Movie heroes in the West have come a long way – today many of the heroes are flawed, making them at once more realistic and more appealing. Our South Asian heroes – in print and onscreen – are generally still larger-than-life depictions. They are good hearted and righteous with strong values and are also unashamedly romantic. This clearly works as box office domination by Shahrukh, Salman and Amir proves. To add to their long list of virtues they are also impossibly handsome, like Hrithik and the newest heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor. But are these heroes realistic? Should we be moving to more realism and depicting more nuanced characters through popular culture?
7 replies on “Tu Mera Hero”
🙂 When I was a teenager I would settle for none less than the Big B and He still is the Epitome for me….but as I grew up and started to see and enjoy the Grey areas of life the heroes I liked and still like are Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar and the like , SRK and Salman are ok, Amir is fab in all ways, Hrithik Roshan with his chiselled looks and dancing style to die for, amongst the newer lot Ranbir Kapur is good.Heading back to history- Dilip Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Gurudutt, Shashi Kapur – so many of them….so all in all a whole mix across from the goregous hunk variety upto the charismatic down to earth types…a Hero should come in all hues-same as life…
South Indian movies, especially the ones from the Tamil film industry, are breaking that stereotype, Mamun. Look at Dhanush (Kolaveri?) He has none of the qualities of a typical hero, but still he is a hearththrob for many women, me included :). He can act like a psycho, a cock fighter, a sanyasi, a small time crook, and get away with all the roles. Vikram likewise has made a name for himself taking on roles of a mentally disturbed, a blind person, so on and so forth. In fact the newer heroes coming into the Tamil industry are no longer averse to experimenting with their roles. A hero today is no longer required to be a macho or larger than life for the audience to accept him.
That being said, larger than life heroes still have a following. We all like them, for it is with them that we are able to escape into the world of fantasy, isn’t it? Like Shahrukh of Kal Ho Na Ho, Salman of Dabangg, Aamir of Ghajini. Like Dev of Gandharva!
If you like escapism…and I do… then larger than life heroes are as necessary as impossibly airbrushed, zero size heroines….that said, yes the scope for the ‘hatke’/ the off beat/ the quirky charmer is larger today than ever before. But drama thrives on the exaggerated, the blacks and whites, not so much the realistic greys!
I have always loved heroes who have a gentle streak in them. Amol Palekar is one of my favourite heroes actually. I also love larger than life heroes who play down-to-earth characters. For example, Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Rab ne bana di jodi’ is not shah rukh khan that you see in all movies. Dharmendra in ‘Anupama’ and ‘Satyakam’ is not your ‘Garam Dharam’. I also love Saif Ali Khan in Parineeta. He was splendid.
Well, I think today’s women are more willing to accept flawed men as on-screen heroes. In fact there have been films in Telugu showcasing this, and they’ve been successful. And yes, a hero with flaws does make him somehow more exciting!
Doesn’t it? And, the flawed hero can be bald, short and still be a hero (though he can’t be overweight!!), while women MUST be hot. Mamun said it all.
Well isn’t the whole point of being a hero that they should be good looking? We don’t and won’t settle for less than hot women.