How I made more than a million men miserable and pushed them to extreme envy, conjured stupid collective plans bordering on starvation and hell-level aerobics, imposed gruelling self-hatred, reduced biryani sales and increased gym memberships. That should have been the title of actor Aamir Khan’s unique Dangal promo video.
Mister Perfectionist has made men of all ages, shapes, and sizes, repeat shapes and sizes, to take selfies and profiles while nearly naked, frontal and sideways, and rushed to make crazy impossible resolutions on re-shaping and re-sizing, and setting ab targets. Gyms and personal trainers are laughing their way to the… well, let us leave the banks and ATMs out of this subject for a while.
Meanwhile, biryani joints already been hit by the cash crunch and are tearing apart posters of Khan as they may have to reduce the spread of crazy diet ideas hurting their businesses. Cash-starved men have decided to make the most of their cashlessness to starve themselves; buying sports shoes and jogging suits, skipping ropes and dumbbells, wristbands and wearable devices; and re-looping the YouTube video in which Aamir makes becoming like Salman Khan damn easy.
Strange because this was the kind of push neither Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar nor John Abraham were able to achieve; nor was this vain inspiration made possible or enabled by Katrina Kaif or Deepika Padukone or Priyanka Chopra. Everyone is juvenile again, especially those well past their mid-way mark of hope in life… like on a steroid-induced hysteria of watching a fast-track ‘Papa Kahte Hain… Bade Body Banayega…’
But like fresh flowers and cheesecakes (okay, that was a Freudian slip on what must be on top of my mind), resolutions don’t live long. They will die out soon, sooner than it will take to get a ticket for Dangal. When admiring the work of Khan, we will realise how futile it all was; and rush during the intermission to buy stale samosas. With a new found zeal for digital payments, of course.
Every Tollywood hero has to a have a body of envy. Rana Daggubati set a high benchmark, Prabhas was always right up there; Allu ‘Bunny’ Arjun fits the bill, NTR Jr did his bit, and now Ram Charan has chiselled his abs to perfection. But trust me, like money, fitness never satisfies you. They will all envy Aamir too…. And a large part of it will be for acting.
(Sriram Karri is author of the bestselling novel, Autobiography of a Mad Nation. He writes for international media such as The New York Times and BBC besides organising debates at Hyd Park)