So, this thing was posted 3 days ago, and all sorts of people told me I HAD to watch it, but I didn’t do it until just now, because I was very busy working and then immediately going to the theater and seeing Fan again. But now that I have, I am just as fascinated as everyone told me I would be!
Here’s the actual video:
The whole thing is fascinating, but there were a few things that I found extra interesting. First, Yash Raj studios’ make-up room has huge billboard size images from their movies leaning against the walls? Or was that just like a rehearsal space they have set up and they were doing the make-up there because so many people had to crowd in? Either way, where can I get a huge blow-up picture of Sridevi from Chandni?
Secondly, I really liked how Greg Cannon approached it! He clearly had no idea who Shahrukh was, or why this was such a big deal, or anything like that. But he approached it as a job and a challenge and he respected his collaborators as fellow artists. There was no patronizing “ooo, the little Indian film industry thinks they are grown up! How cute!” kind of attitude. Like, in Inner/Outer World of Shahrukh, you see him visiting a dubbing studio in LA to do voice-over work for The Incredibles, and the guy who is giving him the tour clearly is thinking of him as just some random actor who’s going to be all impressed to see Pixar, and the inside of a dubbing booth, and all of that. I mean, he’s professional, but he doesn’t really seem respectful. Whereas Greg Cannon seemed completely open to their ideas, and treated by Shahrukh and Maneesh Sharma as his superiors.
But mostly, I was really interested by the two points that the director and Shahrukh both seemed to be working hard to communicate to Greg Cannon. First, that Gaurav couldn’t just look younger in a general way, he HAD to look similar to how Shahrukh himself actually looked at that age. Not exactly the same, but based on that, rather than on how Shahrukh looks now. And it wasn’t because it would just be easier to do or more natural looking or anything, it was because the audience for the film would have in their heads how Shahrukh looked at that age, and it wouldn’t look “right” to them unless it matched a little bit. And in the same way, that a “lookalike” would HAVE to have the dimples, and the hair, because otherwise no one would believe Gaurav as a “lookalike” since we in the audience for the film, and the audience onscreen for his act, wouldn’t find it believable otherwise. That Greg came in not realizing just how well known Shahrukh’s face is in India and therefore what a unique challenge it is to try to make it unrecognizable but still familiar.
And the second thing I found interesting, was Shahrukh talking about what parts of his face he needed to keep mobile, in order to be able to act. And that Greg respected that and worked around his restrictions. It hadn’t occurred to me in quite this way before, how an actor’s face is their instrument, and how they have to know it inside and out, and exactly what effects it can have. Again, props to Greg Cannon for respecting and listening to those concerns! Because that performance really is amazing, and a lot of it is down to Shahrukh’s little micro-expressions, that he might not have been able to do if they had used the full range of prosthetics.