The Tuff Shoes Comedy Show has finally ended … or am I speaking too soon?? When Madhu Sapre called last week, minutes after walking out of the court, a free woman after 13 long years, I wanted to hug her instantly. She, along with Milind Soman and others, had been embroiled in a pretty meaningless court case that had dragged on and on and on. Most people had forgotten all about the ‘obscene’ ad, featuring the then top model duo, clad in nothing else but their own skins. Oh yes, there was a strategically placed and very photogenic python , cleverly wrapped around the two buck naked bodies, just about covering their modesty and making sure the provocative, suggestive visual stayed this side of the law and revealed nothing. For its time, it was a really bold ad, but for all the fuss surrounding it, I thought it was pretty tame and innocuous. If anything, it showed two athletic bodies in the prime of their lives, promoting a pair of sneakers ( yes, the shoes also featured in the ad , though I doubt anyone noticed them). It was a pretty striking effort, in the same way as the ‘Kurbaan’ poster featuring Saif and Kareena, is striking, but not vulgar. In both, it’s the suggested nudity that titillates the imagination rather than a blatant show of body parts. And yet, much after Tuff Shoes shut down and disappeared from the market, the court case continued for over a decade. A couple of people involved in the case, even died in the interim, others had moved on. Madhu herself had to fly down from Italy for the hearings or face an arrest warrant ( she definitely didn’t want that to damage her status or her passport ). Milind had to make sure he was around, even if nobody else showed up. Adjournments followed adjournments… the usual story of our judicial system. Till last week when the farce ended and all the accused were acquitted. These are the sort of meaningless cases that clog our courts, and involve time, expense and nuisance value. Everybody knows the outcome, and yet, parties refuse to settle and move on.
Milind called a little later to give me the ‘good news’ and we both laughed over the craziness of it all. Remember, this ad was shot before ‘photo-shop’ took over the business. There was pressure on Milind and Madhu by one of the other accused, to lie in court and say they were wearing skin- toned body suits, and that the pictures had been retouched later in the studios. In other words, to claim they were not naked during the shoot! Both refused, preferring to stick to the truth and fight it out, no matter how long it took, and how hellishly inconvenient it was. Well, they richly deserve to enjoy their ‘freedom from hypocrisy’ now. Thirteen has proved to be their lucky number and tuff times are clearly behind these two hotties. I wonder what happened to that gorgeous python and whether he too was issued summons to appear in court to defend himself??
Admirers and fans of ‘Shantaram’ Gregory Roberts must have been pretty shocked by his outrageous remarks on Arnab Goswami’s special report on 26\11 last week. Roberts sounded unlike himself when he meandered off the topic and the specific question he was asked, and chose to deliver a sermon on extending a hand of friendship to Pakistan. That comment came across as pretty insensitive, given the sentiment on that sad anniversary, when India was mourning those who had died at the hands of Pakistan sponsored terrorists, one of whom, Kasab, is in jail here. Roberts, who is seen as a pretty smart cookie, and fawned over by socialites of all hues during his frequent visits to Mumbai, may find himself in quite a tight spot the next time he comes to the city that inspired him to write his marvelous book.Mumbaikars aren’t mean or vindictive generally, but this time, Roberts may have pushed his luck, especially that one remark where he implicated the Indian army in terrorist activity ! A desi person making such a preposterous charge would be tried for treason. Watch out, Roberts….
So.... 'Sandhya's Secret' will soon be out. But I did extensive press yesterday and was vastly encouraged by the response. I'm off to Australia tomorrow. Really looking forward to reconnecting with an all time favourite destination. The last time I visited was to attend the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. I remember the event vividly... and am holding my breath for ours!
This time Down Under , I'm keen to discover for myself what the hungama over the attacks on Indian students is all about. Am hoping to meet some of the victims, as also members of the desi press. But more importantly, I want to decode the Aussie version. Surely there is another story.... a different perspective?? Watch this space.
Oh... while I was celebrating the arrival of the first copy of 'S's Secret' with two of my children and a girl friend at Hotel President next door, I thought we were entering the world's highest security zone!! The place was bristling with cops, armoured vehicles and other fierce symbols of 'protection'. It all made sense when one of the cops present told me all this sho-sha was for the cricketers staying there! Long live our cricketers!