Many years ago I read a kannada short story, probably in the Sudha Ugadi Vishesanka. It was about a young boy who realizes he could change his face to any other face just by thinking about that and touching his face at few places. He stumbles upon this skill while trying to act like a mimicry artist he had seen at school. Next day he goes to his teachers and shows them the new skill, shows it to his friends. Every one is thrilled that he can change his face to be like that of Gandhi, Nehru, their Head Master, just about any one they can ask him to be. He hones the skill and becomes very popular all over the country over the years. After many many years his School wants to host his show again. By then he has used his skill so much that he doesn’t even need to touch his face to become like some one else. He just has to think about a face and his face changes. While that’s great for his profession, it is causing him a lot of trouble. He can look like any random person on the street but he cannot look like himself!
I don’t remember the name of the Author or even the name of the story. Remembered that story again last week end while listening to this interview of Shahrukh Khan. He says he cannot recognize himself now when the camera is not on, some times even when it is on. He talks about how he feels that a part of himself is lost in every role he does. One day, he says, he may loose every thing and stop acting! Check out this youtube video starting at 1:35.
[PS: In case any of you know the Kannada short story’s name, author’s name, please let me know]