In Meghna Gulzar’s Chhapaak Deepika Padukone, arguably India’s most beautiful actress, will be seen as an acid-attack victim. Face mutilated by a beast. Reminds us of the stunningly beautiful Charlize Theron in the 2003 drama Monster where she played a scarred prostitute. She won the Oscar for Monster. And if Deepika wins the national award for Chhapaak, it wont be a surprise as real-life tragic story will move the audience.
While Deepika is yet to take the plunge into stark naturalism, Shahrukh Khan has done the unthinkable in Anand Rai’s Zero where he plays a dwarf. Earlier, during the year another extraordinarily good looking actor Akshay Kumar donned a demon look in Shankar’s Robo 2.0. Akshay was extremely scared about how the audience would react to his ‘ugly’ avatar in 2.0. Earlier, in Vipul Shah’s Action Replay he had tried a look that was not quite what his fans expected of him. And Akshay had fallen flat on his flawed face. But 2.0 was a super hit.
So, is the prosthetics department going to remain busy in 2019 trying new ways of making our matinee idols look far from perfect? Not so long ago it was only Aamir Khan’s domain to don the misfit’s mantel. In Dangal, Khan had put on so much weight everybody thought he would never be able to lose it all. But he did.
More and more actors in Bollywood seem to feel the need to go beyond their immaculate looks to explore the realm of imperfection. Earlier in our films matinee idols were allowed the luxury of imperfection only in double roles. But it seems okay now to be flawed. The audience is more accepting.