Before Amitabh Bachchan in Kalki 2898 AD, here are actors who were digitally de-aged for movies | Bollywood - Hindustan Times
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Before Amitabh Bachchan in Kalki 2898 AD, here are actors who were digitally de-aged for movies

Apr 22, 2024 03:53 PM IST

Several actors have opted for digital de-ageing techniques on screen. How convincing have their performances been? Let us take a look.

The new Kalki 2898 AD teaser introduced the character of Ashwatthama, played by Amitabh Bachchan. But it was the shot of a digitally de-aged Amitabh that caught the attention of many fans. Digital de-ageing is a common process, with several Hollywood, as well as Bollywood stars, going that route in order to make their characters look younger on screen as per the demands of the script. Let us take a look at some of the films that have utilised this method. (Also read: Amitabh Bachchan plays Ashwatthama in Kalki 2898 AD: What is the Mahabharata legend, the gem on his forehead?)

Digital de-aging of some of your favourite stars: how many have you noticed?
Digital de-aging of some of your favourite stars: how many have you noticed?

Aamir Khan in PK and Laal Singh Chaddha

Remember what Aamir Khan said during the Koffee with Karan episode in 2022 when host Karan Johar asked him whether Kareena Kapoor was the first choice for Laal Singh Chaddha? "No, because we were actually thinking about age group. Both the characters have a journey from 18 to 50 years of life. Initially, we thought the lesser the de-aging, the better. So only I should de-age. We were looking at the age group of 25 (years). So that the actress can look younger and older,” he revealed. Not only for Laal Singh Chadha- which was the official Hindi remake of Forrest Gump, Aamir was also digitally touched up for PK, in which he played the role of an alien.

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Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor in a still from Laal Singh Chaddha.
Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor in a still from Laal Singh Chaddha.

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Harrison Ford was de-aged for a flashback sequence in the 2023 movie. What's more? At a press conference at Cannes Film Festival, the 81-year-old star defended the procedure and said, "I know that that is my face. It's not a kind of Photoshop magic — that's what I looked like 35 years ago… It's just a trick unless it's supported by a story, and it sticks out like a sore thumb if it's not honest, it's not real... I mean, emotionally real. And so I think it was used very skillfully."

Harrison Ford in a still from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Harrison Ford in a still from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Salman Khan in Bharat

This Salman Khan film follows the journey of Bharat over the course of several decades as he navigates the complexities of his life, which runs parallel to that of independent India. The character's journey was charted from age 8 to 70. To meet the demands, the actor took the support of digital de-aging.

Salman Khan and Disha Patani in a still from Bharat.
Salman Khan and Disha Patani in a still from Bharat.

Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt played the titular character who miraculously ages in reverse. To chart the fictional life story of that character on screen, Brad Pitt's face was touched up digitally. The David Fincher film ended up winning the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Brad Pitt in a still from the film.
Brad Pitt in a still from the film.

Shah Rukh Khan in Dunki

Shah Rukh had commented that he was playing a character who was ‘age-honest’ for the first time in his career. Yet, to essay the younger version of the character in the film, the actor reportedly had digital de-aging techniques used for some of the scenes.

Shah Rukh Khan in a still from Dunki.
Shah Rukh Khan in a still from Dunki.

Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War

Who can forget that pivotal scene of Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in the 2016 blockbuster? The actor was digitally de-aged for the brief scene in the film to recall the last time he saw his parents alive.

Robert Downey Jr in a still from the film.
Robert Downey Jr in a still from the film.

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Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino in The Irishman

Martin Scorsese's The Irishman received considerable attention not just because of its strong direction and acting, but also for its discourse on the process of digital de-aging of the three male leads. For the results, each actor first shot separately in a controlled environment and then 3D models of each actor were created to resemble how they would look in the present day. Separate lighting adjustments, a special performance capture software called FLUX and different cameras were used to achieve the de-ageing.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in a still from The Irishman.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in a still from The Irishman.

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