Talented actresses in Tollywood are on a weight-loss spree! The latest among these is National-Award winning actress Keerthy Suresh, who recently posted pictures of her trim figure on social media. She joins the supposedly elite list of young divas, such as Rakul Preet Singh, Ileana, Hebbah Patel, Avika Gor, Anjali, Nivetha Pethuraju and Eesha Rabha who’ve been showcasing their newer, slimmer forms to their social-media followers.
Interestingly, a few of those mentioned above had even bagged plum offers soon after they posted their pictures. Now, even Keerthy Suresh’s complete makeover has become a hot topic in the industry. That is especially so after she looked very lean in her recent release Miss India — an undoubted transformation from her looks in the 2018-film Mahanati, for which she’d won the National Award for Best Actress.
Similarly, young actress Saiyami Kher shed ten kilos for her role as a RAW agent opposite Nagarjuna in her upcoming Telugu movie Wild Dog. Pretty damsel Hebbah Patel hit the gym with a vengeance to regain her svelte body, and came out looking stunning in the recent release Red.
According to producer Lagadapati Sridhar, actresses seem to have realised that slim-looking girls have an edge over the slightly chubby ones these days. “A few of them could bag new offers based on their lean avatars. I think the divas are also shedding weight to match the well-built, chiselled bodies of their male Telugu stars on screen. Hitting the gym and following strict diet has become the norm in Tollywood,” adds Sridhar.
Sridhar doesn’t find the trend out of place as he reminds us that the young film viewers today are pretty fitness-conscious themselves.
“Millennials are exposed to Bollywood and Hollywood movies and their ‘dream girls’ are svelte-looking Telugu divas. And that does have an effect on actresses, compelling them to spend more hours at the gym and even post those pictures on their respective social media handles to enhance their follower base,” he reasons.
Fitness above all
Hebbah Patel, who looked stunning and vivacious opposite Ram in her latest chartbuster from the movie Red, tells us about how she considers herself a new-age girl when talking about posting her latest pictures on her social media handle. “I love to share my latest avatar with my followers on social media. Looking gorgeous and fit in a glam outfit is the key for such a colourful and foot-tapping number, so I was game for it. And it turned out really well.”
However, increasing her follower base and getting glam offers are not all that Hebbah is after. “I didn’t cut pounds to grab more film offers rather to lead a healthier lifestyle,” she tells us. “Of course, I have been under strict fitness and diet regimen for quite some time. Earlier, I had put on a few kilos but I reduced it with strenuous workouts.”
According to her, an actress should be a perfect blend of acting chops and perfect body, not just a nice body alone. “Modelling is a different world but ratings of an actress soar based on her elegant performances,” adds Hebbah who has, incidentally, gone in for a complete makeover for her upcoming movie Odela Railway Station. “It’s a role with a substance and I didn’t mind looking so in the film. But I’ll get back into shape after the shooting.”
A part of their profession
For actress Saiyami Kher, adding and losing weight is a given in an actor’s profession. The actress, who put on more than 10 kilos for her role in Anurag Kashyap’s Hindi film Choked, took three to four months to shed those kilos so that she could fit into the role of a RAW agent in her upcoming Telugu release Wild Dog opposite Nagarjuna.
“We have to fit into the vision of the director and adding or losing weight depending on the role. I had to put some extra effort to regain my real self with the help of a trainer and by following strict food restrictions,” reveals the actress, who is, nevertheless, careful in how she achieves those results. “Reducing weight drastically, however, demands a scientific approach and has to be under strict supervision of a professional trainer to avoid health issues,” she cautions.
Clearly, the actress knows what she’s talking about because even producer C Kalyan vouches that weight loss is not as easy as it looks, sharing the example of actresses such as Anushka Shetty and Ileana D Cruz who faced a lot of difficulties in their weight-loss attempts.
“Anushka is one of the finest actresses in south Indian cinema but her decision to add weight for her role in the 2015-romance–drama Size Zero affected her subsequent movies despite her best efforts to cut the flab. Similarly, Illeana, who put on extra pounds to return to Telugu movies with the 2018-action–drama Amar Akbar Antony, drew a lot of flak,” he shares.
A gain that might be a loss
For young director Hemanth Madhukar, who worked with a fit-looking Anjali in Nishabhdam, weight loss is about fitting a persona on screen. “Anjali had looked slightly plump in one or two of her previous films as the roles demanded it of her, but she liked the role offered to her in Nishabhdam. So she decided to get into the skin of the character and worked out to look like she was a fighting-fit and agile police. Later, when I met her with the costume specialist, she easily slipped into a US cop’s uniform because of her thinner frame,” he adds.
All said and done, Hemanth advises caution as regards actresses’ fascination for physical transformations around a role. Instead, he says, “Filmmaking has advanced over the years. Actresses can choose prosthetics or computer graphics work to get that heavier look instead of spoiling their health and career. Also, a few actresses don’t look great after losing their chubby-cheeks glow. Above all, the south Indian palate is different from B-town, and divas need to grab that point.”...