As Sal­man Khan gets ready to turn grey in his new film, we take a look at how a num­ber of he­roes and hero­ines are tak­ing the sim­i­lar route

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What’s com­mon to It­te­faq (1969), Don (1978), Darr (1993) and the Dhoom se­ries? Be­sides the fact that these are all iconic Hindi films, the other sim­i­lar­ity is that all the char­ac­ters in these movies were either vil­lain­ous or had grey shades. In­ter­est­ingly, of late, a num­ber of A-lis­ters have either al­ready played or are go­ing to have a stint with grey shades on screen.


So, if Shah Rukh Khan starred as a boot­leg­ger in Raees, Sal­man Khan is also set to go “com­pletely grey” in Race 3. Ak­shay Ku­mar will be seen as the vil­lain in 2.0 along­side Ra­jinikanth. Sid­harth Mal­ho­tra stars in the It­te­faq re­make, Ran­veer Singh plays a ruth­less em­peror Alaud­din Khilji in Pad­ma­vati, and Shrad­dha Kapoor plays gang­ster Da­wood Ibrahim’s late sis­ter, Haseena Parkar in her next film.

“It’s a very con­scious de­ci­sion to do a part, which is chal­leng­ing and com­pletely out of my com­fort zone. I knew that it would be a mav­er­ick move and could be a risk. But, I al­ways wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. I was al­ways in­ter­ested in do­ing an anti-hero part, and who bet­ter to do it with than Mr Bhansali (San­jay Leela Bhansali; film-maker),” says Ran­veer.


Not just Ran­veer, other ac­tors too feel that por­tray­ing grey char­ac­ters give them a kick. While Ajay Devgn — who plays a ‘badass’ in Baad­shaho — says that he loves play­ing grey char­ac­ters be­cause “we all are grey in our ev­ery­day lives,” the Babu­moshai Ban­dook­baaz ac­tor Nawazud­din Sid­diqui doesn’t “be­lieve in char­ac­ters that are either com­pletely neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive,” and so he “prefers grey shades in them.” Ar­jun Ram­pal, who plays gang­ster-politi­cian Arun Gawli in Daddy, con­curs, say­ing that he doesn’t like “one di­men­sional roles be­cause that’s the most bor­ing thing to do.”

Ex­perts, on their part, be­lieve that such “fresh avatars” al­ways look in­ter­est­ing. dis­trib­u­tor Ak­shaye Rathi says, “Even­tu­ally, it all de­pends on the script be­sides the treat­ment and pre­sen­ta­tion of the char­ac­ters. So, if Sal­man turns grey in Race 3, the treat­ment will be akin to how a ‘hero’ gets pre­sented in a film. And of course, it al­ways feels fresh to see ac­tors in dif­fer­ent avatars.”

For ac­tors, play­ing grey char­ac­ters bring an op­por­tu­nity to do “some­thing dif­fer­ent.” As trade ex­pert Amod Mehra puts it: “How many times can one play the same kind of roles? That’s why our ac­tors have al­ways been very keen to ex­per­i­ment with grey or neg­a­tive char­ac­ters. It helps them show­case the va­ri­ety in their histri­onic tal­ents.”


From the busi­ness per­spec­tive as well, when­ever he­roes or hero­ines have turned grey in the past, they have been lapped up by the audiences. The list in­cludes Baazi­gar (1993), An­jaam (1994), Dee­wangee (2002), Khi­ladi 420 (2000), Ajn­abee (2001), the Race se­ries, Ishqiya (2010), Once Upon a Time in Mum­baai (2010) and the Dhoom se­ries, among oth­ers.

“If we only take the ex­am­ple of the Dhoom se­ries, it starred John Abra­ham in pos­si­bly his most iconic part. The sec­ond part had Hrithik Roshan’s one of the most stylish out­ings, and the third in­stal­ment gave Aamir Khan one of his big­gest box of­fice hits. Audiences have al­ways loved to see their he­roes and hero­ines in a slightly neg­a­tive avatar but ul­ti­mately, the script has to do full jus­tice,” adds Rathi.


Ajay Devgn (top) and Ran­veer Singh (right)

Sal­man Khan (top) and Shrad­dha Kapoor (right)

Nawazud­din Sid­diqui

Ak­shay Ku­mar

Ar­jun Ram­pal

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