Dressed in cling wrap, with a metal hook ‘piercing’ her body, the dramatic visual of actress Amy Jackson’s Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) India campaign for World Meat Free Day is definitely grabbing eyeballs.
As the latest advocate for vegetarianism, Jackson’s stance on ‘unhooking’ from eating meat is far from being a lone voice in Bollywood. In fact, meat-less meals are fast finding their way on the dining tables of India’s top celebrities, many of whom have lent their starry credentials to the cause.
Gulf News tabloid! pulls out the menu card to see what’s cooking:
Amitabh Bachchan: Vegetarian since 2000
Amitabh Bachchan has been a veteran title holder of Peta’s Hottest Vegetarian Alive since 2002. The legendary actor has said on numerous occasions that he voluntarily gave up eating meat, along with rice, aerated drinks, alcohol and smoking over the years.
Bachchan’s health has also played an integral role in his life choices, ever since his intestine was damaged while shooting for Coolie in 1982. The actor went on record in 2000 to state he lost 75 per cent of his liver due to cirrhosis, which prompted him to make some lifestyle choices, including his diet.
Shahid Kapoor: Vegetarian since 2003
The Rangoon actor reportedly gave up eating meat in 2003 after boarding a flight armed with the book Life is Fair by Brain Hines. The book was a gift from his father, actor Pankaj Kapur. The story goes, such was the impact of the book on young Shahid Kapoor’s mind that he decided to give up meat by the time the flight landed.
Hines was a member of the Indian spiritual organisation, Radha Swami Satsang Beas, which now sees Kapoor as an avid follower. Incidentally, this was also how he met his wife, Mira Rajput.
Kangana Ranaut: Vegan since 2013
Another star to hold the Hottest Peta title, Kangana Ranaut gave up eating meat after her big move to Bollywood, despite confessing that her upbringing was in a typical Rajput household that thrived on meaty dishes.
In an interview with Times of India in 2014, Ranaut said: “Spiritually, being a non-vegetarian was blocking me. It was hard to leave and I won’t say that I don’t crave it, but you can do it with your will power.”
Ranaut has since turned vegan, saying that dairy gave her acidity. Today, her diet includes a lot of fruits and nuts.
Jacqueline Fernandez: Vegan since 2013
Jacqueline Fernandez gave up meat for Lent in 2013 and never went back to her old eating habits. The Sri Lankan former beauty queen turned vegan a year later and is known to post recipes on her Instagram account for her legion of fans.
In a blog post by Peta, the actress was quoted as saying: “I went vegan, and I’ve never felt better. Now, I want to share that wonderful feeling with everybody I know. Going vegan is the best thing you can do to help stop animal suffering, protect the environment and safeguard your own health.”
Aamir Khan: Vegan since 2015
Another late arrival to the vegetarian party, perfectionist Aamir Khan turned vegan after he hit the big five-oh.
The Dangal actor has said he does not eat meat or dairy products and it is all thanks to his wife, director Kiran Rao, who showed him a video about 15 of the most common life-threatening diseases that can be prevented by a vegan diet.
In an interview with Peta, Khan said: “At the end of it, I was convinced that vegans are way ahead of non-vegetarians and even vegetarians.”
Needless to say, Khan has found his sweet spot if his ripped body in Dangal was anything to go by.
Anushka Sharma: Vegetarian since 2015
Anushka Sharma has been a vocal animal activist for several years, although her decision to give up eating meat has nothing to do with her pet, Dude.
In a tweet on July 31, 2015, Sharma responded to the rumour mills, tweeting: “So many reports say I quit non-veg food because my dog doesn’t like the smell of meat! My dog eats meat. He’s a dog.”
The same year, the Phillauri actress won Peta’s Hottest Vegetarian Celebrity title and said at the time: “It is very important what you eat as that is what you are.”
Alia Bhatt: Vegetarian since 2015
It appears 2015 was the year for embracing vegetarianism. Following in the footsteps of Sharma and Khan, young Alia Bhatt also became an advocate of this lifestyle “with no thought involved”.
Or so she says. The Udta Punjab actress was quoted in the media as saying that she stopped eating chicken and meat because the taste had altered. Fish also stopped making the cut soon after.
“I felt lighter, happier and cooler. So I have decided to be vegetarian for now.”
Incidentally, Bhatt’s father, producer Mahesh Bhatt, is also vegetarian.