By: Shweta Vepa, IndiaFM
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The word Bollywood conjures up images of a rosy world. But for most, it's a jungle out there. Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest certainly holds true here. Mediocrity is something that just won't do. And in order to give their best, the stars have to keep re-inventing themselves. Yes, we're talking about actors, who have gone ahead for a complete image change. From over the top dramas to rib tickling comedies, these guys have done it all.
Though Shahrukh Khan started off as a romantic hero, what gave his career a much needed push was Baazigar, in which he played a villain. This was followed by more negative roles in Darr and Anjaam, which established his position as a saleable star. Till date people identify him with K-K-Kiran! But then post Anjaam (which even won him an award) he swore never to do a negative character and returned to the romance genre turning the Bollywood lover-boy with films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Pardes, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kal Ho Na Ho. Then again, he surprised everyone with his portrayal of Mohan Bhargav in Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades. Ashutosh made sure that Mohan Bhargav was not SRK - the star, but SRK - the actor.
Saif Ali Khan, famous for his comical-lover characters, did a complete turn around with Ek Haseena Thi in which he played an out and out negative character. He also played a negative role in the recently released Being Cyrus.
Around the time that Shah Rukh Khan was struggling to find his bearings in Bollywood, there were two other entrants too, Akshay Kumar and Suneil Shetty. For some odd reason, the two were always pitted against each other. And surprisingly enough, their choice of films have been similar. While both of them started off with hardcore action flicks, there was a gradual shift to comedy. In fact, it was the same film which proved that these two macho heroes could succeed in comedy as well. The film in question is Priyadarshan's Hera Pheri which became a cult film. It was also the image change film of the third lead in the film, i.e. Paresh Rawal. Prior to Hera Pheri he was seen in a lot of villainous roles. Post Hera Pheri, we lost Paresh Rawal - the villain to Paresh Rawal - the comedian.
Akshay Kumar's comedy capers of the recent past have been very well received. Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Garam Masala, Deewane Huye Pagal and the recent Phir Hera Pheri to name a few! In fact the audiences are so used to see Akshay Kumar as the funnyman these days that when he does a serious role in Humko Deewana Kar Gaye, venting out his emotions onscreen, he turns out to be unintentionally funny. While Suneil Shetty was recently seen in funny flicks like Shaadi Se Pehle, Phir Hera Pheri and Chup Chup Ke he is awaiting the release of some more comedies like Apna Sapna Money Money, Fool and Final and Bhagam Bhag.
Comedy sure seems like a safe bet. Sunny Deol's recent tryst with comedy was Jo Bole So Nihaal. However, that film didn't exactly find too many takers at the box office. Unfazed by that debacle, he will be trying his luck again with Fool and Final. Govinda too started off with mainly family dramas. But, he actually became No.1, when he teamed together with David Dhawan in films like Shola Aur Shabnam, Aankhen, Hero No.1, Coolie No.1, Haseena Maan Jayegi etc. Post his last disastrous release Ssukh that was an emotional drama, Govinda plans a comeback in the comedy genre with Bhagam Bhag and Partner. John Abraham dabbled in this genre with Garam Masala, before which he was known for dark and intense kind of roles. In fact both the media and the makers talked about Garam Masala as John's first comedy film. He has some more surprises for the audience in the form of Deepa Mehta's Water, in which he has a complete image changeover and plays a dhoti clad Gandhian of the pre-independence era, much against his current glamorous image. And the actor succeeds in doing justice to the character.
Comedy even worked for Arshad Warsi, what with the stupendous success of Munnabhai MBBS. But the actor dared to play a no-nonsense serious character in the grave and hard-hitting film Sehar. The role was against his comic avatars in flicks like Hulchul, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya and Salaam Namaste.
Aftab Shivadasani attempted going grey in Kasoor which didn't quite suit him and he never crossed the positive line thereafter. Ashmit Patel's role in Banaras was quite a change from his frivolous screen image.
Every actor worth his salt has always tried something new. It's something that has to be done in order to meet the ever-changing preferences of the audiences. For some, an image change has worked wonders and given a new lease to their careers. Re-invention is the name of the game! That only a handful succeed is a different matter altogether!