Bollywood actresses are slimming down, as an increasing vogue for showing bare flesh on screen and Western ideas about body size and beauty take hold in India's big cities.Whereas former leading ladies like Mumtaz and Zeenat Aman once found their curvaceous figures no barrier to success, their modern-day counterparts are as famous for their diet and fitness regimes as their acting and dancing skills.
"There's been a lot of changes in the last decade, whether it's in modelling or in Bollywood," said Venu Hirani, a nutritionist and fitness consultant in Mumbai. "Today, the basic requirement for someone wanting to go into either is that they need to be a (US) size zero," she said. Actress Kareena Kapoor has been the focus of much media attention since appearing in a bikini in the 2008 film Tashan (Style) - a significant development in an industry known for its chaste treatment of romantic love. The 29-year-old star slimmed down dramatically for the role and reportedly collapsed on set. She has since had to deny suggestions that her current weight is unhealthy, instead attributing her smaller size to eating correctly, regular exercise and yoga.