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Bollywood's seriously flawed stars

Last updated on: February 10, 2010 10:32 IST

Image: A scene from My Name is Khan

Who says our actors all play hep, designer roles?

Nope, when it comes to awards Indian cinema's quite like Hollywood, and there's no better way to garner critical applause than slip into the role of a disabled character.

Nowadays, Bollywood seems intrigued by mental disorders rather than just physical handicaps. Here's a look at some recent on-screen disabilities:

SRK -- My Name Is Khan

In Karan Johar's latest film, Shah Rukh Khan plays a man with Asperger's Syndrome, a kind of autism. It manifests itself outwardly by sufferers showing marked social awkwardness, and repetitive, even literal, behavorial patterns.

Are you looking forward to My Name is Khan this Friday? Tell us!

Darsheel -- Taare Zameen Par

Image: A scene from Taare Zameen Par

Aamir Khan's directorial debut saw Darsheel Safary as a young boy unable to 'construct' words correctly, to put letters in the right order.

 

Dyslexia awareness came to the fore and indeed, became mainstream, with this solid directorial debut.

Aamir -- Ghajini

Image: A scene from Ghajini

In Ghajini -- a badly watered-down take on Christopher Nolan's Memento -- Aamir Khan plays a man with anterograde amnesia, leading to short term memory loss.

 

It's especially tricky for the protagonist considering he's trying to avenge his dead wife, and has to tattoo what he remembers onto his body.

Kajol -- U Me Aur Hum

Image: A scene from U Me Aur Hum

Ajay Devgan's peculiarly titled directorial debut saw Kajol as an Alzheimer's patient. Her character starts out simply forgetful, but as the condition intensifies, she stops recognising faces and people.

 

In one chilling scene, she forgets she's given birth to a baby.

Salman -- Tere Naam

Image: A scene from Tere Naam

In Satish Kaushik's smash hit, Salman plays a rough college layabout given to bullying. He falls in love with the daughter of a priest, but gets into a fight and is beaten up so bad he loses his mind.

 

Many attempts are made to cure him but the character has to be institutionalised.

Anil Kapoor -- Yuvraaj

Image: A scene from Yuvraaj

Subhash Ghai's Yuvraaj sees Anil Kapoor borrowing heavily from Dustin Hoffman's performance in Rainman.

 

The actor plays an autistic savant, a man brilliant with music but excessively childlike in demeanour.

Hrithik Roshan -- Koi Mil Gaya

Image: A scene from Koi Mil Gaya

Rakesh Roshan director son Hrithik right into the megabucks with this ET-inspired film about an alien.

 

Hrithik's character is a developmentally disabled youth who thinks like a little child as opposed to the muscular adult he is. But all he needs is some out of this world loving.

Vidya Balan -- Bhool Bhulaiyya

Image: A scene from Bhool Bhulaiyya

The only ghost in Priyadarshan's Bhool Bhulaiyya is leading lady Vidya Balan himself.

 

Seen mostly as the victimised Avni, the character suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder lives a double life believing herself to be the long-dead Manjulika.

Amitabh Bachchan -- Paa

Image: A scene from Paa

Balki's Paa featured Amitabh Bachchan as the illegitimate child born to Vidya Balan and Abhishek Bachchan, a child diagnosed with the rare genetic defect of progeria.

 

Cinematic liberties aside, Amitabh impressed in the role of Auro, the 12-year-old hero.

Amitabh Bachchan -- Black

Image: A scene from Black

Black was focussed strongly on leading lady Rani Mukerji's blind, deaf and mute character, but Bachchan as her curmudgeonly teacher and guide plays an elderly alcoholic who is eventually struck by Alzheimer's Disease.

 

The symptoms shown in the film may be questionable, but Bachchan won the Best Actor prize at the National Awards that year.