Vanity Fair

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Compiled by Poorva Rajaram

Licence to thrill
Vidya Balan

HAVING IT BOTH WAYS

How do you know when a Bollywood actress has arrived? Those tracing the determined steps of Vidya Balan’s relatively short career have dual reasons to celebrate. The ‘2011 Indian Film Festival (IFF): Bollywood and Beyond’ held in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide this month had a Vidya Balan retrospective, while a startlingly life-like photoshopped pictures of her in a bikini hit the news stands. Balan has reminded us that she belongs to a select generation of actresses who still have something to hide. We can’t help feeling that her obstinate sari-wearing credential has led to the honour bestowed on her by a posey film festival. She’s right here, in Bollywood and it’s beyond.

Aishwarya Rai LATE STATE

QUARRELLING WITHOUT BORDERS

If the World Tamil Conference was remembered for a squelchy AR Rahman theme song that didn’t catch any fortuitous winds, the second World Kannada Summit (we-can-do-it-too) or, more rightly, theVishwa Kannada Sammelana, held in Belgaum will be remembered for misplaced glamour and pointless debates. First, NR Narayana Murthy’s selection to kick off festivities was hotly debated. His detractors thought he was too cosmo politan. Then, another debate about whether Shilpa Shetty was too “hot” for the conference’s grievously serious mission of honouring the culture. Naturally, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was also there to win an award.

YES, MR GAY DIRECTOR

Is being gay a story? Excited Bollywood commentators and rumour mill workers finally have a real, live gay director to fuel mawkish portrayals. Onir, director of My Brother Nikhil, is back with I Am.  The film has four short stories that tackle same-sex love and child abuse. Five years after My Brother Nikhil, his name still does the rounds with the dubious prefix “gay director”. Until the as-yet-unplanned Madhur Bhandarkar movie, possibly titled ‘Gay’, exposes the inner rumblings of the creative gay male mafia in fashion and Bollywood, we will only have an ever-increasing bank of gay non-stories to turn to.

Dia Mirza (In a meta-tweet that reveals her secret cyber death wish. Bring on the “trolls”)

FOX THE IDIOT BOX

The surprisingly versatile Salman Rushdie is all set to turn screenwriter. He will write a show, Next People, for the American indie channel Showtime. The show will explore the US at a time of rapid societal change, sex, religion, science and technology. Leading a snazzy LA life will only add accoutrements to his already high-octane existence that seems to necessitate movie cameos, glamorous models and enraged governments. As if jumping to television isn’t prolific enough, Rushdie will also be out with a memoir detailing his time spent in hiding, after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on him in 1989.

“Many people quit Twitter because ‘trolls’ are nasty”


‘Marriage is just like being in the army’

WHO Fondly called the Grandmaster of Giggles, Broacha is a Mumbai-born Parsi. One of the first VJs on MTV, he hosted the immensely popular show Bakra. He acted in his first film at the age of 12 opposite Naseeruddin Shah (Jalwa). Married to a Mumbai-based photographer Ayesha, Broacha is a father of two.

By Niha Masih

Cyrus Broacha, 39, VJ

Did you ever feel inadequate in terms of how you looked on screen?
I think I set a certain low standard and they are following it. Right now, the more ridiculous you are, the better are your chances. If you watch reality shows, you would know what I mean.

Sarcasm and humour are often used as defense mechanisms. Is there an insecurity you are trying to hide?
I have tried to analyse but there isn’t any. I’ve been like this since childhood, except that now I am more hairy, so it’s really not an intellectual exercise for me. There is really no psychological scarring. Honestly. I wish there was.

So no life-changing experiences that made you the cynical comedian?
Once we were ragged as juniors in college. When the seniors asked us to introduce ourselves, I said I was a swimmer because I was a fairly decent one. They made me swim on the floor and made me take a shower.

What are the rules of your marriage?
It’s like being in the army. There are rules. You cut your hair and you are fine. If you are married, you wish to be a bachelor and if you’re single, you want to be happily married with kids. I wish we could change personalities, Monday to Thursday married and Friday to Sunday unmarried, but that’s not gone down too well. I have tried.

What is the one value you would pass on to your children?
What I do not have and want them to imbibe is sincerity. I think I am falling in love with the fact that I am so insincere and have glamorised it so much that now I feel it’s a positive part. They could be a little more sincere, so it’d be good.

Why do you not have a cell phone?
You cannot switch off from life otherwise. I have never had a cell phone. But people who know me well, know exactly how to find me.

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