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A difficult afterlife

THE ASIAN AGE. | NAMRATA SRIVASTAVA
Published : Oct 8, 2017, 12:31 am IST
Updated : Oct 8, 2017, 12:32 am IST

Bollywood is glamorous, but actors’ lives not so much — especially when they start living in the clutches of their characters’ darker side.

Still from the movie Devdas, where actor Dilip Kumar played the role of a heartbroken man.
 Still from the movie Devdas, where actor Dilip Kumar played the role of a heartbroken man.

A lavish lifestyle, always looking stylish and having a huge fan following as well as a big bank balance — these are some of the things that people associate with actors and actresses. However, seldom does anyone recognise the hardships that an actor has to go through to make the characters he or she plays on the screen look convincing enough. 

In fact, when actors give their all to get into the skin of a character, they end up suffering. This happens because working on a character for so long influences a human being’s personality to a great extent. And this happens more often if the character has dark shades to it.

The recent news of actor Ranveer Singh allegedly seeking the help of a psychiatrist to get rid of his character’s remnants from Padmavati, is proof of the same. In Bhansali’s upcoming period drama, the actor will be seen playing a menacing, cruel anti-hero Alauddin Khilji; and to play the character Ranveer had to explore such hidden depths of negativity, that it has left the actor struggling to get back to his real self.

Ranveer Singh is finding it difficult to come out of his character, Alauddin Khilji, from the film PadmavatiRanveer Singh is finding it difficult to come out of his character, Alauddin Khilji, from the film Padmavati

Reportedly, actress Deepika Padukone, too, has been feeling extremely disturbed after shooting for the jauhar scene where her character, Rani Padmavati, had to jump into the fire along with other women for the same film.

So, can a playing a villain push an actor into a dark space? “Yes!” answers Dr Baijesh Ramesh, a clinical psychologist. “To make the audience believe that what they are watching on celluloid is real, an actor has to make sure that he/she is exactly like the character. So, they not only try to grasp the physical attributes of that character, but even try to think like them. And doing so for a long time can certainly have a bad impact. Although, this is not permanent and can be taken care of with time, the actor may find it difficult to leave the character behind,” he adds.

still from the movie Jai Lava Kusa, where Jr NTR played the negative character of Jai.Still from the movie Jai Lava Kusa, where Jr NTR played the negative character of Jai.

Veteran actor Raza Murad, who is a part of the movie Padmavati, and has played many negative characters himself, feels that actors are required to feel the pain, angst or anger of the character they play, and that could, at times, be a bit too much. “And it doesn’t just happen while one plays a negative character, but also if the character goes through a tragedy. Actor Dilip Kumar, too, went through a dark phase after he played tragic roles back-to-back and was asked to play a few comic roles. I have done three films with Ranveer — Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani and Padmavati — and I am yet to come across an actor who is so dedicated. He does all that he can, to get into the skin of the character. So, this can happen if an actor gets too involved with a character,” Raza opines.

Previously, actor Jr NTR had also spoken about how playing Jai, the negative character who stutters in Jai Lava Kusa, gave him some serious sleep issues the 34-year-old actor would wake up at night, stand by the window and talk to himself. 

Deepika PadukoneDeepika Padukone

Explaining this further, Bobby, aka K.S. Ravindra the director of Jai Lava Kusa, says, “Jai is an intense role for which NTR had to go undergo a makeover. An actor has to prepare mentally for the role to retain the same intensity throughout. The intensity has to be there, and NTR worked very hard to get the stammering right.” 

He further adds, “Sometimes it happens that stars do get carried away because of the character’s influence. I think it just reflects how dedicated and involved they are in the character.”

Tags: ranveer singh, padmavati, raza murad