a state obsessed with idlis and all things plump,
we are definitely coming of age. And the industry
that so long catered to the liking of fans with
voluptuous belles has taken to the idea of casting
slender femme fatales (mostly Mumbai based, as always
is the case). The process has been gradual but the
results are tangible for all to see.
We have graduated from the flabby Kushboo to the
rotund Jyothika to the super slim Shriya, Asin and
Trisha. And before I forget, Simran falls somewhere
in between. All these times our excuses have been
that we like our heroines to be healthy. Healthy?
On what counts? Definitely their body mass is not
a proof of their healthiness.
Interestingly, most of Tamil cinema’s favorite
heroines of this generation who lasted for years
together with their reign in the industry were not
plump when they arrived. Take for instance Kushboo.
She was a petite little thing when she made her
Tamil debut in Dharmathin Thalaivan. Her figure
was so diminutive that she looked much smaller that
she actually was in front of Prabhu. But it didn’t
take too long for Kushboo to decipher the rules
of a Kollywood heroine’s physical stature.
movies she starred in, Michael Madana Kamarajan, Chinna
Thambi, Brahmma, Mannan and Annamalai, stand testimony
for her transformation. Did we complain? No. On the other
hand, we named idlis after her and built temples.
Let’s not forget the 70s, 80s and 90s. There is
enough material for a full fledged research on the topic.
Aren’t there slender heroines then? Barely - like
Kanchana, Revathy, Nadiya and Shobana. But that’s
there to it.
Our fondness with chubby women might have been acquired
by us only over the last century. Oddly enough, women
in Tamil literature had waist lines as thin as a vine.
Cut to the present, we have songs praising their portliness
and calling them ‘nattukattai’. And Kiran
took the praise a little too seriously (remember the Thillalangadiyo
song from Gemini?) and multiplied her body mass to treat
us in the Prashanth starrer Winner. Blame her not, for
she only wished well! Talking of which, Mumtaz most likely
came from the same school of thought.
It’s probably atrocious to write in length about
how we like our women, but let’s face the fact.
Barring a few movies, by and large all of them have women
only for their glamour quotient - supposedly to spice
up the plot and provide the quintessential female lead
to the story.
We have changed for good, as it might seem. The genext
women of Tamil no longer have to camouflage their chubbiness
under the ‘healthy’ tagline. They can be leggy
like Padmapriya, petite like Asin, svelte like Shriya,
tantalizingly fit like Trisha and dreamy like Tamannah.
Be it the size zero fad popularized by Kareena, or just
a matter of staying fit, our women are hitting the gym
to chisel their bodies.
The fact that the once ample Nayan, when she was introduced
in Ayya, took a gym membership and came out stunning sporting
a bikini in Billa is a good indication of the trend reversal.
All has not changed, however. For those who miss the healthy
heroines, we still have Mumaith Khans and Rasigas gyrating
their way into our hearts in 5-minute lasting dance routines.
But then it won’t be too long for the new skinny-heroine-rules
crept into the ‘item number’ candidate’s
profile as well.
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