As he gears up to play an Air Force pilot in his new film Mausam, Shahid Kapoor can learn a thing or two from these actors who have played men-in-uniform with near perfection.
Film: Lakshya, 2004
In the film, loosely based on the events of the 1999 Kargil war, Hrithik plays Lt Karan Shergill who leads his team to victory over Pakistani cops. The actor worked extremely hard on his looks and even got a crew cut, besides building an army man’s body. Hrithik looked so real that he got mistaken for a gentleman cadet by senior officers while shooting in the Indian military Academy in Dehradun. “I prepared myself by reading books on Kargil war. We also went through boot camp and obstacle course training,” he says.
Shah Rukh Khan
Film: Veer-Zaara, 2004
SRK plays Veer Pratap Singh, a valiant Air Force officer who leaves the force to pursue his love interest, Preity Zinta in Pakistan. In the film, which has the Indo-Pak conflict as its backdrop, Shah Rukh’s character ends up in a Pak prison on spying charges. SRK played his role to the T, adopting the mannerism and stern expression the officers are known for.
Saif Ali Khan
Film: LOC: Kargil, 2005
The multi-starrer film,
based on the Kargil conflict, has actors portraying real-life soldiers who fought the Kargil conflict. Khan played Shaheed Captain Anuj Nayyar, who was to marry his longtime sweetheart (played by Kareena Kapoor) a month after the war.
Saif’s portrayal of the cheerful but fiery Mahavir Chakra winner was appreciated by both masses and critics. After watching the film, Anuj’s close friends said that they couldn’t have thought of a better actor to play the role.
Film: Mausam, 2011, September 16
Shahid plays an Air Force pilot in his home production, directed by daddy Pankaj Kapur. Shahid’s look in the film is inspired by Hollywood actor Tom Cruise’s look in Top Gun, in which he played a Naval aviator. Shahid looks the part in a blazer with stripes and decorations and the iconic Ray Ban glasses. The actor also grew a moustache to make his character look authentic. His look has been styled by filmmaker Siddharth Anand’s wife Mamta.
“I play an Air Force officer but we never wanted to confuse the audience that it’s a war film. It is a love story,” the actor says.
Film: Border, 1997
Sunny Deol plays Major Kuldeep Singh Chanderi in this multi-starrer film that was based on the events of the 1971 Battle of Longewala. Deol’s portrayal of a patriotic but strict commanding officer of 23rd Punjab Regiment won him laurels from viewers who called his performance “credible” and “remarkable”. One of the most famous scenes in the film had Deol’s character sternly telling his wife (played by Tabu) that he would divorce her if she tried to stop his transfer to the front.