#BigStory: Bollywood duplicates in shambles

#BigStory: Bollywood duplicates in shambles

How many times have you clapped and whistled watching your favourite stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and others do some daredevil acts on the big screen? But what if we tell you that those were not the real actors but their body doubles or lookalikes. Today’s #BigStory revolves around the unsung heroes of Bollywood who have made a livelihood on copying someone else. These are the artists whose names we have never heard but perhaps we have seen them in a variety show on the small screen or doing stand-up acts elsewhere.
Called duplicates these men and women have made a career of being the lookalikes of Bollywood superstars. A close-knit community of around 300 duplicates operate in Bollywood. Arif Khan (lookalike of Anil Kapoor), the president of All India Look-Alike Association is struggling to raise funds for its members. Some members including lookalikes of Rajnikanth and Shah Rukh Khan passed away during the lockdown. Not far away from the world of glamour, the lookalikes of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar too are going through hard times. Arif Khan is thankful to FWICE’s BN Tiwari and superstar Salman Khan for helping his members by transferring some amount in their account. Arif says, “We are also thankful to Khatri Foundation for providing ration to our members. Once we are back on track, we will be honouring them at AILA awards.”

Arif is peeved at the treatment that Bollywood has meted out to the community, especially Sonu Sood, who did not even react to their message. He said, “Sonu did not even reply to us. There was a message for me from Anil Kapoor (Arif has been Anil Kapoor’s lookalike for three decades) but no help really came to me. I will manage but my concern is for my members who are really in bad shape and doing odd jobs to earn their living.”

Some lookalikes of Bollywood stars share their stories and plight with ETimes in this week’s #BigStory

Anil kapoor dupe

Arif Khan aka Anil Kapoor
I was a photographer in Akola. After I watched Anil Kapoor’s Woh Saat Din, life changed for me. I started copying his hairstyle and soon people started calling me Anil Kapoor. It took me some time to imitate his voice. But once I cracked it, I was immediately picked up by Kalakar Orchestra. I performed for them in 800 shows and in all have done 3000 shows till date. I was recently approached for Takht too. I earned a lot of money by performing on stage but after I got into film production lost a lot of money. I had to sell my house and move into a rented flat. I am still in debt. We are working hard and plan to do a show to raise funds to help members who are in dire straits.

SRK dupe

Rizwan Sayed aka Shah Rukh Khan

The lockdown has forced me to work at my friend’s jewellery shop. I am speaking to you from my wife’s phone as I had to sell my phone due to the financial crisis. My mother met with an accident during the lockdown and I had to take a loan of Rs 2 lakh for her treatment.

As for my journey from Rizwan to SRK, I was staying at a place where my neighbour used to call me Shah Rukh Khan. She said that our hairstyle was the same and asked me to watch Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. Once I watched the film, I got hooked. I started going to Film City, made friends but couldn’t find work. One day I met someone who told me that I looked like look like Shah Rukh Khan and I should play body double of Shah Rukh Khan.

I have done several commercials with Shah Rukh Khan including Nerolac, Airtel, Dish TV, and Videocon. I have also been his body double in ‘
Om Shanti Om’ and ‘
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’. The fire scene from Om Shanti Om in which SRK is lifting Deepika Padukone was done by me. My last ad with SRK was in 2012 post which I got completely immersed in stage shows. The pay was much better compared to films and I would do multiple shows in a month and perform at birthday parties and events. Unfortunately, lockdown happened and everything stopped.

Arif Khan did take my mother’s file to Salman Khan but nothing happened and Shah Rukh Khan that time was busy with IPL. I don’t know how to approach him but I hope he understands my plight and extends support.

