Monday, June 30, 2008

Autoricksha Confessions 5: Picking sides

Really intelligent people sometimes have trouble figuring out the silliest things.

Take the Drift Memsaab for example who happens to be one of the smartest people I know. Once I was driving somewhere and asked her to turn the temperature in the car down a notch. The Drift Memsaab stared for a long time at the dashboard with the blue down and red up arrow before giving up. I rolled my eyes and made the adjustment.

I'm not implying anything about my own intelligence here but I have similar problems. And one of them was an embarrassment that I've only recently gotten under control. And it was this: I had no idea how to execute a hello or goodbye hug with friends.

It wasn't that I had affection dyslexia. I simply couldn't figure out which way to hug. Did my head go left? Or did it go right? For some reason when it came to hug time, I simply couldn't remember. This resulted in all kinds of problems like bumped heads or unintentional head holds.

All of this came to a head (so to say) when we were over for dinner at a friend's place with some other folks. Using my copious winter outerwear as an excuse, I completely bypassed the hello hugs. But soon it was time to say goodbye. And the first person I had to do this to was our friends' wife - we'll call her Apple Pie Ann because she baked such a killer fresh cut apple pie for us that no pie has measured up since.

So Apple Pie Ann approaches me and I get that funny, confused feeling again. Left? Or right? I must have visibly bobbed and weaved like Muhammad Ali because I could see Apple Pie Ann making compensating weaves to try and line up the hug. And thus it was that we both synchronized our weaves perfectly and ended up in a honking lip lock in the middle of the room surrounded by all our friends. We froze for several seconds, making matters worse.

Everyone laughed. I think the Drift Memsaab clapped her hands. Someone might have said "Get a room!"

It was a long drive back but if I remember correctly the Drift Memsaab chuckled all the way home and kept saying "I can't believe you..."

So it was that people then avoided hugging me. I could almost hear their loved ones say "Avoid going anywhere near that Lothario, honey"

But I did have one super friend who understood my pain. Her name was Suzie - although the Drift in-laws being from UP and chaste Hindi-like and all used to call her Suji (like that thing you make upma out of). And Suzie would simply grab my head and tuck it in the right corner whenever it was time to hug.

I've never said this to Suze but I'll say it now: thanks!

Previous 3 wheeler rides: House pets, Boxing Day, Carefree Errands, Phone Fool


Friday, June 27, 2008

Kiss My Handkerchief

Megan has been spelunking around YouTube looking for SRGMP info and found this - Udit Narayan playing hero in a Nepali movie called Kusume Rumal. Note Udit's Falak Tak hair swoosh has been with him for a long time. But boy was he stylin!Too bad he won't be on Indian Idol this year - I enjoyed his appearance on Jo Jeeta Wohi Supertar last week. More: Head does Kusume Rumal.

The hug that turned several people sideways and upside down

If you catch enough glimpses of saas-bahu serials over your parents' (or other loved ones') shoulders then you'll notice that they all tend to dredge the same emotions. As an outsider the impression I've been left with is that saas-bahu serials follow a strict set of design principles.

And there isn't anything overtly wrong with that. After all, creativity can be over-rated.There is one pattern prevalent in saas-bahu serials. And that is what I like to call The Kick Ass Payback.Here is how it works.

First relentless dukh gets piled upon one unfortunate person. Almost always that person is a woman. Did that surprise you? Clearly you've never watched one of these before. But the short of it is that everyone gets down on her - even fate.

The bechari swallows her gum and bites her tongue. Its critical that the emotional atyachaars be allowed to pile up. At this point my Mum will usually comment "Slap your mother-in-law already!" and Dad runs off during a commercial break to make some strong chai to fortify the nerves.

But before the scales of justice completely keel over, saas-bahu serials issue a correction. And its a very special episode at this point, often I've heard friends discussing it for days in anticipation. Some truth is revealed that liberates the bechari. Or someone stands up for her. Big time. (Substitute "truth" for "super power" and you pretty much have Spider-man, so we are spanning global territory here)

As in this video that Megan pointed me to - its her new guilty pleasure. I don't know who these people are. But the sonic shimmies, dizzying angles and deft acting (nostrils are flared, heads are cocked, an actor appears to have on-set constipation) are good enough entertainment for me.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Music of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

On Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, A. R. Rahman tries meticulously to reconstruct his reputation as a mainstream music composer. He continues to reach for the stars but ends up walking on clouds here. Yet he leaves us with a densely interesting soundtrack.

