Athleisure, that hybrid, fabricated clothing that moved seamlessly from fitness/athletic activities to casualwear, and thence to style, imparts a sleek sinuosity to even people going out of shape, or far gone down that path. To uber fit, nubile actresses who have all the time in the world to indulge their svelteness in the gym, it just looks crisply scrumptious. Case displayed—Sara Ali Khan in a noodle-strapped top and leggings, hair pulled back and arms behind her head, as if about to launch into a chest stretch. But why has Sara taken the trouble to apply carefully minimal make-up to sttike this fetching pose? Because, to keep her young fanbase intact, she has to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle, not just preen in a pretty dress. Such are the demands of modern stardom.
Ha, you must be thinking. A glamorous poolside shoot with a classic, one-piece swimsuit and pearl earrings. But when Richa Chadha isn’t striking a pose reminiscent of that famous shot from Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita, she’s on to meaningful stuff. Perhaps born out of her own experience of making it, brick by painful brick, as an outsider in Bollywood, Richa is using her social media initiative, The Kindry, to promote talented young artistes who would otherwise be unrecognised, their skills wasted. So, while live sessions showcase everyday heroes who stared back at Covid, the interstices are filled by virtual gigs of mentionworthy youth. The pandemic has hit many sectors, but we forget that some of the misery belongs to people without opportunities. Richa, who will now shoot for Fukrey 3, must be commended for remembering.
This is a story of how legally-approved redressal for unstable, self-harming and unhinged behaviour can, in wrong hands, be a greater abuse. While the ‘Free Britney’ movement has in recent years spoken about the pop queen’s piteous condition under the conservatorship under her father Jamie, the matter exploded before all eyes after Britney’s tearful, passionate litany of woes—streamed live to the public—at a court hearing about her future: compulsory use of birth control, strong medication she didn’t want, no access to her fortune, a near-psychopathic father who enjoyed her suffering and unwanted exposure to the paparazzi. But, startlingly, this haggard, unhappy face you see lies beneath her forced grin at the Brighton Pride in 2018. Her act in a diamond encrusted bustier and stockings with suspenders made fans wild. It was just one of the shows she was forced into against her will.
One can wear shredded jeans, a cropped top and rock the stage with a guitar, or one can wear a pretty dress and sit in the mellow, setting sun (as we saw her last in these pages), but Shruti Haasan knows well the enduring, unending, unfathomable appeal of a sari coupled with a serene look. To celebrate her coming out of a Covid hibernation, she takes out the silk and some heavy jewellery. “Been ages since I wore anything traditional. It’s been the sweatpants look for days and days,” she writes in a coy prelude. The result, before our unblinking eyes, has us transfixed with its pellucid beauty. And the masterstroke to use black & white instead of colour? We generously hazard a guess and reward it to lovely Shruti.