Saif Ali Khan dupe

Yunus Sayed aka Saif Ali Khan

I used to work in the catering department. One day, I was at Kalakar Orchestra show working as a waiter for the caterers. There was this guy, Jackie who came up to me and said I resembled Saif Ali Khan. He then took me to the organiser of the show. The duplicates of Govinda, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh were already there. The organiser Sudhir Sinha asked me to remove my waiter’s coat and then gave his own coat, wear it and then go on stage. He only instructed me to go up on the stage and wave my hand to the audiences. From that day my life took a new turn and soon I got a break in Boogie Woogie and then MTV’s Fully Faltu which made me famous as Saif Ali Khan lookalike.

I got to play Saif Ali Khan’s body double in the Lays Ad, and the climax scene in Parineeta. I am grateful to Saif Ali Khan that I am his humshakal. I got a chance to travel abroad for shows. But the lockdown has brought everything to a standstill. I am forced to work for a construction company in Lakhimpur. I am eagerly waiting for things to come back to normal so that I can go back to doing shows.

Gutti Dupe

Rafiq aka Gutthi

I used to mimic artistes like Amrish Puri, Om Prakash and many more for fun. Then a very close friend suggested me to start charging for mimicry. I moved to Mumbai in 2015 and met several event organisers. They all were unanimous in their suggestion that though my mimicry was good, work was needed on my voice. My financial condition forced me to take up the job of a technician in a DTH company. But that didn’t stop me from practising on my voice.

In 2017, I was invited for a mimicry artiste association show, where I met Sunil Grover. After I posted my selfie with Sunil Grover on Facebook, I started getting comments about how I resembled Sunil Grover. My friend Zubair convinced me to mimic Sunil Grover. I watched Sunil Grover’s performances and was ready to go on stage as Gutthi in 2018. I later played Dr Gulati and Rinku Bhabhi.

But lockdown has forced me to sell vada pav to sustain myself and family. But I could not sell much as most of the migrants had left the city. I have an offer for a show that is scheduled at the end of this month. This lockdown has taught all of us one thing that there needs to be a steady income that will help us take care of our kitchen and family.

Helen dupe

Bharti Devurkar aka Helen

I come from a very humble background and my parents were labourers. I loved dancing since childhood and my first dance was a song from Tezaab. In college, I performed on Urmila Matondkar’s Yaayee Re from Rangeela. Though I could dance to any actor’s song, it was Rahul Kumar, an anchor, who gave me the tag of Helen Junior and would address me as Helen whenever he called me up on stage. I haven’t really met Helen ji but I want to do a complete Helen Show and invite her.

Right now I am struggling to take care of my family. The lift of my building collapsed during the lockdown and for six months I had to take to stairs to reach my 14
thfloor flat. It was an ordeal to manage essentials for my family members. I used to be the first person to run and stand in queue for ration kit.

Jaya Prada

Rafat aka Jaya Prada

Arif Khan aka Anil Kapoor spotted me at a function and told me I resembled Jaya Prada and that’s how my journey into the world of lookalikes started. Before that, I used to make videos for various apps but this lockdown has put me under financial pressure. I live in a joint family and my second child is special. I require at least Rs 70k per month for his treatment.

Dev Ananad dupe

Kishore Bhanushali aka Dev Anand

When I was just five, a boy from my neighbourhood told me that I looked like Dev Anand. He asked me to watch Johnny Mera Naamto know the truth. But it was only after I went on a vacation to Palghar, that I got introduced to Dev Anand through his film Yeh Gulistan Hamara. After that, I watched all Dev Anand films and started mimicking him in front of the mirror.

One day, I was spotted by veteran actor Mohan Choti who gave me a chance to act in a video film. After that I met Raza Murad who introduced me to people in the film industry. The Big break happened when someone told me to go to the Parsi Bungalow at Bandra Bandstand where shooting of Dil was in progress. I was made to stand in the crowd where I was mimicking Dev Saab and was then noticed by director Indra Kumar. He called me and asked me to come to the shoot the next day. My first shot in the film was with Anupam Kher and Indra Kumar got so impressed with my style that he increased the length of my role in the film.

