Not too long ago, Bollywood actress Nimrat Kaur penned a long note on Instagram sharing her experience with gaining and losing weight to play the character of Bimla Devi in Dasvi. Her post just came out the day after she was trolled for her outfit on The Kapil Sharma Show. While we wondered, if her message on body positivity is a clapback to online trolls, Nimrat says she wanted to speak to people that it’s very important and non-negotiable to be sensitive and understand that nobody else but only we have the right to speak about our own bodies, and that it is nobody else's business to talk about it.
Prepping for Dasvi, wasn’t a cakewalk for Nimrat to gain 15 kilos, and carry the weight for an entire year. Her journey from Nimmo to Bimmo in the movie was quite a challenge and required her to binge on jalebi, burgers, pizza, chole bhature, loads of chocolates, and everything else that she would ideally avoid on a regular day. It took intense workouts for almost two years to get back to her usual size.
We got in touch with Nimrat and got her to share more insights about her transformation journey. From battling psychological discomfort to dealing with unsolicited advice on her changing looks—Nimrat shares it all in an exclusive tête-à-tête with Zeezest.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. You’ve talked about going through a physical transformation for your character Bimla Devi in Dasvi, how did you prepare for it?
Mentally, I had to prepare myself for a body I never had before. I had to be ready to not fit into the clothes I was used to fitting in. I had to go about it methodologically, responsibly, and slowly. Jhanvi Kanakia, my wonderful nutritionist who was given to me by Maddock Films, took me through the whole process beautifully, patiently, and very lovingly. She understood that I am an actor, and I have a certain relationship with my body, and I had to change that dialogue with my physical self. Her role was very important in that process.
2. How long did it take and what diet did you follow?
I ate high-calorie food but very healthy foods. I stayed away from simple carbs, alcohol, or anything that would damage the system. So I ate things I grew up eating like parathas and all sorts of wonderful things that my mum cooked, froze, and sent to me from Delhi by courier. So I enjoyed the process. It took about six to seven months to put that weight on. It wasn't a target weight but a look that was in my mind. And by the end of the journey of being where I should have been physically, I had ended up putting on 15-16 kgs, which was an incidental thing. There wasn't a number in mind. So it was a slow, steady, but a very responsible process.
3. What were the challenges you faced during that period?
Psychologically, there were days when I didn’t feel very comfortable. My joints used to have a tough time because my body was not used to carrying the weight I was carrying. I developed breathlessness and all kinds of problems I hadn't experienced before. But I tried to remind myself again it was temporary and intentional. The biggest challenge when you are physically changing is that you don't have control over it. And then there were people who would randomly comment on how I was looking or what I was eating without realising that it's my own prerogative on what I eat and what I look like. It was an interesting observation that I made during the process.
4. How long did it take to lose those extra kilos and what all exercises did you do?
I was actually stuck with the weight for many months because the lockdown happened three days before we could have wrapped the shoot. I had to retain the weight, not knowing when we would get back to shooting. I got a bit worried as it was a little strange not knowing when I would return to my normal self. I kept the weight for a year. I started functional training and slowly started to lose weight, but I injured myself with a tennis leg. I tore my calf muscle because I was training harder than my body was able to handle. I had to get into physiotherapy. All in all, it took me a year and a half, close to two years, to somewhat come back to where I had begun. I wasn’t in a rush; I went about it slowly.
5. Did it affect your mental health at any point?
Well, it did not affect my mental health per se. I used to have days when I used to worry will I be able to come back to my normal self, but then I had my loved ones around me, my friends, my well-wishers, my trainer—everyone used to have healthy and wonderful conversations with me that really helped me calibrate exactly where I was and that I didn't need to worry about anything. More than anything else, I wanted to have a dialogue out loud about how everyone around us needs to be extremely careful about how you can't comment on anyone else's body just because you think you know better than them.
6. The pressure to look a certain way is real. You think Bollywood's idea of a quintessential heroine is changing with time?
I think that's been happening for a very long time now. More and more diverse content is being produced now. All types of sizes, shapes, and skin colours are visible now in the entertainment industry with the kind of stories being written. There hasn't been a better time for all kinds of people to be seen in stories and mainstream work. I think it's really a very lovely time.
7. How do you deal with social media trolls?
Honestly, I don’t deal with trolls. I don’t have the time to deal with trolls or people who have nothing better to do with their lives than making someone else’s life difficult. I have no time and patience to pay attention to people like that. I mean, where does it stop? A change needs to be brought in the mindset where women cannot be looked at as physical objects of desire or pleasure. I feel like that is a dialogue that needs to be encouraged. The point of view has to be changed.
8. What are some Indian beauty stereotypes, according to you, that we should be done with?
Skin colour, body shape, height! Anything that requires somebody to behave a certain way, like don't laugh too loud or don't argue back because it is not a good sign of a well brought-up girl.