Doppelgangers galore

Feb 06, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

We've always been fascinated by how looking like a famous personality is enough to get you a career in entertainment

We've always been fascinated by how looking like a famous personality is enough to get you a career in entertainment. Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson are perhaps the most emulated icons in history, with thousands who dress like them and imitate their style, making a living in America.

Closer home, we know that the look-alikes of Big B and Sachin Tendulkar have managed successful careers in showbiz, thanks to their God given resemblance to the legends. And the younger generation of stars has not been left behind.

Junaid Shah Ranbir Kapoor
Junaid Shah and Ranbir Kapoor

It was recently brought to our attention that the newest doppelganger on the block is Junaid Shah from Kashmir, who has an uncanny resemblance to the actor Ranbir Kapoor. Recently his pictures went viral and social media was abuzz with news that Junaid - a management student - has set his mind on a career in modelling and even films. But in this day and age, is that enough to make the cut? Just ask Harman Baweja...

Je Suis Karan
What can we say about the AIB furore? We were the first people to write about the upcoming roast when it was but a twinkle in a Bakchod’s eye, a few weeks before it actually took place. We had even queued up and bought tickets (but alas couldn’t go at the last moment!) and we have been fans of the international roast format for long.

Karan Johar
Karan Johar

So for whatever it’s worth-here’s our two pice: We absolutely loved what we saw on YouTube, to see Bolly stars who are usually so full of themselves, in this star struck nation of ours, sportingly allowing themselves to be made fun of to such an extent was a riot. Of course the level of humour wasn’t great-but the freshness and good spirit behind the whole endeavour made it wonderful.

Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor
Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor

But even then I wondered how it would play on mainstream media — say like TV. And it wasn’t for the smut or the digs at promiscuous heterosexual or homosexual behaviour. It was the part when a roaster was being taunted for his dark skin and in the classic politically incorrect tradition of the roast, the barbs were not kind at all.

How would it sound to the ears of a random TV viewer in a small town already put upon because of India’s white fixation. What worked for a Sobo audience paying 4k per seat or for a cult YouTube following could revalidate India’s rampant colour discrimination.

Does this make us a wishy-washy wimp when it comes to the fight for Free Speech? Perhaps. All we can say is that we totally love AIB and all that it’s been doing to raise the standard of satire in the country and we respect them even more for their measured response to their opponents.

One last thing. If there are any undisputed heroes in all of this-they’re Karan Johar and his mom, Hiroo. What savoir-faire, what elan, what aplomb!

#JesuisKaran ought to trend on Twitter.

Bobby Shafto’s gone to sea
The Indian obsession with white skin is not confined to our shores alone as this Twitter furore over a particularly pale complexioned portrait of the 55th and current Governor of Louisiana, Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal proves.

Jindal’s portrait that was being tweeted. Pic/Robin May
Jindal’s portrait that was being tweeted. Pic/Robin May

The colour lightened likeness outraged because it was suggested that the portrait was paid for by taxpayer’s money.

Official portrait
Official portrait

And though that canard was soon debunked by a Jindal aide who put it down to a conspiracy of ‘race baiting’, the Guv still elicited hoots of derision. “Oh Bobby. I remember you when you were that cute (brown) kid in the Jindal Five.

Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal
Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal

I want you back,” posted author Salman Rushdie on a social media site, perhaps referring to the ‘genuine official portrait’ which was released and which also featured our Bobby looking a few suspicious shades whiter than his God given skin!

Offending a legend
Call it the AIB effect, but those who attended this awards show held by a leading media house recently were aghast by the googly thrown at the Chief Guest - one of the country’s most legendary actors - by a comedian on stage.

Apparently, the potty joke he narrated involved not only the thespian who was present, but also a leading political leader, and revolved around the act of passing wind- with a particularly offensive spin to it. Those who saw the expression on the Chief Guest when he heard the punch line swear that the phrase ‘he smiled thinly through his teeth’ couldn’t be better epitomized.

“It’s one thing to crack jokes at Ranveer and Arjun with their permission-totally another to insult a legend on his face,” said an invitee. Perhaps a better scriptwriter needed next time?

Three Legal Aces
Soli Sorabjee and Ram Jethmalani are the quintessential yin and yang of the legal world in India, and the role of both these legal luminaries has been nothing short of seminal.

(Left) Soli Sorabjee and Ram Jethmalani
(Left) Soli Sorabjee and Ram Jethmalani

And when both these men who for all their activities in the apex court and on the national landscape are essentially Mumbai boys attended the first Rajni Patel memorial talk last month at the Nehru Centre in Mumbai and posed along with the portrait of their late peer and friend, the barrister and politician Patel on the occasion of his birth anniversary, it certainly made for a delightful photo op of legal brilliance.

Incidentally, not only are former Attorney General Sorabjee and former Union Law Minister Jethmalani Mumbai boys they’re Sobo boys at that, with both their homes at Cuffe Parade and Napean Sea Road being only a few miles from each other as the crow flies.

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