Imran Khan Genalia DsouzaRahman eschews youthful exuberance here, instead putting together a vibe of laid back young romance. He picks singers with thinner voices that can convey youth, gives them simple melodies but makes them work hard. And to be fair, he works just as hard with them.

Rahman gives Kabhi Kabhi Aditi to Rashid Ali, a singer with a fluid voice that can hold most of its sweetness at high notes. But it comes at a price - Rashid has a tendency to go nasal and jiggle his notes ever so slightly.

Fortunately Rashid is good with the guitar - creating a delightful little tune with pulled string notes to power the song. Probably because Hindi isn't Rashid or Rahman's first language, they have a funky way of breaking up a phrase or compressing words. And this allows them to give the tune an exoticness - the song sounds peppy and different.

Rashid's voice is clear enough that Rahman wisely uses only an amped down scattered bass line in the song. Around the second verse, he throws in a gorgeous flute - it instantly transforms the song and gives it a wistful mojo.

Rahman unveils another singer - Runa Rizvi - on Jaane Tu Mera Kya Hai, a song where he mixes the melancholy of a strummed mandolin with the restlessness of repeated triplets on a keyboard to give the song a nifty unease. Like Rashid before her, Rahman makes Runa's lungs work hard (despite the benefit of a couple of takes). Runa's voice has a relaxed stillness that plays well in this track.

Her song has a companion piece - where the male lead now works out his feelings for his friend. Rahman hires one of his old favorites Sukhwinder Singh, fast becoming one of India's leading vocal lights. Its the third outstanding composition of the CD and Rahman blends a thick flute with keyboards against a backdrop of stabbing violins to start the song. He knows he's on to something special because he takes his time - Sukhwinder doesn't open his mouth until nearly a minute and a half have gone by.

Both Rahman and Sukhwinder exercise notable restraint. Rahman creates underwhelming, winding, operatic tunes to propel the song and Sukhwinder carefully holds his voice back and lets it simmer.

There is more fun stuff on the album if you care to explore. In the song marred by a rather foolish controversy, Pappu Can't Dance, Rahman employs a host of singers to create the only truly uptempo track on the CD. There's a nonsense Hindi rhyme, an island rap and all kinds of sonic bells and whistles thrown into this track. Rahman uses his singers in interesting ways - its worth listening to if you thought Rahman couldn't be silly and have some fun.

There are two larger observations I would like to share.

Thoughtful as Rahman is about his compositions and careful as he is to not buckle under his own musical weight, I get the feeling he often plays it too safe. On the Rat Pack influenced, you me are chalk and cheese rumination, Tu Bole Main Boloon, Rahman (who assumes vocal duties) uses a piano, cello and trumpets. But in a musical genre ripe with fusion possibilities, its a tragedy Rahman doesn't throw in a sitar or a shehnai or something else that might have sounded good to him.

Second, lyrics for these kind of songs are hard to write because the situations are so rote. There's the falling in love song, the discovering love song and the crazy in love song. But Abbas Tyrewala (Munnabhai, Main Hoon Na) does a fine job arranging well worn phrases in interesting ways. He shrewdly inserts the words in the movie's title in multiple songs. He's positively terrific on Kahin To which is reflective of what he's trying to do here - write for a character rather than a situation.

Many thanks to Sidekick for recommending this CD to me. Uss ladki ke ghar mein pau nahin tikte but she always has a home here on the Drift. Thanks Motorsandal for helping me figure out the guitar notes and entertaining me simultaneously.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mimoh in Jimmy: Well, why not?

In Jimmy - which I had the good fortune of catching up with this weekend - Mimoh finds himself in deep shit. He's up to his neck in huge financial karz, his Mom treats him like an infant, he has a brain tumor, he's stuck with a girlfriend who is beyond annoying, he's on death row for murder and his best friend can't act. Yet all of these problems pale next to the most bhayanak one he has - his hair.

Mimoh has curious hair to say the least. On one side he gels his hair into a solid wall. On the other side he lets it hang loose - often it resembles a rug that's been inserted into a horribly wrong laundry cycle (not that I've ever done anything like that). Under the right kind of lighting, it makes him look like a bottle blond.

