Body transformation is common among celebrities; they go through drastic changes in their physique (loss or gain weight) for special roles they take up.
Hrithik Roshan’s recent video of a body transformation for ‘War’ got his fans and fitness enthusiasts raving about his hard work, but looking at him getting a ripped body (like that) was scary for some.
The video starts with the actor narrating his ordeal of getting back his fit body (after the movie ‘Super 30’) “all over again”.
At one point, Hrithik is seen panting and saying, ‘kisi ko batana mat, body aise banti hai, banayega nehi koi’, meaning ‘Don’t tell anyone that you build your physique this way, nobody will do it’.
In the past, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan had gone through well-publicised changes in their physique for ‘Dangal’ and ‘Sultan’ respectively.
Experts say drastic and frequent body transformation is not good for the human body. Along with physical change, it may bring about psychological and emotional turmoil. In the process of achieving stardom, actors go through many demanding situations, with some roles calling for body transformation. Joaquin Phoenix recently said he was suffering from an eating disorder after losing 24 kilos for the recent film ‘Joker’.
Age plays a factor
‘The Machinist’ actor Christian Bale, (known for body transformations) could deal with it effortlessly when he was young. But he couldn’t pull it off when he had to lose weight for a film in his 40s.
“He ended up getting into self-harm behaviour; started smoking too much and depended entirely on whiskey to lose weight because the “healthy ways” were not helping him.
There have been incidents when actors have herniated a disc and ended up in a wheelchair while working out for a role. These are some effects of extreme body transformations,” says Akanksha Pandey, consultant, clinical psychologist, Fortis Hospital.
A situation like this makes one immobile and can be debilitating, and lead to anger, irritability and anxiety.
It should be understood that what one can do at 25 might not be possible at 50. The body’s response also varies with age.
It is a fact that going back to one’s regular shape is sometimes difficult. While gaining weight is easy, losing those kilos is more difficult.
“One has a motivating factor until the movie is complete. Once the role is done, no one likes that body transformation. Most of the time, actors go through social anxiety with self-esteem and social isolation cropping up,” she says.
Deadline and pressure
Actors work on a deadline even when they transform into a different body type. That brings extreme pressure. “When you try to lose weight in a short span of time, it leads to devastating changes in the body which it is not used to — leading to physical disability and ultimately leading to psychological turmoil. Physical issues like back, muscle and joint issues are common when an actor has to put on weight,” observes Akanksha.
Behind the body transformation videos that celebs put up on social media, at work is a whole team of dieticians, nutritionists, doctors and personal trainers who keep a check on small details of the transition.
These actors are influential and can inspire people to think differently. While putting up work-out videos can be motivating, they should also talk about their support systems and how they coped with extreme emotional turmoil.
Know your limit
“A sudden weight loss or gain can cause hypothalamic disturbance and patients can go into hypothalamic amenorrhea, where ovulation and menstruation stop, resulting in infertility. Men who want to build up their muscle mass go in for anabolic steroids; long exposure to these steroids can cause complete shutdown of their reproductive system,” says Pallavi Prasad, fertility consultant, Nova IVF Fertility.