Vanity Fair



Photo:Anshika Varma

Aishwarya Rai is usually the one with the syntactically challenged quotes and the Bachchan paterfamilias with the baffling one. This week Abhishek Bachchan surpassed his family with an ‘I am man, hear me roar’ performance. A Mumbai paper speculated that Rai is unable to bear children because she has tuberculosis. This medical fantasy sent Abhishek up in flames of incoherence: “On a personal note, as a husband I will not stand for such rubbish being written. You want to malign me or my father I will take it. But the ladies of my home are off limits!” Much tweeting later, he says he has stopped subscribing to the paper.



Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Another set of games are here. This, the literary variety, may even see us winning some prizes. Shortlists for the Commonwealth Writers’ Awards are out and four Indians feature. Poet Keki Daruwala’s first novel Pepper and Christ, Rana Dasgupta’s novel Solo and Amit Chaudhuri’s The Immortals all compete for the Best Book (South Asia and Europe category). Chandrahas Choudhury’s book Arzee the Dwarf vies for the Best First Book. Winners will be declared in April.


For people of a certain age this was a queasy week with Backstreet Boys and Richard Marx suddenly dug out of the graves of our teenage memories and walking our streets. Britney Spears may have been rehabilitated in our affections but this lot of men have not found their retro chic groove in our lives yet. As if these resuscitation concerts are not aging by themselves, we also had to be subjected to the India softpower package. The Backstreet Boys, poor things, letting us know that Bollywood music is a rage abroad, Indian food is very popular, Indian women are very pretty. Did we live this long to see this?



Ad filmmaker CS Amudhan has produced a very well-received spoof on Tamil cinema. Reports on Tamizh Padam (Tamil Film) so far gives us hope. After stringing all of Tamil cinema’s narrative conventions together, Amudhan then went out and found someone to put together a score that evokes the popular hits of 1970s and 1980s Tamil movies. Kannan, the brain behindTamizh Padam’s music, also comes from the advertising world and has previously collaborated with Amudhan.


‘The Greatest Human Tragedy Is That We Are Living Life At A Pace Faster Than Nature’


What is your earliest memory?
My earliest memory is from when I was four years old. I remember holding my dad’s index finger going weekly shopping at the Grant Road Bazaar in Mumbai. I remember fish being cut, meat being chopped, peas and bhindi tested before being bought. I remember us buying stuff like soap, detergent, rice, atta and jam. I usually got an ice-cream as a reward thereafter.

What has been your strongest influence?
I grew up with no single strong influence. The only strong influence has been rugby. It taught me to lose. I hated losing. It also taught me to be a team player — I am essentially individualistic. Finally, it taught me to shoot through my fears and emerge intact on the other side.

Did you find the transition from theatre to movies difficult?
Professionally, the transition has been simple and organic. Casting director Uma D’Souza and director Dev Benegal saw me and cast me in my first movie English, August. In terms of acting, the transition has been even simpler because the camera just lets you be. Anyone who talks of there being a great difference between the two is being overly self important. An actor is an actor. All adjustments are minor issues.

What do you look for when picking a book or film — content or entertainment?
I usually look out for a great story and humanism.

What saddens you most?
Nothing really saddens me. The greatest human tragedy is that we are living life at a pace faster than nature. Apart from that, the violence and injustice we often mete out to others affects me.

What inspires you most when you are down?
I’m rarely troubled and when I am, my constant inspiration is the desire to be a compassionate human being and to try and be a source of positivity and happiness for others.

What do we expect from you next?
My next film is Aparna Sen’s The Japanese Wife. It is the finest film I have been a part of and it also gave me the opportunity to portray one of the finest roles any director could give an actor. The reactions to the previews are unprecedented. It reaffirms my belief in the fact that Indians still have an ability to properly respond to subtlety, and the subtleties of love.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.