Thursday, August 28, 2008

Drag Artists... and more

Aamir Khan must have been paid a truckload of lolly to perform in drag for the latest Tata Sky commercial. He has taken the mythical Ardh Nareshwari image to a whole new level by splitting himself in half. One side (right) is a nagging Panju bride, the other, a chikna Panju husband. It is their suhaag raat, and guess what they are arguing about? Well.. forget that. It is such an old- fashioned ad, I am amazed that someone with Aamir's sensibility agreed to do it.I'm sure the fat endorsement fee took care of any reservations he may have harboured! Khair... the projection of the bride (in this day and age!) as an ignorant, dumb, irritating creature who fights with the bridegroom over a service provider, made me a little cross. This is funny?? But it also made me wonder why actors , whether from Hollywood or Bollywood love doing drag.And getting it wrong all the time! From Mrs. Doubtfire to one of my all-time favourite stars (John Travolta who camped it up in that silly musical "Hair''), I have been uniformly bugged. Bollywood thrives on such nautanki, as is evident in a string of lousy performances with top stars (including Bachchan) getting into women's clothing. Is it the falsies? The make- up? What is it that gives them such a kick?Howcome women are not as turned on playing men? They've done it, of course, and performed as horribly. I don't even understand the special challenge this poses to actors? Not every woman speaks in a squeaky voice, nor do a majority of women flounce around fussing with their hair , parandey, pallus and dupattas. Aamir has been married to ladies who are anything but stereotypes. He should have known better. But money talks louder than accurate representation. So be it.
Hari Puttar the desi version of Harry Potter is in trouble with the makers of the original, who have stopped the release . Knowing our wily\oily desi minds, we'll manage to wriggle out of this situation, too!
Oh... I have been Missing in Action for the past three days due to a whole host of reasons. Some of my best friends are... no, you'll never guess... whiz biz journos. Good to have gal pals like them (Manjeet, who is the head of Businessweek in India, Naazneen, who heads Forbes India, and Olga who runs the biz bureau of the Asian Age). Heavy duty bonding and brain storming cut into my precious Blog time. Plus, I did a couple of fun photo shoots for fashion glossies. BTW, what is 'Vogue India' thinking?? They've made the luscious Priyanka Chopra look like a vamp\witch on the latest cover. And Hello!! Has India run short of models? Why does every fashion magazine feature only movie stars? And insist on giving them hideous make overs???


Renu said...

Even none of the heroes have dont the drag scene plus, plus I laugh at the directors who give them minis and sleeveless to wear showing their muscular arms and hairy legs.Somebody must be out of mind to go flat over them the way they do in movies.
Mrs. doubtfire or chachi 420 were at least believable in their looks and acting, ecverybody else has been always over the top.

Harish said...

From Jillele to Jingalaala. Our taste buds have metamorphosed. For the good? well thats difficult question to answer. Tata ke bacchey have taken a lot of bold steps,image make over from their image of being the mai baap of indian corporate worlld to their traditional philanthropic indulgence to the recent trendy and bold Virgin Mobile (hinting at issues like lesbianism, traffic policing , extra marital affairs ekcetra )and Tata Sky commercials (jinngalaala, a new word). Though I simply adore the Virgin mobile ads, this tata sky thingie is a real put off. Drag? whats their message? they wanted to show aamir in drag and sell their product? How stupid. Andmaking a dolt of the indian bride. That aint funny at all.

No indian actor looks good in drag. And if they are in drag. Its done with no dignity. Why arnt the woman rights groups not speaking anything about this ad.

They are only interested in protesting against open air Pappi's and Bra and Cheddi shows.. is it?

What needs to be stopped and censored is this typification of the Indian Woman. Its a big jolt to India. But we would look only at the obvious.

there is a thin line between a mirthful experience and derogation... and missing that line is a habit for the corporates.

De, kaunsa fashion glossies mein U are going to come. Batao Batao... you give us aadhi khabar. bad gurl!

