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Zindagi Na Milege Dobara

Zindagi Na Milege Dobara's teaser has Hrithik, Abhay and Farhan flaunting their chiseled abs. Is B'wood's obsession with lean eternal?

Bollywood's lead heroes have always been voluntary shape-shifters. Every time one gains popularity for a certain waist size, others fall in line to chisel themselves into the same. But this wasn't the case back in the day. There was a time in Hindi cinema when one's physique didn't matter and Sanjeev Kumar was a lead hero and fat-burners were the least popular drug.

And if you thought, we're just quoting pre-historic examples, you thought wrong. Remember, Rishi Kapoor confidently twisting his wiggly-comfortably-round self in Chandni? Or perhaps even Govinda at the peak of his career, gyrating better than Munni or Sheila in his seriously overweight state in Sajan Chale Sasural. Neither of them shaped up or needed to ship out on account of their excess flab. It was a blissfully corpulent world.

It was only by the fag end of the 80s, when a new look evolved, one that the common man could easily identify with. It was the 'everyman' body type, skinny, yet not malnourished. Salman who pioneered this look in Maine Pyaar Kiya decided to change the rules of the game nine years later, when he beefed up for his shirtless jig in Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya. While some found it provocative, others just gushed and blushed. And before we knew it the entire industry looked like something hanging in a mutton shop.

And considering how competitive Bollywood is, no one was spared from this anaerobic mania. Not even Bollywood's baadshah, Shah Rukh Khan who joined the herd in Om Shanti Om at the age of 42, adding another attribute to the concept of a perfect Bollywood body, the six-pack abs. And trends in Bollywood, though momentary would explode across the board, right from the highest paid actor to the struggler slumming it out at a Lokhandwala gym, everyone just had to sport it.

The 'bigger is better' theory faded out by 2008, as a scrawny young thing called Imran Khan decided to redefine cool and lean became the new mean. Those who had beefed-up, chucked their dumbbells and signed up for Yoga classes. And since the supposed future of Bollywood (Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Imran Khan) began endorsing this slim sutra, even seasoned actors (like Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots) were forced to get into the game.

And while our Bollywood biggies are now happily prancing around in their slender size-zero bodies, we wonder if the toned look is here to stay. With Hrithik's meticulously sculpted body in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, we would place our money on the pumping steroids.