POSTED BY Shefalee Vasudev ON Mar 24, 2010 AT 11:12 IST ,  Edited At: Mar 24, 2010 11:12 IST

Consensual sex between two unmarried adults, the core of many a controversy and now a common urban reality finally got the Supreme Court’s nod yesterday in a hearing on film actor Khushboo's case. Five years back, when a bunch of self-styled moralists took her to court for being vocal about her thoughts on pre-marital sex and virginity, it snowballed from an unnecessary controversy to an issue opening up many important debates. In an interview to me for Marie Claire India in 2006 on an anti-moral policing theme, Khushboo had pointed out how a section of those who accused her for openness were themselves culpable of sexually exploiting hapless women. It was something she had witnessed happening often to extras and smaller artistes in the film industry. She spoke about hypocrisy vs honesty.

Today the SC agrees in principle that sex with consent among adults is legal but this much needed view comes a little late in the day. While the Khushboo case dragged, India’s moral dilemmas have shifted elsewhere. We are now in the age of Love, Sex and Dhoka, and Emotional Atyaachar, UTV Bindaas’s programme that ostensibly sets out to protect the betrayed—in love and sex. The bigger argument is no longer about whether young adults should have sex or not. They are having it as such an obvious part of open and often live-in relationships that they now need TV crews and not-so-private detectives to nail down adulterous partners frenziedly having sex in various other combinations. Betrayal is the big story now with monogamous relationships the casualty. It has over taken pre-marital or live-in sex.

With SC catching up on India’s behavioural realities, I wonder what its opinion would be on the contentious morality of spying partners accusing adulterous ones, in pre-marital relationships? Aren’t both sides transgressing the same line of trust in different ways? Or, does the regular sexual partner in a pre-marital relationship have more rights over those of one-night stands or a casual bed buddy?

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POSTED BY Shefalee Vasudev ON Mar 24, 2010 AT 11:12 IST, Edited At: Mar 24, 2010 11:12 IST
POSTED BY Shefalee Vasudev ON Mar 10, 2010 AT 12:58 IST ,  Edited At: Mar 10, 2010 12:58 IST

Two days back at the Indigo restaurant in Lokhandwala, Mumbai, I happened to see actress Sridevi Kapoor. She was, presumably, with family and this seemed to be a completely private and casual dinner out.  I was just one of the many others seated at another table with a friend. The reason that I write this post is because I have been a fan of Sridevi’s stunning looks for more than 20 years. Her cinematic presence, her luscious glamour, her Indianness and voluptuous sex appeal that went from her first media nickname Thunder Thighs when she danced to Jumping Jack Jeetu's tunes in Himmatwalla to becoming a sophisticated Bollywood wife and muse of many a director and designer, was a journey I had watched over the years with fascination. My friends and I would often comment on the way she glowed after her marriage to producer-director Boney Kapoor. At film awards ceremonies where she is often called to hand over trophies, on Bollywood red carpets or the glimpses we get of her on the buoyant Page 3 till as as recently as Anil Ambani’s much publicized Bollywood party ten days back, she comes across as someone who understands how to handle the unfolding years and yet look glamorous and young without looking like a desperate aunty clinging to let go of her past.  

But day before was the first time that I saw her in person. My dream shattered. Had my friend not pointed out, I would have never guessed that this was Sridevi, that stunner, the idol of lakhs of Indian cinefans like me who were crazy for her dropdead appeal in Lamhe, Chandini and Mr India! This lady at the table across us looked scooped out, shrunken, with deep, dark circles under her eyes. She was clearly without the slightest trace of makeup. Those eyebrows that I always found wonderfully arched complimenting her expressive big eyes, looked flat. She has obviously lost enormous amounts of weight and her face looks small, her body waif like, her hair, without the intervention of a hairstylist was neither wavy nor straight. I was shocked. Not because she looked like any ordinary woman in a printed shirt tucked into smart blue jeans, having a quiet dinner but because I realized how I had created and hung on to (perhaps like many other fans), an image of hers in my mind that actually did her injustice. That lady who gives away film awards in lacy, sexy, chiffon saris and smiles that terrific smile is just a photograph in our heads, a creation of great makeup, and surely a lot of input on her part on how to present herself. No stylist, no makeup artist with his pots, pans and false eyelashes can give any woman or man a new identity unless that person herself does not know how what to do with the transformation.
I have worked with the fashion industry long enough to know the magic of makeup. Yet, Sridevi’s real looks left me deeply ponderous. No, she doesn’t look like a desperate aunty. Far from it. She looked composed and well-mannered. Plain and ordinary too. What could be wrong with that? I came away chiding myself for so vapidly judging her for her looks on screen and in photographs and for forgetting to be a fan of her talent. Most women in their late forties would look like her in any case. Dark circles are a function of age, they do not tell us about someone’s heart or mind or the fact that they have a life beyond makeup. Sridevi’s acting and dancing talent and the fact that she was one of the most popular performers of her time who would light up the screen does not change with the way she looks now without makeup. It is time people like me took off the rose tinted glasses through which we confuse made-up glamour with real presence.
Sridevi, I would still look out for you and clap when you walk the red carpet or give away the next trophy. But I will clap for who you are instead of mistakenly clapping only for what I realize now is terrific makeup.
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POSTED BY Shefalee Vasudev ON Mar 10, 2010 AT 12:58 IST, Edited At: Mar 10, 2010 12:58 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Feb 21, 2010 AT 02:04 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 21, 2010 03:30 IST


All right, so this apparently is old now, as it went viral in December, but it came to my attention only last week since when I had been wanting to put it up here.

