Everyone’s talking about the box-office records of Shah Rukh Khan’s superhero-fantasy adventure, RA.One. What few know is that Arjun Rampal, who plays the title role in the film, has quietly walked into the record books with the world’s longest tattoo.
Bollywood’s newest baddie wears a tattoo that runs from his head to heels and plays a significant part in transfer of power in the film. Six-feet long, the tattoo was integral to Arjun’s look. And it gave him as much stress as the three-inch solid rubber bodysuit. If it took him 20 minutes to squeeze into the bodysuit and 40 minutes to get out of it, then getting the tattoo took all of two hours, every day. It meant coming on the sets before everyone else and leaving late since it took another two hours to get it off. "But it was worth the effort," smiles Arjun, having just learnt that he’s broken Ralph Fiennes tattoo record in Red Dragon (2002).
Like Arjun, who lost 1.2 per cent body fat, around six kilos and built plenty of muscles through a high-protein diet to play the robot menace, Fiennes put on 15 pounds of muscle to play Francis Dolarhyde in the 2002 thriller that is a prequel to Anthony Hopkin’s Oscar-winning film, The Silence Of The Lambs (1991). Nicknamed the Tooth Fairy, Dolarhyde kills on full-moon nights on the orders of an alternate personality. The tattoo down his back was integral to the plot and took the Hollywood star eight hours to get etched.
With RA.One having taken a flying start, Arjun is now gearing up for his talk show on Star World that attempts to change loyal critics into loyal fans.
“On Facebook and Twitter, I’ve come across several opinionated people who, having watched you and read about you, have decided that they don’t like you. Having faced plenty of public criticism, I decided to give friends who’ve faced similar brickbats a chance to come face-to-face with their critics and win them over,” he smiles, adding in true ‘filmi’ style, “I’m going to put myself in the firing line first. The first episode of Love To Hate You will feature me.”
However, despite the contentious nature of the show, he’s determined not to let it turn into a free-for-all debate. “It’s a fun show and disagreements will never get too heated with me as a mediator. Even if we fail to change someone’s opinion, we’ll still go home happy,” he promises. The talk show will replace Simi Garewal’s India’s Most Desirable but Arjun insists it’s different and gives the channel credit for approaching him with an innovative idea: “I guess I was chosen because I have a certain comfort with celebrities from different walks of life and the common man is not intimidated by me.”