It's just one of the many fascinating things that held me engrossed through the first half of the movie. Jimmy is so bad, it takes you a while to get used to it. In the first act I wasn't quite sure if the entire project had been devised as a clever nod to Mithun's anya B-flicks or if actual adults had made it.

In any case, in the second half - having assured myself that this was the closest I could get to Manmohan Desai nostalgia, I had a positively better time. I was even able to enjoy the many odd, loopy and inexplicable things in the movie like a helicopter that seems to disappear into water.

The best of all of this is a Rambo-inspired sequence where Mimoh dons a black headband and lays waste to a bunch of hapless policemen on an abandoned set. (This showdown having been forced after a breathless chase in which the police catch up with Mimoh and his girl who have both been unfairly weighed down by their individual bouncing chests)

Yet I couldn't help but get caught up in the infectious enthusiasm of a guy trying hard to believe he's a star in a cool film. Mimoh's dance sequences - which reminded me of graceful water buffalo stranded in the Kalahari - were an absolute pleasure to watch.

Finally, please watch this movie only after about four shots of tequila (and four more close by).

Trust me on this.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Snorekar Raj

Ok, so its not exactly a parallel phillum, but Pitu still has much to say about Sarkar Raj

An angry, irritable man struts into a studio full of mega stars and starts muttering instructions. Samajhne wale samajh gaye honge ki ye banda(r?) kaun hai.

Abhishek, you are the prodigal son. Your 'intensity', deep wisdom and 'aage ki soch' is best demonstrated by flaring your nostrils like an angry bull.

Aishwarya, you are the over-achieving, phoren CEO of this film. So your frustration with the 'system' must be depicted by looking pissed off and flabbergasted. Alternate these two expressions please.

And Amitji, aapke level ke actor ko kya bolu? Carry on being your usual awesome self and I will give you lengthy monologues of 15 minutes each punctuated by loud 'Om hreem kleem' types pseudo shlokas so everyone is aware of your dharmasankat.

Everybody else, please shriek and scream and act like somebody set your dhoti/ safari suit/ pants on fire. Oh and Tanisha darling, please lisp through a simple two line dialog delivered in the voice you would use to sing a nursery rhyme. This is important because baad mein I am going to have you enact the famous marne waali Apollonia sequence. Can you say Somwar, Shukrawar, Mangalwar, Shanivar?

Man, what can I say about this atrocity? I watched this movie because the earlier Sarkar was quite engaging. Here, the pseudo intellectual direction, the maniacal dialogs, the laugh worthy 'light and shadows' wala sad lighting...everything is so awful. Did I mention the poli thin plot? Also, I'd like to wring the neck of whoever provided the background noise - someone interrupting you every minute to yell GOVINDA GOVINDA GOVINDA at the top of their lungs. For fun, hubby and I after watching the film kept yelling GOVINDA at inopportune moments. Fun!

Sarkar Raj Poster AishwaryaDialogs kaise the? Hahahahaa! (sadistically laughing as I force you to share my pain)

Kameena character #1: Chhota skirt mat pehna karo. Varna usmein macchar ghus jaayega.

Kameena character #2 Hum Shankar ko....(sings) gaapuchi gaapuchi gam gam kar denge. Hehehehee.

Somewhere, aapla Sachin and Poonam Dhillon are jumping off a scenic cliff in Matheran to the background strains of GOVINDA.

Kameena character #1 in a verrrry sinister way, trying to be all Dhasoo: Anda phode bina omelette nahi banta.
Kameena character # 2: Matlab? Shankar anda hai? Aur omelette, Maharashtra?
Kameena character # 1: Aur main masala. Hahahaaaa..

And that, bhaulog and bahinino, is what I learned after 3 hrs of cruel and unusual punishment.

An entire state is a tasty breakfast item!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shaili Police: Can Vidya Balan be saved?

Poor Vidya Balan. When you first come to Bollywood and make a splash, there is no feeling quite like it in the world. Directors love you. Important costars praise you. Producers chase you. Sawan Kumar Tak inquires if you are single. Your fans adore you. And you love all of them right back.

But seasons change. Despite a steady stream of hits (Lage Raho Munnabhai, Heyy Babyy), Vidya Balan is now the Behenji of Bollywood, the Go To Actress for discussion after three tequila shots at any Bollywood bitch camp.

