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Looks matter

There was a time when actors were bigger than the characters they played — Amitabh Bachchan never altered his hairstyle and Rajesh Khanna never changed the way he delivered his dialogues.

January 23, 2009 2:57:44 am

More and more filmmakers are presenting the audience’s favourite stars in more than one avatar in a film

There was a time when actors were bigger than the characters they played — Amitabh Bachchan never altered his hairstyle and Rajesh Khanna never changed the way he delivered his dialogues. But today,actors are not only willing to take the risk of soaking into the character but also use multiple looks in a single film to create a buzz around it.

Take for example the 2008-blockbuster Ghajini. The success of the track Behka came from the fact that Aamir Khan showed up in six different avatars. A few weeks earlier,King Khan didn’t disappoint when he alternated between Simpleton Suri and Romeo Raj in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Though unlike Ghajini,the varied looks here formed an integral part of the script.

Whether a marketing ploy or as an important part of the storyline,the trend is here to stay and one expects to see at least a handful of films take it forward in 2009. The most talked about of which is director Ashutosh Gowarikar’s What’s Your Rashee,where Priyanka Chopra is likely to be seen in 12 different avatars,each of which represents one rashee or sun sign.

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Closer on the calendar is Madhureeta Anand’s Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye that has Randeep Hooda in 18 iconic characters,including that of Elvis Presley and James Bond.

Anand,who came up with the idea while writing the story accepts that it is the USP of the film but assures that it isn’t a PR strategy to sell the film. “My film is about a simple woman who has an imaginary friend Jai and how he empowers her imagination.

Jai is her fantasy and therefore takes on the form of the popular icons.” The director,who closely worked with the costume department on Hooda’s looks,says,“It isn’t easy to come up with 18 variations of one face. In a lot of ways,it was creatively liberating for the artistes as well as the actor.”

Southern siren Asin Thottumkal,who is filming for Vipul Shah’s London Dreams,agrees. “I play a split personality — as one character I’ll be wearing a salwar kameez and as the other,you’ll see me in a grunge look. It sounds mad but it gives us actors so much space to experiment.”

Designer Ashley Rebello who has worked on both of Thottumkal’s looks narrates how it took time to get her rocker look right. “The first time around she reminded us of Ghajini. So we gave Asin kohl eyes,tights,dresses and loads of accessories.”

The makeup artistes,hair and costume stylists feel that finally,this phenomenon has led the industry to recognise their potential. Arjun Bhasin who put together Aamir’s looks in Behka,says,“We have to think of what will look good on the actor and also make sure the director likes it. Ghajini was especially a challenge as we had to portray Aamir in a way he never has looked before.”

The audience no doubt loves to see the stars in more than one avatar. Director Murgadoss,who added the track in Ghajini only for the benefit of the Bollywood audience,explains why the trick works: “We knew the response to the song would be fabulous. After all,people get to see their favourite star six times over.” To put in simple words,it’s full ‘paisa vasool’.

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