When G Caffe presented all our beautiful leading ladies who dared to be bold in 100 years of Hindi cinema, it was asked – “What about the men who bared? Were they hot too?”
Is it boring to see the leading men in full sleeves and full pants while the ladies opposite them wear clinging, revealing, seductive chiffon saarees or short dresses! Isn’t that unfair! But some men did bare.
Actor Ayub Khan says Dara Singh is the one who epitomised masculinity by playing ‘Samson’ (1964) and was one of the first male actors who went topless on screen, and then everyone followed.
Did the beefcake then unleashed create a wave that rose sky-high in Hrithik Roshan’s debut ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’ (2000) or was it Dharmendra who pulled the strings in ‘Phool Aur Patthar’ (1966) catapulting the actor to stardom wherein his taking off shirt to cover Meena Kumari is still rated the highest on the pedestal!
It is another matter that now tearing off shirts have become common – by Salman Khan and Sunny Deol – whenever the actors face a challenging fight or do they use the occasion to flaunt their sex appeal.
Showing hairy chest has also been noticed vividly by ‘Jaanbaaz’ Anil Kapoor and Akshay Kumar so much so that there are people on social media identifying themselves as the latter’s chest waxer.
Urmila Lanba, a Hindi cinema lover, told G Caffe that Sunil Dutt was the first to walk out in swimming shorts in ‘Waqt’ (1965) and Dharmendra wore shorts in ‘Raja Jaani’ (1972). Feroz Khan also dared in Apradh (1972), Kashmakash (1973) and in Qurbani (1980).
So, men did go topless, wore swimsuits and showed of their bulge too. They did dare to bare.
In early cinema, men did not wear more than three fourth of the shorts or trousers and none went topless but story line of the movies now require newcomers to drop everything viz Neil Nitin Mukesh in ‘Jail’ (2009), Rahul Bose in ‘English August’ (1994) and Ranbir Kapoor in ‘Saawaria’ (2007).
But while some boys attempt to ignite female frenzy in their very first films or attempting a comeback (Did ‘Dard-e-Disco’ Shahrukh Khan take up the six-pack challenge in ‘Om Shanti Om’ to look younger than Ranbir Kapoor as their films released on the same day?), others do not look cool as was done by Tusshar Kapur in ‘Kya Super Cool Hain Hum’ as he imitated a pulse-racing John Abraham.
Are these the men who created history and made new fashions – the men who dared to bare and became the epitome of masculinity and glamour.
What about you? How often do you take your shirt off! Indeed, film director Vishal Bhardwaj has the tailpiece: “All the male stars I worked with had a problem barring Ajay Devgan, who was a cool guy. If you ask a guy to take off his shirt, his face drops as he has not exercised and is more concerned about his cuts, curves and muscles than girls who are more relaxed on this count.”