Gurinder Chadha’s new film IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, which is going to be released in Hindi as HAI MAR JAWAN has Shabhana Azmi as the lead protagonist in the film. It is for the first time that she would be enacting the role in which she has gained body weight by more than 15-20 kgs. It would also be one of the firsts where a female actor from India has taken this initiative to justify the demand of the role.
While Shabana Azmi may have been the first to does it as a female actor, her male counterparts have been doing it for quite sometime? They have taken up the challenge to gain weight for enacting the role, and subsequently to reduce it. If one were to prepare a list of such initiatives, first name that immediately come to mind would be that of Abhishek Bachchan for Mani Ratnam’s film Guru where to enact the role of Gurubhai. Abhishek Bachchan preferred putting on weight to live the age which he had to enact rather than rely on the ability of the camera to project the part. The pinnacle of such effort was achieved by Aamir Khan through Ghazini where he revived the era of six pack abs in the world of Hindi cinema. His beefy figure became the talk of the town ages after the film had been released.
It was again through his ability that Aamir could become a student of not more than 25 years of age, though he is well over forty, through 3 Idiots. Initially when Raj Kumar Santoshi had offered him this role, Aamir had declined it as he did not had conviction to enact the part, but subsequently he worked on his body to appear convincingly as a boy of twenty ears of age. Such was his effort that he looked younger than his other two colleagues, Madhavan and Sharman Joshi.
May be, Aamir’s efforts could have inspired his fellow colleague from Rang De Basanti, Atul Kulkarni, to do the same in Marathi film Natrang. In this film Atul Kulkarni gained weight of more than 18 kgs and also lost the same quantum of weight during the shooting of the film. Without mentioning the effort of Shah Rukh Khan to build his six-pack abs for Main Hoon Na, this feature would appear incomplete. Reference also has to be alluded to Salman Khan who much before Aamir and Shah Rukh had inspired the youth of the country to have a toned body, and he made tearing his t-shirts or vests on the screen to display it.
These initiatives are illustrative of a generation of actors who can go whole hog to prepare for a role and to make it convincing on the screen. This is what acting is all about.
By: Suman Rai