I wrote this for the Bombay Times....was away when it got published.
What a bummer!!
Something snapped inside my head when I read Kareena Kapoor’s recent quote , “ Saifu is ecstatic I got my butt back,” on the front page of BT. The picture accompanying her interview was apt - a great shot of the actress looking suitably luscious with her new butt sticking out provocatively. Reading through the rest of the text, I found myself frowning furiously and going tut tut. I am not a tut tut kind of person generally. So what was it about Bebo’s butt interview that got me? I think I know. It sounded immature and cheap. Kareena is not some hard up starlet, and she doesn’t need this kind of silly publicity. Right now, she’s on top of her game and her imaging has been expertly handled so far. By going into intimate revelations about her boyfriend’s sexual preferences for certain body parts of hers, I think she eroded that gilt edged positioning. These are such personal matters. She is Saif’s lady love. He adores her, she adores him vaghera,vaghera. Well… good for them. But to reduce their passionate love story to a kahani about her pumped up backside, and how attractive it is to her lover, is really pretty crass. The guy has teenage, school going children, and comes from an educated, cultured family. We know he’s besotted – but this was a real bummer ( pardon the pun – or don’t).
Strange how a single quote can sometimes undo a carefully built up image. We live in exceedingly open times, and most of our stars have reached the stage where they don’t bother to play that idiotic ‘We’re just good friends’ game. Even so, I can’t ever imagine Aishwarya Rai gushing, “ Oh… Abhi adores my bum.” They are married and in an even stronger position to make such comments. Bebo is genuinely naïve and outspoken….paradoxically, her spontaneity is also a part of her charm. But this time she was ill advised, and maybe she regrets the corny interview in retrospect.It would be interesting to find out what the Chhotey Nawab thought of Kareena’s confession. One thing’s for sure – that’s the end of the Size Zero obsession in Bollywood and beyond. It’s official – kareena’s got her butt back. And her boyfriend loves it, okay??
Those of us who’d met Kamala Das during her Mumbai stint and got to read about her passing away in Pune recently, must have shed at least a few tears for her rather unsung exit from the world. She was an extraordinary woman, far ahead of her time – bold, forthright and attractive in her own way. In Mumbai, she had countless admirers of both sexes who flocked to her sprawling apartment near Mantralaya for weekend poetry reading salons, over which Kamala presided like an empress, with fawning acolytes hanging on to her every word.I hope she is doing just that in heavens and captivating the gods.
The same week saw the death of Monica Choudhary, Chitra Singh’s troubled daughter, who was found hanging in her bedroom by her older son. I remember Monica as an exceptionally attractive model with her mother’s exquisitely chiseled features. There was a haunting sense of loneliness about her, and she always remained aloof from the modeling fraternity. My heart goes out to Chitra. There can be no worse fate than losing ones child. And Chitra has lost two of hers – both under tragic circumstances. First, Vivek who was killed in a car crash. And now, Monica. I hope music soothes Chitra’s soul in her hour of grief and she doesn’t turn her back on it permanently. Our prayers are with you…
" Moving out of Poverty - Success from the Bottom Up," is the title of Deepa Narayan's book. It is based on comparitive research across more than 500 communities in 15 countries. Impressive. Narayan was a senior adviser to the World Bank who had initiated the Voices of the Poor project. In Mumbai to promote the book at the American Centre ( along with the Asia Society ) a panel discussion had been organised on the issues raised by the 400 page volume. It was described as a Power Panel of Women. I don't know what I was doing on it in that case! There were just the three of us, Naina Kidwai ( HSBC honcho.... or should that be honchi?), Deepa Narayan and the moderator, Anand Giridhardas ( International Herald Tribune dude). Blame it on jet lag ( I'd arrived, sleep deprived , from Singapore , a couple of hours earlier). But I just couldn't bear the supercilious nature of the discussion. I found it offensive , shallow and self- serving. I guess that must have come through in my comments. Good. I certainly hope it did. There's a blurb on top of the book's cover written by Bill Clinton who calls the project an 'important resource for everyone working to alleviate poverty." I found that precious. I'm sure thousands of dollars have been spent on putting this book together . It will be read and discussed by rich people at posh seminars that deconstruct poor people. There is something wonky about such an enterprise. The same funds could educate several underprivileged kids across the world. But then, who would attend the seminars???