Blog Posts by Suma Nagaraj

  • Vidya’s Daring U-Curve

    Vidya Balan burst onto the scene as a breath of fresh air with her very Indian look in Parineeta, reminiscent of the quiet dignity of Meena Kumari and the playful innocence of Jaya 'Guddi' Bachchan. Her understated portrayal of a middle class girl weathering personal storms and heartbreaks brought back something that was missing in Bollywood for a long time - grace. It's common knowledge that heroines in mainstream Bollywood either need familial backing/clout or a sugar daddy to be cast as the leading lady, or be ready to pull a bare-and-dare act in their debut. But Parineeta was a dream debut for her in every sense of the word.

    From thereon, however, it's been a mixed bag - some terrible choices that she must have signed in haste opposite leading men who either looked like cherubs or gummy bears. Her style/fashion sense has been heavily panned, too, both onscreen and off screen. Leaving behind the nightmares of romancing Shahid Kapur and starring in movies whose names were fatally

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  • Is Aamir now King Khan?

    Aamir Khan seems to be everywhere nowadays, a phenomenon that is usually associated with the Baadshah of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan. He was found cheering loudly for Team India at the World Cup, sporting his new look for the upcoming film with Honeymoon Travels' Reema Kagti. He apparently partied with the boys in blue till the sun rose the next morning the day we won the World Cup. His brand and cause endorsements can rival any other top star's in Bollywood today. He makes big news for his productions, for his skillful PR both in India and abroad, for the Twitter conversations he has with the Big B and for random sound bytes every now and then.

    Long living in the shadow of arch rival Shah Rukh Khan, he seems to have perfected the art of PR that SRK was hailed for. During Aamir's decade-long (was it longer?) tiff with the media, when he refused to attend award shows, give interviews to certain publications and refused to play favourites, SRK reigned as the media's golden boy. There was

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  • What Lies Beneath – The Blouse

    Remember how many hearts went dhak dhak for Madhuri's wide-eyed innocent response to Neena Gupta's wildly suggestive 'Choli ke peeche kya hain?' in Subhash Ghai's Khal Nayak that kind of deified Sanjay Dutt's wildchild ways? If there was one woman who knew all about the business behind the blouse, it was Madhuri Dixit, the then reigning queen of Bollywood, who'd left contemporaries Sridevi and Juhi Chawla far, far behind in the desirable-desi-belle stakes. If it wasn't wooing men on the wrong side of the law with demureness-despite-threadbare-cholies, it was getting men with no knowledge of the birds and the bees up to amorous speed on what we're really here on earth for.  Psst. Juhi and Sridevi didn't stand a chance.

    Madhuri's blouse-clutching insistence that it was only a living, four-chambered heart that beat a steady rhythm for her man from behind the sequins and sewed-on mirrors on her blouse left many young men (in the throes of adolescence and far, far beyond) curling their

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  • Bringing the Bang Back to Bollywood

    The verdict's out, people — Dabangg has kicked every single Bollywood "hit" of the year to the moon and is well on its way to establishing itself as the box-office king of the year. And it's making a statement to all the Manhattan/Melbourne/Swiss Alps-crazy production houses in the country.

    Desi is where it's at, baby.

    Bollywood has this distinct identity crisis — the bigger chunk of it is yet to decide whether it wants to make India-centric movies, the smaller chunk veering towards designer digs and duds as far removed from the motherland as possible. But guess what? Patriotism seems to have won over pretense, if the newly-discovered love for desh ki mitti is anything to go by.

    Films that revolved around the rustic were mostly indie, low-budget ones in Bollywood — no big banner was willing to touch a desi theme with a barge pole. Even those that did were grand operatic tributes to swathes of yellow fields and wide open skies, and small chawls, charpoys under a star-lit sky

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  • Love thy Love Child

    Legend has it that on the sets of Bobby, where a chubby Rishi Kapoor fell head over heels in love with Dimple, complete with baby fat and big, brown eyes, Raj Kapoor drew him aside and asked him "Tum apni behen se shaadi karna chahta hain?!" Paraphrasing, of course, but this remains the conspiracy theory to beat all conspiracy theories in Bollywood.

    Dimple is said to be Raj Kapoor and Nargis's love child, though this remains just a rumour — unproven but hugely debated even now. As news of Cristiano Ronaldo's love child came pouring in, I got thinking of the many love children we've seen over the years. You think *that* was why he ould hardly net one in this World Cup? Hmm.

    Jazz singer Norah Jones, née Geethali Norah Jones Shankar, daughter of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and dancer Sue Jones, came into the limelight with the release of her hugely successful debut album, Come Away With Me. The world which till then thought Anoushka Shankar was the maestro's only daughter

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