Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja have turned the spotlight on the machismo of sporting moustaches.
The average length of a human moustache is four centimetres. But Ram Singh Chauhan is not your average man. He’s the one with the longest follicular embellishment on the upper lip. The length of his mooch is an incredible 14 feet. That’s 100 times the size of the facial hair on Mammooty’s famous visage. One wonders if anyone has dared to attempt a lip lock with Mr. Chauhan.
Anyways, the point is, the Guinness World Record Holder is the proud flag bearer of the great Indian tradition of wearing an untamed mark of masculinity. Shikhar Dhawan’s recent twirl-inspiring performance has thankfully turned the focus again on the Hairy Potters of India. Let’s use the occasion to celebrate some under-appreciated ‘taches.
The Raj Kapoor
Popularised first by Shree 420, it went on to become a rage with mild-mannered men like Guru Dutt and Gemini Ganesan. Thinner than a David Dhawan plot and thicker than Omaguchi’s shadow, the pencil moustache was the giveaway clue for the Black and White era metrosexual. When we asked The Raj Kapoor why it shouldn’t be labelled as ‘The Clarke Gable’ it replied: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
The Chulbul Pandey
Often referred to as the Cop Stache, it’s the thin black line that separates the men from the boys. Sometimes it’s a V-shaped chevron. Some other times, it’s a chunky piece of fuzz. The Madhya Pradesh Police fervently believes that moustachioed constables are respected and feared more. Perhaps that’s why the Jhabua district police chief actually announced a Rs.30 monthly pay hike to those who tote a mousch. Clearly, the idea was to generate more Dabangg for the buck.
The Bhagat Singh
In Agatha Christie parlance, it’s the petit handle bar that one associates with Hercule Poirot. In our country however, it’s the symbol of revolutionaries. Bhagat Singh, Subramanya Bharathi, Chandrashekhar Azad and Mangal Pandey are said to have strutted around flaunting this moustache. Bushy and short, the tips need a little coaxing and waxing to stage an uprising. It’s a perfect fit for those who swear by the adage: Mooch nahin toh kuch nahin.
The Keshto Mukherjee
Technically, it’s the toothbrush whiskers made famous by Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler. Keshto Mukherjee — the legendary comic drunkard of Sholay and Zanjeer vintage — was the first to extend the franchise of the patch of thatch in Bollywood. Part unusual, part comical and part wicked, the one-third moustache is not ideal for those who pay lip service to the concept of being very obtrusive.
The Mohan Bhagwat
Mohan Madhukar Bhagwat, the remote control of the BJP and the saffron overlord of the RSS, is a walking, talking advertisement for the Walrus moustache. Droopy, thickish and totally hirsute, it’s the miniature equivalent of the Niagara falling off the cliff. Whether it looks unkempt or not, the Mohan Bhagwat is the moustache grower’s drama janmabhoomi.
A very South Indian phenomenon, the intimidatingly wild meesai is every bandit’s badge of honour. Named after the dreaded Sandalwood Smuggler, it’s a handlebar with ‘Don’t mess with me’ written all over. The uber-martial Kodavas of Coorg were entitled to curl it up only after killing a tiger. As the old jungle saying goes: A man without ‘The Veerappan’ is like a rifle without bullets.
Kamal Haasan — he who borrows from the West without any qualms — must have seen a La Souvarov manual when he sculpted the look for his rustic character ‘Virumandi’ in the film Virumandi. The La Souvarov is a moustache that flows freely and connects up with the sideburns. It looks badass from all angles and makes the wearer go ‘moochas gracias’.