This stunning vision is of the magic Blue Eye, just off the salubrious coast of Corfu ( where my great hero Napoleon was born). Please don't ask me to explain it. All I know is that I nearly fell out of the small motor boat we were in, sailing around the beautiful islands, when our captain decided to take a small detour to show us this magnificent sight inside a grotto. Even he couldn't quite explain the phenomenon.... and does it really matter? Just feast your eyes on Nature's miracle.... life is beautiful, na??
This column appeared in Hi! Blitz....
Zara zara Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me....
This column has been inspired by a man who has been boasting, somewhat stupidly, that he is the person responsible for "corrupting Indian culture"... or something equally idiotic.Give us a break, Emraan Hashmi. Just because you are on a roll right now, and feeling chuffed about your recent successes, you don’t have to give yourself itna saara importance either! Get over it! Emraan is a talented actor. No debate there. It’s not his fault he got stuck with that silly tag ‘Serial Kisser’. Earlier, he used to be most defensive about all that kissing-vissing, and insist he was a loving husband who indulged in some heavy duty smooching on screen only because he had a job to do. Someone’s got to do it, right? Right! Nobody took the bloke seriously at the time, even though his movies did better than the movies of star sons, who waltzed into the industry thanks to their papas and got paid the top buck even though they failed to deliver the goods.... much less make a living out of kissing. That’s how Bollywood works. So there was poor Emraan, suffering through kiss after kiss after kiss and making us feel rather sorry for putting him through such an ordeal. All this torture for the sake of his art , naturally. Today our man is singing a different tune. Theek hai. Success make people learn new ragas overnight. And Hashmi has definitely worked hard for his success. After ‘Shanghai’, film makers across the spectrum are taking another dekho at the guy. Never mind that ‘Shanghai’ didn’t break box office records, its critical acclaim was enough.
Emran could well be the male version of Vidya Balan. After ‘Dirty Picture’, Indian fans discovered Balan’s boobs – and she discovered her sexuality. Quite like Emraan. Vidya too couldn’t stop discussing her inner raunchy girl, having wisely decided to brazen it out, once everything was on public view. Shunning the usual defensive strategy heroines trot out ( “It was done so tastefully.... the scene required exposure..the approach was artistic.”), Vidya happily swung her hips , rolled her tongue, bit her mouth, winked wickedly and said saucily that the movie had freed her from her own inhibitions. Boy! Don’t we know it! And aren’t we impressed! Vidya’s bold, upfront acknowledgement took care of any criticism that might have come her way. She silenced critics and took the wind out of their sails by second guessing their barbs. Smart girl, that Vidya. Perhaps, taking a leaf out of her book, Emraan has also changed tracks. He is secure enough to make fun of his ‘serial kisser’ reputation, now that he has unequivocally established his credentials as an actor of note.
But what is it about Indian viewers and kissing? Why do we make such a big deal out of a lip-to-lip? And more importantly, why are we so bloody bad at it – on screen, off screen? Can nobody get it right? From the current brunch, I thought those two young ones – Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra in Íshaqzaade’ managed better than the veterans – Hashmi included. Their kisses were passionate, uninhibited and yes – they had their mouths open! The last time Bollywood saw tongues in action was when Aishwarya Rai ( post-shaadi), and Hritik Roshan took each other’s and the nation’s breaths away in Dhoom -2. My, my, said shocked uncles and aunties, is that any way for desis to kiss???? Implying that the only kiss permissible was a chaste one on the forehead or cheek. And if lips had to meet, then it was better they remained clamped and pursed. Teeth on teeth, but no tongue on tongue. Got it?
After that red hot chumma, there has been no full on kiss worth noting on screen. It’s almost embarrassing to watch the clumsy attempts of top stars as they resort to the ancient trick of turning the back of the head to the camera, and indulging in a coy ‘pretend kiss’. Oh come on, people. Grow up. We can handle it. We can handle a lot – try us! Arunodaya’s amazing and extended kiss in the backseat of an auto-rickshaw while holding a gun to the driver’s head, remains a powerful memory, since the picturisation of such a sequence must have been a technical feat! Not only was the kiss most imaginatively shot, but it was charged with raw erotic power. I was hoping it would start a trend, with directors opting for more such breakthrough situations for kisses that really rock! What is bewildering to me is that considering how liberally we borrow and steal from foreign movies, why have we not maroed their kisses? Or at least, taken a few tips? It’s all about camera angles.... forget chemistry and similar hogwash. The success of a movie kiss depends on the technical expertise of all those involved. For starters, Bollywood’s kissing aspirants should take a crash course in smooching by watching Hollywood classics like ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Çasablanca’’. The men should concentrate on the tilt of Clark Gable’s chin, and the women on Ingrid Bergman’s inviting mouth. Uske baad, we can go for the real thing. And no, Emraan Hashmi is excused. He has retired from kissing and gone back to the Pavilion. Bring on the boys... new ones. And lots of pretty girls. Starting with Nargis Faqri, who has the most kissable mouth in Bollywood. Right, Ranbir??