There was this old joke, about Bollywood yesteryears actress Asha Parekh who went up to God and said “Main aapke paas ek Chhoti is aas leke ayi hoon” and apparently God thundered, “Jooth kyon bolti ho!”… Purport of this being that Bollywood does not have a history of size zero.
What is does have, is a history of full bodied, curvy women; it is a long and honored tradition, so that when the hero had to swing up the girl in his arms for the mandatory twirl in the mandatory love song, one often winced in sympathy. Even with the leading men, there was not a six pack in sight; now however its six packs wherever you dart your glance!
So Bollywood’s recent preoccupation with size zero is certainly new; it is a break from tradition. Think Asha Parekh, Nanda, even Rekha and Sridevi of old were distinctly chunky! Even in later times, a Kajol or a Manisha Koirala could hardly be called thin; well rounded would be more accurate.
I seem to remember the term Thunder Thighs being applied to more than one actress… Even the fashionable classic vital statistics of 36 – 26 – 36 have given way to something more like 31 – 23 – 31. Did I hear the men out there sigh in wistful sadness of an era gone by?
Fit young actors and actresses are now the norm (even the likes of Rani Mukherjee who were a source of comfort for us real bodied women is now all slim and toned), and all this size zero business started with Kareena Kapoor in Tashan. The well fleshed out Kapoor kudi, with the rounded cheeks suddenly was rail thin and you really couldn’t see her when she stood sideways. Reportedly her weight loss was so dramatic that Kareena collapsed on the film sets one day. And what of the feminine curves? Gone! With the wind or the treadmill! She claimed yoga; whatever.
A while back there were reports of pizza apparently inspired by Kapoor’s size zero – a popular pizza brand launched a Size Zero pizza: this one has a thin crust with healthy vegetable toppings and some low-fat cheese. And it could have been anyone of the current top stars to have inspired the size zero pizza: Deepika Padukone is reed slim, there is no way the slim Soman Kapoor will let herself revert to her 80 kilo days, some may call Kangana Ranaut even scrawny in spite of the suspiciously full lips in recent times ….
In the old days if women were not well enough endowed with adequate cleavage, they were rejected by filmmakers according to one 80’s actress. In fact falsies in the upper department were pretty much par for the course. Lisa Ray once admitted in a TV interview that when she was acting for a South Indian film, she was required to wear falsies not just for her upper anatomical assets but for her rear end as well! Evidently the size 0 business had not caught on down South.
The men need not despair though, for every size zero out there, there is a Sushmita Sen who admits to loving herself even when she looks very much the “khate peete ghar ki” girl and there is a Neetu Chandra (or Oye Lucky Lukcy Oye and Garam Masala fame) who incidentally is a Taekwondo black belt, does not believe in size zero!
So whether Bollywood’s size 0 obsession is here to stay or is a passing fad remains to be seen; meanwhile the Bollywood beauties all seem to be taking literally the adage The camera adds 10 pounds!