Singer Katy Perry recently inked a Sanskrit phrase onto her arm, in the memory of her engagement in India. While Indian scripts have always been a big hit with foreign celebrities (remember David Beckham’s ‘Victoria’ tattoo?), we asked tattoo artists what Bollywood is obsessing over these days.
Aalim Hakim, whose Hakim’s Aalim studio has designed many star tattoos, says, “I would say that names are very popular with celebrities. Most of them get the names of their children or spouses tattooed.”
Recent case in point — Sussanne Roshan got her actor husband’s name, Hrithik, tattooed onto her forearm in the Elvish script. In the design, his name is protected by two angel wings. “Many celebrities like to get their kids’ names. Actor Arjun Rampal has his daughters’ names on his arms, and we have recently created something else for him,” says Alwyn Alva of Al’s Tattoo Parlour.
Lovers come next on the list as filmi folk boldly proclaim their love for their partners in permanent ink… even if the relationship may not be so permanent.
“Amrita Arora’s former boyfriend, Usman, got her name tattooed onto his forearm along with the time and date that they first met on,” reveals Hakim. “They’re not together now, but the tattoo hasn’t been removed yet.”
He also created the infamous Kareena tattoo for Saif Ali Khan: “The plan was to put it on his upper arm. We were one minute away from starting on the tattoo, when he changed his mind and asked for it on his forearm. Now tons of people come in asking for similar tattoos.”
Religion maybe a touchy topic in India, but Bollywood isn’t shy about spiritual tattoos. “We may think that celebrities are fools, but they are the ones who do the maximum research before getting themselves inked. Not only are they constantly in the spotlight, but they are also surrounded by a lot of people who constantly give them opinions,” insists Hakim.
Ajay Devgn’s Shiva tattoo and Esha Deol’s Sanskrit shloka are some spiritual tattoo instances. But Bollywood’s king of ink is undoubtedly Sanjay Dutt. “He has a very impressive tattoo collection,” mentions Alva. Hakim confirms it, saying, “Sanju is addicted to needles. He have to control him sometimes because he wants to get three tattoos done at once. Funnily enough, he was scared of needles when he first came to us.”
Dutt apparently has a penchant for Yakuza designs and is planning on covering his arm with a tattoo sleeve in the Japanese art form. Reveals Hakim, “He wants to embellish a Simba tattoo that he is not happy with. We have worked on more ideas for him. Now everything just depends on when he has the time to get the tattoos done.”