Mumbai, March 29 :
It’s not always easy to be true to a role, specially if it requires a drastic physical change. And yet actors in India and Hollywood have undertaken bold physical transformations to be true to a character.
While Shilpa Shetty managed with prosthetics when she had to shave her head off for a Buddhist monk’s role in the Indo-Chinese film “The Desire”, Antara Mali went all the way and shaved off her head for her monk’s role in Amol Palekar’s “And Once Again”.
It’s another matter that Antara’a dedication has not been witnessed by anyone as yet as the film lies in the cans.
So is it worth an actor’s efforts to go all-out for a role? Here are ten actors who have gone clean shaven, bald or nearly bald for a part:
Aamir Khan (“Ghajini”): The striped head-shave which made Aamir look like an Irish punk was so cool, but it was scary. Aamir went around without most of his hair for a good seven to eight months to look the part of the memory-challenged beefed-up avenger who has nothing to lose in life expect his life. The tonsured head was Aamir’s idea. When he was signed for the role, no one expected him to go so closely by the script, even if he was Aamir Khan.
Jake Gyllenhaal (“End Of Watch”): Not completely bald…but close enough, Jake Gyllenhaal wanted that scruffy-head look for his role of a gritty cop in Los Angeles on a tough beat. Off went the long tresses. He apparently liked his near-hairless look so much that he kept it going even after the shooting was over.
Salman Khan (“Tere Naam”): This guy never acts. He just stands in front of the camera and is his natural self. Audiences love him for that. Physical transformations, beards and wigs are a complete no-no for Salman. The one exception was Satish Kaushik’s “Tere Naam” where Salman agreed to tonsure his head to look convincing as a tortured inmate in a mental asylum.
Matt Damon (“Elysium”): For his futuristic part in Neil Blokamp’s film, Matt shaved off his head completely. Apparently, he was advised by his marketing team not to do so as it would affect his equity. But Matt was adamant. He spent four hours every day in the gym perfecting his body langage and his personality for the role.
Arjun Rampal (“Ra.One”): To play the villain, you’ve got to sacrifice your vanity. Considered quite a prominent pin-up boy in Bollywood, Arjun shaved off and hid his hairless head under caps for as long as he shot for the superhero film.
Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas (“Water”): Deepa Mehta’s film has an interesting history. It was meant to be Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi playing widows on the ghats of Varanasi. But when Hindu radicals protested and shut down the film, the cast was changed to Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas in the two key roles. However, all four actresses shaved off their hair to play their roles. Dedication of this sort is exemplary in Bollywood.
Demi Moore (“G.I. Jane”): As a cadet trying to compete with her male colleagues in the army, Demi Moore went all-out to look like one of the boys. She knocked off her feminine curves, shaved off her sexy tresses and just blended into the fatigues without any sign of fatigue.
Natalie Portman (“V For Vendetta”): James McTeigue’s futuristic thriller had the nubile Portman as a terrorist’s accomplice. For one sequence where her character was tortured, her hair had to be shaved off, the stunner readily agreed to shave off her head.
Cate Blanchett (“Heaven”): Playing a woman out to get revenge for her husband’s death, this year’s Oscar winner Cate Blanchett sacrificed her hair to look like a no-nonsense woman on a mission where she had be more macho than the guys she had taken on. Cate rose to the occasion in this Tom Tykwer-thriller, refused prosthetics to look bald, and delivered a hair-raising performance.
Shahid Kapoor (“Haider”): Finally he didn’t completely shave off his head, as planned. But director Vishal Bhardwaj has got chocolate-boy hero Shahid Kapoor to actually sport a close-cropped look for his Kashmiri character’s role in the movie.
Sanjay Dutt (“Agneepath”): When Sanjay Dutt agreed to play the villain Kancha in Karan Malhotra’s remake of the Amitabh Bachchan classic “Agneepath”, the makers were very sure they wanted Sanjay’s Kancha to be very different, and much more intimidating than Danny Denzongpa in the original. The new Kancha was written as a grotesque comicbook figure. The actor gladly agreed to shave off his head for a very Frankenstein kind of diabolic look.
The end result was scary!
(An IANS report by Subhash K Jha)