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Bizarre things B-town actors had to learn on the job

bollywood Updated: Jun 23, 2012 16:38 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
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Thought being a Bollywood actor was all about fitting into designer garments and posing for shutterbugs? Well, if milking a cow and learning to thread eyebrows qualifies as glamourous, then maybe. From pole-dancing to pedicures, actors have had to learn a lot more than just their lines for roles.

1. Ayushmann Khurrana learnt threading and how to give pedicures for Vicky Donor (2012)
The actor attended a two-day workshop at a local salon to learn how to thread eyebrows for Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor. “It’s amazing how these people manoeuvre their hands and move their heads in sync. It calls into play all your co-ordination skills!” reminisces a still-awed Ayushmann. “I know how to, but I’m still unsure about shaping someone’s eyebrows, more so now when I’m out of practice. Manicures and pedicures are easier in comparison.”

2. Akshay Kumar and John Abraham Learnt pole-dancing for Desi Boyz (2011)
It was just a 30-second sequence in a song, but the oh-so-professional actors, Akshay Kumar and John Abraham, insisted on training in the dance form before the shoot. “They visited a few clubs in London and even jumped on stage to practice with real poles,” recalls director Rohit Dhawan. It was reported that Akshay spent five-six days learning the moves. Quips Rohit, “Pole dancing is not easy!”

3. Shahid Kapoor Flew an F-16 Super Viper for Mausam (2011)
The actor spent over a month training to co-pilot the jet. “I don’t think any other actor has flown an F-16. It was a huge honour,” asserts Shahid. Adds Sheetal Talwar who co-produced Pankaj Kapur’s directorial debut, “We wanted Shahid to experience flying a fighter plane. The F-16 Super Viper is not available in India otherwise.”

4. Priyanka Chopra Milked a cow for NDTV Greenathon (May, 2011)
The actor posted pictures of herself milking a cow on Twitter in May. Priyanka had also tweeted saying, “It’s a learning experience!”

5. Hrithik Roshan Learnt magic tricks for Guzaarish (2010)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali doesn’t believe in method acting. He just tells his actors what he wants, and he wanted Hrithik to learn some magic tricks to convincingly carry off his role. Says Sanjay, “I’m glad Hrithik has reached a stage in his career where he’s ready to surrender to a role.”

6. Randeep Hooda Learnt how to play a cello for Shooter (unreleased)
Randeep, who is known to be a method actor, is always open to learning additional skills. The actor was quoted saying, “I’m glad I got an opportunity to learn the cello.” Incidentally, to play a drunken police officer in Jannat 2, Randeep also apparently gulped a few pegs to get into character. Hic hic hooray!

7. Ranbir Kapoor Learnt sign language for Barfi! (unreleased)
Ranbir Kapoor, who plays a hearing-impaired character in Anurag Basu’s Barfi! didn’t have to go through a special drill for the role. The actor was quoted saying, “I had assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali on his film Black (2005) (in which Rani Mukerji’s character is deaf, mute and blind). I had got an opportunity to learn sign language.”

7 things overheard in the HT Café newsroom
If heard out of context, these HT Café-isms could get us into a lot of trouble

1. “I’ll take another 20 to do Kareena. I’ve already done Akshay. And yea, I’m not doing Vivek, dude; very tired. Also, how long are you going to take to do John? I have to leave soon.”
What we mean: The journalist will take some more time to submit the Kareena Kapoor story, while the Akshay Kumar story has been written. Question to copy-editor: How long will you take to edit the John Abraham story?

2.“I want Salman cut to 200 in the next 5 minutes!”
What we mean: The word count for the Salman Khan interview needs to be chopped asap!

3. “Amitabh Bachchan has been held for two days now.”
What we mean: The story was not published due to space constraints.

4. “Put Abhishek Bachchan in a box.”
What we mean: Take a cutout of Abhishek’s picture and place it in the text box.

5. “Dude, Sonakshi will get killed there.”
What we mean: The amount of space on the page will not do justice to the Sonakshi story.

6. “I’ll make sure I finish Hrithik tonight.”
What we mean: The story on Hrithik Roshan will be written at the end of the day.

7. “We need to shoot Preity again.”
What we mean: We need to get our photographers to shoot fresh pictures of Preity Zinta.