Pehchaan Kaun!

Thursday, 10 July 2014 - 6:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Here's looking at the actors who got unrecognisable to play their characters

Vidya Balan, who plays a detective in Bobby Jasoos, got into several avatars, each more startling than the other – all in a bid to solve cases. Of all the looks, her avatars as the maulvi sporting a beard and unkempt long hair and the half bald astrologer with dirty teeth deceive you completely.

Producer Dia Mirza gives full credit to her team. “Vidyadhar Bhatt, who is a powerhouse talent, did the special makeup. Theia Tekchandaney was the costume designer. So we were spoilt for choices.
The challenge was in choosing the look we should go with. They made every option at the time of the looks test so real, so convincing and yet so tenable for a character to put together if she had the access to the costumes and makeup.”

Which of the disguises was the most difficult? “The disguise of the maulvi in the opening sequence was the most time-consuming. It took us about three hours to polish it up.” Dia reveals that Vidya took about an hour to get into each disguise. “All the departments including make-up and costumes were clear about what needed to be done.”

However Vidya isn't the first star to sport an on-screen disguise. Here's a lowdown of the other actors who've been there and done that..

Amitabh Bachchan: Big B was completely unrecognisable as a 13-year-old boy suffering from Progeria in Paa. No doubt, prosthetics were used, but getting the superstar ready every morning was not an easy task. Director R Balki recalls, “It took the make-up man four hours every morning. Once the make-up was done, Amitji could’t eat, drink or go to the bathroom. We were all petrified about his health. He went through the long and painful process day after day for four hours.”

Kamal Haasan: He is probably the first superstar to undergo a complete transformation for his role in Chachi 420. He had to dress up as a nanny to his screen daughter and had to also look attractive enough for the little girl’s grandfather Amrish Puri to fall in love with. The actor used an aunt as a reference point for his character. The tireless perfectionist spent hours over the disguise. “I didn’t want to mimic a woman’s body language or clothes. I wanted to feel, talk, walk and react like an actual woman,” says Kamal.

Shabana Azmi: When she decided to play a witch in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Makdee, Azmi didn’t know what she was getting into. Says the method actress, “It was harrowing, to say the least. The make-up would take forever. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I couldn’t recognise myself. On top of it, to have my husband comment, ‘Why did you need make-up to look like a witch?’ was too much.”

Hrithik Roshan: Each and every disguise of his in Dhoom:2 is nothing short of magic. When he blends with the statues in a museum by becoming one himself or disappears through a man-hole dressed as an old man, Hrithik pulls a fast one at every turn, brilliantly. 

Anil Kapoor: For his role in Badhaai Ho Badhaai the actor who has a lean physique piled on the pounds. Inspired by Nutty Professor in which Eddie Murphy played an obese character, Anil Kapoor with a little help from make-up, junk food and special effects transformed into a cute podgy chocolate eating do-gooder. 

Sridevi: Her comic timing and acting are redoubtable, but her aping the legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin in Mr India is impeccable. Replete with Charlie’s thin moustache, the hat and the cane, Sridevi made the character her own. It has been termed the most hilarious acts done by the talented actress.

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