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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Live Insta Chat: Rytasha Rathore On Fighting Body Image Issues, Trolls, And Refusing Typecast Roles

  • IWB Post
  •  July 13, 2019

Bhains, too fat, feminism ke naam par kuch bhi, shabby, raiser ke paise nahi hein to mujhse lelo, ise actress kisne bana diya, ugly, look at your stomach, ewww your boobs are so saggy!

In the time of social media, a sad albeit big part of being a celebrity involves facing online trolls every now and then. However, it is how you choose to face/ignore them that defines it all. It all boils down to your attitude and Badho Bahu fame Rytasha Rathore has just the right one.

“The internet is not a place to come and shit. If you are going to be a hater then fuck off,” she says out loud without mincing any of her words and meaning each one of it. Speaking on trolls, she says, “All these people, I feel bad for them. Who are they? They are not educated enough, they are not evolved enough, and certainly, they are not sensible enough.”

While Rytasha shot to fame with her powerful acting in serial Badho Bahu, it is her bold, bindass, and unapologetic attitude that has been the talk of the town, of late. Recently a picture of her, wearing a strapless bra went viral. She posted the picture along with a long caption where she wrote about her long-standing struggle with her body image.

Badho Bahu was probably a one-off chance for an actor who looks like me. But it gave me the confidence in my craft and made me believe I’m a good leader and that I’m made for great things. But the journey since it went off the air? Well, I’m back to being the same fat girl who gets audition calls only for roles which require some such thing,” she wrote.

“I’m really at a tricky place emotionally and mentally. All my self worth and confidence is being constantly tested by external factors. And I have to take care of myself. I’m far from perfect. But I’m so much more than “that fat actress” or “that funny girl”. That’s all… I just wanted to share with y’all where I’m at, what I’m going through,” she added.

In a recent Insta Live chat with IWB, Rytasha talked about the same post. She shared, “I was going through a bad phase and was feeling very unhealthy and fat because I had put on weight in the last few months. So I was getting ready and after looking at myself in the mirror I was like ‘What’s going on. Ok, so this is what your bodies look like now. Lemme take a few photos.’  It was my way of dealing with my own issues. I didn’t even think that it would get such a big response but somehow it did.”

Coming from an industry that puts one open to public scrutiny 24*7, it becomes integral to maintain a positive relationship with your body image so as to stay confident and at peace with yourself. A lot of professional personal choices that ones makes directly impact her/her journey towards body positivity. Rytasha experienced something very similar.

She shares, “While Badho Bahu was on TV it was very simple because I had to look a certain way for the role but after that, it became kind of complicated because of the kind of the offers that I was getting. There is a very set way in which people think that “large” or “fat” women will only fill in certain kind of roles like hero ki behen, mom, heroine ki best friend, etc. I had not been getting very exciting roles and that was a bit of a reality check. It made me realise that no matter how I think of myself, people are never going to view me differently.”

Women in the entertainment industry are very quickly typecast into certain kind of roles. Sharing her experience with the same, Rytasha shares, “I have not done anything in a while because I don’t find anything exciting enough. Everything appears too settled. It is the same kind of roles. The chubby, chulbuli character which I don’t want to play anymore.”

When asked if she is somehow trying to break free of the box, she says, “I don’t know yaar, I don’t know how to break that box. The only thing that I know is to be myself and to be good at my work and I have faith that there will come a point when I get the recognition and the kind of roles that I deserve.”

She adds, “I want roles where central conflict should not be that “she is a fat girl.” I want a role that’s more than that. At this point, it is all about a good actress not getting work because of her weight which is unfair.”

It is the acting industry’s fixation with looks and attractive bodies that baffles Rytasha the most and we can’t really blame her. I mean, shouldn’t acting skills be the first concern? She explains, “It has become a cycle. People who are trying to become actors don’t even work on their acting these days, they go to the gym instead.”

However, that’s not the only problem that Rytasha has. The lack of solid, impactful roles for women also bothers her as an actor. “They are not writing good enough roles for women to begin with. Thus, to think that that they will write a good role for someone like me is an entirely different thing altogether.”

To add to it, the society that we live in has always desexualized those who don’t fit into their parameters of “ideal beauty,” people on the upper side of weighing scale being easy choices. “It gets so bad that after a time, when men are concerned, even you start feeling that you can only be their best friend. So there is this element of desexualising oneself where you yourself start feeling not worthy enough. Thankfully, I think it is breaking now,” says Rytasha.

Fortunately, Rytasha has always had a good relationship with her self owing to a very strong support system which has helped her easily navigate through all the negativity. Over the years, she has also learned the importance of self-acceptance.

She shares, “For me, it all started in college. When I went to drama school, it was rather freeing to realise that there was no judgment and everyone was focused on their growth. That’s when I learned to focus on other aspects of one’s personality beyond physicality. I learned that we are not limited by our bodies. The drama school made me free and comfortable in my own body and made me more aware of it.”

Also, being the person that I am, I have managed to have an amazing life, an amazing family, and amazing friends and that’s all that matters, right? From where I see it, this policy of not judging has worked out for me,” she says.

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