In Bollywood, stars are often associated with a certain on-screen persona through their careers. If Dilip Kumar was ‘tragedy king’, and Amitabh Bachchan the ‘angry young man’, we had Shah Rukh Khan playing multiple romantic Rajs just as Salman Khan has played Prem in several films.
However, that trend is changing. Wary of being slotted in a particular image, more and more mainstream stars are trying their hand at different genres.
Deepika Padukone, popular for playing the modern, city girl (in films like Cocktail in 2012 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani), will be seen playing one of five quirky characters in a satirical project, Finding Fanny Fernandes, which is set in Goa. Similarly, romantic, chocolate boy Shahid Kapoor will go the masala-action way with Prabhu Dheva’s next, R…Rajkumar.
However, actors aren’t calling these roles “offbeat”. “I don’t like using the word offbeat, but it’s different from what I’ve done before in my career,” Deepika had said, adding that director Homi Adajania narrated the story to her while shooting Cocktail, which he helmed.
“I told him I wanted to be a part of the project. He was surprised because it’s not a regular feature film,” she added.
Deepika’s former boyfriend Ranbir, too, will be seen playing a street fighter in Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet, a period film set in the 1960s. “It’s going to be a different character…my role has shades of grey. I play an extremely ambitious guy, who is also a street fighter,” he told us in the past.
While Farhan Akhtar will try his hand at rom-com with Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Saif Ali Khan will be doing an over-the-top comedy — Sajid Khan’s Humshakals. Two other Khans — Salman (seen more as a masala action hero of late) and Aamir (having played mostly positive characters) — will also play different characters in Sooraj Barjatya’s tentatively titled Bade Bhaiya (Salman plays a doting elder brother to Pulkit Samrat) and Dhoom:3 respectively. About his role, Aamir says, “I don’t want people to feel that I’m playing a villain. I liked the story and I was amazed after reading the script. I am not playing a typical Hindi cinema villain.”