All it takes is a few bad dresses. Before you know it, you are getting into scraps with Manish Malhotra and (funnily enough) comparing your own dress sense to a bad hair day.

This Bollywood nainsaafi made me sad. After all, what is Vidya Balan's fault in all of this except a confounding sense of fashion? Is that reason enough to lynch someone? Especially when people like Mimoh stalk the earth unabated? Not around here. So I decided to give some Phaltu Drift style advice to Vidya.

Since I do everything systematically and logically, I started with a breakdown analysis of Vidya's strength and weaknesses. I've listed my analysis in the first picture.

Clearly Vidya is short, has a bigger than normal head, shorter than normal arms and a curiously bumpy bust. This gives her a perpetually scrunched look - like as if she were in Chicago in the dead of winter.

Now we can get down to how to fix it. Luckily for Vidya, I'm not a stylista like our Joules. So my advice is really easy to implement and is this: show your neck, baby!

So here are the rules:
  • No hair bangs that hide the neck
  • Wear a V-neck if possible to convey illusion of elongated neck
  • No short, collar-bone hugging necklaces. Absolutely no chokers unless you plan to wring Manish Malhotra with it
  • No high belts or cinches and lines right below the bust. Absolutely no baby doll dresses unless you are worried about looking too old for Shahid
Once Vidya learns to dress like a vampire magnet, her scrunched "I would kill for a sweater about now" look will be gone and she'll look adirindi!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jo Theek Gaya Wohi Superstar

Boy, things can sure change in a couple of weeks.

Just when we thought it would be hard to dislodge Abhijit Sawant from the top on Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar, the man crashed and burned through four performances in a row. In fact, his rendition of Vishal-Shekhar's own Falak Tak (Tashan) so displeased the duo, that they saraasar piled the daat on Abhijit.

But more on that later. First, can I just say how happy I was to finally see Mahalakshmi Iyer come and sing on the show.

And this is why I like JJWS: instead of piling on the big stars who express fake interest in singing just so they can shill their movie, we get to see really good singers.

But wait, JJWS also knows how to have fun. Prior to Mahalakshmi's appearance, guess who showed up? Yup, that same guy Mika who drove his co-contestants on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa to bouts of apoplectic rage and frustration. And remember how he got kicked off and went on to say it was time for him to give lesser lights some air time? Such a saint!

Mika was almost in a similarly fine mood here. He showed up in a silver jacket, white cap and honking sunglasses. And then he proceeded to warble through Ganpat and executed some tremendously pioneering dance moves - including one that can only be described as the tire-screech. Later he serenaded a dumb founded Mandira Bedi, giving hope to Garfields everywhere.

I noted with amusement that all three judges Vishal, Shekhar and Farah kept a safe distance.

Then in the next episode Mahalakshmi showed up and set the studio ringing with her voice and V-S and Farah warmed up visibly but kept proceedings matter of fact thus squashing any WWHD (What Would Himesh Do) possibilities.

Back to the singing: Abhijit now reminds me of homeboy Irfan Pathan, i.e. he's a rhythm performer. One six and he's bowling rubbish. Not that many fared well at all. And to their credit, the judges let it be known that the singing had started sucking.

What was noteworthy? As a fan, I thought Rahul Vaidya ripped up the stage with a sparkling rendition of Jhoom Baraber Jhoom - he sang for all four singers but wisely clipped either Kay Kay or Sukhwinder's parts out at opportune times. Harshit's attempt at Devdas' Chalak Chalak was brave and entertaining.

Everyone else (including Debojit who scored perfect marks but had me snoring at Hmmm) - aur mehnat karo!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Paanchvi Pass, Celebrity Fail

There are days when one can't help be a meanie. So I'll get right to it.

On Saturday, Saifeena showed up on Shahrukh Khan's Paanchvi Pass, the show that became a cricket widow even before the sagaai.

Saif showed up looking relaxed - which in my book is: wore casual threads and didn't put gel in his hair. Kareena on the other hand looked like she had been putting herself together for a few hours. In fact, Saif looked like he had just come out of a nap now that I think of it. Must have nodded off while waiting.

Right off the bat Kareena announced that she hates reading. This sort of set the tone for the rest of the show - which was that Saif would answer and Kareena would preen.

