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She’s a former Miss World and a treasured Bollywood star, but Aishwarya Rai appears to have fallen out of favour with India’s media in an extraordinary row over her weight.
The furore began after a picture of Rai sporting a double chin as she climbed into a car after a party emerged.
Rai gave birth to her first child in November and has publicly stated she is in no hurry to drop her extra pounds, preferring to “enjoy motherhood”.
But the pictures have sparked an intense debate about motherhood, weight, and the apparent "obligations" of those in the public eye.
Scroll down for more pictures of Aishwarya Rai and a video apparently revealing her 'shocking weight gain'
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted showbiz columnist Shobhaa Dee: “Aishwarya is like a goddess. She is held up as the idea of beauty and so there is an expectation for her to look perfect at all times.”
A video clip comparing pictures of Rai in her heyday and following the birth of her child was posted on YouTube, illustrated with the sound of a trumpeting elephant.
The accompanying blurb says the 38-year-old “seems to be looking rather plump instead of losing some of her flab after the baby’s delivery.”
It adds: “The Bachchan bahu seems to be taking motherhood very seriously and seems to have shockingly put on at least five to six kilos.”
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While many of the comments have branded the video “disgusting” and “pathetic”, others have expressed agreement with the sentiments.
One wrote: “The woman is in the public eye. Her baby is seven months old and she looks like she gave birth yesterday! Not to mention the double chin! Sorry, many of us have had kids and worked hard to lose it. Motherhood doesn’t give you license to be overweight.”
Cinema professor Shohini Ghosh told The Guardian: "There is a glorification of motherhood in India and Indian cinema. But people are confused because they don't know whether to glorify Aishwarya in her new motherhood or lament that she is not looking like a runway model."
Rai will make her 10th appearance at Cannes next week as a brand ambassador for L'Oreal.Suggest a correction