Something changed in the very soul of James Bond when Daniel Craig took over—the stiff upper-lipped, upper-class debonair rakishness was replaced by a muscular, strong-jawed, thin upper-lipped show of serious intent. Bond’s latest, the topically named No Time To Die, will now release in November (instead of February). Still more serendipitous is the theme: Bond rescues humanity from a pandemic. And, in the most shattering departure ever, Bond is married (what!!!), with a child. Will wife Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) and daughter Mathilde cramp Bond’s free-ranging style as a buccaneer of boudoirs? But listen; Daniel, it looks, performs better with responsibility.
Is this the new normal? The pandemic imposing a new danse macabre, an equalizing hand that falls on commoner and royalty alike? When did we ever think the glamorous and good—in tuxedos and gowns, weighed down with stones—would be subject to a walk through a thermal screening doorway? But such are the times: at the Daejong Film Awards in Seoul, actress Jin Seo-yeon, looking as nonchalant as possible, crosses over into a safe zone. But ah, she’s not wearing the ubiquitous mask! A minor concession to showbiz?
It’s one thing to pose in bikinis—you’re well-acquainted with those here—it’s another to cavort in workaday lingerie, with its frisson of intimacy, abandon, a whiff of cool, stale, slept-in sheets. That’s what Mandana Karimi suggests, as she digs her knees in and tells us that the bed is her favourite place these days. At the height of the Vietnam War in 1969, as American and Vietnamese kids reaped the tragic fruits of a generaton of US politicians’ pig-headed folly, John Lennon and Yoko Yono staged their famous bed-ins for universal peace. Mandana here aims for universal love.
We don’t know much about Meera Chopra—though she looks inviting enough here, tumbled down on a fine-sanded beach in a swimsuit that bears closer inspection than we are allowed—but the actress has had a traumatic experience at the hands of livid, and criminally stupid, NTR jr fans when she said in a social media chat that she liked Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu, but was ignorant about the junior. Abuse followed, together with threats of assault, morphed photos and curses of coronavirus on her parents. NTR jr, meanwhile, kept up a loud silence. Meera deplores this sick dictatorship of the ‘fans’, and has reported this to the police. We hope their fetid ardour gets a good shellacking.