Monday, March 7, 2011

The Ides of March.....??

I was astonished to see several billboards all over the city , announcing an exhibition titled 'WOMANIZE'. I thought it was an ad for one of those dodgy pills that promise 'length and strength' to desperate men. But no! It was an announcement for a Brides of India show. Am I missing something here? Or is it yet another bloomer committed by an over -enthusiastic copy writer?
Enjoyed myself at a shoot after a long, long time! It is always a pleasure being photographed by Faroukh Chhotia... I was back inside his sprawling studio after a year -and-a-half ( the last assignment was for 'Vogue'). We were done in half -an-hour - that's his magic. You'll see the images in the next issue of 'Grazia'.
Meanwhile , I am off to Delhi on Friday to participate in Penguin's Spring Fever. I'll be reading from my new, unfinished novel 'Sethji' ... and I am nervous! Getting back to fiction after ten , long years has been tough ... but writing fiction is like cycling or swimming. Once you know how , you never forget!
Asif Noorani, my writer-friend from Karachi called me excitedly to say my last book 'Shobhaa at Sixty' is on the Liberty Books' best seller lists across the border. Nicccee!
Oh... and if you haven't watched 'Tanu Weds Manu', don't wait! It's delightful.... and Madhavan is pure husband material! Would have adored Kangana too, but was far too distressed and distracted by her botched up lip implants to concentrate on her performance. Every character in this lively, original movie was perfectly cast, with Pappi getting the biggest pappis! Go have fun !
This appeared in Bombay Times today...

The Ides of March…

Is there something ominous in the air…. or are we letting Shakespeare get the better of us? Nothing seems to be going right – from politics to cricket. This is supposed to be a month in which one thinks of renewal and hope. Spring Fever is meant to inspire us - we should be in the mood to kick up our heels and get set for a bhaang- fuelled Holi… like in the movies. Instead, we are looking at the current shenanigans , scratching our heads and asking, “What’s going on?” Last week, I found myself arguing with a politically correct citizen who was praising the C.M. for certain bold initiatives. Well, Prithviraj Chavan sounds like a good guy, with good intentions … but nobody really knows what he’s all about. And he hasn’t bothered to enlighten us, either. At a time when Maharashtra is looking for a man to lead from the front, be accessible, be seen, be heard, we have a somewhat coy leader who appears grim and preoccupied most of the time. I was told by the same self- righteous citizen that Chavan is the sort of neta whose moves are discreet but decisive. He listed out several achievements of our chief minister… the various ‘clean up’ acts , especially in the hopelessly corrupt Mumbai Municipality. I was relieved and reassured to know that there were some Mumbaikars interested enough in the future of this largely chaotic, virtually lawless megapolis, to track various key appointments (though, I wonder how much the C.M. has to do with them). The latest top cop, on the other hand, is going about his new role pretty assertively. Arup Patnaik means business, and he isn’t mincing words. As a high profile Police Commissioner of Mumbai ( one of the most glamourous and coveted cop jobs going), he realizes he is required to show teeth, especially when public morale is low and people have lost faith in overall policing. Patnaik comes with good credentials, and if police gossip is anything to go by, the guy does not have anything dodgy on his CV.
If only the C.M.would extend himself a little and interact with the people of Mumbai, he’d send out a better, more positive message. As it is, the mood is dheela… with the P.M. himself sounding pretty shakey as he goes into confessional mode and agrees to ‘own up’ ( but after ‘owning up’ – then what?). Cricket fans are wondering whether their home team will manage to make it to the Semis – forget about winning the blessed Cup. Prithviraj Chavan should borrow a few tips from the cricketing world. A great captain lifts the performance of a mediocre team and carries the day. Ditto for a chief minister. The people of Maharashtra have been short changed for too long. They demand a leader who projects dynamism and reflects genuine change. Perhaps Chavan needs a better drum beater to publicise his many initiatives…plus, he needs to spell out a fresh agenda for the State, with realistic time lines thrown in. In such a competitive era, a bit of hard sell is not just a pre requisite, it is a part and parcel of effective communication. Kuch achchey kaam ka achcha P.R. ho jaaye, boss!
After watching ‘The King’s Speech’, I idly wondered if India would ever dare to make such a film? And even if a film maker did have the required courage, would he be permitted to go ahead with the project? For instance, would we ever see a movie being made on a less-than-flattering aspect of Pandit Nehru’s life? I seriously doubt it! And more importantly, would any of our superstar actors accept a role like the one enacted by Colin Firth ( though, personally, I thought Geoffrey Rush was far more impressive as Lionel)? Firth’s ‘Bertie’ is heart- breakingly real… not a glamourised King dealing with an unfortunate stutter. This is not a K-K-K-K- Kiran sort of approach to a speech impediment. One can actually see Firth’s throat muscles contracting as he struggles to get the words out.Firth, the modern day Darcy ( dashing, romantic and irresistible) transformed himself totally to play Bertie - the reluctant, raging, tormented monarch with a serious handicap to overcome.Yes, he earned that Oscar. But my money was on ‘The Social Network’s’ Jesse Eisenberg playing Zuckerberg – what a performance! What a film!


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goodluck said...