Here are some instances of performers going above and above to portray roles that were polar opposites of who they really were in movies and on-demand television.
In Taali, a popular OTT series developed by Arjun and Kartk, Sushmita Sen astounded us with her compelling depiction of transgender activist Shreegauri Sawant. Sushmita spent six months fully immersing herself in the screenplay to provide a towering, career-defining performance. She put on weight and improved her voice, diction, mannerisms, and body language. She even donned a “male guard” to get inside Ganesh’s skin and perfectly captured his gait in order to gently etch his life before becoming Gauri. She endured daily makeup sessions lasting more than two hours during the filming.
Amitabh Bachchan, who is about sixty, managed to impersonate a toddler in this unique R. Balki film. The actor transformed into Auro, a 12-year-old kid with progeria, a rare genetic illness that hastens ageing, with the use of prosthetics and make-up that at times required more than six hours. He also charmed the crowd with his wide-eyed innocence, guileless grin, and childlike demeanour while also exuding the experience of an experienced soul.
Maniesh Paul in a four-month period, put on 10 kg and then shed 15 kg to portray a con man who adopts several personas and different appearances to deceive others. Through a strict training routine and nutrition, he was able to go from a middle-aged man with a pot belly to a ripped bodybuilder.
Aamir portrayed a mid-forties college student in 3 Idiots, a thin, poor farmer in Lagaan, an amnesic killing machine in Gajini, and an ex-wrestling champion who was once a contender for an Olympic gold in Dangal. The difference between the two personas is astounding, and a BTS film showed how the actor lost additional weight over several months to develop the lean physique of a youthful Mahavir Phogat.
Bhumi Pednekar portrayed Sandhya, an academician hitched to a guy who cannot look past her weight and degrades her to the point that she leaves the marriage. Bhumi gained weight throughout the film’s production and was close to 90 kgs, defying the image of a picture-perfect debutante heroine in order to perform this part authentically.