Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Great Vintages...

This appeared in Bombay Times today....
Cheers! To Great Vintages…..
Parmeshwar Godrej refers to herself as a ‘great vintage’. And who on earth can challenge Mumbai’s grande dame? It is an entirely accurate description – I can vouch for it, having seen this great vintage get better and better over decades. And dare I say it, like any memorable vintage, the years have added a golden mellow glow which only enhances Chateau Parmesh. Chin –Chin! All these thoughts came to me as I watched her feverish efforts to stage the Heroes’ Project at Shivaji Park last week. There was an urgency and earnestness in her attitude that was impressive. With no Richard Gere to lend support and star power ( who can forget the Shilpa Shetty kiss fiasco?), and a whole host of high profile events like the IPL to compete against, Parmesh remained motivated and undaunted as she roped in her brand ambassador Hritik Roshan, along with a whole host of friends, to ensure the AIDS programme she is associated with ( Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), received the sort of attention it warrants. There she was running around backstage clad in fitted white jeans that she filled exceedingly well, nervously pacing the area to ensure the flow of events went just so, and the timing was adhered to by all. As Thai lanterns floated skywards, and the evening progressed smoothly, Parmesh finally put in the briefest of brief appearances on stage and folded her hands to convey her gratitude for the support. As always, she didn’t speak a word, but managed a throaty ‘Thank you’. It was left to Cannes-returned Hritik to read out the pledge and get the vast audience to repeat it after him.
Later, Parmesh lamented that not enough attention was being paid to the powerful message and the urgency it demanded given a crisis of such proportions. I felt exactly the same way. Why are we in India still in denial over the issue? Don’t the terrifying numbers tell their own story? 28 million people have died of AIDS worldwide –if that isn’t a wake up call, what will it take for us to be more pro-active in the fight against the disease? It was heart breaking to watch HIV +ve kids at the function innocently and cheerfully dancing and singing with Laxmi – the spirited, feisty, articulate celebrity- hijra from Thane. Laxmi calls Salman Rushdie her friend after she was interviewed by him for ‘AIDS Sutra’, the book that was published last year featuring sixteen essays by prominent writers, with a moving foreword by Amartya Sen. I wondered how much those bachchas knew about their condition and how they coped on a day- to- day basis. I watched Parmesh and Adi’s grandsons hugging a few of them on stage and thought it was a strong message being sent out on the occasion. Ditto for Hritik’s gesture and his emotional pitch. Sometimes the stigma is worse than the disease itself. Our society discriminates and shuns those infected by the virus, making them feel like social outcastes and pariahs. It takes people of some prominence to influence opinion in this area. Internationally, the social register at these high profile benefits is studded with super celebrities like Sharon Stone and Madonna, who go all out to lend their time, energy and voices to this particular cause, as we saw at the Cannes auction. Parmesh is doing her bit. We can all do ours.
I like the way Anupam Kher handles life. I mean… life beyond movies. Here is one actor in a self-obsessed, narcissistic and frankly, boring business, who takes the trouble to look beyond his nose and contribute something to society at large and his own fraternity in particular. By hosting a special screening of his tour de force ‘ Saaransh’ to mark its 25th Anniversary, Kher was not cornering personal glory. At least, that’s how I saw it. He was drawing attention to what was a landmark movie for him and more importantly for his audience. It was a remarkably mature performance for the actor who was in the full prime of his youth at the time but playing the role of an old man. For this unusual ‘premiere’, Anupam took the trouble to track down all the people associated with the film, down to the last spot boy and invited them to the Sunday afternoon screening. That requires a certain grace and humility. Kher’s involvement in social causes is well known, and having shared the platform with him a couple of times, I can tell you there is nothing shallow about his efforts. Today, he may see himself as a mentor\teacher to a younger generation of actors, but above all he still remains an exceptionally fine actor himself whose best is yet to come…. now, if only someone intelligent would create a first rate role for him and not waste his abundant talent in inane comedies. We saw him shine in ‘A Wednesday’ last year. Let’s hope there is more where that came from.Good going, Kher. You are a great vintage, too!! ********************************************************************************************
First the good news : I received an abject apology from the editor who said , "This will never, ever happen again." Apology accepted. Yes, Kiran, the buck was passed to juniors. But what the hell - the editor's a** has to be covered at all times.
For those of you who lost money on the IPL final last night, my sympathies. I watched the nail-biting match at my friendly, neighbourhood pub, in the President Hotel. There wasn't much of a buzz, and the few people who were there looked like techies from Hyderabad, so naturally they were rooting for the Deccan Chargers. What came as an absolute anti-climax was Lalit Modi's interminably long and boring speech, Oscar's style, in which he thanked his wife and children ( what for?). Katrina Kaif's 'Jai Ho' ruined the song for me - it was thanda, minus oomph and mechanical. The other acts were equally dull and poorly presented. Considering big bucks were spent on the hoop- la, it's a wonder the organisers didn't do a better job. Though, sports fans really weren't interested in that rubbish, and wanted to watch just the prize giving. It was pure torture sitting through the lacklustre 'entertainment' programme full of ugly fellows making God awful speeches. Next time guys, stay out of the picture. Fireworks are fine. But hold the naach- gaana, please.


