BARE FACTS: THE MAKING OF HUNKS
It started out when Anil Kapoor took off his shirt while doing Jaanbaaz.
However, his chest is so hairy, that while doing Jaanbaaz together, Dimple
Kapadia laughed, describing A.K. as a "barber's nightmare."
Perhaps Anil was only trying to compete, then, with his peer, Jackie
Shroff who could carry off bold peekaboo poses.
ANIL KAPOOR: MR. HAIRY.
Come to think of it,Jackie once threw caution and clothes to the wind to flash his bare
body before the still camera with only a cap to cover... errr... the most
strategic points. Indeed, Sylvester Stallone had once joked that he
wouldn't mind posing for centrespreads as long as the magazine's staple
binding was placed at the right place. So what has really happened to
the bollywood film industry? Why suddenly all the bollywood actors
want to take off their shirt and show off? Lets look back at the history
amd how the other stars fared in the early era.
In fact, Indian cinema's topless titillators have been the
talk of tinsel town for several decades. When some like Dara Singh and
Dharmendra ripped off their shirts for the still or movie camera,
they were instantly branded he-men. When others like Anil Kapoor and Chunky
Panday tried the same act, they were labelled hee-hee-men by the
DHARMENDRA: THE 'HE MAN' STARTED IT ALL!!
Dharmendra bared his upper-half for OP Ralhan's Phool Aur Patthar in
1966. The story of the streetwise Shaka, who brings home a distressed woman (Meena
Kumari), and is reformed by her love, hinged on the 'revealing' sequence.
A drunk-to-the-gills shaka stumbles onto the room where the petrified
woman pretends to be asleep. A sharp gasp pierced cinema halls all over
the country when Dharmendra tore off his shirt and advanced
menacingly towards the inert feminine figure on the bed. At that precise moment, the celluloid beefcake was born.
Before Phool Aur Patthar, heroes had bared their chests mainly in stunt
films (examples:Fearless Nadia's hero John Cawas and Dara Singh with
Mumtaz entwined around his biceps). After that, overt manifestations of
machismo were in. And without a doubt, Mithun Chakraborty went on to
become the most bare-chested hero after Dharmendra.
RAJESH KHANNA: NO PHYSIQUE TO SHOW IT??
Other leading men of the '70s and '80s like Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh
Bachchan hardly had the physique to carry off the chhaati-ka-naam-goodie
image. But Khanna did exhibit his hirsute splendour in Prem Nagar and Amar Deep, almost as a
desperate measure to cling to his fast-fading glory.
YOU CALL THESE MEN?
Our movies have witnessed a transition from 'Hero' and 'Anti-Hero' to now
'Aunty' Hero (Chachi 420, Aunty
By contrast, our macho men don't see much humor in nudity. Pumping iron then
posing shirtless is considered serious business in Mumbai's showworld. Time
and again, aspiring actors have considered a nude-interlude in their careers
as a stepping stone to stardom. But look what happened to Mahesh Anand,
Avinash Wadhawan, Prithvi and the like. Where are they today? Male stars often
button up their shirts once they become successful. For instance, Sunil Shetty
refuses to strip in his movies. By some strange logic,it is ok to take off a
shirt for photo-features. But on screen, it's no go. In the publicity stills
of Vinashak, he even gives the impression that he's trying to hide behind his
co-star Raveena Tandon.
JACKIE: THE MAN WHO SHOWED TOO LITTLE
For Rangeela, Jackie Shroff, who usually displayed his body beautiful at
regular intervals, removed his shirt only for one or two shots. "I no longer
have the body for it," Jackie explained shyly. Yeah sure. Koi baat nahin. It
happens to most of them, including Mithun Chakraborty. He was branded the
Badshah of Bronzed Brawn from his very first screen appearance as the silent
and haunted tribal in Mrinal Sen's Mrigayaa. Explained Mithun, "Everyone
wanted me to walk around bare-chested before the camera. That phase lasted for
quite a few years till Boxer proved that physique doesn't always sell."
Yet actors have often taken great pains to build their muscle-bank for roles
that require them to strut their stuff. Naseeruddin Shah worked hard to
achieve the lean and macho look for Paar and Jalwa. He said
that he lifted weights for the extensive chest-exhibition in Jalwa. Whether
he meant co-star Archana Puran Singh is not known. Most top actors seem to be inhibited about taking off their
shirts for the movie camera. Yeah sure, the Bachchan did display his
hair-apparent in Deewaar, but never again. Apparently, Sunny Deol does it
only when the script demands it, and he can carry off the muscle show, too.
