Nutritionist Dr Sarita Davare, recently caught in the tax net (the income tax department recovered Rs 7.5 crore from her), is the city’s best kept secret. We spent the best part of the day trying to get a picture of the lady, but failed. However, the recent IT raid on her brings the spotlight on big bucks that the fitness industry rides on.
It is well documented by the fact that the most celebrated czarinas of fitness are based in Mumbai; and while they happen to be on the speed dial of A-list film stars and industrialists of the country today, newcomers (celebrities and janata, alike) have to wait out their turn. Leading names in the business are nutritionist Anjali Mukherjee, yoga expert and nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, and beautician Vandana Luthra who retails her services through the VLCC chain across the country.
While Mukherjee combines diet counseling with brisk walking for effective weight loss, Diwekar pairs personalised diet and exercise. Dieting is not a profanity here, as it does not translate to starvation. The price one pays for fitness can vary between Rs 40,000 for a period of three-month counseling to Rs 10,000 guaranteed for a 10 kg weight loss. It does not dissuade the clients. If anything, it has sharpened the brand equity of these professionals.
Mukherjee has been a columnist with national publications for many years; Luthra has appeared on many public forums promoting the goodness of holistic beauty, while Diwekar is the favourite among the Bollywood A-list currently. Her book Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, published last year, has sold over a lakh copies. She came into fame following actress Kareena Kapoor’s size zero-look, displayed in Jab We Met and Tashan.
Dr Davare is one of them, and yet apart, as she prefers to deliberately shun the limelight. She has some of the most popular clients on her roster – Sonu Nigam, Rohit and Mansi Roy, Rohini Hattangady and Hariharan are a few. She operates out of a rundown clinic in Vile Parle (east), where people are known to queue up from early morning. It is not easy to get through to her and one is known to be waitlisted for months. On an average she is known to consult with 400 clients in a single day; and the no-nonsense lady is said to make no distinction between celebrities and janta.
She combines a mix of acupuncture and diet to revv up the metabolism of her clients. She has the diet chart of all her clients committed to memory. Her USP? She appears like a homely lady, simply clad in a salwar kameez who will not patronize you, says a client. She charges Rs 10,000 for 20 sessions for five weeks. Sans frills.
Some of her celebrity clients take great effort to pick their lingerie with care as they drive to her clinic. Some even carry their own bed linen. The reason? You are supposed to strip to your bare minimum, stretch out on the bed while acupuncture is performed on you. The sheets are not changed and every new guest is not handed out a fresh towel. She means business, which means off with one and on with the next in rapid succession, says a client. There are days when she is on her feet through the day, moving from one patient to the next. Dr Davare came to the city from Nagpur about five years ago. In the early days she garnered the faith of the elderly by managing weight and relieving aches and pains of elderly patients afflicted with diabetes and arthritis. She turned to her current calling thereafter.
Perhaps soon there will be a face to the name.
Despite having clients like Sonu Nigam, Rohit and Mansi Roy and Hariharan, Dr Davare operates out of a rundown clinic at Vile Parle (east), where she meets 400 clients every day on an average.