Whenever I've seen Kareena, she has looked hugely nervous and her appearance on Paanchvi Pass was no exception. And this while she was hanging out with two of her close friends. Clearly the only time she seems to be comfortable in front of the camera is when she is acting.

Yet there is something that strikes me as endearing. Its hard to place but I keep thinking if I was a Bollywood Nagrik, I would want her to be on my side. She seems to be agreeable, loyal and hard to get mad at. Perhaps I should watch Kareena more outside movies to understand the mystique.

And while I'm at it: can everyone please stop asking her to do the "Sikhni from Bhatinda" dialog before it becomes the "Tera Kya Hoga Kalia" of the 2000s?

Finally, Saif - good job and all that. But is it just me or does the deck seem a little too stacked when celebrities show up? What's the majraa with that? On Paanchvi, the celebs can't lose. Because they are playing for charity, they get questions that look like they've been set up for the recipient. And if they run into trouble, SRK leaps in to help them.

How about this idea: see how close the celebrity gets to the magic amount of Rs 5 crores. Use normal questions and no help from SRK. If a celeb falls short, they open up their check book and make up the difference. Not only will this up the suspense but with these upped stakes, it'll be fun to watch the celebs hit the books.

Adult education is my kind of charity!

Note: I make fun of celebs because I'm a crass person who'll stop at nothing to entertain myself. The truth is that I would fare little better than anyone who shows up on Paanchvi Pass


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The music of De Taali

Bindaas Bollywood comedies make me groan. And its easy to dismiss the music in these movies because it tries so hard to be - you know, bindaas. But still I listen to everything I can in the hopes that I'll hit something cool and entertaining. And to be fair, I've been sporadically rewarded.

The CDs for Masti and Heyy Babyy were massive guilty pleasures in recent memory. I also loved Love Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega (especially McDonalds Aftab in Dil Mera Dil). De Taali is along the same lines - although I'd be lying if I didn't admit I checked it out with more care than usual because its done by Vishal and Shekhar.

Why more care? Of all the new music composers in the business today, V-S strike me as the ones most likely to escape the trappings of Bollywood success and keep pace with the times.

On De Taali, they build on the clean sound they fine tuned on Tashan with some nifty percussion and insert enough surprises into each song to make them interesting. They also seem to be saying: "We love hanging out with Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan and Kay Kay. But Shreya ain't bad either" Fair enough, but no Mahalakshmi?

Take Everbody Puts Your Hands Together (Shaan, Sunidhi and Anushka Manchandani) for instance. V-S use a drum machine and a strident guitar to propel the song and then use their three singers to construct some coarse harmonies. At one point the lyrics compare a taali rather innocuously to a heart singing a qawwali. Its a throwaway line, but V-S pounce on that opportunity to throw a peti lick in the song. Its downright endearing.

Later yet, V-S interestingly employ Anushka to sing Hone Lagi but instead of the usual bump and grind slow tempo, they surprise you midway by adding a sitar. Its a traditional instrument used in a sensual way in a pop composition. And Anushka has a salty voice - which works well here against type.

Raja Hasan shows up on Maari Teetri which Vishal kicks off with a rather delicious little backdrop about a magical butterfly. Here I'll pretend to be Raja's favorite judge Himesh Reshammiya. "Raja you are a very good human being. And Maa Sarawasti ki tum pe krupa hai. You sang very well, but your voice was missing the paagalpan to match the musical arrangements in the song. Perhaps with time your gurus will find a good mix of instruments to make your voice pop - it got a little lost here. But God bless!"

The song that grabbed me the most was Tooti Phooti - on which (the voices of) Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan lament the fact that Kay Kay is getting over yet another weekly heartbreak. Tooti Phooti is structured as a slow blues jam. There is a spare percussion which I'm not sure how V-S built but it resembles finger snaps and its tightness allows the fluidity of the guitar pieces to work in the background. At one point V-S even attempt horns - although on a synth - and I wish the genuine article could have been used. But who knows? Maybe the low-slung vibe of the song might have been disrupted.

Shekhar sings briefly on two of the songs - the afore mentioned Hone Lagi and also with Shreya Ghoshal on the falling in love ditty Aaj Mein Boond Hoon in which V-S either overlay an electric guitar with another or just hum behind it. But you should check it out for yourself.

