June 27, 2020
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Fish Thalis...Washboard Abs

Rohini Iyer dines Lara Dutta

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Fish Thalis...Washboard Abs
Punit Paranjpe
Fish Thalis...Washboard Abs
Lara Dutta’s looks are utterly deceptive—she looks as if she’s just stepped out of the latest issue of Vogue, but at heart she remains the typical hatti-katti Punjabi kudi with an appetite to match. She sashays into her favourite restaurant, Soul Fry, a little joint tucked behind her swanky Bandra apartment, and promptly orders a huge fish thali. "I eat like a horse," she says. I stare in utter disbelief at Lara’s six-pack abs and a tummy flatter than an ironing board. "I play a village girl in Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost. For the first two days of the shoot I was completely covered up in layers and layers of clothing. The third day I had to wear a short choli and a sexy ghagra. When I took off my shawl, the entire unit was gaping at me. They couldn’t get over my abs. The guys, including Abhishek Bachchan, hit the gym with a vengeance," she says.

She is also responsible for AB Junior’s sudden interest in beauty products. "I put him on all kinds of moisturisers—for his hands, feet, face, eyes, you name it." Apart from Bachchan’s bachcha, Lara gets along like a house on fire with two other Punjabi heroes—Akshay Kumar and Bobby Deol.

For a new entrant in Bollywood, Lara’s bindaas. Maybe it’s her Miss Universe background that’s helped. She takes a swig of Soul Kadi ("I looove it!") and admits that Bollywood is a different ball game. "I’m meeting all kinds of people. Actually, I like running around trees and dancing. I’ve trained in Bharatanatyam for nine years, after that I did Salsa. These days I go for Kathak classes at six in the morning!" She tucks into her scrumptious fish thali with relish.

After her debut film Andaaz struck gold at the box-office, Lara’s obviously dancing all the way to the bank. She has received over thirty offers but the lady’s in no hurry. She’s more obsessed about her new three-bedroom flat. "Kelly (Dorji) and I fight over every little thing about the house. I want a particular colour on the walls, he wants something else. It’s literally a mad house." She has been linked to Akshay Kumar and Abhishek Bachchan but home is where the heart is. And Lara’s heart very much belongs to Kelly. "He’s perfect," she gushes and shifts her attention to her first love—fish curry and rice. "Seeing the amount I eat, Abhishek and Co have labelled me Dara Dutta," she grins and strikes a mock Dara Singh pose. Must hand it to this girl: she’s muscled her way into Bollywood. In style.

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