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From Zeenat Aman to Madhuri Dixit: The Buxom Heroine is gone!

  • Written by Sanjeev Dev Malik
  • Published in Bollywood
Featured Madhuri Dixit Madhuri Dixit

There was a time when the leading lady in Hindi cinema was often expected to flaunt a curvaceous figure with the vital stats – 36-24-36. South heroine Padmini, 

Raj Kapoor’s temporary muse who featured in his films like Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1961) and Mera Naam Joker (1970), was considered to have the perfect shape for a masala film actress.

 The nation obsessed over Zeenat Aman’s assets, prompting every contemporary of hers to pad up or rush in for breast implants. A numero uno actress saw Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) and came back with low-esteem. She told her costume designer (sister of an Academy Award winner) to ensure her cholis were custom-made to make her appear advantageous in the next film.


 In other words, a woman’s decolletage was an important feature. And, buxom women often stood a better chance with filmmakers than those with minimal assets. Remember importantly that these were before the ‘fat-shaming’ and ‘body-shaming’ movements existed. Back then, illiteracy or ignorance ruled when it came to these aspects.

 The Hindi film heroine was expected to be well-endowed. Period. Quite often, filmmakers made no bones about addressing this issue with the ladies whom they cast. Or sometimes with the costume designers who were asked to add adequate material to pad up the girls.


 Today, however, a girl is no longer required to be busty. A leading man keeps repeating, “Girls with small breasts have large hearts.” And to this another character actor often adds, “Nowadays, when girls say they want to make a clean breast of things, you know they have little to declare!” (Ha ha) 

 Boorish, pig-headed, chauvinistic remarks have always been the order of the day. In the current scenario, no one wants to say anything openly for fear of being mercilessly trolled on social media.

 Anyway, the good thing is that today, pencil-thin heroines no longer need to worry about unsafe implants.

 They can seduce cinegoers with their eyes. Of course, girls wear deep necklines and have little to show. But they’re not apologetic about it, which is such a welcome trend. Thin is in. And, the lack of adequate assets is no longer a deterrent. 

 After all, acting is a neck-upward function. 

 Madhuri Dixit’s breast-heaving movements in Dhak Dhak Karne Laga (Beta, 1991) is still considered the ultimate sensuous number. And, the nation confesses that they were seduced by this ditty. However, girls today are accepted even if they heave and sigh a lot less in their songs. 

 Only occasionally you hear stories of makers complaining about girls lacking curves. Rumour has it that a Student Of The Year 2 newbie lost out on a monsoon release because the director found her too flat.

 He wanted a combination of an innocent face with a slightly-buxom body.  Just before the girl could pop champagne saying she had signed her next with a big hero, she had to step down. And, another cherubic heroine stepped in.

 However, big b**bs are no longer a prerequisite. Girls are happy flaunting deep necklines with “little or nothing”. And we say, hooray to that!


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