Monday, December 18 2017

People

Hippie at Heart

Bipasha Basu
 
Stylish, sexy and smart, tinsel-town’s fi ttest diva Bipasha Basu sets the nation’s pulses racing with her captivating charm and dusky beauty. Anita Panda Mishra chats up with the icon about health, wellness and self-acceptance.
 
She has earned her credentials from critics to fans and enjoys her current position as one of fi lm industry’s most beautiful, capable and leading female actors. An ex- Ford supermodel, Bipasha Basu has proved her mettle in an industry dominated by the fair-skinned. Named the ‘Sexiest Woman in Asia’ by the UK magazine Eastern Eye, the gorgeous siren recently starred in Players and Jodi Breakers, and is slated to make her international debut with the 2012 Australian fi lm Singularity. Her sizzling item number in Omkaara and provocative roles in Raaz, Jism and Ajnabee catapulted her to stardom, confi rming her sultry and superglamorous image.
 
And such is the passion for fi tness that she celebrated her 33rd birthday recently in her favourite space: the gym. She is in top form when ATELIER meets her in a Mumbai studio – glowing, healthy and happily single.
 
It has been one rewarding journey for Bipasha Basu, showered with accolades and adulation, for whom the defi nition of success is “what you become, not how much you acquire”. As she herself puts it, “Bollywood’s a fantastic place to be; it has accepted me with open arms.”
 
Born to a Bengali Hindu family in New Delhi, the second of three sisters and fondly dubbed ‘Lady Don’ in her school owing to her short, round appearance, Bipasha was a go-getter even then. Dabbling in ramp shows and modelling, she never did appear for her 12th board exams, going on to participate in the Godrej Super Model Contest (’96) instead and fl own to New York by the Ford Co. to commence a successful modelling career. Acting was never on her agenda though – Bipasha wanted to be a doctor until fate intervened and she recoiled and passed out while dissecting a frog in her science class. The switch from science to modelling was completely unexpected and what turned out to be a loss for the medical world became Bollywood’s gain. She moved to Mumbai, leaving behind a worried mother in Kolkata, met Mehr Jessia at a coffee shop and the rest is history! The girl from the education-oriented Bengali family forayed into the world of modelling and acting, and made it possible all on her own through sheer hard work. “Bipasha always got what she wanted, and look at her, she’s a star, an icon today,” says her proud mother.
 
Her unique fi tness mantra for attaining that svelte, sexy, super-toned body of hers “has a lot to do with my personality, beyond looking good in other people’s eyes,” says Bipasha. “I am content and happy in life, and that makes it easier to be healthy and fi t. Being a celebrity is a 24/7 job, in your private life, in front of fans and admirers. The idea is not to fall into the trappings. Be happy and love yourself no matter what happens. My fi tness mantra is to value life, respect one’s body and not to stress it. No matter how much money you’ve in your bank, stay away from vices and drink an occasional champagne for celebration. I like to give myself an hour-and-a-half for any workout, meditation and de-stressing.
 
De-cluttering your mind and attaching yourself to the body you are born with daily helps. I multi-task beautifully without any complaints,” she elaborates.
 
So how does a typical day commence for the Bollywood ‘fi tness freak’? She is quick to correct that tag and says, “I have to say I am a ‘fi tness enthusiast’, not a freak! I don’t want to be dependent on anyone when I am old; I want to be able to travel and enjoy life.” Her day begins with a glass of wheatgrass juice, fi ve soaked almonds, apples, a cup of green tea followed by a breakfast of several egg whites in different forms, muesli with skimmed milk and fruits. An hour’s break is then followed with a combination of gym and cardio training. “I have the biggest smile on my face when I go to the gym,” she laughs, “and I often push people to adopt a fi tness routine.”
 
Does she give the rigorous regime a skip occasionally and succumb to indulgences? “Being Bengali, I have a sweet tooth but I eat everything in moderation. I do intense workouts and stay away from fried foods and desserts,” she responds. For the fi tness goddess, there are absolutely ‘no shortcuts’ to achieving that fabulous body-shape, except a disciplined routine. “You have to work it out to be fi t,” says she, sticking to a high-profi cient diet and snacking frequently on her favourite fat burners: bell-peppers. Her inspiration in the fi tness world is celebrity trainer Deanne Pandey, with whom she works closely, while the star who inspires her most with his fi tness routine is Akshay Kumar.
 
Considering wellness is such a lucrative industry today, what are her plans, initiatives and contributions towards it? “The fact that people identify me as a fi tness icon is a fabulous thing!” she exclaims. “But it’s nothing magical. I am representing the ‘Fit India movement’ (on NDTV), which gives interesting awards to sports people. My DVD Fit & Fabulous, in alliance with Reebok, is a three-year-old venture now, growing annually.” She has been the face of the prestigious New Delhi Half Marathon for the second consecutive year bringing together people who love running. “It’s amazing how people from any walk of life can develop awareness about fi tness,” she says. A regular at Gold’s Gym, she has interacted with various age groups who share a common passion for fi tness and attributes a fi t physique to effective time management. Her sincere advice to aspiring runners is to pursue cardio-vascular activities “with the need to keep an eye on food and lifestyles” as Indian cuisine can be “amazingly tasty” but high on calories.
 
Despite her bold roles and awardwinning and commendable performances in successful commercial fl icks (Raaz, Jism, No Entry, Omkara, Corporate), as well as her challenging role in the offbeat Sab Choritro Kalponik, how is she still stuck with the ‘sex symbol’ image? She nonchalantly replies, “I don’t think it’s wise to break that decadelong image. And I don’t need to prove myself ! No one can be attractive without the sex appeal. I am very happy with it.”
 
She can’t name just one person who was her role model or inspiration in life. “I see people and learn. My dear friend Yuvraj Singh is going through a testing time, affl icted with cancer at a very young age. His zest to live life inspires me!” she marvels. Instances like these and the recent demise of her makeup artist have also make her philosophical.
 
The ‘real’ Bipasha, she says, is “a very simple and mad girl, a bit of a hippy at heart, who loves to laugh a lot and hears background music” in her mind space. Fashion-wise she abides by a “Goa state of mind” style sense, wearing clothes suited to her comfort level with a mix of street and high-end. An avid traveller, London, New York, Greece and Goa are her favourite travel destinations. She refuses to live by the rules for a Hindi fi lm heroine and follows the motto of ‘love yourself ’. The fi tness goddess known as much for her rigid diet and workout routine as for her ‘retro-eyeliner look, fl awless skin, nude lips’ has taken fi tness to a different level altogether and redefi ned beauty for the dusky female.
 
How would she like to be remembered a decade later? “I don’t have a plan in life. My parents named me after the river Beas. I am like a river, living up to my name,” she signs off
 
 
 
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Bipasha Basu
 
 
 
 
 
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Bipasha Basu represents the ‘Fit India Movement’ on NDTV and is a selfconfessed avid traveller.
 
 
 
 
 
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With Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan at the New Delhi Half Marathon earlier this year. Both Bipasha and Shahrukh were the faces of the annual fitness event.


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