10 offbeat career choices according to Bollywood 2020
With COVID-19 upending millions of jobs, here are 10 movie-inspired professions you can explore in the future.
There’s no sphere of life that Covid-19 didn’t disrupt. Economically, the world is still in a slump. Hundreds of millions of jobs have been lost. In India alone, the number goes into the crores. Work conditions have worsened or become risk-prone, and the mental health of employees severely compromised.
Amid all this, it only makes sense that you are looking to make a shift or try something new and refreshing. With that in mind, we drew up a list of cool/offbeat/alternative career choices that might float your boat. And where better to look for inspiration than the movies? Bollywood 2020 offered a range of underexplored professions — from the lucrative to the outright crazy. (Bear in mind this is just a fun, speculative list — we take no responsibility for how a potential career might turn out for you.)
With that said, here are 10 unique career choices according to Bollywood 2020:
In Comedy Couple, IT-professional Deep (Saqib Saleem) quits his job to form a standup duo with his girlfriend Zoya (Shweta Basu Prasad). Comedy also comes to the rescue of Sidhi (Maanvi Gagroo) in Four More Shots Please Season 2. And in Bhaag Beanie Bhaag, hobbyist Swara Bhasker fulfills her dream once she plunges full-time into the scene. “The Indian comedy scene is booming…,” says her friend Ravi, who himself has moved from LA to Mumbai to make it big.
Hindi cinema has been gradually venturing into space. After 2018’s Zero and 2019’s Mission Mangal, we had two films this year that marveled longingly at the cosmos. First, Arati Kadav’s Cargo sent Vikrant Massey and Swetha Tripathi on a meta-physical journey through space. Then, in Serious Men, M Nasser played a haughty scientist obsessed with “space microbes.”
Maybe someone will suit up for the Rakesh Sharma biopic next year — while Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra appears to include some cosmic skullduggery.
Kabaddi, despite originating in the subcontinent, is hardly a sport most Indians favour. In Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s brilliantly observed Panga, a mother (Kangana Ranaut) makes a comeback several years after withdrawing from court. The film depicts how women sportspersons are quickly forgotten — and how there’s no real age to return to what you love.
This might be a tough sell, but let us try.
In a year full of striking female roles, it’s no surprise that two of the best ‘politician’ parts were played by women. There was Shweta Basu Prasad in Serious Men, a sharp ‘third generation’ Dalit leader who knows how to get her way. We also had Isha Talwar in Mirzapur 2, the would-be CM of Uttar Pradesh. It’s interesting how both characters leverage their dynastic backgrounds to shape their political personas. Young, dynamic women leaders might just be what we need.
In Sanjeev Vig’s short film Call Him Eddy, Sanjay Suri plays a ‘professional cuddler’, a friendly but reclusive man who cozies up to strangers for cash. The legalities of affection therapy are a bit hazy in India, though it’s widely accepted worldwide. It’s also telling that in Sanjeev’s film, the catharsis does not escape Eddy himself. A hug, after all, works both ways.
Girls can fly? In Sharan Sharma’s Gunjan Saxena, Jaanvi Kapoor soared over patriarchy and workplace sexism as one of India’s first female combat pilots. The presence of Pankaj Tripathi, as Gunjan’s supportive father, is heart-warming, but let it not distract you from the many hurdles aspiring officers like Gunjan face. With Kangana Ranaut stepping into the cockpit in Tejas, the skies look clear for India’s women pilots.
Sooni Taraporevala’s Yeh Ballet followed two male ballet dancers rising out of Mumbai’s slums. This is Gully Boy for Fouetté turners, and is inspired by the real-life experiences of Amiruddin Shah and Manish Chauhan (who plays a fictional version of himself in the film). To wit, India’s ballet scene is exploding, with more and more male dancers joining the form.
The ventriloquist has a sad history in Hindi film. In the impossibly sappy family drama Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002), Jimmy Shergill and his hand-operated puppet spent the entire film in doleful friendzone. Some redemption, thus, comes in the form of Aditya Roy Kapur in Ludo (2020). “How much do you earn?” Shruti (Sanya Malhotra) asks him in one scene. “Not enough to have savings,” he responds coolly, “but enough to not take a loan.”
The butt of all staff rooms, Rajkummar Rao restores much dignity to the conventional 'PT sir' in Chhalaang. Hansal Mehta’s film cast a funny but revealing look at the state of physical education in Indian schools. “Those who can’t teach anything, teach PT” — Saurabh Shukla’s character says at one point. Not the message the film leaves you with.
The need of the hour, really. The first segment of Unpaushed — Raj & DK’s Glitch — begins in the future, in the era of ‘COVID 30’. Ayesha (Saiyami Kher) is a ‘warrior’, a scientist engaged in the tireless battle for a COVID vaccine. Ayesha’s life is hard: her neighbours want her evicted, and she loses her own brother in the frontlines. “You need us, but you don’t like us,” she says in voiceover.
The thought is echoed in Mask Kho Gaya, a poignant music video by Vishal Bhardwaj that is voiced by Vishal Dadlani, where a vaccine scientist is hounded by politicians and newspapers alike. That they still persevere in their search — regardless of credit or praise — is a message we could all take into the New Year.