We swoon, go gaga, drool, go fluttery-eyed and, quite simply, adore their every move. Indian cinema’s bachelors always have it good no matter what the era. Whether they are appreciated on-screen or admired during a forthcoming film’s promotional campaign, all these hunky men need to do is smile and they would have prospective girls (and guys) literally falling at their feet. Just a few days ago GQ India hosted the Men of the Year Awards 2011 and whilst reading some of their tweets from the red carpet as the male protagonists of the industry arrived at the event, I found myself thinking about what makes a man desirable to the Bollywood audiences. I very quickly discovered that there is no set answer to the question and it, in fact, depends very much on the gentleman in question. Some might have a sexy physique (the kind you just want to drool at all day) and others may have an formidable charisma that sets them apart… but whatever their sex appeal or USP might be, it works in a way that makes that particular actor an object of desire. Here begins my look at the most eligible bachelors of the Bollywood industry and what makes them deserve that “eligible” tag…
Arguably the most popular of the list, John Abraham‘s desirability is (in most eyes) sky high. With muscles to give even the most well-toned male athlete a run for his money and a smile enough to make even the weakest go weak at the knees, Abraham is very much seen as the perfect combination of humility and sexiness. With an adorable lop-sided smile that lights up the screen and a soft-spoken nature, he may not have achieved quite the same in cinematic success as his counterparts can boast of but he definitely outdoes them all in most if not all of the desirability stakes. The stakes have increased of late with his self-admitted split with long-term girlfriend Bipasha Basu so my advice would be… Go get him girls!
It has been rumoured of late that Ms Basu has recently taken a liking to a younger man, namely a certain chocolate boy Shahid Kapoor. An actor who got his due perhaps a little later than he should have in his career, Kapoor can be seen as the sort of guy a girl would feel more than comfortable taking home to meet her parents. He very much ticks all of the relevant boxes when it comes to the ‘nice, Indian boy’ type and his ability to switch from a casual to a super-slick look in enviable ease is one hell of a great plus point! The actor is becoming a slow and steady favourite with the audiences as his acting abilities are now being praised even if a given project he is involved in doesn’t do too well. It would be wrong to class him as a rising star but if this one makes the right choices, he’s sure to rule out hearts and our screens for a long time to come!
The next actor of the list is the latter’s namesake by surname and can be classed as coming from Bollywood royalty no less. Ranbir Kapoor qualifies as an eligible bachelor even if you take away his tall-dark-and-handsome exterior, his obvious acting talent and his flirty (and controversial) persona. His status within the film fraternity would have been well-rooted even if he hadn’t chosen to base his career in Bollywood. Luckily for the audiences, Kapoor decided to unleash himself on the world of Indian cinema and there’s been no looking back. His desirability lies in his ease of character as he comes across as the easily likeable kind who could be your most annoying male friend and your most trusted confidante all rolled into one. Almost everything about him makes me smile and the one character he’s played that touches my heart over and over is Sid in Wake Up Sid. I somehow picture the real Ranbir Kapoor to mirror the innocence, immaturity and mischievousness his character possesses but his various TV appearances tell me he is very loyal, family-oriented and has a straight-faced sense of humour. He is one actor who, I feel, will (and probably already has done) take Bollywood into generation next.
From one star-son to another; Rahul Khanna is the next on my list. With a smile that could make any heart melt and a persona which exudes intelligence and elegance in a way that can’t be matched by many actors of this generation, Khanna is often overlooked because his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it roles in his most recent films. I am sure many will wonder what makes him so popular to include in this list but I will argue this every time because Khanna’s popularity, in an odd way, lies in the fact that he isn’t on our screens and in front of our faces 24/7. Khanna remains a firm favourite for women who look towards a man who is astutely hilarious and polite but also down-to-earth. Khanna would make great company, no matter the occasion… and he’s pretty cute too! So here’s a plea to all those budding directors and producers out there to give Khanna a role which makes him stand out as a thinking woman’s sex symbol. Hold on… doesn’t he already hold that tag? Hmmm…
Perhaps the newest and freshest sex symbol of them all is Ranveer Singh. The actor only has the one film to his name so far and he’s already created such a big impact in the world of Indian cinema. Singh’s desirability is, most definitely, in his candidness. The signature Punjabi ghamand, the dashing smile, the kind of confidence that never falters; Singh’s entertainment factor is sky high. He is an actor who has almost come out of nowhere and landed in an industry which he couldn’t fit more perfectly into. Singh comes across as comfortable in his own skin and he makes no qualms about the way he is. This quality, coupled with his very natural ability to charm those around him, is what makes him this list’s youngest eligible bachelor. Singh is sure to continue wowing the audiences with his forthcoming films and may his career reach heights he’s only ever dreamt of!
