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,”
“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 it.”
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