From Kamal Haasan in Chachi 420 to Govinda in Aunty No 1, some male actors have done a splendid job when they dressed as women top suit the films' storylines. The fashion of cross-dressing in films seems to have made a comeback now, what with comedian Sunil Grover playing Gutthi in TV serial Comedy Nights with Kapil to playing Chutki in his latest serial, Mad in India.
The bug seems to have caught on, with Punjabi actors also keen to portray the very complex natures of women as close to reality as possible. The latest is singer-turned-actor Babbal Rai, who plays Pinky Charra in the upcoming Punjabi film Mr & Mrs 420. "I must be one of the few, perhaps the first, to play a woman in a Punjabi film," smiles the man whose songs Australian Challa and Akh Teri did well.
Asked if he had been inspired by Gutthi, Babbal denies, saying, "I wish I had seen Gutthi before starting to film. But, my scenes had already been shot before Gutthi became popular. I can tell you it's very hard to play a woman. I had to lose weight, get waxing done regularly, take care of my skin and put make-up for hours," he says, almost relieved he doesn't have to do it anymore.
No wonder then, Babbal says he has started respecting women more now that he knows how tough the maintenance is. "Now I know how difficult it is to look beautiful. Men should not complain if their lady is getting late while dressing up. I couldn't even fit in the wig, it irritated me so much," he smiles.
Interestingly, Babbal has also dubbed for his character, saying he was initially a little hesitant to play a girl, considering his image amongst his female fans.