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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

twinkling twins

The exact point of time when twins invaded the entertainment industry is today shrouded in mystery – even Shakespeare succumbed to its charms: result –‘the Comedy of errors’. From time immemorial, twins have fascinated one and all. As they grow up, they land in awkward situations – continuously getting mistaken for each other. One has to bear the miseries and undergo punishment for the antics of the other.

In Bengali we had ‘Bhranti Bilash’ with the inimitable Uttam Kumar and Bhanu Bandopadhaya.
Twins see the light of day within a fraction of seconds of each other and, if both the twins belong to the same sex, problems are confounded. Dilip Kumar in ‘Ram and Shyam’, Hema Malini in ‘Seeta aur Geeta’, Sridevi in ‘Chalbaaz’ are some glittering examples.

Our Indian film makers were quick to pounce on the economic potentials of twins since one hero or heroine, doubling up as twins, could take care of hundred plus minutes duration of the complete film – hence, we started getting actors and actresses appearing in double roles. While one of the twins is virtue personified, the other is the reincarnation of evil – with a capital ‘E’. Invariably, they get separated in different circumstances; most popular location is some fair or the railway station. Occasionally, one of them is stolen by a villain. Once separated, they grow up in diametrically opposite environments – as a result, when they do come face to face after twenty years or so, they are unable to jump into each others arms. That scene is reserved for the last!!

There have been cases of twins who have defied medical logic – has anyone heard of a twin wincing with pain when his other half is getting beaten up somewhere else? Well, in our films, such actions are not uncommon – ‘Judwaa’ with Solomon Khan.

What prompts actors and actresses to opt for such roles?

A reason could be that, getting typecast in a particular groove they seek an outlet for their pent up energies, they wait for an opportunity to break free of the shackles, they want to experiment and try out something different. Relieve the monotony. Probably, that is a reason for an actor like Sanjeev Kumar performing in as many as nine different roles in one of his films – it gave a chance to the make-up boys also to try out their hands on handling exotic disguises.
Then we have had films when an actor intentionally takes up the part of a ‘supposed twin’ – Amitabh Bachhan did it in ‘Don’, Amol Palekar did it in ‘Gol Maal’. The script demanded it – hence, the audiences loved it.

Real life twins should have taken objection to such illogical portrayals – but, then, probably real life twins love such depictions. Who knows?

other interesting links:

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