I said...

Ah! Am I the first one to comment in here (Or is this monitored and published by the author, so no comments show yet!)

Any which way, am about to start reading your book--Socialite. So thought would just google in a bit and bumped in here.

Way to go...

Shall mail you my experience of reading though your writing :)


Gajendra said...

hehehehehehehe...."ugly fellows" are hilarious...hehehehe.

yeah..modi's speech was yuck, thanking all his progeny and what not..!!

sambiraj said...

This is with reference to one of your earlier blogs. In that you had written of how one day you drove all the way to Pune and back. This got me thinking,and,if my memory serves me right,in one of your old articles(dont remember where it was published)you had written of how you envy all women drivers because you yourself were not such a good driver. You wrote of how you used to stare at and admire women drivers and of you you used to keep looking at them till they are out of your eyesight. Truely great to know that you yourself have become an accomplished driver. Congratulations.

obssesor said...

I donnow which is worse...lallu modi or ipl!

Theyoginme said...

Apology from editor means .... your article gets published?

naval said...

that mody bored us by his speech for the inaugural function also thanking his wife n children, luckily i didnt see climax events.............
i think MODI is doing some thing to improve his popularity, with people showing pluckards 'THANK U MODI' wat for these people need to thank his?????????

Chaitali Shah said...

Anupam Acting School is also suppose to be good?

Surya said...

nice to hear bout parmesh and anupam kher... wonder why we dont get to here about these things on our news channels other than every channel showing the re-runs of the some happening at the IPL or about some bollywood couple

Zillionbig said...

i felt the same about IPL closing in. Modi bored me hell, and a bit arrogish, wasnt he? All this praises and talks seem to go straight to his head.It was fun reading you as always.

indicaspecies said...

I've subscribed to your posts on my reader and go through it regularly.

I too just put up a post on my love-hate feelings on the IPL matter and wonder if the great Shoba De (meant in all sincerity) would have the time to pop in and have a look sometime.:)

KimyaShafinaaz said...

someone needs to realign shilpa's publicity stunts... at least educate the poor girl, india???

i mean, IPL fever must have really got her going, but holding hands with our dear zuma of near-miss rape record ranks far worse than her old man gere slobbering. tsk shilpa! how desperate can a girl get?

Rajeev R said...

hooked onto you...

Very laconically written. I loved it.

Lalit Modi is the pimp, of what has now become the IPL. His grandson's birth being announced during matches. They have ruined the beauty of the game. Few things are not meant to be bought or sold...Sportsperson, painter, actor, writer....hope he comes back to his sense, and stop using our money for mindless adventures in SA.
Question is, would Mr. Modi have had given 20-30 Lakh Rupees, to Indian Govt Schools, as they gave in SA? WOuld they have distributed free T-shirts and tickets in India as well? WHy couldn't he wait for a month, so that Revenue could remain in India? Even the national Honor being rampaged by such worthless INdians.

