Thin is in!
  As 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.
Subsequent 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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