Priyanka's Mary Kom muscles and what it says about Bollywood's standards of beauty

FP Staff

Sep,04 2014 10:54:56 IST

A lot has been said about Priyanka Chopra's looks in Mary Kom. Many have already pointed out that Chopra doesn't look Manipuri at all after the trailer of the film was launched. During a recent interview with Rajeev Masand Chopra said, " I just don't look North Eastern and we can't help it. We did try to make me look like her (Mary Kom), but it looked gimmicky."

Despite making her skin several shades lighter, dotting it with freckles and bleaching her eye brows for the desired effect, when Chopra just didn't look like Kom, producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali decided to let go of facial similarity and instead asked Chopra to bring to the screen "the essence of Mary Kom".

As it is difficult to understand what exactly can be categorised as "the essence of Kom", here's what Chopra offered as explanation: "Since my face looked nothing like her (Mary Kom), I decided to make my body look like her. I said, let's go for it. I have to look like a boxer and I trained really hard."

Courtesy: Facebook

Courtesy: Facebook

If the trailer and the videos of the songs are any indication, Chopra did bulk up a little, but her body doesn't look much like the dimunitive Kom's, whose built is stout and muscular. Still, the muscular heft that Chopra did acquire were enough to land the actor in trouble for her other films.

The muscles evoked a reproach from Bhansali himself. The moment she appeared on the sets of his film Goliyon ki Rasleela: Ram Leela, he complained about her appearance. Chopra, who had an item number for the film, said, "All my directors were very unhappy about it. Like when I did that Ram Leela song, Sanjay sir had to give me full sleeves. I said, 'Sanjay sir, it's your own production, how can you say that?'He said, 'You can't come to the set looking like a man.' I said that Mary Kom is your film as well and I am working for you and yet you are yelling at me."

So toned, muscular arms — one of the superficial but impressive aspects of Michelle Obama's persona that has won her so much admiration internationally  — are a no-no for Bhansali. We have to wonder, when he sees Hollywood actresses like Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry and Sarah Jessica Parker (all of whom have toned and muscular arms), does Bhansali mistake them for men?

However, Bhansali isn't the only one in Bollywood whose idea of an attractive woman is tied up closely to being skinny and delicate. Chopra reportedly had to go on a crash diet to lose her muscles before she started shooting for Dil Dhadhakne Do, directed by Zoya Akhtar.

"Zoya had warned me to lose all the muscles. I was not muscular but had acquired bulked-up physique." said Chopra. "I had to be in right shape as I was playing a girly role. I had to work for it … go on a crash diet and lose shape."

With A-list actresses like Priyanka Chopra succumbing to the pressures of Bollywood's restrictive idea of beauty, one can hardly blame newbies like Sonakshi Sinha and Parineeti Chopra for kowtowing to Bollywood's beauty standards and spending hours on the treadmill .

When Sonakshi Sinha proved herself as an actress with Lootera, we finally got a heroine who isn't size zero. "I am here to act and not be size zero," Sinha had said in an interview. However, those days are in the past now. Since last November, the actress has been training hard to lose weight and recently debuted a much slimmer self on the cover of a health magazine. The actress insisted that it is something she did for herself and not due to the pressure from the industry or media, but she also added that she was happy that "she succeeded in closing critics' mouth, who criticised her for being overweight".

Parineeti Chopra too has no qualms about confirming to the standards of Bollywood beauty. In fact,  she has been trying hard to shed her extra kilos for a while now. In an interview, the actress confessed, "I used to feel uncomfortable (because of my weight). I am in a visual medium and should be able to compete with every good-looking actress." She also said, "The body type affects what I wear and I can't get best dresses for myself. I can't wear sleeveless, because I would look fat in it. I want to lose even more weight and look better in real life. On screen if I have to wear shorts or bikini for a scene I should have the body for that."

So much for body confidence and strength of character.

Updated Date: Sep 04, 2014 10:54 AM