Vanity Fair


Compiled by Poorva Rajaram

Sharper swords Genelia D’Souza

After a lot of trying, Genelia D’Souza has finally shaken herself free of a “bubbly” and twee romcom oeuvre. Viewers down south caught her in Santosh Sivan’s scrumptious-looking Malayalam period film Urumi. She plays the fierce horse-riding, martial artsdispensing Ayesha of Arackal.  And she has cleverly avoided the Santosh Sivan overly sensuous trap (think Kareena Kapoor in Asoka).  Dare we use the normally vestigial words “image makeover ” ?


Bike Chic

The darker side of cricket mania

Gul Panag’s recent contribution to our national cultural life was the retro charm of her bike at the wedding reception (yes, her nuptials with beau Rishi Attari were celebrated with a bike rally). This week, she has a new distinction: she has given it back to author Chetan Bhagat. The writer again showed his somewhat eerie fascination with inter-cultural hook-ups when he tweeted “If Gul Panag had married Umar Gul, would her name become Gul Gul?” She then retweeted his pubescent humour with “Such an old and boring joke.” We agree.

Found in the confusion

No, he doesn’t just live out his campy fantasies through his actresses. In his first outing as an actor, Rituparno Ghosh played a gay filmmaker in love with his cameraman and, apparently, the character had nothing to do with him. This time, in Memories in March, he plays a gay man who helps his boyfriend’s mother, Deepti Naval, deal with the loss of her son. Just when you think he is being typecast in this nascent acting career, he clears the air saying it’s not a “gay film”. Full points to Ghosh for foxily cheating available pigeonholes.

Hearing problem

The last concert this year in SPIC MACAY’s Music in the Park series, held on 3 April, brought the 80-year-old Kishori Amonkar on a rare trip to Delhi. Vast crowds lay assembled, waiting in fidgety anticipation for her to begin. After we were told she needed 20 minutes to prepare, Amonkar appeared on stage a good 40 minutes later. Perhaps the wait was too much or listeners couldn’t handle her ageing voice now that it doesn’t boom out silky smoothness. The crowd trickled out almost the moment she began.

‘Breaking the law is more immoral than going nude’

WHO Pandey was one of the contestants of the Gladrags Megamodel and Manhunt 2010. She has also been a part of the Kingfisher Calendar 2011. Pandey made headlines recently after she declared that she’d go nude in front of the entire stadium, and later in the Indian dressing room, if the team won the World Cup.

By Aastha Atray Banan

Poonam Pandey, 20, Model

How did your family react to your declaration?
They were filled with surprise when I declared I would go nude if India won, but now they are happy and supportive. I am doing it for my country. In my eyes, going against the law is more immoral than nudity. I don’t even see it as a sacrifice. It’ll be my gift to the nation and cricketers.

And what is that one thing you wouldn’t do for your nation?
I am patriotic. And after what I had declared, is there anything that I couldn’t do? I would die for my country.

Were you rebellious as a child?
Growing up was super easy. My parents were quite liberal and I never felt the need to rebel. They have always understood me.

You are clearly not scared of the moral police. What makes you so brave?
It’s not that I am not scared. I just know what I am doing is not a crime. If it’s a crime supporting my nation, arrest me. One should not be scared when one knows what one is doing won’t hurt anyone.

What is your all-time favourite cricket moment? Also, what do you think of match-fixing?
Every time I see cricket, it’s special. I was dancing when India beat Pakistan in the semifinals. As for match-fixing, my mind is just not capable of thinking about these things! I just enjoy cricket.

Who is the bravest woman or man you know?
It has to be Sonia Gandhi. She stayed on in India even after her husband died and sacrificed so much. Even today, she is at the helm and it doesn’t matter who says what about her.

Why the soft corner for sports heroes?
I think sports heroes make us even more patriotic and unite us.

Aastha Atray Banan is Senior Correspondent, Mumbai with Tehelka


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