Thursday, April 5, 2012
Because we will always love her....
I loved this lemon seller's hoodie. He was such a cheerful chap, assisting his dad in a tiny roadside stall just outside Positano on the Amalfi Coast ( by far the most picturesque drive in the world). I wanted to upload several more images from Italy. But my over-worked laptop is protesting! It's Good Friday tomorrow. I'd like to be baaaaad.Will be watching Housefull-2. I really don't care how terrible it is.... I gotta see it! Am I a masochist?????
This appeared in The Week....
“ Because we will always love her….”
It was with much sadness that fans of ‘The Voice’, Whitney Houston, read the coroner’s report that confirmed the worst. Whitney had drowned in her bathtub after consuming lethal doses of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and a cocktail of pills to deal with anxiety, allergies and tense muscles. Add to that a heart condition (atherosclerotic heart disease), and it was a tragedy waiting to happen.And to think Whitney appeared to have it all – beauty, talent, fame and wealth. She was God’s blessed child, a woman who was adored by millions across the world. And yet! While watching the award-winning ‘My Week with Marilyn,” the same thoughts and concerns flashed through my mind. At one point in the movie, Marilyn is addressed as ‘The most famous woman in the world’, by a star struck British journalist. The camera cuts to a close up of Marilyn (brilliantly played by Michelle Phillips). She looks a little bewildered and scared, almost as if she’s asking, “Is he talking about me?” Most of the movie is devoted to capturing her off-camera anxieties in the most delicate way. It’s a marvelously nuanced script that remains consistently sympathetic to the subject and never strays into cruel terrain as ‘The Iron Lady’ so blatantly did. When biopics attempt to explore (but more often, exploit), the vulnerabilities of their subjects, audiences are forced to turn the searchlight inwards. As it happened with ‘The Dirty Picture’ and the depiction of Silk Smitha, which I found one- dimensional and forced. Even so, it propelled countless viewers, women in particular, to examine their own lives and relationships, even if they were not a part of show business.
What is it about fame and women? Recent pictures of the ravishingly beautiful and immensely gifted Manisha Koirala tell their own sad story. Anu Aga is valiantly making public appearances these days after a long hiatus. Both women look ravaged by more than just time. If there is a link of some kind, it is to the undeniable fact that the movie and music industries across continents are controlled by men. These are hard nosed business guys paid to deliver hits and make serious money.There is far too much at stake and when it comes to female performing artists, the temptation is to take the easy route and focus on their sexuality. Talent comes a distant second. This sort of brazen commodification takes a huge toll on some, but works for others . There are women like obscure starlet Poonam Pandey who are more than willing to strip and play ball, so long as they stay in the news and can cash in on their three minutes of notoriety. But it is the others, often trapped in a web of their own creation, who fail to get away. Whitney and Marilyn blazed blinding trails across the firmament with their beauty and grace. And yet, nothing could compensate for the emptiness in their lives. Strangely, both were attracted to men who humiliated and brutalized them, emotionally and physically. Marilyn is shown crying and cowering on a staircase, clutching her then husband playwright Arthur Miller’s detailed and harsh notes on his fragile wife. Notes, he wanted her to find and read. Notes intended to wound. Despite these acts of mental cruelty, Marilyn refused to let go and reclaim her life. She admits as much to the sweet, adoring young lover who offers her an out. It’s the fame, she whispers , in a voice slurring with all the tablets she has consumed. For Whitney, too, it must have been the fame. But unlike Marilyn, Whitney had a young daughter to think of, to be concerned about. A daughter who is already displaying all the signs of an unhinged existence. She too is experimenting wildly with drugs, booze and boyfriends (one rumour involved an aborted engagement with her foster brother, Whitney’s adopted son). She also reportedly fled from her mother’s funeral and had to be checked into rehab soon after. Bobbi Kristina is a ticking time bomb. At 19, she has joined the ranks of the world’s poor little rich girls. Her mother left her little girl her entire and pretty vast wealth… but all the money in the world may not save Whitney’s daughter from her famous mother’s terrible legacy.