Examples: Yateem, Kshatriya and Ghatak. Evidently, Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan
are proud of their bodies and don't mind going shirtless. The Bruno of male
Brawn, Feroz Khan(remember his topless kushti with Rekha in Kashmakash?), made a shirtless
Sanjay Dutt sing an entire song in the rain for Yalgaar. The film's
failure proved Mithun's contention: brawn is no guarantee for box office
So now in the 90's, we have lots of wannabees who want to have a body that
a Salman, a Sunil or an Akshay has. Let's look at some of the stars and
the things they do to trim their physique.
SALMAN KHAN: THE MUSCLE MAN
Sanjay Dutt's muscle-brother, Salman Khan, is the Shahenshah of the
Shirtless Kingdom. From the first photo-session for Maine Pyar Kiya where
the demurely clad Bhagyashree was snapped with the bare-torsoed Salman, this
Khan hasn't hesitated in showing the audiences what he has got.
If Salman is synonymous with body display, he does it with an elan that is
disarming and totally inoffensive. There's no question of
this Khan going overboard even if audiences become over-bored. Body display
is a form of self-expression for Salman, as it is for Akshay Kumar,
Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty. When asked about his recent "bare it all"
"Walking around bare-chested is not new for me. Even in my house I never wear
a shirt. You will always find me in just shorts. If I am driving or walking
down the road and if I feel hot, I just take off my shirt and carry on.
Tomorrow, even if I become fat and stout, sporting a paunch, I will walk
around without a shirt. I don't care what people say. "
Salman is up and ready at 9 am sharp
unless a producer requires him to be at shooting earlier. He starts
out his day with a light breakfast. A piece of toast, orange juice
and maybe some nuts for the road. He then eats a moderately light
lunch(usually small amount of meat). You see now Salman watches what
he eats..."No Junk Food" according to him. His day ends with a drive
home and a stop at the pool if he feels like it. He works out every evening
at his home gym for couple of hours. During the shoot of Karan-Arjun, he
even hired a personal trainer to shape him up for the flick...
AKSHAY KUMAR: THE HUNKS OF HUNK
To start of by being a little nasty, let's just say he's
been known more for his Tandons than the tendons he ruins while climbing the
side of the building he lives in. But, however much one may deprecate his
acting, Raju aka Rajeev Bhatia aka Akshay Kumar aka Akki, is one fit dude.
Besides the craze for rope climbing, and the complicated stunts he exhibits in
his movies, Akki is also a member of the British Hang Gliding Club.
Of course, it is the movies in which we see him. The sheer animal power he
exhibits as he gyrates and twirls tirelessly through those numbers, and
fighting with the economy of movement of an expert. That, and the remarkable
innocence about him, is what makes Akshay attractive and charming
But when we sought the secret of his success of him, Akshay rejected the
notion that muscles are a hot thing to have.
"I don't need muscles. What I need always is sheer discipline. I can do
anything without that. I do keep my body in shape but then I have other ways
of doing it." And the first thing he is careful about is food.
"See, I totally avoid junk food. In fact, I do not like to eat out at all.
Even If I go for a party, I avoid eating. Another reason... is my mother's
recipes." That sounds like it is unappetising enough to keep him thin, till he
hastens to add, "She is a wonderful cook and makes that keeps me fit. I go for
typical Punjabi food, which keeps me going like a body builder from Punjab,"
he says, smiling.
His day starts off at 4 am with two glasses
of hot water. He then jogs through the back streets when "there is not a
single soul out there, not even a dog to bark at me."
He returns and exercises. And after that? He sleeps.
If there's work at about 9 am, he arises afresh at 8 am, completes his morning
rituals and breakfast and rushes off to work. After work, he polishes off a
special dinner cooked by his mother, returns home and promptly goes to bed. To
be back up at 4 am the next day.
"Whenever I go outdoors for my shoots I make sure I live only on fruits and
juices. Even if I go to a foreign country, there's no food for me except fresh
fruit and fresh fruit juice. I only eat at home," he tells you.
And there's no strenuous exercises for him. No, pumping of iron, no grunt
work. Though he likes jogging and rappelling.
"See this rope... We have it so that I can work out on Sundays. Apart from
this, I also go out trekking.
But then climbing ropes is fun. All the guys in my building and I do it
together and see who gets to the top faster."
Then, of course, he cycles, there are things like martial arts, cycling,
jogging, the skateboard, and natural exercises like trekking. I don't want to
build my muscles and look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, though I do like to
exercise," he smiles.
Akshay has his own special exercises, ones he wouldn't like to divulge for the
simple reason that they shouldn't be tried without an instructor. "Like I
said, cycling, jogging... Even walking fast is an
exercise that helps you stay fighting fit."
Click for bigger pic!
He may like being strong but Akki's no street fighter.
"I don't get into roadside brawls... True, martial arts are for self defence,
but I haven't had to use it for self-defence."