Kool that you were doing some bonding shonding... nice nice waise bhi there was "Yudh" happenning in your blog that kept our eye balls on your blog. I mean , I did miss you. but we were entertained. :)

Priyanka chopra... overused. She doesnt have any extraordinary looks. atleast I feel so that she doesnt.(o m g... Priyanka fans, please dont send me hate mails. lol)

dearth of models? yes, i am aking the same question

Anuj Talpade said...

OMG Aamir's at it again? Haven't checked the ad out yet!

Aamir sure loves to drag ... remember that song from what-was-that-film-he-did-with-Mamta Kulkarni? Looking a tad more appealing than the Khol-karni, Aamir is easily the best drag queen Bollywood's had. A close second would be Riteish Deshmukh .. I forget the name of the completely OTT film but he looked as close to a REAL woman as one cud possibly expect of a drag queen.

Maybe the Bollywood MEN (!) should plan a trip to Bangkok and dazzle the crowds with the sensational 'Lady Boy' act!

I loved Kareena on the cover of Vogue and Bips too .. god knows why they cudnt do a better job with a stunner like Priyanka!

Anuj Talpade said...

And HELL no ... I thought Robin William's turn as Mrs. Doubtfire was one of the most endearing drag acts on that side of the globe. It wasn't so much of a drag show anyway... the emphasis was on a theme that personally touched me... it was about a desperate father who could do anything to be with his kids coz loving hem was all he knew. And it was hilarious n heartwarming at the same time.

Prash said...

But it also made me wonder why actors , whether from Hollywood or Bollywood love doing drag

In our day to day life and in the streets (in Europe or in USA or Australia) when there is a party scene on a Saturday night these men always love to wear short skirts (ah those hairy legs! guys, please think about it) and a fake wig ! When there is a foot ball or rugby match, you should see these men partying with bottles of beer after the match...I have witnessed this so many times in Europe and the past two years in Hong Kong during the RUGBY 7 HONG KONG match in March.

It is indeed a good question, why Men love to do this fake/bad cross-dressing and not Women ?

Why ? Why ? Why ?

Is this the way, Men love to show their feminine side ? If yes, they need to seek some advise because it certainly is a bad idea.

Arjun said...

we watch mtv each morning... and guess what the SAD AD is always ON!
I appreciate innovation and artistic license... but this one didn't get past the gates!

Like Supriya, my wife, always says - how did he even agree to do it?

Kris Bass said...

De, maybe the ad is supposed to be 'bad' to make it look funny. Maybe the public wants the acting to be mediocre. And maybe Aamir Khan wanted to act like this to give out his idea about sad a drag is. Can't all these be possible?

Double Seven said...

With all due respects for your tastes and likes,
I say this- This is the best Aamir Khan ad I've ever seen... this is of course after "thanda matlab coca cola" and the other one again being of Coke- "Paanch...!"

and as far as you said about top actors doing silly ads and they are paid a staggering sum to do it; I say that Aamir Khan himself must have got attracted to the script and all that apart from money of course, because I have heard that the whole production that went behind producing this Tata Sky ad was done by Aamir Khan Production... so ...

kaleidoscope said...

Let me imagine what the AK Productions must have been "thinking" (if at all) on drag?

Wannabe a drag queen? Get ready to cross "performance" with "sexuality".

What do you get? An act of exaggeration and a guise of femininity.

How do you define exaggeration? Exaggeration in performance is all about staging the abnormal.

How do you define femininity? Femininity is a feature underlined by subservience. Period.

So who is the audience for the final act? The grotesque egotistic and "straight" Indian Man of course!

End message of the commercial: Nautanki is never too far removed from the real, you see.

[my reaction: aghast!].

Divoo said...

Whoa! I'm yet to see tht AD... must be fun huh! :P

Drag acts look gross to me!

