Thursday, February 7, 2008

Big B sans his beard will be more charming

-by KParthasarathi Thursday, February 07, 2008

Big B is always in the news for right or wrong reasons. News papers carry screaming headlines about him. I see him on the TV all day long in some ad or the other. This set me thinking about the man and his ability even at his age to retain his iconic status when stars half his age silently fade into oblivion. But his French beard always bothered me.
Being fastidious about a clean shaven smooth face, I have never been comfortable with beards of whatever variety and even a day’s stubble. I have no quarrel with sardarjis, musalmans and bairaghis sporting their mandatory beards. But when I see Amitabh Bachan with his French beard of silver hairs on his haggard and drawn face day in and day out on the TV, I feel a sense of pity for that guy. He looks sick with this white beard. I used to wonder how differently and elegantly he would look without his goatee.
Unlike Abraham Lincoln who was urged by a little girl to grow whiskers I am sure Amitabh would not have been asked by anyone. It must have been his own fancy. He looked always charming in his clean shaven face in most of the films he had acted. Some grow a French beard to balance out the moustache they have .But then I do not remember big B sporting a moustache. Such facial hairstyles may be necessary in the case of plain looking Johnnies with a touch of effeminate and who can to their advantage go with some masculine aesthetic. But it is not for one like Amitabh with his tall and imposing manly presence and baritone voice.
I have nothing against beards so long as they are trimmed and well maintained though I detest matted beards, the long varieties and the unkempt straggly ones that I see during Kumbh mela and other religious occasions. Though B’s beard does not fall in that genre, it ‘does not add value’ to his colourful personality, to borrow Colonel’s words in relation to Dravid. I have this feeling that it shows him old and tired with a jaded look. I may not be the only one with the impression that while it is not increasing his popularity, it leaves a negative perception. To wear a silver white beard along with dyed hair or not is his personal choice where others have no say. He may be influenced by what the fashion designers and the advertisement gurus feel good for him.
Being a popular and much admired icon, I take the liberty like the little eleven year old girl who wrote to Abe, to urge him to discard this unnecessary facial style. At this age he need not exude an image to please the fairer sex though 98% of womenfolk according to surveys are not enamoured of bearded men.

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