Shobhaa De


Shobhaa De

When fame’s a liability

Don’t worry. I am not going to launch into the “Saif Ali Khan is a Nawab. He’s a good boy. I have known him and his highly refined family for three decades. Rinku has raised her kids so well. Saif could never have done this” spiel. Yes, he could. And he may have. Did he? The point is not about Saif’s illustrious lineage. It is not about class. Or breeding. Or education. It is simply about this: Did Saif do it? Did he really assault a man in public at one of Mumbai’s fanciest, priciest restaurants? Can it be proved that Saif was acting in self-defence as he claims? Was the attack unprovoked? Who hit whom first? Can that be established? Were there witnesses? Will they talk? Should we give Saif the benefit of the doubt and let the law take its own course?

High tea with Guv

I’m writing this the morning after the night before India’s 63rd Republic Day went off without an “incident”, and we should be so relieved. Imagine! It has come to that. For nearly a fortnight before January 26, there is an extra high alert all over the country, which means it is not the best time to be travelling, especially if Delhi is your destination.
First, you deal with the notorious fog (surely, there’s a foreign hand somewhere?) that delays flights for hours on end. Then there’s the deadly red alert, which means further delays and mysterious procedures.

The saviour slips up

One thing was proved in 2011: India needs better laundries. And dhobis. All our dirty linen was right there for the world to see. And no amount of Robin Blue could whitewash our soiled international reputation as one scam after another hit the headlines. The stains were of the permanent kind, unfortunately. Like leaked ink on pristine white school uniforms. Obstinate and indelible. Despite this far-from-pretty picture, there was a silver lining, too.

Fasting into oblivion?

As this dramatic year rolls to an end, I’m asking myself a searching question: To fast, or not to fast. My body says it’s a great idea and long overdue. My clothes are saying the same thing. Especially the skinny jeans. I find it extremely difficult to fast, which is one of the reasons I avoid any blood test that requires me to

Birth of a new genre

I grew up during “dirty-dirty” times, when if every thought and deed wasn’t clinically sanitised, sterilised and declared “clean” by society at large, it was deemed filthy, depraved, perverted, ghatiya and neech. After watching this year’s hottest and most controversial film at a preview, I confess I remain a little confused, the morning after the night before. Had I watched a 21st-century morality tale? Or a clever, manipulative movie that manages to stay a hair’s breadth away from unadulterated porn? What was the film trying to say once the heavy breathing, heaving and shoving got done? Was some “statement” being made?

Baba-baby Zindabad!

Yes! India’s most awaited celeb-baby has arrived. Jai ho! Little Miss World is finally here. Family Bachchan is over the moon. And so are their fans. Congratulations, Aishwarya and Abhishek. Mubarak ho! Now can we all please get back to work… to our rather dull lives, and leave the parents of the newborn to get on with theirs? After the unprecedented speculation, interest, gossip and publicity surrounding the pregnancy of our most beautiful actress, it’s time for some respite.

Statues of liberty

I swear I am not joking.

Jolly good,Bollywood

Which lang-uage do you people speak in India? Is it called ‘Errr-du’?” asked the dapper foreign gentleman, who had just been introduced to me as the main Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI) man. I was taken aback. But given the occasion (one of Mumbai’s super-deluxe soirees), I was mentally prepared to meet all types.

The family and the fall guy

Okay. So we are done with burning Ravan’s effigies across India. And at least a few people in this country are in a celebratory mood knowing they earn more than `32 a day. As we prepare for the annual festival of lights (even a single, decorated diya costs more than those measly 32 bucks!) and discuss the victory of good over evil for the 900th time, we are fooling nobody. Least of all, ourselves.

The Modi master plan

There’s something about Mary — remember that delightful movie? Well, there’s something about Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, too. What that something actually is, nobody knows for sure. In Mary’s case, it was obvious. Mary (played by the delicious…) is seriously cute. Even Mr Modi’s most ardent admirers won’t

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.