Acting is by no means an easy job. To get into the mold of the character that an actor is portraying, he has to do a lot of homework and footwork in order to get his teeth into the skin of the character. Quite often this obsession of actors to act is stretched to abysmal depths but like actors say it just cannot be helped. Each actor approaches his or her role with a different viewpoint. The Author, our Bollywood maven, writes on the idiosyncrasies of the personalities he has come to know well in Mumbai.
In recent times, John Abraham had decided to learn a special form of Martial Art for his role in Nishikant Kamat’s film ROCKY HANDSOME, in which the actor is seen as a lean-mean power machine, and is seen doing some hand-to-hand action sequences. Kecha Khamphakdee from Thailand was roped in to choreograph the action sequences for ROCKY HANDSOME. The Thai has worked for several films and HBO Series like STRIKE BACK, as also some Indian films. The action forms that have been used for ROCKY HANDSOME are Aikido and Hapkido.
Amitabh Bachchan had to play a child suffering from Progeria – a rare disease, in K. Balki’s PAA. For this the actor had to spend five hours daily to don the prosthetics designed by Hollywood artist Christien Tinsley and Dominie Till. R Balki explains: “First they created a mold of Amitji by pouring rubber solution on him, then made the skin with latex and painted veins on that. While making the mold was a one-time process, the skin had to be painted every day, and that took four-five hours. It sure was a nightmare but Amitabh did it without complaints.”
Akshay Kumar, who will be seen playing the role of a villain in Rajinikanth starrer ENTHIRAN 2.0 is almost unrecognizable in the crow-look pictures that have been doing the rounds on Twitter. He sports long eye bushes, gray hair and wears a feathered leather jacket. His character is that of Dr Richard – a scientist who turns into a crow. Makers are trying hard to keep Akshay’s crow-look under wraps for a while but in vain.
Rishi Kapoor’s new look in KAPOOR & SONS surprised his fans. Rishi’s make-up in the film was done by American Greg Cannom, who has worked on TITANIC (1997), and the man behind Brad Pitt’s flawless facial transformation in the 2008 film THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. The film’s director Shakun Batra went to meet Rishi to discuss the script and his look, and saw a picture of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON on his mobile phone. Co-incidentally, Shakun also found out that Cannom was in Mumbai for another film, so roped him in to do Rishi’s make up in KAPOOR & SONS, where the thespian has played a 90 year old.
For GHAJINI, Aamir didn’t hesitate to shave off his head, like Salman Khan did for TERE NAAM. Not only that, he had to undergo a rigorous physical training and develop six-pack abs for his role. For his next film DANGAL too Aamir decided to gain weight as he is essaying the role of a wrestler in it, like R. Madhavan did in SAALA KHADOOS and Salman Khan is doing now in SULTAN.
To prepare himself for the role of Chandu Nagre in Ramgopal Varma’s COMPANY, with which Vivek Oberoi had also made his debut, he went to the slums in Vikhroli and a basti in Ruia Park and watched how people there behave. Says Vivek, “I wore my chappals and dressed myself up in old pant and ganji and went alone with my hair messed up and made friends with people living there. I stayed there, lived there, slept there and even recorded their voices to study how they talked. I realized I looked too fair to be a slum boy and worked on my make up from head to toe with shades eight times darker for an hour and a half every day.”
In 2012 Vikram sported four significantly different looks in the film I: a body builder, a beast, a model and a hunchback. He put on weight to portray the bodybuilder, and subsequently lost weight to portray a model, before shaving his head and reducing his weight to 56 kilograms to portray the crippled hunchback. The cast and crew of the film reportedly struggled to recognize the actor at times, and he also stayed away from the media for close to a year when sporting the look. Taking almost three years for production, Vikram described the film ‘as the toughest he has ever done’ and regularly suffered heavily as a result of the prosthetic make-up he had to wear.
Actresses are no less when it comes to opting for authenticity. Kangana played two characters in the movie TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS, the sequel to TANU WEDS MANU – these being Tanu Sharma and Kusum Sangwan. For her Haryanvi character the actor actually went the no-makeup road and also put on a different set of teeth. A local Haryanvi accent and some bindass swag later, Kangana Ranaut did rock as fearless Kusum in the movie.
Ajay Devgan confesses that when Rajkumar Santoshi offered him the Bhagat Singh role, he took it up as a big challenge to the actor in him. “Though I knew who Bhagat Singh was, I learned little nuances about him only when I started laying my hands on a lot of books on him, provided by Rajji. I also read several history books to know more about Bhagat Singh’s relationships with other national leaders of his time to get an insight into his character. I had to work more mentally as an actor to be able to do justice to the role.”
Kamal Haasan never misses an opportunity to take up roles that need him to work for hours on his makeup and completely transform himself miraculously to win accolades as an actor. When doing HINDUSTANI, whenever he was required to face the camera as the old man, a foreign make up guy was at his disposal. Kamal used to get up at four in the morning and start applying make up till he give his first shot at 11 am. After packing up at around 10 pm, he used to wash off his makeup and sleep and get up the next day by 4 am again and go through the same rigmarole all over again.
Shah Rukh Khan is playing an obsessed fan named Gaurav in YRF’s FAN. YRF hired three-time Oscar-winning makeup artist Greg Cannom to transform SRK into Gaurav. The artist was responsible for Priyanka Chopra’s makeup in 2011 Bollywood film SAAT KHOON MAAF as well as Rishi Kapoor in KAPOOR & SONS.
Randeep Hooda is playing the titular role in the biopic SARBJIT, along with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Randeep had to lose 18 kgs in 28 days to fit into the character. The actor was kept on a near-starvation diet to look like the real-life Sarbjit who was kept in a 4 x 4 rat-infested room. Director Omung Kumar says that nobody could recognize Randeep when he entered the sets and it was only when he called out his name that he was aware of his presence.
Like they say, no pain no gain. All these actors have proved that their obsession for their looks does pay them dividends …