Tanushree Dutta on voluntarily going bald

Tanushree Dutta on voluntarily going bald

Tanushree Dutta on voluntarily going bald

Jada Pinkett Smith’s baldness is a medical condition. However, women going bald voluntarily is not unknown in India. Aeons ago there was   the rebellious Protima Bedi. Nearer in time, actress Tanushree Dutta too went through a bald phase.

Speaking exclusively on her tryst with baldness Tanushree says, “Well my going bald was a planned and   strategic decision that took over six   months to execute. I didn't shave it all off in one go. I did it gradually to get myself and   my family used to it. They still felt shocked and that was okay. Their reaction was only to be as expected after seeing their daughter all bald like a monk.”

Recalling those days of bohemian free-spiritedness Tansushree says, “I was moving constantly in spiritual circles back then, going to yoga ashrams and Himalayan Buddhist retreats, etc. In that space such things are held in high esteem and   I wanted to just experience sanyas without fully taking sanyas. So I decided to start with my hair, that’s all. I was indeed contemplating getting ordained officially into monastic life sometime in future but wasn't sure.”

Tanushree doesn’t regret that phase.  “It gave me a spiritual perspective of my life and   existence without the adornments of personality like hair and hairstyle. A lot of seekers do that at some point during their meditation journey. Because I'm a woman it grabbed eyeballs but it was just something I knew I had to do then as the time was ripe for such a change.”

The bald phase gave Tanushree a chance to move away from the movie star business. “As a movie actress a lot of the style I wore in life was dictated by my image and expectations etc. Spirituality motivated me to transcend everything to seek my core-spirit vibe. Fussing over hair style and haircare seemed very banal when I was trying to reach Samadhi or enlightenment.  I was pretty deep in that stuff so went with the flow.”

The Aashiq Banaya Aapne actress admits she was completely at ease her bald phase. “Surprisingly, during that time I never even once got body-shamed, a few gasps of surprise here and there, that’s all. I received  many compliments!  I was in India and   travelling and taking flights and   attending events also, no one bothered after a while. India can be peculiarly open -minded about such things. I guess it's our rich cultural and spiritual heritage that has somehow normalized baldness in men and women.”

She did get come medical queries, though. “Some people wondered and asked sheepishly if I was going through chemotherapy. Overall, my shining glory invoked curiosity not condemnation. A leading actor even sent his compliments through a friend. He said, ‘Tell Tanushree she looks quite awesome in this look.’   I happily accepted the compliment.”

Later Tanushree changed her mind. “Later realised sanyas not for me. So, I grew my hair back again, got my shit together, moved to America for a bit and   now back in Bollywood with my lustrous growing mane. Life goes in circles and   I've enjoyed every phase. Don’t know what’s next but I have never regretted all that stuff I did.”

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.

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