It reminds me of the days way back when .... I was editing Stardust and people would ask equally idiotic questions (" So, do you people make up all the gossip and stories....?" ).
This appeared in Mumbai Mirror last Saturday...
‘Chashmis’ goes sexy….
“Men don’t make passes at women who wear glasses….” Remember that foolish line from way back when? Deepika, Sonakshi,Kangana,Sonam… go on, ladies… have the last laugh. It’s the turn of the Chashmis Hotties now! Gals sporting ‘eyewear’ (please note, we don’t call them spectacles anymore) are getting all the guys and having the best fun. Chashmas are suddenly sexy .And they stay firmly on – paps or no paps. Bollywood actresses used to make it a point to whip off their chashmas at the sight of flashbulbs not so long ago. The men didn’t bother half as much.While actors like Shah Rukh Khan had paved the way for showbiz chaps to not hide their weak eye condition by flaunting trendy , rimless glasses with brightly coloured arms, heroines had consistently fought shy of being seen wearing glasses in public. Today, designer eyewear has acquired its own status and is viewed as an important fashion accessory by trendy young people. This signals a new level of confidence. I cannot imagine a single star from an earlier era being caught dead in public with glasses parked on the nose bridge. Forget Bolllywood’s Peter Pan ( Dev Anand), who would have been repulsed by the idea itself. But has anybody seen Dilip Kumar, Jeetendra or Dharmendra revealing such an ‘impediment’ even today ? As for the female stars… Divas like Rekha would, I’m sure rather wear powered lenses than specs ( assuming she, the divine being, does need some magnification when she texts).Kaajol was always comfortable with her no-nonsense glasses. Though, now that she has gone in for a major makeover, her minders may advise her against them. Earlier, female screen idols like Meena Kumari, Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore would have scrupulously avoided being seen wearing something as ‘unglamourous’ as a lowly chashma.
It has to do with our notions of star mystique. And those parameters have changed drastically during the past five years. Take a look at the way stars dress when they attend one another’s birthday parties (like absolute slobs!) these days. Of course, they know there will be photographers present. They neither bother nor care. They turn up sans make-up, with untidy hair and a deliberately dressed down appearance ( flip flops and tracks – uggggghhh!). The message comes through loud and clear : “Guys, this is our downtime.We are not on parade. We are off duty. Leave us alone ”. Fair enough. But fans who feed off these grungy images do feel let down and disappointed. Our movie stars lead fantasy lives . Fans want their favourites to live up to that fantasy. Stripped off the accoutrements of stardom, deglamourised to the point of drabness, stars definitely do lose their required sheen. Especially those fashion divas who also have parallel careers as brand ambassadors for prestigious international brands. Looking amazing in public is a vital part of their job profile. Check out Victoria Beckham – even her ‘dressed down’ garb is shrewdly and carefully picked to convey casual chic. But chic it has to be. It is really an obligation if you are in the business of making money from your image and appearance.
To get back to the old theory regarding girls and spectacles, it is definitely a welcome change from the time our parents struck their foreheads in dismay on discovering we needed glasses. “Who will marry you?” mothers would ask despairingly, and make sure daughters hid their tell tale chashmas when prospective grooms showed up for a dekho. Most women of my vintage continue to squint and screw up their eyes rather than sensibly opt for bi-focals. Some have had their failing vision laser-corrected. Others prefer dark shades, indoors and outdoors, day or night. “ I feel like a buddhi if I wear a chasma,” pointed out a friend recently. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that’s what we are! With or without the chasmas. I tried to make her feel better by saying her frames added a great deal of character to her face. It’s about enhancing ones personality, I concluded a little lamely. She didn’t look one bit convinced as she squeezed her eyes into narrow slits and asked imperiously “ Where’s the lemon tart I’d ordered?” Under your nose, darling, I laughed, squinting back. Specs and her? Over my dead body, she shot back. Clearly, she hasn’t seen Deepika’s latest avatar.