New Delhi: `Tragedy King` Dilip Kumar, `Angry Young Man` Amitabh Bachchan and `Jumping Jack` Jeetendra - ever wonder why new age Bollywood stars have no such tags. It`s difficult to pin them down to any label because they experiment not just in terms of scripts but also with their looks.
Take Shah Rukh Khan, for instance. He returned to his classic romantic hero avatar only after seven years for ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’. And Akshay Kumar, who built his forte as an action star, made a comeback as `dhishoom dhishoom` star also after some years with ‘Rowdy Rathore’.
"Earlier, if an actor became popular in a particular genre of the film, they were offered similar kinds of roles every time, which gave rise to such titles. I guess actors today are experimenting a lot," explained film historian SMM Ausaja.
"Perceptions have changed now. The actors are giving a lot of attention to the script, their look in the film, which is why they don`t get typecast," Ausaja told reporters.
The current breed of actors like Aamir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Imran Khan and John Abraham bear him out. They are doing anything and everything to keep their filmography varied and experimental.
Very different indeed from yesteryear actors.
While Jeetendra`s distinct dancing style earned him the Jumping Jack title, Dharmendra`s love for action sequences landed him the tag of Bollywood`s He-Man. Legendary Guru Dutt was called Matinee Idol, and Dilip Kumar`s repeated portrayal of a doomed lover made him Bollywood`s Tragedy King.
Amitabh`s power-packed and action-oriented performances made him the Angry Young Man. And Mithun Chakraborty revolutionised the way actors grooved and was tagged the Dancing Star.
Then came in Shah Rukh, who changed the way romance was portrayed on screen. With most of his hits being romances, he came to be known as the King of Romance. But he moved away from the label, trying to do different things, like playing a superhero in "Ra.One" or by recasting the lover profile.
He said he has tried to portray the role of a lover boy in a different way, each time.
The actor feels these titles are a way to simplify things.
"We bracket everything very quickly. Like a lover boy, action hero, romantic hero...We always look for genres to simplify things," said Shah Rukh.
"But I am happy that I got a chance to work with so many actors, who taught me so much and I got to perform the role of a lover boy in a different way. Every time I could add something new to it and entertain people," he added.
According to filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, tags are mere creations by the media. Since there were few actors earlier, it was easy to label them into specific genres.
"These kind of labels are all media generated. These labels were created by the media, may be without the willingness of these stars. During those days (yesteryear era), we didn`t have too much entertainment media, so there was very little choice and they created the label," Bhatt told reporters.
"Over the years things have changed and market has taken over in numbers. Bollywood got some respectability and the huge weekend collections changed the ball game. And these labels have vanished," he added.
Actors are now not just happy expanding their expertise in handling different roles but are also entering the music scene, production scene and going behind the camera.