Bappida, are you there? What do you think Shekhar ke low notes ke baare mein?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Paanchvi Pass, Smartness Fail

Give a TV game show a good time slot (read: help it bypass the competition) and make sure it has decent quality (read: better than usual budget) and there are only two more ingredients needed to rocket it up the ratings. First, the host has to be very engaging. And second, find some contestants who are really good because everyone loves a winner. bidaai sadhna raginiI subscribe to only half of this theory. On Shahrukh Khan's "Lets pay those bills" venture Paanchvi Paas - based on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader - the host plays a big part in the show. SRK is very engaging and it comes from the fact that he is lucid and seems to have a genuine funny bone. He handles high brow and low brow comedy with equal fluidity.

But what's this about having smart contestants? I like un-smart contestants because they can entertain like no other. And after watching a few episodes and feeling a little jaded seeing SRK cavort around, my wish was granted a week or so back. Two sisters from a TV soap called Bidaai showed up. Their names were Sadhna and Ragini. Are these their TV names or real names? In fact, I'm not even sure who was who. But all of this is besides the point.

After some The Hills-style giggling, the sisters introduced their family.

"What a cute family they have" the Drift Memsaab remarked.

"Um, that's their TV family, I think" I said


First question comes in. The sisters give the wrong answer. SRK does his best to steer them to the right answer. It works!

In the second question the girls have to identify a green flag with a huge red circle in the middle. "Pakistan" one tries. "Nope" says the other waving her finger in an arc, "Pakistan's flag has a moon in it" Finally with some help from a kid, the sisters get Bangladesh right.

Third question is "How many common nouns begin with B in the sentence: 'In Bombay I saw Billoo with a red balloon in a blue bus'".

The sisters get to work. "Bombay is a common place" says one "so..." Again SRK comes to the rescue by castigating them so they know they're screwing up. By this time, he's already suppressing smiles.

"Which nouns are common" muses one sister. "Thats the complicated part"

Fourth question is "To which country did Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, belong?"

"Amarika" says one.

"Thats a continent" says SRK "name the country"

"New York?" offers one of the sisters.

SRK now suppresses a huge gaggle seamlessly. "No, that's a city"

Later, the sisters sing a song. Its god awful. SRK pretends to be moved and cries but are those tears of laughter? Suspense ensues.

Finally the sisters get to this question: "Which is the only mammal that can fly like a bird?"

Within a split second the answer comes: "Kungaaru!"

At this point SRK takes a walk to shake off the chuckles. He reaches the edge of the set and does a Kangaroo dance so that he has an excuse to jettison the laughter from his belly. He walks behind the girls and imitates a bat flying with sound effects.

Finally one of the sisters gets it. "Bat!" she exclaims!

Sadly this show ended shortly thereafter. Life is just not fair.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thinderella to Nil Kaps: Daddy, shave karo

Recently Anil Kapoor gave daughter Sonam a fat-free sugarless cake for her birthday and a broad hint: get thinner. Like a dutiful daughter, Sonam took this to heart and is going on a new diet. But did everything work out that well for the Saawariya star?

Now Drift News has found out that Sonam gave her Dad a return present. Was it a hathoda? Drift asked Anil via fake telephone.

"Aisa viasa kuchh nahi, yo!" said Anil. "She gave me a set of clippers and a body shave kit"

Anil says he's taken the hint and will work hard on keeping his hair under control. "I've been recasting myself and my daughter wants me to appeal to the younger generation. And this Salman Khan and Himesh Reshammiya have set new standards for hairless appeal. So this is her way of telling me what to do to stay in the game."

"Why only last year Sonam gave me a Sidekick for my birthday. I told her: 'iski kya jaroorat hai, beta? I already have so many chamchaas'. But you know these youngsters today, everything is one two ka four for them."

Anil will start using his new gifts soon. "It will take some time. I will send you a picture when I'm done. And can you please call me Nil Kaps from now on? Part of the young demographic appeal, you see. And tell my young fans I sign off by saying: LOLvida! Unko aisi cheeje pasand hoti hai"

PS: Everyone, all of this is in jest. I recognize Sonam's struggles and admire her for pulling through. Not to mention I think Dad watching out for her is cute, if highly misplaced. The fault doesn't even seem to lie with most people I know who aren't enamored with thin people. That leaves the camera which adds ten pounds, forcing everyone in front of it to be thinner.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Top Best (and Worst) Dressed Males in Bollywood

Drift stylista Joules returns by popular demand to line up the men on either side of her fashion fence

