There's something appealing about heroes masquerading as men in uniform. Be it the khakis worn by Bollywood hero Salman Khan in Dabangg (Fearless) or the navy suit that actor Shahid Kapoor steps into in his forthcoming sweeping saga Mausam (Seasons), the actors are instantly transformed into that all-conquering personalities.
Joining the uniform-clad is actor Ajay Devgn in Singham, releasing in the UAE today. Here's tabloid!'s salute to all those Bollywood hunks who rocked the uniformed look:
Star: Shahid Kapoor
Film: Mausam (September 15, 2011)
He's Bollywood's diminutive stud with a baby face to boot. So imagine our surprise when Kapoor unveiled his new avatar as the commanding air force officer in his father's production Mausam.
Though we're not crazy about his reed-thin moustache, we like the way he walked the walk and talked the talk of an Indian Air Force officer. So much so that a prominent TV host even requested the Jab We Met star to attend her chat show in that uniform. IAF officials, however, shot down the request and said the uniform can be worn by the civilian star only while he's filming.
Star: Salman Khan
Film: Dabangg (2010)
His khaki pants might have been a bit too tight for comfort, but who's complaining? Khan as the lovable Chulbul Pandey, a corrupt cop from Uttar Pradesh, is single-handedly responsible for the resurgence of actors wanting to be in uniform.
Apparently every Bollywood hunk worth his salt is clamouring for a similar role. Actors Sanjay Dutt, Sonu Sood and Aamir Khan have already snagged theirs. Wonder when will Shah Rukh join the league.
Star: Akshay Kumar
Film: Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994)
We wonder whether it's time for a khaki-intervention. Considering his latest flicks including Tees Maar Khan and Patiala House have been box-office duds, we think it's a good idea to return to his cynical cop routine.
In the 1994 blockbuster, Kumar hit box office gold as the fuming, I-am-better-than-you inspector Karan. His side-kick Saif Ali Khan as the star who shadows Karan to learn more about playing a cop in reel life played the perfect foil.
Here's hoping that Kumar will take a leaf from his own career and charge ahead with guns blazing.
Star: Anil Kapoor
Film: Pukar (2000)
Keep your tissues handy for this one. Kapoor, who played Major Jaidev Rajvansh, a noble army personnel who is betrayed by his closest ally, gave one of the finest performances in his career. This dark espionage thriller had everything going for it — a man in uniform, a jealous friend and a lover in danger.
The highlight of this film: the scene in which Kapoor is court marshalled and stripped off his duties.
Film: Rang De Basanti (2006)
According to the grapevine, Shah Rukh Khan was the first choice for the role of Indian Air Force Lieutenant Rathod, which eventually went to South Indian actor Madhavan. But Khan's rejection proved to be Madhavan's gain. The latter proved that it's not the length of the role that matters, but the impact he leaves behind.
Despite his lack of screen time, Madhavan managed to hold his own in the company of stellar talent such as Aamir Khan and Sharman Joshi.
Star: Shah Rukh Khan
Film: Veer Zara (2004) and Main Hoon Na (2003)
There was something endearing about Shah Rukh Khan playing a fearless Indian army officer who goes undercover as a college graduate in the 2003 blockbuster Main Hoon Na. He topped up this act the following year by playing the noble Indian Air Force Officer Veer Pratap Singh in the star-crossed romance Veer Zaara.
This film proved that men in uniforms always keep their word — be it to their country or to their women.
In the beginning...
Star: Amitabh Bachchan
Film: Zanjeer (1973)
This role of the honest cop inspector Vijay propelled Bachchan into A-league bracket and earned him the label "angry young man".
Suffice to say the scene in which he has a face-off with the local gambling den owner Pran established Bachchan as the ultimate law-enforcement officer with a booming voice.
Let's bow to the hero who started it all.