The Fault in Our Bollywood Bodies


The Fault in Our Bollywood Bodies

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


ne of the first few points of discussion around the death of superstar Sridevi, was the issue of body image and beauty. It feels a bit unfair to take apart and scrutinise the specifics of her personal life and choices, especially since her life and work brought us so much joy. But in this noise, one aspect has gone completely unexamined here – how women’s bodies in real life and those in Bollywood are connected.

Actors from the South of India, who made their entry in Hindi cinema as dancers are women we have grown up watching. We’ve admired Vyjayanthimala’s voluptuous dancer’s body, Hema Malini’s curvy hips, and Sridevi’s love handles on multiple Sunday reruns on TV. Then there is Rekha’s earlier plump avatar and Vidya Balan’s revolutionary stomach folds in Dirty Picture to her perfectly rounded “homely” body in Tumhari Sulu.