Vidya Balan opens up on being body-shamed


At a recent awards function, Vidya Balan was repeatedly congratulated for her weight loss. The actress didn’t pause to utter “thank yous” in reply to the compliments.
It has taken Vidya Balan two decades of crash diets, exhaustion from exercise regimes and constant criticism for being `fat’, to finally come to terms with her curves. Backed by family and husband Siddharth Roy Kapur, the 36-year-old is finally detached from the public dialogue surrounding her body and revealed her long journey to acceptance to the media.

Vidya recalls that she spent her childhood without being subject to body shaming but that phase was short lived.

“I have always been a fat child but growing up I thought I was a beautiful girl with large eyes and long hair. But when I went to college, I began to feel very ‘small’ in my bigness,” she says. It was a passing comment from a friend which put her on the path to crash dieting.

“I drank 10 litres of water every day. The friend called it water therapy. That was the beginning and the dieting continued for years. Thanks to peer pressure the focus point of my life was being a desirable shape.”

After finishing her M.A, Vidya decided to pursue a career in Bollywood and entered a world obsessed with gym-honed physiques. She did not fit in and the criticism began.

After the release of Kismat Konnection in 2008, Vidya’s weight and its reported connection to the end of her brief relationship with Shahid, caught headlines and Vidya gave in and sought professional help. “My nutritionist told me that I had a medical condition which hindered weight loss and I was put on a pill.”

The pounds dropped off her and Vidya’s slim appearance in Paa was given the thumbs up by star-watchers and industry insiders. But the actress paid the price for the regime.

“I was constantly exhausted while I was on the medication and once I stopped I gained double the weight I had lost. I went from doctor to doctor and imagine my surprise when I was told that I was absolutely healthy.”

The actress realised that her nutritionist had fabricated the story of a medical condition to make her consume the weight loss pills. Her goal was to become the nutritionist who made `Vidya Balan thin’.

“My weight loss meant she could set an example and get more clients. I have since become wary of doctors. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.”

Vidya gained 12 kgs for The Dirty Picture. She was revelling in box-office success and public adulation but the compliments turned into sniggers when Ghanchakkar released.