Actress gains weight for historical epic
This is something mildly interesting. Bollywood is set to release a new blockbuster historical epic called Veer, as described in this article:
Well, here's the interesting part. The article goes on to say that the director "saw to that every bit of the film is in tune with the bygone era" -- including, crucially, the look of the lead actress, who was required to gain weight for the role, to fit the fuller-figured beauty ideal of the time. Various articles about the film mention this:
What's admirable about this is how it contrasts (favourably) to what Hollywood does. American films in historical settings will have the costumes right, the sets, etc., but where they absolutely contradict history is in the films' values (aesthetic values, and character values). The actresses will invariably be ahistorically underweight, making them look modern rather than true to the beauty ideal of the past, and they'll behave in unfeminine, modern ways.
Unfortunately, the weight gain only makes the Veer actress appear faux-plus, and not truly full-figured. But it's still a refreshing improvement over modern media emaciation.
I haven't found any good pictures of the actress, but she appears in this excerpt from the film. This is one of the more lyrical moments, as opposed to the Braveheart-like combat scenes. She's the one in pink. Her voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard, but her dress is lovely, and she does have a soft-figured look.
Re: Actress gains weight for historical epic
Watching the clip made me think of all the great "evergreen" Bollywood epics from the past, with beautiful sets, costumes, heroes and heroines. Epic tales of love and adventure you could get lost in. Would be nice to see a return to that style!
How interesting that the filmmakers should consider the "women of the past" to be "more full-bodied," and to say that "the women of the time" (meaning the 18th century) "were full-bodied and voluptuous." Modern curve-o-phobes and thin-supremacists, trying to fan the flames of weight hysteria, claim that people are larger today than they were in the past, yet as Paul Campos notes in his writings, there is no basis whatsoever for this belief. It is likely that the proportion of curvy to underweight women is roughly comparable between the past and the present.
What is indisputably true, however, is that the ideal of feminine beauty was "more full-bodied and voluptuous" in the past. Kudos to the director for recognizing this. As Emily notes, Hollywood films tend to be flagrantly anti-historical in this regard, anachronistically featuring actresses with scrawny, toned, androgynous figures playing historical beauties, whereas women with such physiques would never have been considered remotely attractive in any age prior to the 20th century.
There are rare exception, however, such as the 2006 film Tristan and Isolde, in which the lovely Sophia Myles (with her uncanny resemblance to Kelsey Olson) plays at least a curvier-than-usual princess, by Hollywood standards. But for the most part, this Indian movie does something that Western films do not, and that is, authentically reflect the aesthetic values of the past.
And speaking of princesses, how intriguing to learn that the Veer filmmakers specifically associate being "curvaceous" with "the role of a princess." They are absolutely correct. Today's activists can pretend all they want that the size-acceptance movement is "democratic," but the truth is that the timeless ideal of full-figured femininity is an aristocratic ideal. Gloriously so. The rich, sumptuous, abundant appearance of a goddess is indisputably of a higher order of beauty, a superior rank of attractiveness, than that of the minus-size model.
Consider how often timeless femininity is described in aristocratic terms, such as "opulent," and "lavish," and "luxurious." When one sees a plus-size model who is supremely gorgeous, one knows instinctively that she deserves to be waited on hand and foot, to live a life of ease and luxury, to be pampered and spoiled, her every whim fulfilled, her every wish granted. One feels that she should never exert herself in any way, that she should enjoy non-stop pleasure, languishing in indolent repose, indulging her every appetite.
But this is not to say that aristocratic beauty is in conflict with the wishes of the general public. Quite the contrary. As Spengler explains in Volume II of The Decline of the West--likely the greatest book written in the 20th century--the tastes of the nobility were always in tune with those of the people. Both estates had similar origins, and similar souls. Both were part of the organic community of a nation.
As Spengler writes,
[the] nobility is higher peasantry. Even in 1250 the West had a widespread proverb: “One who ploughs in the forenoon jousts in the afternoon,” and it was quite usual for a knight to marry the daughter of a peasant. In contrast to the cathedral, the castle was a development, by way of the country noble’s house of Frankish times, from the peasant-dwelling. In the Icelandic sagas peasants’ crofts are besieged and stormed like castles. Nobility and peasantry are plant-like and instinctive, deep-rooted in the ancestral land, propagating themselves in the family tree, breeding and bred. (336)
Spengler later adds,
[the] Nobility is cosmic and plantlike (hence its profound connection with the land). It is itself a plant, strongly rooted in the soil, established on the soil—in this, as in so many other respects, a supreme peasantry. (343)
In a noble culture, the reaction of the public to timeless beauty is a profound feeling of reverence, and celebration. It is every man's dream to be the vassal of a full-figured princess, to be her subject, her admirer. Every suitor knows that he is not worthy of her, but yet he yearns for her favour all the same, and he would slay any dragon, conquer any obstacle, to provide her with her heart's desire, to please her in any way he can.
Outtake from a shoot by photographer by Jason Vrolijk for Inspire magazine (inspiremagazineonline.com) in December, 2008. Mr. Vrolijk will shortly be launching a new publication called Bridget Marie.
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