Yeah, Anupam Kher seems to be a gem of person.

I read your novel...its beautifullllll.....SInce then, I have been wanting to meet you, atleast once.


kala said...

We want to see the much beleaguered article which was almost not published. Why all Modis are so narcissistic? Parmeshwar is just the opposite of the sober Adi. Anupam is versatile and a real theatre person inspite of his films. He has both class and mass appeal.

Sri said...

Hi Shobha

I agree with you completely about Anupam Kher's vast talent and his humility...

The latest news that he has been cast in the next Woody Allen movie to play Frieda Pinto's father will surely go a long way in ensuring his talent is recognised in international cinema..


Isabella said...

You know b1tch
katrina is goddess
you are so jealous








Angel said...

Shobha De (or whatever your name is, sorry I don't know you) woman are you nuts?

Katrina set the stage on fire!
I was there. People were cheering for her so loudly.
It was freaking loud, lowlife loser.
Omg she was so good.

You never liked her so why bother talking about her?

Don't be jealous of young actress like Katrina. You can't be be successful like her, not even in your wildest dreams.

Katrina is a survivor, as a woman I am astonished by what she have achieved. Your comments regarding her disgust me. You need to stop bulling Katrina, Old witch!

No wonder no one likes you and your career is such a failure!

Leave Katrina Kaif alone. If you don't like her then it's fine but why badmouthing her for attention?

Hope you go to hell!

Shreya said...

What is wrong with you? Katrina was awesome.
Katrina Kaif never had any classical or Indian dance training ever in her life. You do know that, don't you?
You need to stop bitching about Katrina Kaif behind her back.
I think there is no difference between you and prostitutes because you both are attention seekers, you both will do anything for money and disgrace to all woman out there.
I get that you are old and probably really unhappy with your life, but why are you so jealous of Katrina?
She earned her place and I think she is the prettiest and she is such an blessed girl.
She is highly active in charity organisations and very to nice to people.

Woman, you are absolute disgrace.


Nandini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nandini said...

IPL closing ceremony was a big mess! What's with that stupid dance anyway? We've got a lot of crackpots, with as much opportunities in their hands, & none of them know how to enjoy or how to present the essence of this country to the world. Forget the money, in my book, all of them are losers. I prefer class as opposed to this 'mass nonsensical extravaganza'!

AIDS awareness should be made textbook knowledge. Sorry to say, but I'm also pretty unaware of what the present situation in the country is. It's not because of my lack of observation, or an indifferent attitude to the problem, but the fact that I hardly read about it anywhere is a cause for concern. Ad agencies are doing their bit, but other than that, I do not find writing space specifically devoted to the problem.

prasun said...

well that was a nice step taken forward by parmeswar to enlighten the people of such a grave disease through such a platform.i think more of such proactive measures need to be facilitated.
anupam kher is undoubtedly, a standing talent in our country. he is long invloved in such charitable acts.he has already dazzled us with his versatile and impeccable acting skill.
well, truly the ipl final has got me standing on my feets.after the end of exciting match, i was dying to see the peformance of the sensual katrina kaif, and to my exceptation, she went on like a rock star. butwas so ephemeral that my long wait at midnight went all in vain.
truly, she has moulded herself perfectly well to attract the viewers nd i am a great fan of hers.

numerounity said...

Lolz...Sometime i wonder whether IPL is Indian Premier League or I Promote Lalit[modi] league.

Whatever it is...big bucks for advertisement and marketing.

I thought of writing it on my blog but then i thought it was futile...Then i rather wrote about Cyclone at Kolkata.

You planning to do any post IPL analysis and write on it? It would be fun...considering some of your on the face and cheeky remarks :-)

Tom Kat said...

I have a great deal of sympathy and sorrow for the young AIDS afflicted kids, but all this unceasing hysteria about AIDS gives me a nauseous feeling.

