Recently we heard about how hard Hrithik Roshan had pushed his limits for his role as a visually-challenged man in his forthcoming film Kaabil. The actor had gone way beyond the extra mile to get into the skin of his character.
He had supposedly spent hours interacting with visually impaired people, in order to thoroughly understand how they live their lives.
And the learning seeped in… “When you shut your eyes and start absorbing the world around you, you realise how your other senses are enhanced to another level. Now, if you blindfold me, I can walk around my house in complete darkness. Initially, I’d bump into things, but now, I can find my way smoothly. I know exactly where everything is placed, including the books on the shelves,” Hrithik had said.
It’s heartening to see that such intensive prep is not part of Hollywood alone – our Indian actors too put in many gruelling months even to prepare for roles that give them the scope to sink their teeth into…
Back in 1953, Balraj Sahani actually heaved and hauled a rickshaw on the streets of Calcutta, to prepare for his role of a rickshaw puller in Do Bigha Zamin. As part of his prep for this Bimal Roy film, he had also interacted with many rickshaw pullers. He used his experiences and knowledge about their lives to better build up his character. And the results are there to see, in a film that is a classic in cinema all the way.
One of the most intelligent and hard-working stars of our times, Aamir Khan never holds back when it comes to prepping for his every role. His upcoming Dangal, which sees him portray the wrestler father, Mahavir Singh Phogat, has broken his own record, in the method acting department! Aamir not only learnt to speak Haryanvi almost like a native, he also actually learnt numerous wrestling moves and the nuances of the sport, besides gaining a massive amount of weight… before losing it all! No wonder eyes are peeled for his film, which releases this December.
Priyanka Chopra effortlessly stole hearts in Barfi! butwe didn’t see the effort that she put into playing Jhilmil, the autistic girl in the Anurag Basu film. The actress had approached her prep with utter sincerity, even visiting mental institutions and working closely with autistic people in an attempt to gain deeper understanding of the condition. The efforts paid off – she was singled out for even more applause than the brilliant Ranbir Kapoor, essaying a deaf-mute Nepali boy.
If Kareena Kapoor had visited Mumbai’s infamous red-light area Kamathipura area to interact with the prostitutes there for her role in Chameli, Hrithik Roshan stayed put in one place– the actor would spend hours in a wheelchair in his home, to bring realism to his role of an ex-magician who is paralysed after a tragic spinal cord injury, in Guzaarish. Amitabh Bachchan in PAA pulled out all the stops in his prep for his role as a child struck by Progeria. He is said to have worked for months on his speech and gait to play the role of the12-year-old, besides getting into a completely different mind-frame.
Ranveer Singh went to extremes to stay in the mindspace of the Maratha warrior hero in BAJIRAO MASTANI, locking himself up in a hotel room and even communicating with others on set only via hand-written chits! For his role as the vengeance-seeking husband in BADLAPUR, Varun Dhawan plunged so deeply into his character’s grim inner world, that his own mother started to feel he was a stranger! He went on record to admit that he actually suffered from depression at one point as an effect of his onscreen character, and also had to seek medical help.
If Arjun Rampallearnt to play the guitar from scratch, practising five hours a day for his role in Rock On!, Ranbir Kapoor spent nights in A R Rehman’s studio in order to develop a deeper understanding with the music in ROCKSTAR. To get into the mental space of the brooding, angry Jordan, Ranbir reached out for Kurt Cobain’s biography; yes, the same talented rockstar who went on to take his own life…
…And you thought acting was just about looking pretty!