Declaring a past fight with—and victory over—an ailment like depression stopped being fashionable amongst the glitterati of the West a long time back. Deepika Padukone’s solemn declaration a few years back, however, was seen to empower many in a country which regards this deeper shade of the blues as taboo. Then there was the Live Love Laugh Foundation she set up to combat it. The reward: the crystal award at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
What do old lovers feel when they meet after years? Ask poetry, fiction and films to find poignantly romantic answers dipped in old aspic. But they do it diffferently in Hollywood, where everything is sprinkled with scenes from other lives. When Jennifer Aniston met former husband Brad Pitt backstage at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, bonhomie flowed in copious quantities (did they have a choice?). Jen (currently single, via Justin Theroux) won for The Morning Show; Brad (ditto, via Angelina Jolie) won for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. They applauded each other, but the paps captured him clinging on to her as she pulled away. Are men affected more?
The rains might be giving Melbourne a right royal dunking, but no ashen-faced nation needed it more: months of bushfires had brought rural Australia to its knees—killing, scorching, decimating. The Rally For Relief fundraiser at the Australian Open did its mite. The A-list recruited for the job had just to smile: Rafa, Djokovic, Serena, Caroline Wozniacki...Roger that!
If there is one example of an actor being propelled to universal stardom through an epoch-defining movie, a perch from where she forever emits a luminscent light, it has to be the heroine of Karl Theodore Dreyer’s silent The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Renee Jeanne Falconetti (1892-1946). She inhabits the screen with an intensity few others have matched in cinema history, the camera obsessively tracking every twitch of her Joan’s intense passion in great suffering. Beautiful Falconetti is not, but her long-lashed, all-seeing eyes, her tremulous certitude, seen in alternation with the folds of geriatric flesh of her inquisitors, thickens the drama. Dreyer frames her not as St Joan, but as an unlettered peasant girl forced to run the gauntlet of religious bigotry— as ageless, unfortunately, as herself. Doubt, terror, serenity, rap-ture, all pass over Falconetti—resulting in a near-religious emotional experience for viewers—reason why the tag of ‘the finest film’ hangs over this. Rossellini, Rivette, Bresson...all crafted their own Joans. None sur-passes Dreyer.
Singer, belly-dancer, national-level badminton player, carrier of a nom de plume that conflates the names of two of our iconic beauty queens, Aishwarya Sushmita has packed more into 25 years than we shifty drifters could dream of. The Kingfisher Calendar, we suppose, would be a natural progression, though it would have been nice to take a gander at her eyes—those shades, Herr Kasbekar, doth detract much from her. And what about her coming from Darbhanga, Bihar? We think they love the colour fuschia there.