Bollywood’s Thin-Win Fetish

Stars now openly endorse books on weight loss and diet regimes,some have lost around 30 kg to bag a role,others to remain a part of an industry obsessed with thin as perfect.

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published: March 13, 2012 3:34:03 am

Weight loss is one of the fattest promises of India’s buoyant fitness industry. You can shrug off pamphlets with “quick and painless” offers that fall out of newspapers every morning,only to be swamped by first-person accounts of celebs in fashion and gossip magazines on how losing weight made them “feel good about themselves”. Some call it a battle,others a victory. Same difference as losing large amounts of weight has become a part of the acting resumé nowadays.

Though stories of how Sonakshi Sinha,Sonam Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor shed umpteen kgs for their screen debuts hit a plateau of interest among readers,more confessional accounts continue to pour in. If Jacqueline Fernandes wrote a personal foreword for nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal’s new book The Beauty Diet,Hema Malini and her daughter Esha agreed to be featured on its cover. Newbie actor Parineeti Chopra,who won a number of awards for her supporting role in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl,is said to have lost a whopping 25 kg,while Govinda has shed 16 kg in an attempt to resurrect his position in Bollywood. Asin,who was never fat,has reportedly lost more than 10 kg for her role in the upcoming Housefull 2.

Diet and nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar,synonymous with Kareena Kapoor’s size-zero figure and the author of two bestselling diet books,explains Bollywood’s obsession,“Most actors want to eat right and workout regularly to get healthier,look better and feel beautiful. This clarity motivates them.”

That may be a tad simplistic as this story bulges with other realities. The weight-loss phenomenon hit Bollywood when Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan and Sushmita Sen took to films. Models with hour-glass figures,they entered the industry in the days when it was ruled by curvaceous women such as Madhuri Dixit and Kajol. The obsession with thinness reached a new high in the last decade when more models became actors such as Lara Dutta,Priyanka Chopra,Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. Today,there is hardly any space in the industry for overweight women.

While Bollywood glamour does create aspirational ripples among audiences,actors must struggle with weight issues to stay on top of the game. A case in point is Rani Mukerji,who was dethroned from her Number One position after a number of young actors made their way in. Mukerji reinvented herself,and lost weight in the process to woo her audiences back. Samir Purohit,owner of The Pilates and Altitude Training Studio in Khar,Mumbai,talks about the demanding lives actors lead,especially those still waiting to get their first big break. “The competition is harsh and these young girls and boys try every trick in the book to look good,” says Purohit,who trains a number of Bollywood actors. For established actors,says Purohit,it is about maintaining the weight for a longer innings in cinema.

Jackky Bhagnani,who debuted with Kal Kisne Dekha,used to weigh 130 kg and lost 80 kg to get that dream look. Similarly,Sonakshi Sinha shed 30 kg before beginning work on her debut film Dabangg. “The camera has a way of making you look bigger. One has to be conscious of that,” says Sinha,who believes that looking fit is a prerequisite to being an actor today. Bipasha Basu,known for her fitness,agrees. “When you are a star,you have no business to look bad,” she says.

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