Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hair Yesterday, Gone Today?

I am sure this happens to many others as well. Every day, sometime between the sun sets and when it decides to rise again, I step into a party zone where I meet quite a few interesting people: pretty young and not-so-young things who are also intelligent, men who are too witty for their age, old friends, newly-made friends and so on. Only that I am not dressed for the party -- I could just be wearing a lungi or a pair of boxers. God alone knows what those pretty things might be wearing on the other end. At times I am tempted to imagine, but how can you imagine someone's attire when you haven't even seen them -- it would be an exercise in futility. But we men often thrive on the art of imagination. Anyway, coming to the party I went to this evening. I ran into a girl who called herself iamtoobrainyforu. The conversation went like this:

iamtoobrainyforu: Hi Bishy. U busy?

Bishy (that's me): Not really.

iamtoobrainyforu: Who would you vote as the person of the year? A. Rahul Dravid. B. Sania Mirza. C. Amitabh Bachchan. D. Manjunath E. Sonia Gandhi. F. Manmohan Singh. G. Nitish Kumar.

Bishy: I have no opinion.

iamtoobrainyforu: Why not? Choose one.

Bishy: (since her question reminded me of Kaun Banega Crorepati) Amitabh Bachchan.

iamtoobrainyforu: Why???????? To make him feel better?

Bishy: No, he is too good.

iamtoobrainyforu: In what sense?

Bishy: He is just too good. Period.

iamtoobrainyforu: Great fan, huh? I have one question, for which a fan like you can give an appropriate answer.

Bishy: Shoot.

iamtoobrainyforu: Does he wear a wig?

Bishy: Maybe, I do not know.

iamtoobrainyforu: I want an answer.

Bishy: I am not his barber, sweetheart.

iamtoobrainyforu: I had a Rs 100/- bet with my friend on this issue. It's still not sorted out.

Bishy: I will give Rs 200 each to u and ur friend.

iamtoobrainyforu: What for?

Bishy: To stop guessing and leave the poor man alone.

iamtoobrainyforu: But if he does wear a wig?

Bishy: Big deal if he does.

iamtoobrainyforu: I will lose respect for him in the sense that he is not himself. Why cover up ????Why not be bald????

Bishy: Well, to me he looks natural.

iamtoobrainyforu: Rajnikant is natural. He doesn't wear a wig outside. At least he doesn't fake it.

Bishy: But it looks like a joke.

Before I could explain why it looks like a joke, as in Rajnikant appearing bald-headed when he is not shooting, imatoobrainyforu had to sign out. So I am offloading my thoughts here. I really find it funny when one morning you see pictures of Rajnikant -- the Rajnikant -- appearing in some function looking rather unkempt, not to mention his receding (and greyed) hairline. And recently, pictures in some papers showed him completely bald.

By some magic -- and it happens only in Chennai -- those pictures would be transformed into posters the very next morning and pasted on walls throughout the city. Fine by itself, but not when those walls also have posters showing stills from Chandramukhi, Rajni's latest movie where he looks as old as he looked 20 years ago -- head full of hair and those sunglasses on the yes. One is reality, another is fantasy. To a discerning mind which has seen those recent pictures of the real Rajni, the fantasy wouldn't be even fantasy: it would be sheer absurdity. Yet Rajni sells. People disregard, and disbelieve, his real looks: they choose to go by the look the make-up artist gives him.

The same is the case with Sathyaraj, another Tamil actor. Unlike Rajnikant, who has been quite popular in Bollywood, Sathyaraj was an unknown figure to me till a colleague interviewed him featured him in the paper. From what I gather, Sathyaraj, even though he is well past middle age, still plays roles that should ideally go to men less than half his age. But in real life, he has no qualms acting his age: he is a bald, old man even though incredibly fit. The audience, no doubt, has seen him bald, but they take the wig for real when they see him in the movies.

Cinema is a make-believe world, no doubt, but in Tamil Nadu they seem to understand it better than anyone in the rest of the country. Here, when they step into a theatre, they discard the images of Rajnikant they had seen in that morning's paper into the bin where they usually throw used paper glasses and paper plates. Dev Anand would have been better off in Chennai: he need not have made efforts to sport that 'evergreen' look 24/7. On second thoughts, Dev Anand is better off in Bombay: one would dread to see his real self at 82 and spoil the image that one has formed of him since the days of Tere Ghar Ke Saamne or even Guide.

Coming to Amitabh Bachchan. Big deal if he wears a wig or if he doesn't. His charisma remains intact. Even if he wears a wig, he does so carefully: he gives the impression that his hair has aged naturally, past the days when his famous hairstyle induced millions of fans into the middle-parting. He is neither like Dev Anand who, even at 82, has a head full of hair, nor like Rajnikant, who appears bald in real life but sports a thick mane in the movies. Now someone who can make even his hair act, you can imagine what an actor he himself his. But who ever doubted the acting skills of Amitabh Bachchan?


Akruti said...

Now Its going to be a looooooong comment if i dont doze off:-p
I remember reading a blog post written by an IIM's Grad,The day Chandramukhi was released they went to the theater at 5am in the morning,and there were people sleeping there from the day before itself.The first show started at 7am and they entered the hall with lighting camphor.
A few days back i have seen atleast 20 posts from various bloggers from Madras writing about Rajanikanth's birthday and the pictures put there show him with hair and the same day he was celebrating his birthday in Hyderabad adn i saw him in the newspaper with a baldhead. Couldn digest the Hair vs Bald figure:)
Now to AB,He rocks,completely at ease with whatever he does,people more than worshipping him respect him for his wonderful personality.The other day he was so easily reciting lines from the famous "Madhushala" and the same evening i watch him on KBC, and he is the same.Hair or no Hair,he is one person who is going to have a magical effect in Indian cinema for a long long time.

Akruti said...

"at times i am tempted to imagine"
Now i have always had this question in mind,Does it matter? when in the virtual party which you enter daily,Which is i am sure very different of sorts,how does it matter?
Do you ever imagine how the thinking goes of an other person sitting in some corner of the world and talking away with you? can u analyse them? their words? their silence?
well,these questions always pop up:) in my case.

Jo said...

I have to agree with you and akruthi, big B rocks..

Rim said...

Everybody's I disagree! There is nothing wrong to praise Big B - he rocks! Yet, temme, why does he rock? As u say, "his charisma remains intact." Isn't it the same with Rajnikanth? Agreed, he's old now, yet people(of ALL ages, various backgrounds...just go to a Rajni 1st day 1st show n u'll know) queue up to watch his movies. Reason? Charisma, style. It's still intact, that's why.

Anonymous said...

whoa! hair or no hair, AB rules. Period.

and anyone who is wondering abt wigs, is just being stupidly curious. let them be, they are too brainy!

Deepa Bhasthi said...

First of all, Happy belated birthday! hope you had a good day.

Big B rocks!

Maya said...

Hiya BG!

I missed wishing you on your birthday coz I was away, but that wish is doubled in my happy new year wishes. Hope you have a wonderful year ahead and may most of your heart's desires happen and your dreams come true.

Oh btw, I was 35 once and believe me it gets better...just keep that hair on the head and when you can't go van diesel :)


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