COMM: This female bodybuilder is breaking
down cultural taboos in India. 00:15
COMM: Away from the gym 32-year-old Ashwini Waskar looks like any traditional Indian girl
next door but in only a year she has transformed her physique and become a competitive bodybuilder.
Ashwini only started going to the gym a year ago as she wanted to lose weight but she loved
working out so much that she quit her job and began a career in fitness. 00:38
ASHWINI: When I became a personal trainer, I was so enthusiastic that as challenge I
used to lift weights. With the heavy weight training and a diet that was rich in protein,
my body became strong from within. 00:52
COMM: Then Ashwini found out that a nearby city was holding India’s first national female
bodybuilding competition and she decided to compete. But entrants had to wear revealing
clothing and Ashwini was concerned about how her conservative family would react. 01:07
ASHWINI: When I first heard about the female bodybuilding competition in Vashi, I barely
had 10-12 days to prepare for it. It took me two days to get permission from my father
to wear the competition clothing of sports bra and bikini. 01:28
BHALCHANDRA: Instead of taking a few days, I thought about it overnight and told her
the next day that the competitors are sportspeople and the clothes are part of the sport, a part
of the exercise. There is a purpose for it and you are not selling your body. You are
showing the world what you have earned. 01:44
NIRANJAN: When I heard that shorts were worn in the competition. I was a little worried.
We are a middle class family. Once she had support of the rest of the family, I had no
objections to it. 02:09
COMM: With her family behind her, Ashwini has gone on to compete in seven bodybuilding
contests, including an international competition. But unlike male competitors she has struggled
to find sponsorship so her father foots most of the bill. 02:24
BHALCHANDRA: People ask why we had to spend so much money on this, because I sold my gold
chain and used the money set aside for an operation for my daughter’s career. It is
okay if no one helps my daughter. I am ready to sell everything, as long as she competes
and places in the top three at competitions. I hope that she lands a job through this sport.
We will try for that, but the rest we leave to God. 02:52
COMM: And it’s not just Bhalchandra who is proud of Ashwini. 02:55
NIRANJAN: I feel proud that everyone knows me as Ashwini Waskar’s brother. 03:02
DAYSHREE: I think its evident how much she loves her body by the way she maintains it.
Everybody loves somebody in their lives, but I believe that before loving anybody we should
learn to love ourselves. 03:15
COMM: Looking into the future Ashwini hopes to become one of India’s top female bodybuilders
but for now she is glad to be challenging the country’s cultural taboos. 03:32
ASHWINI: There are a lot of girls in India coming forward because of the publicity these
competitions are getting. It’s a good sign. Girls are starting bodybuilding and some women
are being inspired to get fit. It should not be a taboo.