An actor who i’m sure is all set to wow us in his role in Don 2, Kunal Kapoor is one without whom this list would be incomplete. He is another star who needs some good, meaty roles to help him remain at the forefront and hopefully his appearance in Don 2 with a certain King Khan will make this a reality. Kapoor is desirable is so many ways and those curly locks mark a style-statement which only he can carry off. Kapoor’s light-hearted but dependable self puts him out there as probably one of the most dateable men in the film fraternity today. His most noted role in my mind to date is that in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and this is the kind of alluring personality I imagine him to be in real life. Kapoor can also be branded as one of the most well-dressed males too what with being a fitness freak somewhat and this ensures that he has ‘sexy’ written all over his style!
If I had to choose the best-dressed actors of today, this one almost tops my choice. He’s very nearly married but technically, the lack of a certificate means he’s still very much a bachelor; I’m referring to none other than Bebo’s beau and newly crowned Nawaab, Saif Ali Khan. Khan has the whole British-but-Indian and Eastern-but-also-very-Western balance perfected somewhat. Although one of the eldest of the selection, Khan’s charisma is very much in the way he carries himself. The star-son can sometimes come across as a bit prim-and-proper in his manner and although this could be seen as a bad thing, on the whole, it makes him stand out. His devilishly good looks and a sense of humour that he’s made his signature style are enough to make him desirable to even the younger members of the audiences. Bebo was sure to have fallen for his charms in the same way and the two are known to believe that they are the loves’ of each others’ lives. A perfect love story if ever there was one… a far cry from ‘6 din, ladki in’ of Kal Ho Naa Ho fame.
The next of the chosen few is a personality who is an actor but for who music should run in his blood. Neil Nitin Mukesh is, of course, the legendary Mukesh’s grandson. Mukesh’s USP, funnily enough, isn’t in his very much in-tune singing voice but more in his very non-Asian appearing outward features. Although the actor hasn’t enjoyed much box office success, he has not gone unnoticed by the audiences. Known for a style that is a little unconventional, Mukesh brings to Bollywood everything that a typical Bollywood hot-blooded bachelor isn’t known for and this is perhaps what sets him apart. He started his career with a role encompassing largely negative shades and has since been waiting for a golden role which will prove that his foray into acting wasn’t a mistake. His golden-coloured curly hair and fair and handsome looks remain his ‘Wow’ factor.
You could call it saving the best until last because he is the one that’s ruled the hearts of generations of women (and men) for well over a decade. Salman Khan may be the most senior in my last but he is loved even today by the young ones. Khan very easily slots into so many categories for those who were at an impressionable age when he was starting out in his career (cue Maine Pyar Kiya‘s Prem) and he fits into a similar if not the same set of shoes for those in their teens now (cue Dabangg). Khan’s speciality is not in his bad-boy image and neither is it in his ‘cool dude’ attitude. Khan has, quite frankly, controversy written all over his persona and perhaps this can be seen as the one thing that draws people to him as if he were a magnet. He remains one of the hottest actors within his generation and the establishment of his charitiable trust, ‘Being Human’, signifies that he also has a heart of gold. Of late, Khan has given substantial proof of his ongoing popularity by showing that he is still single-handedly able to rule the box office in a record-breaking way.
With all these wonderfully talented and handsome men at Indian cinema’s and our refusal, it’s no wonder that Bollywood audiences are spoilt for choice. There is no missing quotient of masala, romance or cringeworthiness in any of these men on-screen but in unconventional rugged non-Bolly style, these actors have their own individual flavours and they all bring something different to an already packed table. If I had to personally pinpoint any one of the list above to be my ‘Prince Charming’, I don’t think I’d be able to choose just the one… and yes that makes me sound like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai‘s Rahul, ‘Mujhe to koi ek ladka pasand aa hi nahi sakta hai… ab kisi ki aankhen achi hai, to kisi ke naak ache hai, kisi ke honth ache hain, kisi ke kaan ache hain’. I’m beginning to understand his predicament! *wink*