Blog: Here Are Some Shocking Truths about Bollywood Stars' Personal Lives

Blog: Here Are Some Shocking Truths about Bollywood Stars' Personal Lives

Bollywood is very different on screen and off it. Here are some juicy gossips about what goes on behind the scenes
Blog: Here Are Some Shocking Truths about Bollywood Stars' Personal Lives

Akshay Kumar

Read more about Akshay Kumar

So Akshay  Kumar plays the bold role of a transgender in his forthcoming  film Laxmmi Bomb. He has  come  a long way from the  time he  nearly  fainted when  the late Rituparno Ghosh offered  him the role of a person with an alternative sexuality. Ritu, I  remember, was  most excited. He told me of how  he would present Akshay, that he would wax  the hair off the  actor’s chest, and  other details I  didn’t  want to hear. Akshay never came  into the picture.  Today he is willing to play  the metro-sexual  Indian male without  getting coy.

But  the image  of  the  virile he-man with  multiple women hanging on  to his  lapels is  the  one that  Bollywood  heroes  love to propagate. Metro, hetero….Long before these new-age definitions of virility crept up  Dharmendra was linked  with almost every actress he worked with. On the sets his cronies (that’s what the friends were called during those days)  would turn the pages of film  glossies and point at various actresses. The garam  actor would either nod or shake his head in the negative.

Such  amorous anecdotes  go  well with the image  of the True Hero that Bollywood loves to propagate. To Akshay’s credit, he’s at least honest about keeping up with ancient definitions of machismo. When Vishal Bhardwaj had gone to Akshay with Macbeth, the star  found the character to be un-heroic.
Now that’s what I call carrying a Shakespearean tragedy too far!

Some years ago  when  Rituparno Ghosh  offered him the aforementioned roles, Akshay baulked.  Poor Ritu went scampering home to Kolkata while we in Bollywood had  to  wait for the non-star actor Sanjay Suri to play the first such hero in  Onirban’s beautiful My Brother Nikhil. Is it a sign  of Hindi cinema  finally maturing?  Let’s not uncork the bubbly just yet. It would take maybe another millennium  for Hindi film heroes to actually delve into themes of dark, alternate sexuality. Before we forget…Dharmendra was the first superstar of Bollywood who took his shirt off on screen …Others in those times wouldn’t dare. Paunch  showed. Then there was Feroz Khan who was the first one to get into a bathing suit on screen. Luckily  there was a beach around.

It’s  exciting to see the changing mores onscreen. But  off it? Come off it! By and large our film heroes remain inhibited by their images. They would rather be defined by their publicists’ wisdom  than the persons they are when they peel off their masks at night.  “Problem  is, our heroes don’t peel  off their masks even at nights,”  a happily married actress told me . “They go on believing they’re the Casanovas and Don Juans that they read and see themselves as being even when no camera is watching them. Some of the so-called studs of our industry are actually soggy noodles.” She names  one very major star known for his ladies’ man reputation and also  for regaling his friends with inside details on his score-board. “No one can  guess this.
But this macho star is a terrible lover.”

He isn’t alone.  If we make list with two headings --‘Posturing’ and ‘Prowess’ we’ll have a  Houseful board outside the former flank in no time at all. There’s this notorious case of a  young South-based music composer who was closely associated with Ram Gopal Varma  for a few years. This man was seen  in  the company  of some  of the most stunning actresses in Bollywood. But the ladies’ man reputation was punctured when a very outspoken crooner who tried to form an intimate relationship with the musician, blurted out, “But he can’t perform! The dreamy artistic  man’s image is all in his head.”

Of course there’s the other truth. ..there always is.  Some  of the most devoted married actors  sow their seeds so far and wide  we would need  an archaeologist to trace their chromosomes. A model-turned-actor who holds his very beautiful wife’s hand in all public places has her tacit consent to perform even when the cameras are switched off. “Look, I know my husband is terribly  attractive.  When he works with these heroines they’re bound to throw themselves at him.  Why not just accept the truth about his life and move on?” she  once told a  close friend.  It’s like the old-man of letters,   Khushwant Singh who spoke with a wink about hordes of ladies. But never slept a wink with them.