Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why the World Stood Still - II

Contd from Part I

What probably worked for Ms.Rai was her coming to the fore at the right time for the right reasons.  Prior to liberalization in 1991, our women had two brands of lipstick and cold cream from which to choose. Post-liberalization, under the new policies the government allowed private and foreign broadcasters to engage in operations in India.  Foreign channels like CNN, Star TV and domestic channels such as Zee TV and Sun TV started satellite broadcasts. Urban India's middle and upper class women experienced a veritable revolution in commercial beauty products and beauty culture.

Aishwarya and Sushmita, then, were the first real Goddesses for these young women who suddenly found themselves in a land filled with new possibilities and  alluring dreams. They set the trend for a new conquest - Beauty - the weapons for which were suddenly advertised all around . "Look at these beauty princesses. Worship them. You can become them too", screamed the ads. The first tryst with anything is always better treasured. Ash and Sen were the ladies who ruled the roost during our first tryst with glamour. Yet, while Ash had the acumen to sell herself, Sushmita failed.

 Ash's career has to be one of the most calculated ones in the history of Hindi cinema, starting from her association with the ultimate Khan whom she knew would help her career rise to her wedding into the Bachchan family  which was the final icing to the cake that cemented her position with an aristocratic aura. Politicians could learn a thing or two from this woman.Seriously.

So there you have it. Glamor. Enigma. Power. All the right ingredients to make for an eye grabbing story. The media pounces upon it and makes it a top headline. Now, while I do find some solace that almost ALL the comments on that article trashed the editor for placing so much importance to the trivial issue, there is no doubt that all of us did indeed click on it immediately. With a skeptic disoriented face, perhaps. But we did click. The root of the issue then probably goes deeper into our own selves. At some corner of our hearts, we are all curious about the powerful, glamorous and rich. We could love them, hate them, criticize them but can never ignore them. The media is not creating  the hype but merely banking on what is our natural psyche and perhaps aggravating it.

End point? Girls might be getting raped in UP, farmers might be on a suicide spree in Bihar but when Aishwarya Rai is going to be mom, everything else can wait, for the entire nation needs to know just that. That and of course how Salman Bhai called and wished, how Jaya Bachchan was all pragmatic about it and how some jobless astrologer predicted that she would be giving birth to a baby girl.  

I would not be surprised if the daily poll of this site tomorrow goes something like this:
Which of the following will ash-abi have?
Option a) Baby girl b) Baby boy c) Twins

What next? It probably is going to be a good change of season, folks! From black money, corruption and fasting its time to buckle up for an era of baby names, pregnancy nutrition and squatting tips for safe delivery. All pregnant moms have a reason to rejoice though. for the next nine months, they would not just have access to tips from intruding neighborhood aunties who claim to be expert gynics in their own right but also have free access to what diet our ex-miss world is on, where she would shop for baby clothes and how she prefers Huggies to Pampers. Yeay! It is going to be one big helluva mommies-to-be bash, courtesy our ever sincere media. 

 As for you Ramdevji, please take the hint and never go on a fast the day Ash gets her monthly check up. Well, you know better which event would be given priority for our news space!


mr.weirdo!! said...

i liked the longer version here than the one you have uploaded in fb. Having commented about he core issue of your post let me wander in this pasture.

Coming to the Ash, Sushmita comparision - it all comes to the comfort zone you create with the directors & people who market you, i guess. That is why, talented or not, Ash has always been associated with great minds, while Sushmita was not. Besides, Sushmita was a common man's beauty - a girl someone can easily identify with. But Ash - she looks unique. Not that she is fair (& men still are immature to see through the skin tone), but the way she carries herself is something out of ordinary. That doesnt mean she has got it right always. During the audio launch of Ravan in hindi, i was surprised at myself as i sat through the entire pompous speech about her alleged 'heroism'.

Cranking my brain, i did get an answer. Its called dabbling with the curiosity & interest. Tease a big fish with a bait. It will follow you. But if you overkill the curiosity by dumping all your bait - it wont care to move further to your orders. But then if you played your cards well by striking a balance the fish is all yours.

If Aish has spoken for another 1hr i sure would have lost the interest to hear her rant (yah! that is what it will become). But she didnt end up doing that.

Another example for this is the hit ratio of Ash and preethi zinta. Both are pretty - both had the backing of big names and both didnt have much hits to their credit. Yet, as Ash still stays at the top, Preethi is a struggling actress now. That shows the aura and glamour you ooze - yet maintaining the curiosity. Dear Preethi: men will want to undress you, only till you are clothed ;-)

Coming to the liberalisation aspect of her growth - her success story is akin to Rahman's IMO. There were stalwarts like MSV & Illayaraja, yet ARR is chosen because - he was at the right place at the right time.

Anonymous said...

Err... when are you setting up the poll?

My vote is for twins - in case I miss the poll or you don't set up the poll.

BTW, who is Ramdev?


Natarajan Sundaram said...

Wow sindu! you can acclaim a critic position. seriously. Right to the point all the time. I just love the way you write.
"End point paragraph" is just a great summary for this whole news.

hoping to read more.

Anonymous said...

An aside - Do you know Mathivanan Rajendran?


Sindu said...

@Mr. Weirdo: As usual, snippets of wisdom from you. When I started on this one, it was the absurdity of the headline that was the main issue on mind. Yet, as thoughts proceeded and came to center on the brand called Ash, it got interesting. I guess it always is interesting to study what makes certain people/things click.

Sindu said...

@Anonymous (/Should I address as V?)

Will sure take your vote into count. You even get to avail surprise gifts if indeed your prediction turns right! :)

Ramdev... well, rebuke me you might but from your question, I decipher that you have quite chosen to detach yourself from political games of the nation and thats definitely not a bad choice of decision. I know who Ramdev is and it hasn't made me any wiser, happier or empowered. So, I will let you stay with the peace.

And no, I do not know who Mathivanan Rajendran is.

Sindu said...

@Natarajan: You make me one 'spoilt' writer. :) I am not complaining! :)

Abhishek said...

and the next thing you know , the paparazzi's gonna be runnin behind the poor kid =P , but this was somethin of a joke ( a poor one at that ) when someone mentioned that people had congratulated Amitabh for becomin a grandfather before congratulatin junior Bachan for becomin a dad o_O

Sindu said...

@Abhishek : Ha ha. Yes. I saw that too. . It actually went like "Ash is pregnant. Amitabh is happy and Abhishek as usual has no IDEA" ;)

Another good one was "It must hurt when your wife is pregnant and everyone is congratulating your father. It is hard being Abhishek Bachchan" :D

Janani Balasubramanyam said...

I know!! I came across a couple of articles in different magazines, all having a huge-blow up of Ash and Abhishek and going on to describe how happy the couple and grandparents are (Rolling Eyes) and branching out to explain in detail how 40-something mothers-to-be should take care of themselves!

Sindu said...

:) It really is irritating and unfortunately for them, even the little joy we might have otherwise had for them turns into frustration!