experience, but from stories gathered from the behind-the-scenes workforce, without whom filmmaking would be impossible.

Underpaid and overworked, technicians, assistant directors, the lighting crew, spotboys and the catering team, soldier on — grateful for the silver linings in their everyday grind at the studios.
From the data gathered, the Bollywoodwallas who get a thumbs-up for their attitudes are:

SANJAY DUTT: He’s already being missed and the echo goes, “Sanju baba apun log ko bahut madad karta tha.” When he cussed, using expletives galore, it was without malice. He would take time to show up in time for the morning shift but when he faced the camera, delivered the goods at Ferrari speed.

RANBIR KAPOOR: Interacts with all democratically, manners intact even as his popularity soars, in keeping with the tradition of the RK family.

SHAH RUKH KHAN: Effortlessly creates a buddy-buddy ambience. Memorises dialogue to the last comma, pacing up and down for five minutes in a secluded corner. Makes every visitor to the sets feel special. If a low-rung technician is in need of money, organises the cash discreetly.

SALMAN KHAN: Moody as hell but kindhearted, in keeping with his “Being Human” franchise. No discrimination in dealing with technicians, assistant directors and catering guys. If the director or co-actor rubs him up the wrong way, he either freezes or takes follow-up action — including bouts of rage. Mercifully picks on people of his size (Read as: Market value).

AMITABH BACHCHAN: He’s reserved and intimidating… mostly tweeting and blogging from the seclusion of his vanity van. Doesn’t accept chai or studio food, sticks to his home tiffin — but can suddenly call a light boy by his nickname, making him feel 10-feet-tall. Likes to pose for keepsake photographs, particularly on the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati.

SUSHMITA SEN: If she takes a shine to an assistant director or the guy who fetches the evening snacks — wow, his life is made. She calls him “babu”, “bacha”, “baby”, even “darling”. She cares for her staff. Problemo: she’s largely unemployed nowadays.

AAMIR KHAN: A stickler for order, excellent with his core team. If the Lagaan supporting cast acquired cosy homes, you know who the Good Samaritan was. And hey, he married his assistant director!

KARAN JOHAR: For any aspiring nirdeshak, he’s the dream director to work with. Has a fiercely loyal circle of assistants. And if he’s the best paymaster in the biz, that doesn’t hurt either.
And the ones who get the thumbs-down are:

BONEY KAPOOR: Excellent with A-listers, but indifferent with others. By contrast, bro Anil Kapoor is appropriately professional with the stars and chummy with the technicians, aware that the camera crew can make or break a shot.

GOVINDA: Said to be paranoid, believes that visitors to his sets are encroachers. And flares up when anyone makes the mistake of calling him by his nickname Chi Chi bhaiyaa.

MALLIKA SHERAWAT: She’s strictly avoided… since she’s constantly carping about Bollywood which isn’t good enough for her. Joke goes at the studios, “So why doesn’t she stay in Hollywood?”

EKTAA KAPOOR: Scream Queen No. 1 has mellowed a little with age and more success. Once upon a time, the story went, she slapped faces she didn’t like, of which there were many.
RANI MUKHERJEE: She can holler abuses of the most graphic kind, I’m told, at hairdressers, make-up persons and valets. Not so prominent on the scene today, the targets of her @#!**!! don’t have to wear earbuds anymore.

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