MUMBAI: For years, Indian women have
been relying on the surgeon’s knife for that perfect body, that flawless
face, and now, the men are muscling in.
India’s economic boom has spawned a new breed of male, middle-class
professionals with the desire to look good and the money to make it happen.
“As little as two years ago, the ratio was 80% women, 20% men,” said Dr Manoj Kumar J Manwani, senior
consultant in cosmetic and plastic surgery at Criticare
Hospital in Mumbai. “But now it’s almost 50-50.”
Manwani, who has been practising for more than 18
years, said most of his male clients already had a good body and worked out
regularly, but they just wanted to look perfect.
“Now young men can afford memberships to gyms and swimming pools, or even
go on beach holidays. There are more chances for them to expose their
bodies,” he said.
“Even fashion has changed that way with tighter clothes. Well, they don’t
want to be embarrassed when they take off their shirts so they turn to
surgery.” In the past, face lifts and nose jobs were the most common
cosmetic surgeries for men, but now increasingly the most sought-after
treatments are removal of abnormally large breasts and abdominal
liposuction and reshaping.
Leading image consultant Prasad Bidapa said
increased exposure to all things Western brought the well-groomed,
style-conscious “metrosexual male” to India and
the booming economy gave men the means to attain that look.
Many Indian men used to rely on their parents for cash because most jobs
did not pay well, but now, their financial independence means the freedom
to spend at whim.
“The quest for the perfect look is a manifestation of the new India. We’re
more stylish and prosperous now, and people don’t feel guilty about
spending money on themselves like they might have in the past,” Bidapa said.
“Today it’s quite acceptable for men to go for facials and manicures, get waxed and plucked. There’s no stopping
In November, John, a 26-year-old software
professional who was very self-conscious of his unusually large breasts,
joined the growing ranks of surgically enhanced males.
Instead of living with his body like many men would have done in the past,
John had his breasts reduced, empowered by moving to Mumbai and taking on a
job in a multinational firm.
“Now I feel great. Not shy at all,” he said, preferring to go by only one
name. “I was pessimistic that I would not find a good girl to marry, but
now I’m more positive.”
Competition for lucrative jobs has also helped spur the trend towards
looking good, and the Internet has made finding the right doctor quick,
easy and painless: you don’t have to get a referral from a general
practitioner who might not be sympathetic.
“The influence from the West is changing our society,” said cosmetic
surgeon M S Venkatesh from Bangalore, India’s
booming IT hub. “Patients in sales or marketing, who have to meet clients,
feel they’ll get a better response if they look better.”
As an aspiring actor, 23-year-old Piyush dieted
and worked out daily in his village, and after moving to Mumbai, he decided
to have fat suctioned from his already flat belly to improve his prospects
in the film industry.
“If you ask me, Indian men are more self conscious about the way they look
than woman. They just don’t show it,” he said.
“Maybe five or 10 years ago the idea of surgery was an alienating concept,”
said Piyush. “But now it’s not that scary. Times
have changed. People are more open, more aware. Now my career is on a roll
and things are starting to happen for me.” – AFP