Popcorn
  • Do-no-wrong fashion maven, champion of the misplaced, spokesperson for education reform and informed political commentator Angelina Jolie seemed to be out of her element (or way too in it, as some put it) with her mistaking the Oscars stage for a photo-op for invisible lingerie today.

    Not a hair was out of place, the famous pillow lips were painted a Satan concubine red and the limber, zero-percent-body-fat body was encased in an asymmetric velvety black number that had a slit so high on the right that it went all the way up to Calgary mountains in Canada. To give the devil its due, the black gown did give off a somewhat quasi well-developed derriere vibe, but mother-of-6 Angelina Jolie seemed to want to show the versatility of the slit so bad, she almost ended up flashing the divine doodah that has, among other things, birthed three messiahs for the betterment of this world in the last 5 years.

    In doing so, Angelina Jolie seemed to have thrown off the cloak of every good thing she's

    Read More »from Oscars 2012: Girl, Humiliated
  • I confess - I enjoy singing the DK Bose refrain. Alas, the prudish world out there is causing me much heartache with the crooner's conundrum I'm currently facing. I cannot sing the Bhaag Bhaag DK Bose line without attracting disbelief and mental judgements of uncouthness by people around me.  But why is there such a hue and cry about clever placement of lyrics into what is a tongue-in-cheek reference to how much we, as a culture, love our cuss words?

    We all know that colourful language, when used at the right time and in the right instance, can have the desired effect that polite Ps and Qs usually don't. And when the said colourful language is Indian, all the more reason to celebrate its colourfulness, considering we're all about varied ethnicities, languages, preferences and religious leanings. Osho Rajneesh has ably demonstrated the insta-appeal and the sheer versatility of the 'F' word in everyday conversation, so why are we getting our inner garments all twisted over a song that

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  • In the name of God. What have we done?

    The one film that redefined crass commercialism and toilet humour at its worst (I cringe at that 'chhed' line every time someone says it and giggles) has been named the year's 'wholesome entertainer'. By the National Film Awards committee, no less.

    The National Film Awards are announced for the singular purpose of plugging in the holes (pardon) left behind by popular film award ceremonies that are rigged, bought or are blatant showcases of favouritism in the industry. Or so I thought. Well, looks like we might need another body to take care of that, because this year's awards smack of giving in to popular demand rather than reward genuine achievement in the field of cinema.

    Dabangg, last year's answer to the void that was left behind by the underwear/drawstring/mattress/pillow innuendo-laden era of David Dhawan, Govinda and Karisma Kapoor, is a lot of things - entertaining, yes. Hilarious, in parts. Paisa vasool, to the bottom galleries. But

    Read More »from What is ‘wholesome’ about Dabangg?
  • Hollywood, when not churning out its staple romance, usually sticks to the tried and tested ribald comedy (aimed at mostly men who refuse to grow up), mindless action flick (ditto), tearjerker drama/chick flicks (women - of all kinds) or animated adventures for the ageless. But the nineties brought with it a wave of starlets from TV who were looking for their big break on celluloid and what followed was a genre that brought in women in droves and with them, their hapless dates, who in order to keep the "romance" alive in the relationship, tagged along meekly to see mild to offensive comedy swathed in huge layers of feel-good romance and tied up with a big pink bow of a happy ending - leading to the birth of the first mixed genre, the romcom, in contemporary Hollywood.

    Hollywood then started experimenting with mixing certain genres to appeal to a larger demographic, or a mix of two or more. Some stars became synonymous with the mixed genres, some genres defined the career graph of

    Read More »from When One Genre Isn’t Enough
  • Great Expectations

    Living in the shadows of India's one and only superstar and a respected actress who in her heydays was the epitome of grace onscreen and, dare I say it, the world's most recognised beautiful face, ex beauty queen turned somewhat of a crossover phenomenon in films who commands a princely sum for the smallest endorsement, must be a huge burden for someone who's time and again faced criticism for his bad run at the box office.

    Now add to it that the former two are his parents and the latter is his wife who enjoys global recognition like no other Bollywood star has or probably ever will. Even Atlas would have shrugged.

    If anyone deserves a break from the constant comparisons, expectations and enormous pressure of being a star son and star husband, it's Abhishek Bachchan.

    I remember being a staunch Aamir Khan loyalist when I first set eyes on Abhishek. I was whizzing past Mumbai's High Court after a lovely dinner at a colleague's house, and we stopped when we saw Abhishek along with his

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  • 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

    Read More »from Vidya’s Daring U-Curve
  • 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

    Read More »from Is Aamir now King Khan?
  • 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

    Read More »from What Lies Beneath – The Blouse
  • 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

    Read More »from Bringing the Bang Back to Bollywood
  • 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

    Read More »from Love thy Love Child