April 07, 2020

Glitterati

  • OUTLOOK
  • Monday
  • 09 March, 2020
Lesson By Heart

The day before she sat helplessly as her husband massacred sundry Indian names—from saints to batsmen, no one was spared. That the ethereal Taj, flushed in the gloaming, can repair spirits was proven on February 25, when Melania Trump visited a Delhi government school during a ‘happiness class’. Soaking in the late winter sun, she folded a schoolgirl in an enchanting embrace.

They Bribed Terpsichore!

It’s one thing to get into the frenetic top league of modern dance; it’s ano­ther for a group of 29 (yup, you read it right) to synchronise moves that produce electricity, yet defy physics. At America’s Got Talent: The Champions, they had little choice, but to hand them gold. Simon Cowell gaped goggle eyed; and as for Heidi Klum.... Put on your dancing shoes, that smile is worth pirouetting for.

Action Hero

That he’s a looker there’s little doubt, though emoting/acting—invo­l­ving changes of expression artificially before a camera—will be a challenge at first we presume. All this talk is bec­ause our Yuvraj is set to star in a web series, along with brother Zoravar Singh and wife, actress Hazel Keech. Yuvi needn’t worry; with his record of hitting challenges to the bleachers, don’t be surprised if he ends up as one of the best actors on the circuit.

On A Couch We Dearly Covet

This is a potent mix, when rightful buoyancy and birthday cheer is joined by a nar­ci­­­ssistic inanity tempered with innocence. Add to it the fact that the subject is ext­remely easy on the eye, making this extra effort for us here. Well, all Urvashi Rautela did on her 26th birthday was don this bathrobe, playfully term herself “the most amazing person” and, still playfully, demanded a holiday. Actually, it was kind of sweet.

Retro Ticket: Undying Appeal

Pre-Code Hollywood (1929-34) freely portrayed social degradation as well as the lure of desire over respectability through such willing instruments as Barbara Stanwyck, Miriam Hopkins, Claudette Colbert and Norma Shearer. But among all sir­ens who canoodled in risque outfits, Jean Harlow (1911-37) made the deepest impact. Even in her short career, she created a lasting type—the platinum bombshell exuding a bold, witty sex appeal. She was signed as the racy lead in Howard Hughes’s Hell’s Ang­els (1930) by accident, and arrived overnight as an object of desire. In hits like The Iron Man (‘31) and The Public Enemy (‘31, opp. James Cagney), she played the frothy, seductive female to the hilt, aided by the creation of a persona by studio public­ity—a sexually insatiable being irr­esistibly glamorous in her plucked eye­brows and darin­gly tight gowns that acc­entuated her full figure. Those wildly exaggerated claims would cling to her beyond her tragically short life. Smash hits like Platinum Blonde (‘31), Red Dust (‘32), Bombshell (‘33) and Dinner at Eight (‘33) started a Harlow craze across the world—she played dim-witted bimbettes, but brilliantly used that characterisation, like Marilyn 20 years later, to create a comic effect. Later hits like China Seas (‘35) and Libelled Lady (‘36) firmed up her reputation as a riotously sexy, and riotiously funny, elemental force. She died suddenly, of uremic poisoning, and was buried in the garish Forest Lawn cemetery, so crue­lly caricatured by Evelyn Waugh in The Loved One. Life treated Jean Harlow cruelly too.

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