A desire to have six-pack abs like Bollywood actors Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and John Abraham is driving Indian teenagers in South Africa to use illegal steroids, a study has claimed.
Jarred Martin at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban investigated the relationship between traditional masculine beliefs, body-image discrepancy and socio-cultural influences on appearance among Indian boys between 13 and 19, the weekly Sunday Times Extra reported.
The study followed on an earlier one among all race groups, where boys of Indian-origin showed greater anxiety about their appearance as compared to their white and Black counterparts.
That study also showed that other race groups perceived Indian boys as having a "softer" masculinity, probably because of the close family units that they came from, regarding them to be "mommie's boys."
More than half of the 500 respondents, 57 per cent, in the latest study said that they felt pressured to mould their bodies like movie actors.
Although only 5.5 per cent admitted to using illegal steroids, these were mainly from boys who viewed Bollywood films as putting pressure on men to look muscular.
"You see the guys like Salman Khan (who has a screen image of stripping off his shirt regularly). This guy is so popular with the girls. I wouldn't mind looking like Khan," said one of the respondents who spoke to the weekly on conditions of anonymity.
"The only way you can get like that is to use steroids," said another.
"The way in which these cinematic heroes are portrayed is that they always get the girl. They get respect, adoration and envy from other men," Martin said.
"It may be that Bollywood cinema, in its portrayal of its action heroes and leading men as muscular Adonises, simply capitalises on the anxieties of young boys about their masculinity and body image."