Qualities in a Mainstream Bollywood Heroine FT. Sayani Gupta

Cameraperson: Gautam Sharma
Video Editor: Ashish Maccune

In this video, Article 15 actor Sayani Gupta talks about the unrealistic beauty standards women are expected to meet if they aspire to be a Bollywood heroine.

Over the years women in the film industry have been expected to meet certain beauty standards. It’s an unsaid rule that women are expected to have lighter skin, long and voluminous hair and be a size zero.

We all remember how Kareena Kapoor went on the ‘lime juice’ fad diet while shooting Tashan. “I don’t know how the size-zero thing started—but I was only 27 and I wanted to do it for a role. It looked amazing, but that was then. I’ve been in the business for a long time since, and I’m more mature—now, it’s about being fit. I’m definitely comfortable in my skin right now,” Kareena told Vogue in an interview.

When we see our leading ladies today in Bollywood, they are all a certain size and the internet is always flooded with their pictures from the gym and pilates sessions. Vidya Balan has also talked about how she was fat-shamed.

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“I’ve had hormonal problems all my life. It’s probably because of the judgement I’ve carried around my body. When I was a teenager, people would tell me, ‘You’ve got such a pretty face, why don’t you lose some weight?’ It’s not a nice thing to say to anyone. Be it a child or a grown-up. So, I’d starve myself, I’d go through crazy exercise regimens and lose weight. Then the hormonal issue would settle for a bit before it raised its head again. I guess it was my body’s way of revolting because in wanting it to be what it was not, I was constantly rejecting it,” she said in an interview.

"“I’d starve myself, I’d go through crazy exercise regimens and lose weight. Then the hormonal issue would settle for a bit before it reared its head again. I guess it was my body’s way of revolting because in wanting it to be what it was not, I was constantly rejecting it,”. " - Vidya Balan

Apart from weight, there is an emphasis on fair skin. Even the Hindi song lyrics obsess over the idea of fair skin. Anjali Patil opened up and confessed that some directors/producers have told her that a dark-skinned girl, like her, can only play roles like that of a slum-dweller, victim or a domestic help.

Anjali Patil opened up and confessed that some directors/producers have told her that a dark-skinned girl, like her, can only play roles like that of a slum dweller, victim or a domestic help.

Article 15 releases on 28 June. The film, directed by Anubhav Sinha, highlights the caste differences in today’s India. The plot is based on the Badaun rape case that shocked the nation and brought to light the caste differences.

Also Read: #DontSayBhangi: Ayushmann Launches Petition to End Discrimination

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