Renowned Hollywood actor Katharine Hepburn once said, “Acting is a nice childish profession – pretending you’re someone else, and at the same time, selling yourself.” In other words, an actor should be articulate enough to be able to draw crowds towards the cinema halls. In Bollywood, whether you are able to ‘pretend’ someone else or not, you should be able to ‘sell’ yourself.

According to Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture, films run on only three aspects: “Entertainment, Entertainment and Entertainment.” Our Hindi film industry has for ages been looked down upon as a song-and-dance routine which is helmed by good-looking stars. And most often, there have been films which have failed to rake in moolah despite being rich in the content values. Our A-listers have often been criticised for using their stardom to run films which are sometimes short of quality content.

But this phenomenon is witnessing a drastic change. The advent of multiplex culture has put enormous pressure on the film production houses to brainstorm on projects which would draw larger crowds to the halls. Even the stars have begun to take their popularity seriously. You know it’s easier to attain stardom than to maintain it. So actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and several A-listers have been working hard to get into the skin of their roles.

A classic example of this is Aamir Khan, whose wrestling biopic Dangal continues its stellar show at the box office and is inching towards Rs 400 crore. And why not? We all know our Mr Perfectionist works damn hard to get into the skin of his character. His role involved the transition from being a fit wrestler to a beefed up coach. For this, Aamir underwent a rigorous workout regime to be able to justify transition in Mahavir Phogat’s life. Not only the workout, Aamir seems to have relentlessly practised speaking in Haryanvi which is reflected in the film. Just see this video.

If Aamir worked hard for Dangal, you should not ignore the meticulous hard work Shah Rukh Khan put in for Maneesh Sharma’s Fan. He played the double role of a star and a fan Gaurav Channa. Besides the makeup, the 51-year-old actor left no stone unturned to convince the viewers of his portrayal as the obsessive fan Gaurav. Although the film did not do well as expected, SRK’s hard work won him accolades.

When we are talking about both Shah Rukh and Aamir, how can Salman Khan be left behind? The actor underwent a rigorous workout regime to play the titular role of wrestler Sultan Ali Khan in Sultan.

Besides the three Khans, there is one actor whose preparation for the roles he plays needs a standing ovation. Ranveer Singh. Be it playing a Gujju lover Ram in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Maratha warrior Bajirao Ballal in Bajirao Mastani or Delhi guy Bittu Sharma in Band Baaja Baraat, Ranveer leaves no stone unturned to make his role worth remembering for.

When the male actors do everything to get into the skin of their characters, how can our leading ladies be left behind? Kangana Ranaut won accolades for her role of Haryanvi girl Datto in Tanu Weds Manu Returns. In an interview to DNA, she revealed how a tutor used to be present on the sets to help her with finessing the accent.

Besides Kangana, Filmfare Award winning actor Alia Bhatt, who donned the role of a Bihari migrant worker in drug abuse-hit Punjab, met hockey players and watched documentaries on drug menace. She also worked hard on perfecting the accent required for the film. Similarly, Deepika Padukone wooed us with thumri moves in Bajirao Mastani and will soon be seen performing traditional Rajasthani dance Ghoomar in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmavati. 

We all know how these efforts have paid rich dividends on silver screen. We surely hope our B-town stars continue to enthral us with their performances.

Also read: Why Kangana Ranaut’s snarky ‘nepotism’ remark on Karan Johar should not be taken lightly