Is cross-dressing the success mantra in Bollywood?

Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
4/8/2014 1:14:20 PM

When Amitabh Bachchan had done it, in LAAWARIS, cross dressing had been taken with a pinch of salt. But subsequently Govinda had developed as a sure shot template of success, resorting to it in scores of films during his heydays. Taking a leaf out of this module from the quiver of such peer, in the recent times Indian television has also undergone metamorphosis, more so after the phenomenal success of 'Comedy Nights with Kapil'- where not one but 2-3 characters appear cross dressed and have made it as a template of success for themselves in their acting career, as also have contributed in the success of the serial as well.


This was perhaps one of the reasons why when Sunil Grover decided to part ways with the phenomenally successful 'Comedy Nights with Kapil, to launch his own show- 'Mad In India' he also resorted to the character of 'Guthi' as the anchor.

Ali Asgar, who enacts the role of Dadi in Comedy Nights with Kapil or Kiku Sharda who enacts various roles like Palak, his mother etc., has made a mark for themselves in cross-dressed characters. If one were to go into the antiquity of theatrics and performances, Indian theatre or even Indian cinema was characterized by this tradition- known as Swang tradition- and it might be accidental or by design but it has revived the genre of performance of Swang. Who could forget the character from Mahabharata- Shikhandi who had played stellar role in the way the whole sequence of Mahabharata had panned out. As a matter of fact in the formative stages of Hindi cinema, it was the male actors who used to enact the role of female characters in scores of films in the black and white era.

CHECK OUT: BHOOTHNATH Amitabh Bachchan kisses Dadi on Kapil Sharma's Comedy Nights

The quotient of success of this template on television is owing probably to the fact that the male actors enacting the role of female can take the liberty of being lewd, bawdy, overtly being sexual and suggestive at times, the same kind of freedom in execution of such character could not have perhaps been possible where a female had been chosen to enact these characters. To illustrate the point, would a female actor- enacting the role of a Dadi- have been comfortable kissing the guests coming on show- as Ali Asgar is- and also the guests as well- who may have squirmed at being kissed on screen- but they do not- as they are aware that after all it is a male who is kissing them!

But the real challenge for these actors to unshackle the image that now they have cultivated and enact the roles in sync with their gender, i.e. male characters. The flourish with which they are enacting these roles would be a tough benchmark to stand up to, but as long as the sun is there they would continue to make the hay and enthrall the audience through their antics the world over. Indeed, from this perspective Indian television has risen to new heights as such preponderance of characters enacting roles - cross dressed- is a feat difficult to come by in other countries.