Anushka Sharma, Varun Dhawan’s Sui Dhaaga look shows Bollywood’s evolved from make-believe to believability
The way mainstream Hindi films are leaving no stone unturned in order to get the right ‘look’ for the lead characters such as a Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma in the upcoming Sui Dhaaga is a far cry from the stereotypical approach that was one the calling card of Bollywood’stars.
Looking at how the ‘hero’ or the ‘heroine’ were always supposed to look star-like irrespective of who they were portraying or the situation that their characters were in, the films of yore demanded a very high degree of suspension of disbelief from the average viewer. How else could you explain actors adorned for a night on the town even if the scene required them to be in bed or women decorated with lavish eye make-up after an eye surgery?
IN the past few years an actor’s look has come to be considered as important as the production design or the research behind the story when it comes to the authenticity factor. In fact, it would not be totally incorrect to believe that the ‘look’ is the quickest way for a film to stand out and create buzz amongst the viewers. For a film such as Sui Dhaaga, where both Sharma and Dhawan essay roles of a small-town embroiderer and tailor respectively, their guise becomes important to bridge the gap between make belief and believability. Directed by Sharat Katariya, the film is also rumoured to promote the ‘Make In India’ campaign where its narrative is supposedly centered on ‘finding love and respect through self-reliance.’
The difference between popular Hindi films of the past and present times can be gauged from the visual element of the actors’ appearance. Had a film such as Sui Dhaaga been made back in the 1980s or even mid-1990s, both the actors, leading stars in their own right, would in all likelihood looked like themselves while portraying common folk. Remember Rajesh Khanna and Shabana Azmi in Aaj Ka MLA Ram Avtar? This would be done in order to let the average viewer feel like a hero but today, it is the opposite that works. Top stars transform into the everyman in order to connect with the core audiences. In some cases, it is more gimmicky in nature than a prerequisite of the character such as Rishi Kapoor in Kapoor & Sons where one could barely recognize the actor, but being rooted to the core milieu of the character is now a no-brainer.
Although this happens to a great extent there are still times when a star’s aura simply takes over the proceedings. Most films where a popular star such as a Salman Khan plays the central character, there is only so much that can be expected in terms of visual transformation. In Dabangg, save the moustache everything else was the same as far as Salman Khan was concerned. Similarly, take for instance Padman and the manner in which Akshay Kumar plays a character based on Arunachalam Muruganantham. Here, Kumar’s persona sticks out and there can be no confusion between him and Muruganantham but barring the physicality nearly everything else that contributes to the look and feel was kept in check. One could argue that Kumar, for the want of a better expression, was playing a ‘rural’ character and therefore it would only be obvious to keep things muted but such conventional approach to characters is largely a thing of the past. The manner in which even Sonam Kapoor’s character was presented in Padman, be it her costumes or look, too, was slightly beyond the typical Hindi film definition of ‘urban.’
With Varun Dhawan sporting a moustache, Anushka Sharma with sindhoor and sari with bangles and both dressed in muted, earthy palates, there is no denying that Sui Dhaaga has you intrigued at the first look. Here is hoping that like in the past, where many films mistook an actor’s look or even cinematography to be everything, the film’s narrative goes beyond what meets the eye.