Being a lookalike of Dev Anand has rewarded me. I have renewed my passport eight times and whatever I am today is all because of him. But there is a downside too as despite being a good actor I could not get the roles I wanted to play.

I remember meeting Dev Saab at his Khira Nagar office. He was sitting with one foot on the table and other one down, wearing a full sleeve sweater. In his own inimitable style he said “Tum Dev Anand Se bhi zyada Dev Anand lagte ho”. He enquired me about my films and when I said that I am acting in 10 films currently, he retorted by saying that I only have two films right now.

Like everybody else, I too faced financial issues during the lockdown. We managed the first three months, not knowing it would go on for eight months. I did about 20 shows on Zoom during the lockdown with the hope that once lockdown opens, they will give me work. But no money came from those shows.

Salman dupe

Shantanu Ghosh aka Salman Khan

I was a jewellery designer working with Nakshatra in Mumbai. Later, I started my business in jewellery designing and then real estate. Though my classmates did tell me that my looks resembled that of Salman Khan, I thought they were teasing me. But when I started posting my photographs on social media, that’s when I got reactions from people who turned me into a celebrity. There was a film made on me titled Being Bhaijaanin 2014 after which I decided to take the plunge in the world of lookalikes.

I had to work on my voice but it was within a month I cracked Salman’s style. I have represented him as a lookalike at Bollywood Theme Park. Hundreds of Salman Khan fans would come to meet me which was a great honour for me.

Once, I landed up on Bigg Boss set and got the opportunity to sit right in the first row. Salman Khan normally takes a round of the set before he starts shooting. He spotted and acknowledged me and then asked me to sit and watch the whole show. The second time around was in Dubai when he had come for the promotion of his film Tubelight. There was a contest which I won and got a chance to meet him.

I am grateful that Salman Khan helped the lookalikes of Bollywood stars. Fortunately, when the money came to me, I was financially fine. So, like Bhai Jaan I distributed the money to the needy people.

Jackie dupe

Gulam Husain’s wife – Jackie Shroff Jr

My husband only performed dialogues of Jackie Shroff’s film till the end of his life. Jackie had gone to meet him just a few months before he passed away. I know sewing and therefore need help to start stitching and teaching sewing to girls. I am grateful to AILA for providing financial help during this crisis.

Mithun dupe

Ikram Khan aka Mithun Chakraborty

I have been performing as Mithun Chakraborty for nearly four decades. It has helped me earn fame but no money. I spent close to 6 lakh to look like Mithun da. I was a complete deewana of Mithun, so didn’t really care about anything. I still live in a 10×10 room in Jaipur. Before I took the plunge, I used to work in a gemstones factory. But the craze for Mithun Chakraborty made me quit everything.

I am old now and have hurt my back. There’s no money for treatment. Our association sent me some money but that was not enough, so my treatment have stopped.

I met Mithun Chakraborty when he had come to Jaipur for the shooting of his film Veer. He promised to help after my wife told him that I had dedicated my entire life to him. He said he would help but nothing happened. I don’t even have his contact number. His assistant Siraj too hasn’t bothered with me. But I am hoping that I get back on my feet and start getting shows.

Divya bharti dupe

Nandita Das aka Divya Bharati

Have been playing lookalike of Divya Bharati for the last six years. I am a multi-talented artiste– I sing, compose, write and act in films and shows. My looks resemble that of late Divya Bharati but have been performing as a singer for a long time before the offer to play lookalike of Divya was offered to me. During the lockdown I couldn’t really shoot for anything and I also teach singing to people of all ages. The last six months have been tough for me too as my students stopped coming for my classes.
So what does the future hold for these duplicates ? Will the original stars who these artists copy and mimic come to their aid ? We hope that this #BigStory serves as a reminder to the industry that there is a large group of talent that relies on survival at the behest of the names they mimic and emulate. Original is always the king but perhaps it’s time to also give the duplicate his due ?

Source From : Times Of India

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