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Who’s afraid of a receding hairline?

Baldness is becoming a fashion statement of sorts for men. This look is coming in handy for those losing hair (and those who don’t believe in faking it with wigs or weaves), as well as men who...

india Updated: Jun 26, 2010 17:51 IST
Prachi Raturi Misra
Prachi Raturi Misra
Hindustan Times

BaldiesIf there is one romantic scene that has completely disappeared from Hindi movies (besides two flowers trying to peck each other) it is the hero lying on the heroine’s lap while she tenderly strokes his hair. Now there are two possible reasons for this: either the heroines can’t carry the hero’s weight on their size zero laps, or the heroes don’t have enough hair.

We’ll choose to settle for the latter. Haven’t you spotted many heroes wearing a shaven look or a really short crop of late? Think Abhishek Bachchan with his ‘Beera cut’ in Raavan, Saif Ali Khan in Omkara, Aamir Khan in Ghajini, Salman Khan in Tere Naam or Hrithik Roshan in Lakshya. Internationally too, many celebs and entertainers have been bald for years, including Patrick Stewart, Sean Connery, James Taylor, Ed Harris, Bruce Willis and Vin Diesel, to name a few.

Baldness is therefore becoming a fashion statement of sorts for men. And this look is coming in handy for those losing hair (and those who don’t believe in faking it with wigs or weaves), as well as men who opt for a shaven pate simply because it’s a hassle-free style that also looks sexy.

Clean and clear
Adman and theatre artist Bharat Dabholkar is one such individual who doesn’t seem to regret his decision to go bald. “Look at all the movies I bagged after I shaved off my hair,” he exclaims. When Dabholkar made his decision to shave it all off in 1995, there weren’t many places where men could get a stylish haircut, so he just got a hajaam home one day, and asked him to shave off his hair. “It was for simple kicks,” he says, adding, “But I quite liked how I looked, so I decided to keep the look.”

It’s been that way ever since, with Dabholkar shaving his head every morning to maintain this look. He says he prefers it for two reasons – it doesn’t let anybody know how old he is and it makes him feel rather confident and sexy.

Image consultant Yatan says he too has seen many more men opting for a shaven look these days. “There was a time when, in India, shaving one’s head meant you had lost someone, usually a close relative, in the family. But that’s not true anymore,” says Yatan. “The trend has been a huge hit internationally and it’s catching up here too.”

Hair-raising time
Comedian Vidur Kapur, nominated for a “NewNowNext” award by the MTV Network and a top 10 finalist on NY’s Funniest Stand Up in ’09 as part of the famous New York Comedy Festival, says his bald look is close to his heart. “I like the way I look. It’s actually hip to have a shaven head and a lot of men with shaven heads are way hotter than men with hair,” he explains.

However, the comedian took some time to warm up to this look. When he first started losing his hair in his early 20s, Kapur was horrified. “I had the most gorgeous silky, shiny brown straight hair and did not know how I would function without my hair as it was a key part of my image,” he admits. But a few years later, he was over his hang-up. “I was ready to embrace being bald, to develop a new identity and to be proud of it. Also, I was just at the beginning of my career as a stand up comedian, which requires being honest, vulnerable and comfortable in your own skin. One of the first things that I had to let go of was hiding my hair loss,” says Kapur.

And it’s not just creative men who are opting for a bald pate. Senior corporate trainer Sandip Misra, who started losing his hair in his first year of college, sports his clean cut look with style and ease. In fact, it comes in handy at work, says Misra, adding, “It gives me a mature look. I know my clients take me more seriously than they would if I had hair.”

Rohith Roy, a US-based executive, started losing his hair at 28 and decided to shave it all off by 30. He too finds that being bald in the corporate world is not a problem. “I think it does tend to make you look a bit more serious and that may not be a bad thing at work,” he says, adding, “However, if you have a large frame, it can make you look a bit like an ex-con. I once had a little old lady tell me she was sure I was going to do something bad to her when we got into the office elevator together!”

Take it all off

According to Yatan, carrying off a bald look needs a lot of confidence. And most clean-shaven souls we spoke to agreed with this. For sommelier Magandeep Singh, his close shaven look is all about who he is. For someone who had shoulder length hair in college and didn’t mind colouring it for fun, his loss of hair was all about taking it in his stride. “I think people who try a comb over are tying to fool no one other than themselves. If you are losing hair, just carry it off with style. I think I carry my look well. In fact, I never use my ‘haired’ pictures for any columns that I write. I’d never dream of a hair weave or wig.”

For Ashish Narayan Sharma who runs BNM, a popular music and book store in Dehradun, his crew cut happened because he was simply too busy with football and friends. So when he started losing his hair in his 20s, he decided to go for the clean-cut look. Today at 42, he says it’s his calling card. “I quite like the way I look. Everybody in town knows me like I am. Some friends call me sexy ganja. You’ve got to be comfortable with yourself, that is all that matters,” he says matter of factly.

Roy doesn’t think too differently when he says, “I think it is an honest look. I lost my hair. There was nothing I could do about it. My thinning hair was affecting my self-esteem a bit. So for me it was a good decision to shave it all off. This is a good policy for everything in life – if it is bothering you, causing you discomfort, then change it!”

One such convert to a bald pate is media professional Ashutosh Kumar. The 28-year-old, who likes to experiment with his look, sported a shaven look with a French cut for a few months, and says it did wonders for his self-esteem. “It gave me a sense of style and boosted my confidence to a different level,” exclaims Kumar, adding that although he’s now grown out his hair, he plans to shave it now and then for a “special effect”. So if you don’t have it, just flaunt it!

Women who dared
Actress Sigourney Weaver is probably one of the best known representatives of the feminine bald brigade. Demi Moore’s character in G.I. Jane also made the bald look her own. Our desi women haven’t shied from being razor friendly either. Remember Persis Khambata in Star Trek? Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das and of late, models Carol Gracias and Diandra Soares have all shown that a no-hair look can be great!

I was happy then and i am happy now: Harsha Bhogle
He was the simple bespectacled genius with a balding patch who looked as comfortable on a cricket field as he seemed writing columns. Then in February last year, cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle turned up in an all-new look for the unveiling of Team India’s new jersey in Mumbai. It took years off his age, the new tuft on his head, that is.

Bhogle says that he is very happy with the results. “When I first consulted my doctor, he informed me that the results would be very good. But I wasn’t very keen and vacillated for a few months. Then I asked myself what I would lose since I was very comfortable with the way I looked. I realised that in a worst case situation, the status quo would be maintained, with which I was fine.” But ask Bhogle if the new look is an attempt to stay ‘trendy’, and pat comes the reply, “I have never been in the style/fashion game. My world is a bit too real for that.”

But he is honest enough to admit that he doesn’t mind his new look either. “As a young man I had very long hair and I wondered how it would be to go back there. I was happy then and I am happy now. But it has gotten me very different kinds of reactions from people.”

Ultimately, for Bhogle, it’s all about being groomed. “I think looking groomed is a sign of respect towards the people you are with. By that I mean looking respectable, not made up,” says Bhogle, adding, “In my profession, it is important to look neat.” But the ace commentator has no comments about people who choose a shaved head over any other look. “To each his own,” he says. “I think a person must be comfortable with whatever he chooses to do and not really worry about what people think.”

First Published: Jun 26, 2010 17:10 IST