I stayed up late at night watching the Golden Globe Awards - more relevant, powerful and glamourous than even the mighty Oscar's. Now... that's what we call Red Carpet dressing! I don't care what the fashion police say about Halle Berry's outfit looking like a modified negligee. She is a stunner all the way... and remains one even if she chooses sack cloth. Neither Portman's acceptance speech nor the out-of-place red rose on her yummy-mummy gown did it for me - and I adore Natalie . Jolie looked suitably sulky and sultry, but sorry, her green sheeted number did her no justice at all. Oh... am I glad that smug creepo Johnny Depp didn't get an award after two nominations in the Best Actor category???
In India, the film awards season has begun - no surprises here, whatsoever. Full 'setting' evident. All the Awards' ceremonies look the same, so do the awardees. As for the comical dress code for Red Carpet photo-ops, come on you Bollywood beauties - most of you are hotter and better looking than your Hollywood counterparts. Get it right!!!
This appeared today in Bombay Times...
Two movies. Two women.
Okay, this is going to sound insane : I watched two movies virtually back-to-back and came away thinking they weren’t all that different after all. The first was Ananth Mahadevan’s tour de force , ‘ Mee Sindhutai Sapkal’, and the other – don’t laugh – Alankrita Shrivastava’s ‘Turning 30’. It’s not just the fact that both films are strongly, unambiguously and powerfully woman-centric. It is what they are saying about their protagonists – one, a living legend who runs orphanages for abandoned children at Hadapsar, the other a fictional character named Naina, whose only ‘cause’ is herself! But the manner in which the respective film makers have portrayed their heroines, sans false sentimentality, speaks a lot about the directors and their choice of subjects. Sindhutai’s story is brutal, almost unbelievable, but like Mahadevan said during an interaction with viewers at the private screening, “ Her life is indeed like a film script – so exaggerated, it demanded to be made.” This remarkable lady’s survival itself is nothing short of a miracle.After being thrown out of her husband’s home ( various complicated reasons) with a newborn infant to look after, she managed to stay alive – just about – till one fine day she discovered the inner tigress in her, and took on a corrupt system which had cheated and oppressed the abjectly poor Adivasi (her tribe) wood cutters for years. After that turning point, there is no looking back for the ‘reborn’ Sindhutai ( she rechristens herself after the name of her favourite river). The first half of the film is relentlessly grim , particularly the scene in which Sindhutai gives birth to her baby girl in a cow shed. Her humiliation at the hands of everyone, including her own mother, as she struggles to vindicate herself, are so moving, one wonders at the steel within that kept her going, till she finally emerged as a larger than life personality who continues to protect unwanted kids and is adored and admired by thousands . Today Sindhutai is a hot ticket on the international speaker’s circuit ( she charges a fat fee and jokes she only gives ‘Bhashan for ration’), loved and lauded by people who have made her into a big enough folk hero for someone to alert Oprhah Winfrey about her.
Gul Panang’s Naina is a pretty wounded creature too… she is told by friends that the only way to get over a man is to find another one, cut her hair , wear a red dress and stilletoes. Easy! Nobody understands her emotional turmoil and sense of rejection, not even her mother. ‘Turning 30’ is a brave film that attempts to capture the anxiety of an entire generation of very insecure urban women whose sole objective in life is to bag a husband. Frightening but true. Their worst fears have to do with being left on the shelf as ‘rejects’ – in one really funny scene a knowing masseuse offers Naina a ‘pussy pamperer’. While Naina’s self- obsessive angst and those annoying rants against a steady boyfriend who abruptly dumps her on the eve of her 30th birthday cannot possibly be compared to Sindhutai’s torture at the hands of her nasty husband, the initial low self esteem issues are the same, as are the feelings of being unwanted. Both the women discover their own strengths through unfair and adverse circumstances and are seen as victors in the end. ‘Turning 30’ loses its way somewhere by bringing in unconnected tracks ( a lesbian love affair that sours), but boldly ventures into fresh terrain ( male strippers at a bridal shower, women ‘using’ men as sex toys, an obsession with risqué lingerie). The ladies smoke, drink, cuss and fornicate with delicious abandon – all of it guilt-free. And yes, Gul Panag is a great kisser.Now, if only the director had left out those gauche, painful monologues! A thumbs up to both films from me!
All I know about colonial furniture is thanks to the hours I used to spend with a kind and wonderful man called Mahendra Doshi , who passed away last year. But…. it was as if he was right there, supervising every tiny detail at the magnificently mounted ‘Tribute’ which is on display at the Museum. It was like walking into his tasteful living room and expecting to find Mahendrabhai on a stuffed sofa ,talking languorously about the champak blooming in the garden outside his Walkeshwar terrace. If you haven’t caught the exhibition so far… I urge you to do so. Lovingly restored and beautifully arranged, it is the best compliment to Mahendrabhai’s aesthetics and passion.