As a child, he dreamt of becoming a martial arts teacher. But he actually
signed up because he used to miss his best friend who also used to undergo
"Soon it became a passion. The discipline it teaches you, the intensity it
develops in you is unmatchable. Nothing can inculcate so much determination
and self-confidence in yourself as martial arts can."
But all his fitness didn't help him when, in a scene in Khiladiyon Ka
Khiladi, he lifted a 350 pound WWF wrestler called Undertaker. The third
take nearly broke his back.
"The pain was excruciating. I lifted him, and the very next moment I knew I
was gone. Down and out. I have not lifted weights like this. I did it on sheer
impulse. But it has been making me shuttle from here to the States. The pain
is unbearable," he says.
Now, Akki admits that has affected his weight. "You know my weight today is 86
kilos. I haven't been able to exercise and that has pulled me back. When I was
young, I was very thin and used to weigh not more than 50-odd kilos. But now
my bones have also become pretty heavy," he smiles.
Click for bigger pic!
But such sturdiness was to be expected. His father was a wrestler at one time
and grandpa too used to grapple a bit.
According to Akshay, a good physique is a must for any leading actor.
"Every hero needs to look perfect. He need not be an action man, he may well
be the eternal romantic. But he needs some muscles that makes him look better that the rest of the men.
"If I look like Johnny Walker, how can you expect me to beat up a hundred
villains? If I am lifting the Undertaker, people may believe I did the scene
because I have that physical frame for it. If I break some iron bars, people
may believe it. But if another hero, with a much weaker frame, does
people will dismiss it. They will no longer take trash from film-makers," says
Akshay, saying he has one particularly exotic way of keeping fit.
"I go to Juhu beach, go (by boat) 10 kms into the sea and then start
surfing. It is a place where there will be no one to disturb me. Then, if I
want to swim, I always go to a five star hotel pool, and rush back before
anyone can actually see and recognise me."
SANJAY DUTT: THE MIGHTY BIG MAN
Sanjay Dutt has done it all and shown it all. He bared everything in the
movie Yalgaar. Since his debut, he has taken off his shirt
more than Salman ever will(remember Khalnayak?).
is the kind of person who would rather work out than watch a movie.
According to him, "..i want to stay fit, mentally and physically
so i work out and trim my body." His routine day includes a
trip to the jail(just kidding)..he wakes up at 9 since he claims
"i can't work out early mornings." After absorbing eggs, toast
and couple glasses of grapefruit juice, he heads to his shootings.
While in the evening, he stops by the gym and works out from 6-8pm
usually. His exercise schedule is never the same since he is very
busy with his new marriage. However he does take out some time
for his workout every day.
SUNIL SHETTY: AN EXERCISE MACHINE
How can a so-called non-actor pull off such incredible performonces in Border and Bhai? Secret: Sunil Shetty can't
resist a good challenge. He's matured over the years and has such confidence now. The aforementioned films have
provided the ultimate seal of approval that he can actually act. And so he is revelling in this hard-earned, much
improved second act. Today, there's nothing you could dare him to do that he wouldn't try. Get set to watch a new,
rejuvenated Sunil Shetty. After his success, Sunil has started to
stop exposing his body in films and according to him "showing my body won't make the movie a hit." What do you say girls?
Sunil Shetty takes
along a van filled with gym equipment to whichever far flung corner of India he's shooting in.
So that means that he works out at the set? Well Mr. Shetty claims, "when the director
is busy planning the next scene, i just lift some weights to keep me busy." He also has
a home gym equiped with expensive body toning exercise machines(from america). His average
day ends at 8pm so he doens't get any time to work out however only on the weekends(if
he is not wanted by any reporter etc).
SUNNY DEOL: SHOWING IT ALL |
does have a great body and if you want to check it out, watch Kshatriya.
He started working out when he went on a routine trip to London during the
making of Arjun. He claims "..i saw british and american actors with nice
toned body and I thought to myself, if I want to be successful as a action
hero, I need to work out." SO yes folks since then, he has been shaping up
his body and it has paid off since he is the highest paid male actor in
bollywood(nope shahrukh isnt). He wakes up at 7:30 am sharp and jogs a
mile or so. He doesnt lift any weights in the mornings but only during the
evening hours before dinner. According to his secretary, "he is a big
eater and if hungry can eat a cow." He is a true Punjabi Jatt.
At last, Off and on, stars have gone overboard while getting physical with the
camera. There was the notorious case of Aditya Panscholi, who not only
took off his shirt but also his trousers and accessories, for a photo-session!
In such cases, the desperation to get noticed outweighs the rapport with the
Perhaps the trick of mastering the art of beefcake-ery is to achieve a state
of nonchalance (and not narcissism) while posing topless for the camera.
Salman Khan is one Hindi film star who has achieved that state of nirvanic
Compiled by Jimmy Mehra
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