Striking the Empire

Talk about disruptive innovation: word comes in that ABC's Priyanka Chopra-fronted thriller Quantico, on Fox, is so hot that it has forced Fox's other TV series, the popular Empire to step aside! Empire, predicated on the universe of hip-hop music, and a drama around a family-run entertainment company, is no slouch in the glamour stakes either, with Cookie Lyons played by the bootilicious American singer and actress Taraji P. Henson in one of the lead roles.

Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. Pic/AFP
Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. Pics/AFP

But such is PeeCee's star power crow her spokespeople, that her '28 million fan base across both Twitter and Facebook, (put) Cookie Lyon's (aka Taraji P. Henson) 9.4 million-strong fan 'empire' to shame.'

And not content with threatening fellow TV shows and stars, PC appears to be eyeing the crowns of other top pop idols, by being named TV Guide's 'Most Popular Celebrity' pipping the likes of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez in the bargain!!

Sartorial matters of state
His considered and erudite writing on topics of national interest, and his avowed commitment to secular and progressive values, have made him something of a poster boy for the country's left leaning liberals, so when seasoned editor Siddharth Vardarajan, co founder of a digital news portal, turned his attention to matters sartorial, it received much traction on a social networking site recently.

Siddharth Vardarajan
Siddharth Vardarajan

"There is no excuse for wearing ill-fitting clothes when you are the President of India, and a decent tailor is probably just a call away," posted Vardarajan, himself an exceptionally elegant dresser, along with a picture of the Prezzie on a foreign tour with notations duly pointing out his wardrobe disasters.

The picture of President Pranab Mukherjee that Vardarajan put up
The picture of President Pranab Mukherjee that Vardarajan put up

"Ill-fitting clothes are a protest statement. Subtle message to the homegrown Savile Row fanatic," weighed in one commenter. "I don't care what Pranab wears. I prefer the cut of his words," said another and "Maybe Pronob-Babu is shrinking? It does happen after a certain age!" was a third's concerned comment. But for our money the sharpest cut was "Better to wear too long sleeves than to wear name embedded designer suits." Touche!

Through rose-coloured glasses
She's always been feisty and fearless, but at the launch of the 4th Indian Breast Cancer Survivor's Conference on Monday morning at the Westend, Lisa Ray displayed just why she's one of life's winners.

Dr Anil D’Cruz, director Tata Memorial Hospital, Malaika Arora Khan, Lisa Ray and Deveika Bhojwani, Vice President of Women’s Cancer Initiative
Dr Anil D'Cruz, director Tata Memorial Hospital, Malaika Arora Khan, Lisa Ray and Deveika Bhojwani, Vice President of Women's Cancer Initiative

Addressing a room full of cancer survivors, Ray spoke with candor and compassion, about her own tryst with the Big C, and how her approach to it has made her come up on tops. "A lot of people hear cancer and they hear death — and that's not true.

Not always and not necessarily, not with the kind of treatment that we have, not with preventative measures," said the curvy actress who had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2009 but was declared a cancer survivor a year later, thanks to her proactive and positive approach.

Ray demonstrated one instance of this quite unselfconsciously that morning itself: dressed in a glitzy designer sari she looked every inch the chief guest, except for the heavy black protective glasses she'd worn because of an eye infection.

But as soon as she got on stage, she'd quickly whipped them off. "You know what?" she said addressing the room full of brave and heroic recovered and recovering survivors — some of them still sporting signs of their battles with the disease.

"I was going to give my speech with my glasses on because of my 'pink eye' — but looking around at this inspiring gathering, I say "Screw it" it's way too small a thing to worry about. We should never be frightened of not being 'perfect'." An actress brave enough to display her not so perfect visage occasionally? In our books, a winner.

Maximum heart
The city's cognoscenti had occasion to be further moved to tears over the tragic death of a young man who was soon to be married into a high profile family.

Not only did the avowed and kind animal lover die tragically and suddenly only a few months before his wedding, leaving behind his grieving young fiance, herself an impassioned animal lover, but now a concerted effort is being made by her to find suitable homes for his three beloved pet dogs.

"Ideally we would prefer not to separate them or at least try and get two adopted together," said her poignant message, bravely putting her monumental grief aside for the care of other creatures. Who says the city doesn't have a heart?

Keeping away the evil eye
"When Shilpa called she said the book was all about how we need to embrace the Indian diet, and the benefits of it. She wanted to wear something fusion with a strong Indian element, so we zeroed in on the nimbu mirchi as a print, because it's so synonymous with Indian food and culture," said Masaba Gupta about the outfit she had customized for the actress and fitness icon, to wear on the cover of her soon to be released first book, The Great Indian Diet (Penguin Random House).

Masaba Gupta and Shilpa Shetty in the Masaba skirt
Masaba Gupta and Shilpa Shetty in the Masaba skirt

"The actress-turned-businesswoman has been constantly inundated with questions on the secret behind her flawless skin and hair and toned physique," said her spokesperson. "And it comes to many as a surprise, when she replies 'good food and discipline'."

Well, a bit of luck helps too, as Shetty's obviously not depending on her common sense advice alone: she's taking no chances and has added the traditional Indian nimbu-mirchi good luck omen to the cover for good measure. "We will be selling only limited no of pieces of the skirt she is wearing when the book releases," added Masaba.

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