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Bollywood’s Most Famous Cross-Dressing Acts

Watching Ayushmann Khurrana play  Sita and Draupadi in  Dream  Girl  takes us back to the time when all female  characters in Indian cinema were played by men, as  women were not allowed to work in films. From the time cross-dressing acquired legitimacy when Dustin Hoffman and  Robin Williams donned  the dress in Tootsie and  Mrs Doubtfire. Here are the most famous  drag acts of Hindi cinema. 

1.     Amitabh Bachchan in  Laawaris: All hell broke  loose when  mega-star.  the indomitable Mr B donned  a Parsi woman’s look  for  the song  Mere angnein mein  tumhara  kya kaam hai at  the peak of his career. Forgetting that Indian theatre  and cinema has a  long tradition of crossdressing  moviegoers  attacked  Mr Bachchan  for  vulgarity and  crassness. As he told me,this was before it became fashionable for heroes  to assert their masculinity on screen by  showing off their feminine side.Macho ado about nothing.

2.     Kamal Haasan  In  Chachi 420:   A brazen  copy of  the Hollywood film Mrs Doubtfire  I would go as far as  to say  Kamal Haasan out-excelled Robin  Williams in  the original.Playing  his own daughter’s nanny in order to get access into seeing the  child after divorce ,Kamal created a  real character  and  not  a caricature of a woman. He  modeled  the character on  one of his own aunts.

3.     Rishi Kapoor, Paintal  in  Raffoo Chakkar: Another shameless copy, this  time  ripping off  Billy Wilder’s  1959 hit Some Like  It Hot about two  con-men  on the run from the mob disguised as  woman. While refraining  from comparing the  performances  in  the original with the  unofficial remake  I’d like to say one thing.  Rishi Kapoor was  prettier  than both Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon in  the original.

4.      Govinda In  Aunty No 1:  A  terrible terrible  remake  of  Mrs Doubtfire, this one had Govinda pulling out all stops as  everyone’s favourite  aunty. All sexed-up and raring to  glow, Govinda was  priceless in a useless  film.  When I  asked him if he had modeled his aunt act on anyone he knew Govinda has quipped. “Why any one  aunt? I know so many Auntijis who  are  like the one  I play.”

5.     Aamir Khan in Baazi:  Ashutosh Gowariker’s inglorious  beginnings  as  a  filmmaker  were  further  plagued  by plagiarism  .  In this  odd and  uneven  remake of  DiehardAamir , playing a cop , got into  the drag act to belt out Dole dole in an elaborately done dance  sequence. Aamir being Aamir he waxed his  chest  legs and made sure he  felt like  a woman.  All in vain since the film is  today forgotten even by  Gowariker.

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