First, the locale: the combination of a mutedly opulent retreat and a craggy backdrop reminds us of rocky California as perfected by Hollywood hedonists, but ersatz Indian versions are being put to good use, as this photo suggests. The subject is Alanna Panday (cousin of actress Ananya), and she parlays large, light eyes, perfectly-cared-for tresses, youthful sveltitude and a willingness to don handsome bikinis into Instagram celebrity. Almost appropriately, she has a good degree in fashion too. Just one question: is that hand raised in salutation or valediction? We’ll wait for you to beckon us, Alanna.
His name doesn’t light a spark until you mention that Apurva Asrani (right) wrote the story (based on the trvails of AMU professor Ramchandra Siras, who was gay), screenplay and edited the award-winning Aligarh. But then, as he reveals now, real life had been closely shadowing his subject. Gay himself, Apurva had to take recourse to an old trick to allay suspicions of Mumbai’s notoriously prudish landlords—lying that his partner Siddhant and him were cousins. Now that the couple has bought a home, the need for disclosure has been dispelled. “It’s time LGBTQ families are normalised,” tweeted Apurva. True that.
Can it be that the greatest action star of his generation, and later California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been watching the great French auteur Robert Bresson’s films during the lockdown? In particular, Au Hasard Balthazar, the cinematic apotheosis of a common donkey? Arnie’s workout sessions these days have Lulu, his pet donkey, looking on with infinite, appreciative patience. Or napping in the lawn— lovingly captioned by the Terminator himself. She’s definitely not a beast of burden, but a Democratic symbol in a Republican’s home. Bring up the elephant in the corner!
When, as a spry 90-year-old, Hardik Pandya looks back on the several years ending circa 2022, he’ll see himself astride a learning curve so steep that he’d wonder he didn’t feel dizzier than he betrayed in his occasional missteps. He’s come into his own as a nippy pacer, a destructive lower middle-order batsman, picked up social niceties and the confidence to ace sound bytes, fallen in love, married and…been a dad. You heard that loud and clear—his wife, Serbian actress Natasa Stankovic, is now expecting, and humble, ecstatic Hardik dutifully asks our “blessings and wishes”. We offer it gleefully to a man who’s crammed in so much in so few years.