Bollywood’s Sonali Bendre has something to say about body standards in the Indian entertainment industry. Unlike other entertainment industries, Bollywood wasn’t interested in women being “skinny” in the 1990s. Instead, “voluptuous” bodies were the standard and she recalls being body-shamed at the time for not fitting the mould.
Speaking to Bollywood Bubble on Monday, Bendre said, “Being skinny was definitely not the standard of beauty. Voluptuousness was the standard of beauty and I was told you were just not woman enough if you were not voluptuous, you know which it shouldn’t be.”
“I do agree body shaming should not have any part in our society and especially little girls and the kind of ideas they are growing with and the crazy dieting people are doing. People are forgetting that it is not holistic,” she said.
After facing body-shaming, she had to face lack of acceptance for her battle with cancer. Bendre shared that when she wanted to do a shoot with her scar showing, she was “scared” to reveal it as she didn’t think she could step out without a wig. “If you’re afraid of it, crush it right there. The scary part was — as you know the bloated face, the scar, and the baldness and especially when the hair just started coming, it’s just the most ugly sight.”
She revealed that after this struggle, she regained her confidence. “I said that the moment you’re scared of something and you’re feeling that ‘no, how can I do this’, I need to go out and do it and you just kill it right there or just crush it then. That was one way of looking at it.”
Bendre has returned to the screen and currently can be seen in OTT show The Broken News, a Hindi adaptation of Mike Bartlett’s BBC show Press. The plot features two rival news channels based in Mumbai — Awaaz Bharati, an independent, ethical news channel, and Josh 24/7 News, which offers sensationalist and invasive journalism, and what transpires between the main characters in their quest for news. The show marks her streaming debut alongside actors Jaideep Ahlawat, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Indraneil Sengupta, Taaruk Raina, Aakash Khurana and Kiran Kumar.