The Best

1. Shahrukh Khan
Right from his Fauji days this Delhiite has been stylish. While DDLJ made him a romantic heart throb, Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai elevated him to a style icon. The young Shahrukh wearing Gap and Abercrombie brought western wear to Bollywood men. Shahrukh's style has always created news whether it was his pink shirt with pink tie look in Don or his 6-pack abs in Om Shanti Om or his ponytail look at cricket games. However what makes Shahrukh stylish and sexy is his believe that he is the best, his wit, his hair and his self deprecating humor. (Also: More SRK fashion + Aspi's favorite SRK song)

2. Hrithik Roshan
Hrithik catapulted into a style icon after his double role in his debut film. While Papa Roshan kept the first Hrithik simple it was his role as Rohit with his motor cycle, his designer clothes, glasses and his broken Hindi that girls swooned over. Hrithik's style is casual and an athletic body and his Greek god looks make him look stylish in whatever he wears. He took his style one step forward in Gowariker's period piece Jodhaa Akbar. Someone sitting behind me in the movie theatre commented "If this is how Jodhaa and Akbar looked, Jehangir must be the most beautiful mughal baby!" Advice to Hrithik: improve on how you communicate. I heard that Hrithik had a stutter growing up and he still is shy to speak in public. (Also: Aspi's favorite Hrithik song)

3. Saif Ali Khan
The biggest transformation in Bollyheroes. Saif came to the bollywood stage by playing the bratty younger brother. His girlish look, nasally voice and limited acting talent almost made him a has-been actor . But with perseverance and taking up second lead roles he has slowly and steadily reached the top not only in his profession but also in style. Saif brought the metrosexual male to Bollywood and India. Gone were the hairy chested men and in was this suave, stylish, capris wearing Pataudi. Saif's style lately has been showy - perhaps the influence of a Ms. Kapoor.

4. John Abraham
Humility thy name is John Abraham. John's style is laid back. Just like his personality and unlike his girl friend his outfit choice are simple - blue jeans and t-shirts. But recently John has been dressing up a little more in fitted suits and his suit with no tie look at the Filmfare awards was well received. The most photographed of male models, John's assets are his physique, his smile and the way he wears his jeans. Whether in long hair or the recently cropped tresses John's style is confident and cool.

5. Amitabh Bachchan
Who can forget the blue shirt knotted at the waist in Deewar or the jacket flapping in the wind on a motorcycle in Muqaddar Ka Sikander. Amitabh has been stylish even when Bollywood did not know the "S" of style. His lanky body, smoldering eyes and booming voice were his assets as they are now. Amitabh's style these days is formal and it suits his age. He also sports a lot of stone rings and has a penchant for silk scarves. Advice to Amitabh: You have a beautiful family and a body of work that would make anyone jealous. Stop being bitchy. (Also: Aspi's favorite Amitabh song)

6. Neil Nitin Mukesh
A rare combination of cute looks and macho personality. Neil's outings have been rarely photographed as he is still a celebutant. But his outfit choice by Narendra Kumar Ahmed for Filmfare awards was simply spectacular for a new comer.

7. Bobby Deol
Bobby has this inherent style that he looks good and appropriately dressed at all times. I would call him the male Preity Zinta however his facial features restrict him from moving up in this list. Unlike the other pair of designer-designee Tina and Hussain, Bobby's wife Tanya is very good at selecting and designing his outfits. His suits are always tailored well and fitted and he mixes in colors well.

8. Karan Johar
Karan in an interview has claimed that young Hrithik Roshan's character in K3G of the portly kid was based on his own childhood. If that is the case he has come a long way. His style is elegant, black and tailored. What adds to his style is his easy going nature. Whether it is the Khan camp or the Bachchan camp, Karan is friendly with every one. A successful producer, a successful director and successful TV host were not enough caps for him. He turned into a dress designer for Shahrukh in KBC.

9. Kunal Kapoor
I wouldn't call Kunal a style icon but he has potential. A hot favorite on the ramp Kunal has walked the ramp for designers like Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna. Kunal's sculpted face and his intense eyes are his assets and lately he is trying to walk away from the grunge look as seen at the Filmfare awards (Loved the silver scarf with the black suit)

10. Kabir Bedi
This dapper sixty two year old has always been stylish. Whether Hollywood or Bollywood Kabir has always made his presence felt. His good looks and personality enhance his style. Kabir carries both traditional Indian wear and Western wear well. Lately he has been spotted in very stylish black suits which are fashionably tailored and seem to blend Indian wear with western wear.

