There was a time when having a sculpted body was not the requirement of a Bollywood hero with the likes of Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Dev Anand or Rajesh Khanna for that matter. All of them had a lean body and flawless acting skills. Then came Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt who changed the definition of fitness in Bollywood. Now in the 21st century, just like in cricket, the focus has been shifted to fitness. Similarly, as Sourav Ganguly demonstrated while celebrating India's memorable win over England in the 2003 Natwest series, that having a sculpted body was not criteria to be a member of the side. All that's changed now.
Sourav Ganguly's iconic celebration in 2003
With the introduction of new and advanced coaching and sports science methodologies, there has been a visible change in the appearance of India's top cricketers. At the very least, they now no longer have to win a thriller abroad to go topless.
The fitness revolution, however, kickstarted in Bollywood, way before it spread its wings to cricket. And the person responsible largely for this transformation, other than Salman Khan is the 'Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai' boy, Hrithik Roshan. He brought to light the clear difference between being a bulky muscleman and being 'cut'. He too had his downside and has been in the former category, but his determination and grit gave him the label of the handsome 'Greek God'. He is back and how. Look at the pictures the 40 something posts on his social media account.
Hrithik's arrival triggered a seismic shift in Bollywood's male actors' outlook on fitness. In the following years, senior actors Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan too opted for the six-pack bulky look for their films.
In today's day, it's imperative for stars to be fit and also alter their body shape as per the requirement of the role. Ranveer Singh, who entered the industry as a lean man, soon bulked up for Ram Leela and fans and the audience being awestruck. Ranbir Kapoor, meanwhile, has done rather well in the rare but enjoyable football matches between Cricketers and Bollywood stars, managing to terrorise the professional sportsmen with his runs down the right wing. 'Kapoor and Sons' star Sidharth Malhotra meanwhile has the kind of packs that are difficult to count.
That's right, Sid. Let the picture do the talking
And then, this -
They may have come under the scrutiny for controversies and been labeled as 'bad role models', but when it comes to fitness, Bollywood and Team India is sure becoming the society of fitness inspiration.
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