The five-year-old from Japan, dubbed “Ukulele Boy,” has close to 14.25 million hits on one page on YouTube. And this of course is not counting other posts and embeds all over. His version of Jason Mraz’s hit song, “I’m Yours” is clearly better than the original:

And there's some Beatles too:

As for what can be competition at close to 162 million and counting?

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Feb 21, 2010 AT 02:04 IST, Edited At: Feb 21, 2010 03:30 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Sep 26, 2009 AT 00:13 IST ,  Edited At: Oct 05, 2009 20:21 IST

MTV IGGY Interview.

"Anurag Kashyap is easily the most exciting filmmaker we have in the country at the moment"

On why his happiest experiences have been with first time filmmakers: "testicular fortitude"

Why he admires Shah Rukh Khan (career management, not the acting!)

why Irfan Khan is superior to the actors of his generation, and so much more.

"'Bollywood' was pejorative which used to run down our industry. It's a measure of our combined idiocy, that we have embraced the term"

Link courtesy Ajit Sanzgiri

Also See: Naseer: Not Enjoying Films Anymore


More parts of the interview:

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Sep 26, 2009 AT 00:13 IST, Edited At: Oct 05, 2009 20:21 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Mar 11, 2009 AT 03:08 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 26, 2009 16:56 IST

Thankfully, some things never change. Came across this recently. Naseer doesn't sound as bitter as he did in between, but is as frank and forthright as ever.

Inevitably, among other things, he's asked about Slumdog and says it was "a Cindrella story. The ethos were real.. the rest wasn’t. If they ever attempted a sequel to it and showed what happened to Jamal after he won, then that would be worth a watch," and speaks a bit about the Slumdog kids too.

It's the same irrepressible intelligence and sense of humour that shines through. Sample this: 

Q: Kamal Haasan is remaking A Wednesday in Tamil and will be playing your part.
NS: Okay, but why just mine? (Laughs) He should be playing all the parts.

Later found out that NDTV also had "the first couple of the first wave of new Indian cinema" -- Ratna Pathak Shah and Naseeruddin Shah -- on their Bombay Talkies recently. As usual, ended up catching it on the web. Definitely worth a watch. He may say he's not enjoying films anymore, which is a pity, but he does still seem to be enjoying himself.

Some of the interesting things:  Talking about the "new wave" of the 1970s films: "The problem with the 70s filmmakers was that they were making films on esoteric subjects that they did not know too much about".

The film-making, he says, just did not move on. It got stuck..."In 99% cases, their first film is their best," he says, and goes on to name Shyam [Benegal], Govind[Nihalini], Kundan [Shah], Ketan[Mehta], Saeed [Mirz], Sudhir[Mishra], Vinod [Vidhu Vinod Chopra in this category. 

And then he pauses to add as an afterthought: "OK, not Vinod. Vinod is yet to make a good film,” while wife Ratna Pathak Shah shushes him -- but agrees with him overall. The couple are delightful together. When asked what was Vidhu Vinod Chopra's first film, he laughs and announces theatrically, "Sazaa-e-maut," and adds that it should be the title of  [VVC's] autobiography as well.

But, ironically, after having declared that for most of these directors, their first film was their best, he says that the only films out of the whole lot of 1970s that he at all cares for -- "they are the only ones that would stand the test of time" -- are Manthan and Ardh Satya [both second films, of Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalini respectively]

The interviewer, of course, did not pick on this, though Ratna Pathak Shah provided a perfect cue for it by adding that even Aditya Chopra did not make as good a film as Dilwale Dulhaniya...again but that of today's people she really is enthusiastic about Anurag [Kashyap] & Dibakar [Banerjee], both of whose second films are wonderful, she added ironically. I think she did mean the later films [unless she was talking about Black Friday for Anurag Kashyap] and that they have gone on to greater heights after their first film...

When asked to name his performances that are her favourites, she mentions Sparsh, Masoom, Monsoon Wedding, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, A Wednesday...and then adds, Bombay Boys which perhaps was his benefit as he agrees wholeheartedly. The couple are delightful together [She: 'Don't laugh at Tridev -- it ran our house for a long time']

Talking about Shyam Benegal, he say that even at the cost of hurting SB irreparably, he'd have to say that Manthan was SB's best film. And there is a very frank bit when he describes what happened between them: "I was a well-wisher till I was praising them. And...when I began criticising them, suddenly they said I was a traitor." Or words to that effect.

The biggest revelation for me was what he said about Khuda Ke Liye:  "the most significant film i have done in my life...With all its flaws, I'd call it a great movie and not only for its last bit."

It is at the very end of the programme when he starts talking about how the film "connected very deeply" with him as he was "brought up in an orthodox muslim ghousehold" where an old maulana taught him, "muslims must do this, must do that...Islam is the best religion..everybody else is headed for hell...the earth is flat...".

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Mar 11, 2009 AT 03:08 IST, Edited At: Sep 26, 2009 16:56 IST
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