BLACK OR WHITE? NOT REALLY!
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
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.
THE BIG GROUP
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)