ADs, magazine covers, reality shows, serials.. bollyppl are found everywhere.. guess bcuz of the masala tht they tend to add to whatever they're a part of.. thts wht SELLS and thts wht the indian audience wants... sigh! ;)

Double Seven said...

I don't understand why people are not looking at the "innovative" side of that ad!? Why??
What creativity man... crazy....
What an act... mind boggling
It is definitely eye candy if not eye-catching.
i know all the homo phobics would have easily got intimidated at first by AKs drag queen character... But nevertheless, i think AK has his own flair of performing different roles so neatly... i especially love the way how quickly he switches sides-of one being a drag queen and then moving on to the opposite facing and being her husband... simply incredible stuff.. and the makeup done by Mickey Contractor is fantastic..



Anonymous said...

Havent seen the ad so wont comment on the awfulness (or not) of the advertisment but I do like me a fun drag queen/drag act! Honestly I have never interacted with or seen a full on drag queen, who has bored me or been less than sincere about being a performer in all aspects.

The act of being in Drag is vaudevelian (sp?) in its extreme. Even as a lifestyle, being in drag is very performance based. It revels in being over the top. Not perfect. Its imperfections and obvious fantasy are so different and delightful. Not so much the lady boys in Bangkok who are selling a performance that is completely different from the act of DRAG. They are selling sexuality, plain and simple.

I dont expect Robin Williams (Doubtfire) or Steven Rhea (Crying game) or Bacchan to BE the woman they are portraying. Because it is not that particular woman they are portraying in any case. It is thier idea and interpretation of the woman only. That is a drag act. They know it and we know it and they know that we know it... ad infinitum. Tis the ankh micholi played between the audience and the performer that makes the Drag act so fun, so unexpected and so bawdy.

Yeah Drag is about being bawdy and getting away with it, at some level. There I said it!

I guess Aamir was paid a lot of money to do the ad. He is a very shrewd business man. I would like to think (because I love him so) that he also wanted to be "the performer" and see if he could do it. Yeah, that is what I would like to think! Is it?

I write long stream of conciousness and combative comments(ok, only sometimes... I am really just a softie), I really should just write my own blog. But it wont be as interesting as this one. So I shall cease and desist.

Another Kiran in NYC

Double Seven said...

Another Kiran In NYC, here's the link to that ad video on youtube:



rekha badlani said...

Dear 77

Thanks for the link to AK (another Kiran this time!)

Ooouch... I just saw the ad. What the heck was that? Surely, he was paid an arm and a leg to have done this... but why? Why? WHY?

Shobha.. you know these people, right? Please talk to them on our behalf.

Now as far as Vogue is concerned... that's desi mentality. Every thing revolves around Bollywood and Cricket in the desi media. (Look at HT and Sahara news!) Sorry folks that's all DISH offers here in US! I don't know when these people will realize that models can't act and actors can't model.
Again Shobha... talk to people!!

Anonymous said...

M'am De',

It's the case of make Hay when its raining cats and Dogs. All media bodies print, internet, Tv or Wireless want to claim their share in the Pie. I mean the BIG corporate funds being deployed to the 'cash by Bhai" starved industry called Bollywood.

Beware the KING makers have arrived. WELCOME!!

Vinod Agarwal - Desperate for his ENTRY!!

Srinivas said...

I think they have sensed that ad films are not for any awards and rewards!So they can do anything they want.Being so choosy in selecting the movies, aamir might have thought to relax himself in the ad world.

Mister Crowley said...

amen the bit about biz journos. I have a few as friends. All sorts of insider info to be had *nudge, nudge, wink wink*

Double Seven said...

Another Kiran in NYC, you should consider about switching to DirecTV... You will get NDTV and Star Plus and all that...

Anonymous said...

77 suyashhh U R TOO MUCH..

Y R U SO CRITICLLE ABout Evrything

I appreciate your viewzzz mate... but lets not plague Shobhaaaz Blog.

Double Seven said...

What are you talking about Anonymous?
About what I as so critical?

I didn't get you. Please clarify further.