In the upcoming Dangal, Aamir Khan plays a 50 year old father to two grown up female wrestlers. If I am not wrong, this is the first time he will be playing an old man with grey hair on screen,. He has played an old man in a couple of ads. In films, he has even been in drag (Baazi), a snake charmer (Tum Meri Ho) and even a desi Corleone (Aatank Hi Aatank), but never an old man on silver screen. So that’s one thing I am looking forward to watch when Dangal turns up on screen at the end of December. After all when Mr perfectionist does something even random as walking on the road, we have to stop everything and watch him do that even if it goes on for hours.
Coming to the topic of heroes playing older characters, especially when it comes to sporting grey hairs, Bollywood heroes, especially the current generation always had an aversion towards such roles where they have to don the grey paint. Unlike an Amitabh Bachchan, who in his heydays had no qualms in wearing a grey wig (Aakhri Raasta, Kabhie Kabhie, Hum), the gen X stars has qualms even playing their own age, forget donning the greys. But sometimes, they do like to explore into the less travelled road once in a while.
Let’s look at the times Bollywood actors have donned the grey paint and how it worked for them. Starting off with the man of the moment…
In a role he has never attempted before, Aamir Khan will play former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat in this upcoming biopic, that has him play father to two women, who will bring National glory in the arena of Indian wrestling one day. Shorn of all Bollywood trappings (even his wife, played by Sakshi Tanwar, is unconventional casting), Aamir Khan has decided to take on a role a superstar in his positions would rather not have touched. This is a man who has played a college student in his forties, so totally hats off!
The outcome: Well, the movie is yet to come but going by the trailers, we know he has a winner in his hand!
Shah Rukh Khan
Movie: Veer Zaara
In this late Yash Chopra-directed evergreen love story, Shah Rukh Khan, the quintessential lover boy of Bollywood, had played both older and younger versions of the Indian pilot in love with a Pakistani girl (Preity Zinta). As the older Veer, his dialogues and his scenes with Rani Mukerji’s benevolent lawyer were a delight to watch. However the highlight was the scene when he finally reunites with the older Zaara after being incarcerated in a Pakistani jail for more than two decades.
The outcome: Veer Zaara was one of the biggest hits of that year.
Even though he is one of the younger stars in our industry, Ranbir Kapoor has no qualms wearing those grey hairs for a little part of one of the best movies he has done. Playing the older version of his deaf-mute character, Ranbir underplays his performance even in that less screen time, not making a mockery of the role.
The outcome: Barfi is one of best critical hits of Bollywood, and also of Ranbir’s career.
Movie: Baar Baar Dekho
Sidharth Malhotra travels in the future where he plays his older self in this high concept romantic drama with time travel elements. It is in these portions that makes Sidharth’s character realise that his negative feelings in the past can have graver consequences in future.
The outcome: Apart from the pedestrian storytelling, nobody wanted to see Sidharth and Katrina old, which they were in quite a few scenes. So BBD turned out to be one of the biggest flops of 2016.
Movie: Yeh Majhdhaar
Salman Khan may often be accused of not experimenting much with his roles and even with the age, but he did play an old man in the forgettable love triangle, also starring Manisha Koirala and Rahul Roy, albeit for a few minutes.
The outcome: Have you heard of this film? Well, you got your answer there…
Movie: Krrish and Krrish 3
Krrish and its sequel are essentially the continuation of Rohit’s story from Koi Mil Gaya, so it is essential that the character is a part of both the films. Even if the new films are based on his superhero son, and Hrithik Roshan has to put on that wig to play his father. However the death of this character at the end of Krrish 3 may mean we will never see Rohit again in Krrish 4. RIP
The outcome: Both were blockbusters, but like many of the films in this list, that had nothing to do with Hrithik donning the grey hairs.
Movie: Action Replayy
In this lazily directed remake of the iconic Hollywood film Back To The Future, Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai played bickering parents to Aditya Roy Kapur (before he achieved stardom with Aashiqui 2), and so the movie had them don the grey paint.
The outcome: A big dud!
Movie: U Me Aur Hum
Before Shivaay, Ajay Devgn first directed this romantic drama inspired by The Notebook, that starred him and his wife, Kajol. The movie had his character narrating his love story to his grown up son, so we get to see Ajay Devgn in old makeup, and also Kajol likewise.
The outcome: Despite a very likeable plot and Kajol’s terrific performance, the movie didn’t exactly manage to set the box office on fire and was just an average performer.