BOLLYWOOD: 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(apparently on the insistence of the shampoo brand that she endorses) 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 bald(or nearly bald) for a part.
Aamir Khan in Ghajini: The striped head-shave which made Aamir look like an Irish punk was so cool, it was scary. Aamir went around without most of his hair for a good 7-8 months too 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 THE Aamir Khan.
Jake Gyllenhaal in End Of Watch: Not completely bald but close enough, Jake Gyllemhaal wanted that scruffy-head look for his role of a gritty cop in LA on a tough beat. Off went the long tresses . Jake apparently liked his near-hairless look so much that he kept it going even after the shooting was over.
Salman Khan in 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, wigs etc 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 tortuted inmate in a mental asylum. Surprisingly the director didn’t have to persuade Salman much. He readily agreed to go from his weirdly wigged look in the first-half to the stark hairless look in the second-half.
Matt Damon in Elysium: For his futuristic part in Neil Blokamp’s film Matt Damon shaved off his 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.
Arjun Rampal in Ra.One: To play the villain you gotta sacrifice your vanity. Considered quite a prominent pinup boy in Bollywood Arjun shaved off his hair and hid his hair-less head under caps for as long as he shot for this hideous super-hero film. The biggest super-hero of this dud was Arjun Rampal sacrificed his hair for role that lasted 15 minutes.
Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas in 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 changed to Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas in the two key roles. However all four actresses shaved of their hair to play their roles. Dedication of this sort is exemplary in Bollywood. Tabu and Manisha Koirala had refused to shave off their heads for Water.
Demi Moore in G. I.Jane: As an army 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. We dare any of today’s pinup queens of Bollywood like Kareena or Katrina to shed their lovely hair for a role.
Natalie Portman in V For Vendetta: James McTeigue’s futuristic thriller had the nubile Ms Portman as a terrorist’s a accomplice. In one sequence where her character was tortured her hair to be shaved off. The stunner readily agreed to shave off her head for that one sequence.
Cate Blanchett in 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 talkn on. Cate rose to the occasion in this Tom Tykwer thriller , refused prosthetics to look bald, and delivered a performance that made our hairs stand on end.
Shahid Kapoor in Haider: Finally he didn’t completely shave off his head, as planned. But director Vishal Bhardwaj has got chocolate-box hero Shahid Kapoor to actually sport a close-cropped look for his Kashmiri character’s role. Shahid is the first leading man of his generation to shed his hair for a role.Being Pankaj Kapoor’s son helps you to shed your hero’s vanity.
Sanjay Dutt In Agneepath: When Sanjay Dutt agreed to play the villain Kancha in Karan Malhotra’s remake of the Bachchan classic Agneepath they were very sure they wanted Dutt’s Kancha to be very different much more intimidating than Danny Denzongpa in the original. Dutt’s 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!