Technically speaking, (ignoring the cases of those who get AIDS through infected blood in hospitals or kids of HIV+ parents), you have to live either a deviant lifestyle while practicing extremely unsafe sex to get AIDS. While I have nothing against either the lifestyle or the sex, what bothers me, is AIDS has become the designer disease of the world today. The high profile people who spend so much time espousing the cause, either live the lifestyle or have immediate friends/family that do, hence the personal identification and assistance they provide in spreading the word about the disease.

Cancer, the poorer step sister of AIDS, kills a lot more people, has everything to do with DNA and gene pool (things you can do very little about, unlike lifestyle), gets none of the press, nor the research dollars or celebrity endorsements. Now that is such a real pity for the millions of sufferers and potential victims!

I apologize for getting on the bandbox here, but I absolutely detest the fact that AIDS takes away so much from Cancer, which needs just a little more money and research attention to cure, I can't resist a swipe against the perpetuators of the myth.

sour said...

hahaha.out of the 477 crore lalit modi has earned the first thing he should do is go for a cosmetic surgery.

divya said...


I really like your writing and the opinions you put across are much like a normal person has but whats with hyderabad techies...I am a hyderabadi..n I was proud to see that we won..if you are not from banglore or dint have to see the match..why watch n thk it sucked?? coz u have to write about everythg or smthg???

ravikant said...

This refers to "What's with the hate, mate? Don't mess with us Indians" by Shobha De in Deccan Chronicle on 6th June. I had high regard for this lady but after reading this article, I lost all that. She talks like a chest-thumping jingoist petty politician. She should know that Indians have been living in Oz since 50s. But why these attacks now? They have seen these LOUD Indians and are sick and tired of them. Chinese know very well to behave properly and decently in public places. Japanese are the best in the world. And we are the worst. We may be world's best mathematicians, computer programmers but when it comes to behaviour, we are the worst. We talk/laugh loudly in public places, shout over cellphones, push, jostle, step on toes and move away without so much as a sorry. In fact sorry, please, thank you are not in our dictionary. The way we talk to total strangers, the way we address each other even when seeking favour or asking for directions is disgusting. The tone and tenor of voice and expression brings your blood to boil. Silence in public places, respect for others' privacy and personal space are alien concepts to us. It is very irritating to see bunch of Indians speaking in a language not known to others and laughing their heads off. Those who do not understand the language would think they are being made fun of even when they are not. In one incident a Bengali in a train got irritated by two Tamils talking lodly in their native tongue and laughing loudly. Bengali thought they were joking about him, when actually the Tamils were discussing office affairs of Chennai. As a matter of good manner, we should be careful while discussing things in a language not known to others. Hasn't Shobha seen lewd behaviour of Indians at home and abroad? I recently saw a family gathering of a business family at a restaurant where 4 Sumo-loads of cousins, chachis, mamis, bhabhis, bhaiyyas descended and made everybody else's life around miserable. Screaming loudly, talking loudly over phone and bursting into loud laughter was too much to handle for most of us. Repeated requests to tone down their celebrations only drew ire of their bhaiyyas who got down to madarch@& / bahanch@& lingo. We just finished hurriedly and took off. Such instances abound and one can see them on an hourly basis. And the lesser said about driving and honking, the better. So, instead of shouting about rogue Aussies, Shobha would do well to press for some behavioural education of Indians. We should be tought to behave properly before we are taught alphabets. It should be part of school curriculum. Trust me, we can win hearts from our behaviour. See the difference between soft-spoken, gentle, suave Rahul Gandhi and rogueish sounding Varun Gandhi. And lastly, there was a spoilt kid of a rich guy in our town who pissed all over the town and his dad prided in that. Over a period of time, he got so spoilt that today he pisses all over his dad and his dad wishes he was never born. So by siding up with loutish behaving Indians, likes of Shobha are only spoiling them further. In the end, if you still think Australia is at fault, then fight like a man. Go ahead and attack/invade Australia. Close its missions in India, throw their cricketers out and tell 'em never to set foot on Indian soil again. Do we have guts/inclination to do that? If not, then just shut up and stop shadow-fighting. And by the way, Shobha thinks Australia depends on us for a lot of things on us and we do not. Somebody tell Shobha where all the coal comes from.

maha said...

nice yar...

Work from home India

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