The world can be divided between those who like leather upholstered couches/sofas and those who prefer cloth. Yet such choices are pitched from afar—when you sink into the real thing after a hard day’s night, you warm to it anyway. We have always been attracted to a certain sharpness of character—bolstered by obligatory straight talk—that Fatima Sana Shaikh emanates in many still photographs, whether in teasing casualwear or classically bold gowns. A sharp, abbreviated black leather trenchcoat and those wisps of unruly hair are perfect for a B/W glamour snap. But the lady ain’t just that. She had the freshness, recently, to chat up reporters skulking around, telling them about her ‘unemployed’ status. How we wish we could follow her in a Vespa around a city dappled with shadows and spotted with light at nighttime.
Young survivors of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-20—many of whom were raised, after the disease carried off their parents, in foster homes and orphanages—were considered by doctors to be stronger and medically fitter. They fought the War, then helped usher in the post-War boom. Not such retrospective foresight, but the dire situation at hand, has actuated, yet again, the indefatigable Sonu Sood’s Covid philanthropy. With his focus on the thousands of ‘Covid orphans’ and their financial well-being, state governments were asked to start compensation/stipends for these unfortunates. Many replied positively. Sonu also intelligently and firmly unpacked another nauseous matter. “Compensation should also go to children in private schools,” he writes. “Orphaned children are equally vulnerable.” And you thought a handsome devil in a sharp suit, checked waistcoat, neatly quartered by the sun, wasn’t capable of such wise compassion.
That there is a global market of appreciation and reward for well-meaning, bleeding heart initiatives (short on actual labour) for the targeted good of a community is well known. To game the thing to one’s advantage, one has to keep the message as vague as possible, then juxtapose it with high resolution imagery and propaganda. Thus with Jacqueline Fernandez. As demonstrated in these pages before, as a contortionist she has no parallel in Bollywood. She truly can rock, she shows here, a fetching leotard and stockings in delicious profile, with a tumble of hair for effect. What about her vaunted initiative, SheRox? It is to “empower women, be united, laugh, inspire and dream together…to create a safe space for common folk”. For this great, good burst, Jackie made it to an equally vague ‘list’ of inspiring people. Ah then, but she doth inspire, doesn’t she?
Thing is, Shahrukh Khan’s older children, Suhana and Aryan, are such spitting images of their pop icon father (it is even normal, you ask yourself once in a while) that any attention towards them is rightly judged as being redirected love/adulation of the blessed SRK. And when star kids like them flog social media to its utmost stretch, they are just willing to cravenly submit their individuality under the mushroom cloud of their parents’ constantly regenerating fumes of fame. Yes, no one denies that Suhana cuts a pretty figure in calculatedly risqué designerwear, or here, in hotpants and a tucked-in top. But when a fan on Twitter, among tens of thousands, asked mother Gauri for Suhana’s hand in marriage, the said fan was, in fact, courting SRK’s undying light. So it goes.