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Old 17th December 2009   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default 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:

‘Veer’, set in the backdrop of eighteenth century, the film aims to highlight the fight against the British rule by Pindaris, a clan of warriors. Within this, blossoms a poignant love between a warrior – Veer the strongest of Pindaris and a princess – Yashodhara, daughter of King of Madavgarh who is a sworn enemy of Veer. ‘Veer’ said to be an epic saga of bravery and drama, treachery and love.
An Indian version of Braveheart, one might say.

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:

Zarine Khan was put on a chocolate diet for her period film to appear more full-bodied like women of the past.

Salman put Zarine on a chocolate diet making sure she ate cakes and pastries to appear more curvaceous.

Reveals an insider, "Veer required a leading actress who resembled a woman in the 18th century. The women of the time were full-bodied and voluptuous. Zarine was too thin for the character and hence we asked her to gain weight.
[The director] ordered her to go on a weight-gaining diet for Veer. Zarine Khan was asked to gorge on chocolate cakes for months to look voluptuous for her role.

They also conveyed that it was mentioned in her contract that she had to put on weight.

Salman Khan checked her diet regularly, making her eat cakes and pastries to appear well-rounded and curvy.
Sources said, Anil Sharma also waited for three months to have Bollywood babe not only buxom, but also curvaceous, as she plays a role of princess.
I like the last comment especially, as it associates being a princess with having an opulent figure.

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.

Last edited by HSG : 31st December 2009 at 02:01. Reason: URL edited
Emily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th December 2009   #2
Join Date: August 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Default 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!
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Old 31st December 2009   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Aristocatic beauty

Originally Posted by Emily
I like the last comment especially, as it associates being a princess with having an opulent figure.

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.

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.

Every other woman would be privileged to be her handmaiden, would gladly starve, live on meagre rations of bread and water, just so that the princess could have a second helping of a generous meal and a decadent dessert. They would gladly go hungry so that she could have her insatiable appetite satisfied. The softer and fuller she appeared, the more they would adore her, and would want to sacrifice even more for her pleasure. Even Charlotte Bronte acknoweldged the superior privileges of beauty, as we note in our "Proportionate Equality" post on this very topic.

Only the rootless, alien element in a society, call it the "intelligentsia," the "internationale," or the "media," lacks this sense of reverence and celebration, and is driven by a levelling impulse to eradicate all traces of aristocratic beauty and to put their own abstract, inhuman tyranny in its place. Mendaciously, they always claim that their destructive actions are undertaken "for the people," but the people have nothing but contempt for the artificial world that these moderns erect on the ruins of the overthrown aristocracy. The public hates the concrete-and-still buildings that the moderns impose just as they loathe the androgynous, emaciated models that they thrust on every magazine cover and runway and film. Always they look back with longing toward the richer, more natural, more beautiful past, the aristocratic past, which reflected their own tastes and dreams and desires, and hope for its return.

The most gorgeous plus-size models are the latter-day embodiments of aristocratic beauty, the living exemplars of the timeless ideal, and even (or especially) in a hyper-democratic world, they enable us to dream again, to feel longing, and reverence, and to yearn for the restoration of a nobler culture.

Kelsey Olson, "fairest of them all," the crown princess among currently working plus-size models, as Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. Observe the passionately parted mouth, the golden tresses, the soft physique, and the languishing look in her half-lidded, dreamy eyes.

Outtake from a shoot by photographer by Jason Vrolijk for Inspire magazine ( in December, 2008. Mr. Vrolijk will shortly be launching a new publication called Bridget Marie.

- Click to view image at a larger size

Last edited by HSG : 31st December 2009 at 03:35.
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