Compiled By Nisha Susan
The Gul run
Poor Gul Panag. At the crowded starting line of the Delhi Half Marathon, she was startled to be groped. Her sardonic remarks about Delhi men and how the city hasn’t changed in the seven years since she left has now turned into a full-fledged debate online and in newspapers about Delhi versus Mumbai, whether she had imagined it, whether she was molested, why she didn’t call the police that very moment. She sagely advises women that Delhi was not a good place to practice running. The Kenyans and Ethiopians of course won everything in the half-marathon.
WHY WON’T PEOPLE LET DEEPIKA PADUKONE HAVE A NON-LOSER MOMENT?
Will no one allow a Bollywood heroine to have a sense of humour? Even a lame sense of humour? Deepika Padukone went on Koffee With Karan and said something marginally snarky about gifting former lover Ranbir Kapoor condoms. But the public and the glossies, unlike Rajesh Khanna, don’t hate ‘tears, Pushpa, tears’. Instead, a battery of professional aunties — body language experts, anyone? — are deployed to analyse a photograph of Ranbir and Deepika bumping into each other after a long while. Thus effectively killing any sign of sapient life.
Lara Dutta, et tu? We don’t mind your tremendous fitness or even those latent mercantile instincts. What is a fitness video or a dozen between friends? But you plugging a holistic lifestyle and calling those videos Recovery and Rejuvenation and branding the series H.E.A.L (Health, Exercise and Longevity)! How could you Lara? We see that you have already started talking about inner calm and peace of mind. That is a slippery slope towards shilling sunflower seeds, flax and lactose intolerance. S.T.O.P.
If you are a dastangoi fan, here is some happy news. Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain, the duo who revived the storytelling form, have acquired a troop of young disciples in Delhi and Mumbai and they are spreading the love. From 2-5 December, Mumbai will have the first dastangoi festival India has had in some hundred years. From the 4,60,000 pages of the Dastan-e Amir Hamza, the young performers will present a dozen rip-roaring stories filled with magicians and tricksters.
Photo: Shailendra Pandey
‘My early days: seven to a room and rats all over’
By Aastha Atray Banan
How was the experience of participating in Mr India?
I always enjoyed working out so I took part. Mr India was great fun, but somewhere you know that things are not right. So many boys come to these contests with a head full of dreams, and you have to wonder if there is a genuine system judging them or is it rigged.
You have said that it’s taken all your survival tactics to last in Bollywood…
When I first came to Mumbai, I stayed in a one-room flat with seven people. On the first night I saw four rats running around as I struggled to sleep. I remember spending the night standing on a bridge next to my house, thinking I wanted to be an actor so much that I’d have to put up with all this. Later, I made an arrangement with the guard of an office in Juhu that would be deserted by 8 pm. I used to go and sleep there!
What’s the one thing you hate and one thing you love about your job?
This job entails a lot of commitment on an actor’s part. You have to report to set even if you are sick. And you don’t get to spend time with your family. What I love is that I’m at my creative best, and exploring myself with each role.
At 37, you have finally arrived in Bollywood with Dabangg. What kept you going?
Age is not a factor. You become an example of what one can achieve by just working hard and not giving up.
These days marriages don’t mean much. How do you and your wife keep the spark alive?
She respects my profession and gives me space. I am not very romantic either, but I try and show her that I love her. Recently, I was shooting in Hyderabad and she was there. After pack-up, I got her flowers and took her for a nice dinner. She was really happy!