On January 23, Bharatiya Janata Party’s alpha male, Narendra Modi, once again drew attention to his broad chest as he took on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“Netaji (Yadav) has said Modi does not have what it takes to make another Gujarat out of Uttar Pradesh. Do you know what making another Gujarat requires? … It requires a chhappan inch ki chhati (56-inch chest),” declared BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, just stopping short of thumping his chest King Kong style. Modi’s fixation with vital statistics isn’t new. After winning the 2007 Gujarat assembly elections, too, he had boasted about his ‘sizeable’ chest. Now, if we were to search for Modi’s metaphoric supermen, it would be a very exclusive macho league of gentlemen.
Height: 6 feet 2 inches. Weight: 118 kg. Waist: 34 inches. And the chest, a whopping 58 inches. Five years of hard and heavy chest-pumping regime — bench press, incline bench press and dumbbell exercises — was what it took for the ‘Terminator’ to increase his chest size from 39 inches to the magnificent 58 inches befitting Mr Olympia.
The Great Khali
The man who was named Dalip Singh as a child and who then grew and grew and grew until he came to be called ‘Giant Singh’, ‘The Punjabi Nightmare’, ‘The Punjabi Titan’ and, of course, ‘The Great Khali’ has a gigantic chest girth of 63 inches. The professional wrestler and actor stands seven-feet-one-inch tall — definitely heads and shoulders over Modi’s five feet 10 inches — and weighs nearly 160 kg.
The former American professional wrestler, a 6-feet-7-inch tall, 12-time world champion boasts of a 58-inch chest and 24-inch biceps.
Former Indian bodybuilder, Prem Chand Dogra, who won the Mr Universe title in 1988, comes within touching distance of the chest in question at 54 inches.
Prem Chand Dogra
A small wonder, if there ever was one, this bodybuilder who stands a modest five-feet tall — a fact that earned him the title of ‘Pocket Hercules’ — is also nearly there with a 54-inch chest. Aged 101 today, he continues to sport a well-exercised, v-cut body.
When he started out, he had that commonplace 44-inch chest — the kind the Sanjay Dutts and Salman Khans of Bollywood strut around. But after six weeks of training, which included two workouts a day, six days a week, ‘Rambo’ had a chest that measured almost 50 inches. That’s still six whole inches short of Modi’s vaunted, and flaunted, 56.
So, what about NaMo himself? How does he compare with the Stallones and the Hulk Hogans? Well, if Sunil Kandalloor, the man who has made the Gujarat chief minister’s life-size wax statue at a museum in Lonavala, is to be believed, Modi’s chest measures 44 inches — one whole foot short of his aspirational chhappan inch ki chhati.