Hollywood-Bollywood, same-same

Jan 20, 2014, 08:46 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

It occurred to us while watching Leonardo DiCaprio deliver his acceptance speech at The Golden Globes last week and we spotted Tom Hanks in the audience: the similarities between our own SRK and Leo and Hanks and Aamir Khan and were hard to miss

>> It occurred to us while watching Leonardo DiCaprio deliver his acceptance speech at The Golden Globes last week and we spotted Tom Hanks in the audience: the similarities between our own SRK and Leo and Hanks and Aamir Khan and were hard to miss.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Shah Rukh Khan

There was Leo at the top of the Hollywood heap, known for his powerhouse performances, articulate, thoughtful, gritty and unafraid to be politically incorrect — his persona almost a mirror image of our own SRK (they even have the same expression in repose); and there was the Hanks–Aamir duo, with their famous halos for championing good films and causes and their squeaky clean sensible–guy images, gold standards almost in the industries they both dominated.

Tom Hanks and Aamir Khan

Which made us wonder: who’s the Salman Khan of Hollywood? And then like a flash the answer came: who else but Tom Cruise? Controversial, compact, with a complicated love life — and above all, known to do odd things on couches during celebrity TV talk shows. (Cruise on Oprah jumped up and down his; Salman on KJo lay down supine on his).

Tom Cruise and Salman Khan

Of course, these theories predicated on the staggeringly shallow are not cast in stone; readers are welcome to send in their take on these Bolly-Holly mirror images!

Media on board
>> Anyone who has done the Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi red eye schlep knows that some of the most intricate networking, the most potent collaborations and the most significant conversations take place not in the corridors of power in Lutyens, Delhi or at the private rooms at the Belvedere and Chambers in Mumbai — but in fact, miles above the earth in that corridor in the sky that connects Mumbai and Delhi. And this weekend saw another such ad hoc and high powered conclave when Star TV’s head honcho Uday Shankar, TV 18’s Chairman Raghav Bahl Conde Nast’s India’s boss Alex Kuruvilla, celebrated columnist and TV host Vir Sanghvi (my ex-husband) Sony CEO M P Singh, sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan (with wife Raju) and the famous Balu, who was once Dhirubhai Ambani’s right hand man and still the Reliance ‘ambassador’ to Delhi, found themselves on a Jet Air flight to Mumbai.

Raghav Bahl, Alex Kuruvilla, Vir Sanghvi and Amjad Ali Khan

Sanghvi had attended the launch of the tie-up between ‘we chat ‘ and ‘ask me’ where he’d been chief guest at the Shangri La in Delhi, Shankar and Singh were going for meeting of broadcasting foundation and the others like the Khans and Kuruvilla are frequent fliers between India’s twin centres of power.

How soon before a channel discovers a way to plant an OB van on this sector’s Business Class to record the most delicious conversations and juiciest gossip in the country?

Bad timing
>> On the suggestion of a friend we tried to be on Twitter once. The results were disastrous. Firstly, for someone who revels in good syntax and well constructed sentences, what we saw on the page did not resemble language at all.
Bad grammar, crazy hashtag, extreme views, we got off it pretty fast. Twitter represented a football field of loonies screaming stuff we couldn’t understand. So much more attractive to retreat into the safe room of Facebook for us.

Lalit Modi

What is it about Twitter that seems to bring out the worst in people and makes them regret what they say quite soon? The latest case in point is Lalit Modi’s post, depicting his old bête noire Shashi Tharoor holding a gun as James Bond, accompanied with the legend: ‘The name’s Tharoor, Shashi Tharoor,’ which he posted on Friday, obviously fishing in the troubled waters of the Sunanda IPL revelations .

But like everyone else reacting to the sensational Twitter war, he too was stunned a few hours later by the news of the awful tragedy. “Just heard the shocking and extremely sad news about Sunanda. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” he tweeted hastily, but the jury’s still out on whether it softened the blow. After all, Twitter posts stay up for ever!

RIP Sunanda
The moment I saw the ‘breaking news flash on TV on Friday evening, I realised that the Sunanda–Shashi story had taken a tragic turn that no one in their wildest dreams could imagine. ‘Sunanda Pushkar found dead’. For a few minutes I couldn’t move. Oh no! It cannot be true, I kept repeating. Let it not be true.

But soon there was the dull stomach-churning acceptance as the awful news quickly graduated from the ticker at the bottom of our screens to the lips of dumbstruck anchors.

And over the next two days, India was caught up in the grips of one of its most sensational stories while a woman who’d lived, loved and enthralled us all, was examined, probed, discussed, eulogised, and cremated.

Too much has happened too soon and everyone has something to say about the tragic death of Sunanda Tharoor.

Me, I think it’s time for reflection, introspection, and a cessation of idle gossip surrounding her life.

RIP Sunanda Tharoor. Respectfully, I offer you my silence.

“Amartya Sen was at a private dinner at the Rambagh Palace with his daughter the actress Nandana Sen, who is married to the head of Penguin-Random John Makinson. Sunil Khilnani and wife Katherine Boo, seated on the table across, stopped by to say hello — but a quick greeting turned into an animated discussion between great minds.”
— A media maven reporting from the margins of the Jaipur Literature Festival

Trouble in paradise?
>> And a friend in New York calls in with news that is sure to disappoint fans of Bollywood’s superstar couple who seem to have spent a fair amount of their time in the Big Apple quarreling! And if tonality, body language and the whispers of concerned friends are any thing to go by then it appears to be kaputs for the celebrated duo. A shame. Here’s hoping they manage to sort things out with an empire state of mind.

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