With an annual income of $64.5 million in 2015, Dwayne The Rock Johnson became the highest paid actor in the world last year, according to Forbes. It wasn’t much later that he was also crowned as the Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.
The former WWE Superstar can safely be categorised in the balding class of gentlemen, if not the already-bald one. But what’s the first thing that India thinks when it comes to the folically challenged? Dr Batra!
Yes, we consider it as some sort of a disorder that takes away a little bit of your ‘manhood.’ That’s exactly the reason why we don’t encourage bald/balding men even on our big screens.
Ask a certain Akshaye Khanna, who featured in only his second film in half a decade with Sridevi’s Mom that released this Friday. Not that he’s a bad actor but one of the major reasons for him not being able to make it big in the industry was his receding hairline, unfortunately.
Coming back to Hollywood, it’s not the Baywatch actor who has been the only sparkling chrome dome in town. Other leading men like Vin Diesel and Jason Statham haven’t done too badly for themselves, both on the screen and off it.
And what about Bruce Willis?
And Billy Zane?
And even Tyrese Gibson?
But what does Bollywood have in response? Maybe a certain Mr Anupam Kher. But you don’t drool over him, do you? (We’d judge you if you did)
What’s also worth pointing out is that Bollywood actors hardly take up roles or scripts that require them to go bald, as compared to their Hollywood counterparts, which further deepens the roots of this culture against the beauty of baldness.
Barring Shahid Kapoor in Haider and Sanjay Dutt in the Agneepath remake, we are left with only the Akshay Kapoors of the world. Remember Alag?
On the other hand, there have been plenty of mainstream men from the West who’ve gladly shed their locks for roles, indicating the acceptance of the lack of hair as completely normal.
The legendary John Travolta shaved his head for the movie To Paris with Love, while Matt Damon also looked badass in Elysium. From the top of the head, Joseph Gordon-Levitt from 50/50 and Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch also come to mind.
Back home, many actors have gone under the knife to immediately vegetate their cue balls with hair the minute they see signs of increased hairfall. The list even includes A-listers like Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, an ageing Amitabh Bachchan and many more.
Agreed that everyone has a right to do whatever they want with their bodies, but what this is also leading to is intolerance towards baldness as a natural order of things.
And it translates big time into making or breaking Bollywood careers. With a list of great films despite his follical shortcomings by Bollywood standards, who knows where Akshaye Khanna could have been had it for denser hair!
It’s about time Bollywood normalises baldness on the screen, and maybe in turn help the society accept it better too.