OUTLOOK Monday 22 June, 2015
Swedish Rhapsody

If the setting was grand, the audience was grander. Hotel Grand in Stockholm, with President Pranab Mukh­erjee, and Swedish royalty in attendance. Dancer Astad Deboo mesmerised all with three creations—‘Vande Mataram’, one based on a Swedish folk theme, and one Dhrupad-influenced.

She Can Bite

Fishlove, the global campaign aiming for more awareness about marine conservation, has brains—instead of some bimbo, they got the incredible, inimitable Judi Dench to pose for them with an enormous lobster.  It was fun to cuddle a lobster, said Dame Judi, though she rues not getting to eat it. 

Heart is Where the Knee Is

IIFA awards! Does anybody even care? Maybe sods who laugh at the atrocious jokes that are wont to be lipped at Bollywood awards. Maybe that's what forced Ranveer Singh to take the drastic step of kneeling down to...present Deepika Padukone with the woman of the year award. Terrible sets too.

Laundering? Her?

Now for a scandal from across the border. A disaffected former PPP minister, Zulfiqar Mirza, has ‘revealed' that ex-Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari had had a torrid relationship with model Ayyan Ali, who is accused of money-laundering and now under arrest. In fact, she was quite close to being Mrs Zardari. As some in Pakistan must have remarked, that could have been the start of a beautiful partnership. 

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  • Bollywood must be dreading  the Calcutta International Film Festival—a stentorian call from the CM...the unenlightening prospect of a day full of drumbeats. However, there is no respite for Shahrukh (Amitabh fell ill at an opportune  period). Though flanked by filmmaker Goutam Ghosh, Mamata herself and Sourav, the stage-show was stopped by the bonhomie between Rakhee and SRK: singing along a pat­riotic Rabi­ndrasangeet and reminiscing  about the sets of Baazigar.
  • As a snarling Dirty Harry teases out criminals in LA; as Frank Serpico goes und­ercover in New York, Chulbul Pandey does age-old, comic acrobatics to hurt ‘baddies’, then giggles around his lady love. Flogging the same masala, here comes the trailer of Dabangg 3, at the launch of which Salman points at the same direction, while Sonakshi Sinha and Saiee Manjrekar prepare to follow the leader with loving attention.
  • What do they actually do in Bigg Boss—that synthetic morass of shape-­shifting loyalties, gro­up­­ings and couplings by people clinging on to the skirts of fame, dragg­ing along an endless stream of stragglers agape before their boxes? At least Boman Irani, Rajkummar Rao and Mouni are doing something specific—horsing around joyfully, canvassing for their film Made in China. Major domo Sal­man, of  course, is there at every step, falling in and out with practised difficulty.
  • If you’d like to stitch together a Hollywood dream team, it has to have Marty, Bob and Sonny. The BFI London film festival saved its hushed breath for The Irishman—a gangster drama by the man who helped define the genre in Goodfellas and The Departed. Yet, in this autumnal light, Frank (De Niro) and Jimmy (Al Pacino) are just not snarling desperados, six-shooters at the ready. Time is also spent on sombre reflection—old reg­rets, moral reckonings and the one important thing that finally matters: mortality.