It’s not that Hollywood hasn’t had its romances with conservatism. The Mccarthy witch hunt in the 1950s saw many good men tarnished for life by a poisonous few. Thirty years later, a reactionary cowboy from its ranks, armed with a lopsided smile, took oath as president. But rarely has Hollywood’s gorge risen in absolute unison as it did during Trump’s four-year mayhem. It fought a running battle with that ogre-ish presidency and is breathing a colossal sigh of relief at Joe Biden’s win. “I am so grateful for the millions…who voted for life and sanity and justice,” wrote the show-stopping Natalie Portman. More sent up thankful prayers for the country’s deliverance and were proud of vice president-elect Kamala Harris’s epoch-making achievement, among them Charlize Theron (“immensely proud”) and Halle Berry (“overwhelming”). Tough cookie and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man of few words. “Your success is the country’s success,” he tweeted. Hasta la vista, Trump!
Every city supplement in every broadsheet in every 10-Merc town has had Nushrat Bharucha splashed left, right and occasionally centre, but it took her a while to swim all the way across our ken. Now, she needn’t feel nervous, for we like what we see: the exquisite floral print, the loose comfort of those trousers, the snug fit of the bodice and the unexpected flaring out of the sleeves. Can the practice needed to perfect this elaborate pose be of any help in her role of a Haryanvi teacher in Chhalaang? Likely not, but the sense of calm she exudes might.
The earliest issues of Outlook, in 1995, took note of that great shot advertising ‘Tuff Shoes’. Milind Soman and then girlfriend Madhu Sapre in a brawny, glistening clinch, limbs crossed and splayed, a draped python keeping private the mentionables, their gloriously toned, unclothed bodies a revelation for those who’d just swallowed Hum Apke Hai Kaun whole. That ad raised the predictable cry of ‘immorality’, then petered away. This brilliant run by the supremely fit Soman on his 55th birthday, clicked in Goa by wife Ankita Konwar, is fit to be inserted in that pristine first scene of Chariots of Fire. Goa Suraksha Manch’s complaint of ‘obscenity’ is, of course, balderdash, and the charge against Soman a shame. But if that august body spreads its calumny wider, would Goa not lose its place in the tourism sun?
Nearly everything in this glamour shot is perfect: the golden cupolas of a hoary palace in olde Rajpootana, the exquisite early winter light and the stiff photographic posture of actress Ruhii Singh (Calendar Girls). The royal blue bikini has a salutary effect too, as has Ruhii’s browned tresses, the sheer turquoise wrap and her dainty profile. Yet the effect, so patiently held by the poor girl, is marred by those pink slippers. No, nothing can atone for those horrible pieces of rubber. The hospitable citizens of the noble city of Udaipur should ban the stylist from their classy town.