The Worst

1. Govinda
Flamboyance is an understatement for this mumbaiya. Loud is his style but the truth is audiences don't expect anything less from Chi Chi. His style worked in his favor for the slap stick comedies he was doing in the earlier part of his career. Govinda does not care as is evident from his weight gain and the red pants with yellow shirts and the check jackets he still sports.

2. Salman Khan
The spoilt brat son of writer Salim Khan, Salman was the first Bollywood actor to take weight training seriously and bring the whole muscular look to Bollywood (and I thank him for that). However he overdoes everything. From taking his shirts off to show his chest and abs often, wearing tight shorts, tattered jeans, to sporting earrings in both his ears, to his long hair look in Tere Naam Salman's style is absurd. These days he has come up with a clothing line of T-shirts that feature his paintings.

3. Ranbir Kapoor
Actors who look like their mom's never have a good debut and have to struggle the earlier part of their careers (Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan). Ranbir reminds you so much of Neetu Singh that it is hard to consider him as an individual. On top of that Ranbir has a penchant for velvet jackets. His waiter style jacket for The Filmfare awards moved him a few notches lower in the style ladder.

4. Abhishek Bachchan
Abhishek yoyos between trying to be a copy of his dad and trying to make his own style. He seems to fail at both ends. His dress sense is conservative for his age (always wears suits and has a serious demeanor) on top of that the facial hair is getting boring. When he tries to be cool he out does himself as seen from the hair band look he was sporting a few months ago. He struggles with weight problems and in an industry obsessed with the size of the biceps stays away from the gym. Advice to Abhishek: You are a good actor, acting is your ticket to the top, stop trying to be cool.

5. Anil Kapoor
Loved the Anil Kapoor of Woh Saat Din and Chameli ki Shaadi. Anil was a hoot in Tezaab although a little hairy. Anil although dresses well, someone needs to tell him to get his chest waxed. Also a change in the hairstyle that he has been sporting since the 80s will help. Unlike Govinda who comes across as extremely humble, Anil is a blowhard which does not help his image either.

6. Aamir Khan
Our very own Tom Hanks, takes his look and role in movies very seriously. Whether it is the dhoti-bundi look in Lagaan or the long mustache look in Mangal Pandey or the shaved head for Ghajini, Aamir spends a lot of time and effort to get the right look for his character. Aamir's problem is once he gets in a character for a movie that is how he looks even when he is not on the sets. (Also: Aspi's favorite Aamir song)

7. Vivek Oberoi
What happened to the Vivek Oberoi of Company and Saathiya? A brilliant debut followed by a beautiful remake. We recently saw the same sparks in Shootout but along the way Vivek somehow lost his acting chops and his style. The half-unzipped leather jacket to show his chest, the floppy hair and the kaajal in the eyes needs to go. Like Abhishek, Vivek is not stylish and should concentrate on building his acting creds.

8. Akshay Kumar
Akshay entered the industry on his own merits. Handsome face, cute looks, a martial arts expert and some talent took him places. However these days Akshay's style is bordering on ridiculous. Not sure if it is the pressure for him to say young and fresh. His look in Bewafaa where he was trying to be a musician made me laugh. His look at the SRGMP finale and Filmfare awards (suit jacket with no shirt) makes you wonder how he left home looking like that, specially when his wife and mother-in-law always look gorgeous.

9. Himesh Reshamiya
Yes, we know the masses love you but its not for your style. People like you because they can laugh at you and not with you. He has finally realized the topi look needs to go but Himesh please say bye-bye to the girly jeans. And what's up with the open chest look? When did Bollywood stars start thinking showing their chest in the name of fashion was Ok? (Also: Aspi's favorite Himesh song)

10. Insert your own
This could be Harman Baweja with his new kid on the block look or Tushar Kapoor who has to grow in the shadows of a very good looking and successful dad. It could be Ritesh Deshmukh or Arshad Warsi with their safe "jeans with a jacket" look or Akshaye Khanna with his "flamboyance bordering on absurd" look or Sonu Nigam or Ajay Devgan with their "I am ugly so what do I do to look cool" look.