For a league of wellness experts who’ve seen Bollywood’s approach to fitness evolve from being an element associated with vanity, to becoming part of their lifestyle, the general verdict is that things are looking up. There’s no longer a tendency to take to starvation diets, with fitness expert Leena Mogre stating that the focus now is on becoming physically adept to pull off long shooting hours, without appearing weary. Nutritious “dabba meals” that are created by experts closely monitoring one’s protein, carbohydrate and fat intake, she says, are staples among celebrities. Attention is being paid on becoming truly fit to “look better on screen, and develop healthier skin”.
Lara Dutta at a beauty pageant in 2000
Holistic health expert Dr Mickey Mehta seconds the opinion, adding that the trend of healthy-snacking has also introduced celebrities to healthy millets. “In fact, in the lockdown, people have also been making healthy confectioneries using natural [sweets] from bananas and chikoos, and good quality ghee and oils. While I am sure that people in the glamour industry drink and smoke, they have definitely awakened to [the perils] of it. Even actors from the TV industry are following suit.”
Back to basics
For Mehta, however, the biggest change in the film industry has been its return to yoga. “We see Kareena [Kapoor Khan], Jackie Shroff and Malaika Arora practice it. Katrina Kaif has also shown interest in it. This is unprecedented. There was a time when people only wanted to head to the gym and push equipment. Even outdoor workout forms like functional training and cycling gathered attention. But now, a number of actors are gravitating towards yoga. The ability to develop self love, and a disciplined mind is achieved via this. The lifestyles of celebrities are stressful. If they weren’t practicing yoga, meditating, and eating healthy, there would be complete [chaos].”
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Kareena Kapoor Khan
Women who lift
Deanne Panday, who is credited for whipping Bipasha Basu into great shape early in her career, admits that even when yoga was touted to be an “old-person’s workout” she could reap its benefits from the age of 17. “It’s been the crux [of my routine],” she says, adding that the attention paid to it by industry folk is warranted. Panday is also glad that routines that she promoted two decades ago are finally finding favour. “Weight-lifting for women was once unheard of. I worked as the head-coach of the Miss India [pageant] for nine years. I was the first to eliminate the practice of consuming minimal meals. I made them eat healthy food, and introduced weight-training. There was a defined approach for girls based on their different needs. Instead of setting one regimen, we designed plans to meet each participant’s individual needs. For instance, a girl with big hips and a small upper-body was trained to develop strength in the latter. I recall, during the swimsuit round, [experts] including Hemant Trivedi said that it was the first time in the history of the pageant that the models looked as toned as they did. I also subsequently introduced Lara Dutta to yoga,” says Panday, also applauded for enabling Preity Zinta to achieve her lithe frame in Salaam Namaste (2005).
Obsession with the six-pack ab
Both Panday and Mogre agree that men were put under enormous pressure to achieve “those stupid six-pack abs”. Mogre had addressed how Shah Rukh Khan’s look in Om Shaanti Om was acquired because it would earn him several crores, “but the layman doesn’t need to do that”. “Sustaining six-packs throughout the year is not healthy, unless you are someone like Sonu Sood, who knows what must ideally be done to maintain it. They encourage the general public to turn to steroids and other unhealthy means.” Panday adds that Indian men are genetically predisposed to gaining weight on their stomach, making the feat of achieving six packs, harder. “You need to acquire an extremely low fat-percentage to achieve it.”
Dr Mickey Mehta
Mogre admits that liposuctions, botox, implants and unchecked use of steroids are among the downfalls of the growing emphasis on fitness, and is abundantly taken to in the industry. “The focus on achieving a certain look is so much today that people punish themselves to achieve it. Consumption of steroids and substances that are even banned, is on the rise. Why can’t we [celebrate our bodies] like Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez? Our population, with our big hips, should be grateful to Kim [for celebrating her curves].”
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What’s your cheat meal: Thai or Chinese food, including pasta. I will follow it up with a portion of dessert, which I avoid in the week.
How often do you indulge: Preferably on weekends since my husband and friends are free then.
Cheat meal vs cheat day: It is usually a cheat day.
Do you compensate for it: I don’t, because that’s not a notion I subscribe to. I am not the kind of person who will take to extreme measures because I don’t find them sustainable. Also, my body doesn’t react appropriately to them.
Aparshakti Khurana: Peanut butter, Chicken salami, Besan ka halwa
Deepika Padukone: The biggest mistake one can make is have a sedentary lifestyle, and yet eat everything in sight. That is a recipe for disaster. If I’m working out regularly, I eat everything. If not, I will watch what I consume.Internet Explorer Channel Network