A few weeks ago Koffee with Karan featured Sonam and Deepika Padukone, rumoured to not quite be BFFs, engaging in a rather wicked but delicious volley of jokes about an ex
A few weeks ago Koffee with Karan featured Sonam and Deepika Padukone, rumoured to not quite be BFFs, engaging in a rather wicked but delicious volley of jokes about an ex. It's fair to point out that they spent rather too much time dissing someone they claimed to be over, but still, the zingy irreverence of their repartee bespoke an admirable sexual confidence and self-respect in romance. It was fun to see girls let it rip instead of languishing in the mode men recommend and admire in women ufffd dignified silence (also called shut up and put up).
It was the rare occasion where Karan Johar found perfect comrades in archness and it made for a superbly energetic show. Koffee with Karan does not aim for great revelations of human experience as much as frothy, gossipy intimacies, a Sex and the City of chat shows feeling. While KJo, with his campy cleverness is just perfect for this, most folks don't quite pick up the ball and run with it. For instance Kareena Kapoor, after watching a montage of past seasons where colleagues said disparaging things about her or her present boyfriend and she said lukewarm things about each other, could say only:
"I was most enamoured by how fat everyone was looking!" Maybe that was the smoothest put down in TV history, but going by Kareena's sincerity on the rest of the show I wouldn't bet on its ironic quotient.
The Papa of the boy Sonam and Deepika gleefully sent up, was upset. And like parents demanding to know why a teacher has given their kid low marks he made his displeasure known. I suppose it's a parents' dharma to look out for their kids, even if the kids are grown up enough to leave the park and play the field. There were a few background murmurs of agreement - the girls had crossed a line.
In contrast nobody blinked at the display of vintage male chauvinism in the episode featuring Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut. While discussing Madhuri Dixit's return to India for Jhalak Dikhlaja, there was much laddish grinning and nudging and winking asides about their bad boy days being over. Sanjay Dutt rallied and said, "I'm a bad man now, not a boy" ufffd in case people thought he was incapable of sowing the odd (and no doubt, the even) wild oat. His message for Madhuri was, "Go home to your babies, na. Should take care of her kids. Ab kya acting karna."
For good measure he also had this message for Kangana Ranaut who was sitting right there: "Wear a salwar kurta." Kangana kept quiet. After all, her daddy is not a famous or successful man.
You don't expect people within the acting profession to voice such a distastefully sexist understanding of their female colleagues. You'd hope they'd defend actresses when other men speak disparagingly of them. If they think just like any man who has never been near a shooting floor, then what does that make them? Why isn't Mr. Dutt home watching his new babies ufffd does he think paternity leave is a holiday for making babies?
Apparently men can get out of jail but women cannot get out of salwar kameezes without earning their disrespect. These are powerful men. They care about women's respectability? Why don't they do something to end the casting couch?
Someone needs to tell such folks the world has changed - and they need to get with the program. Oh wait, is that what Sonam and Deepika kinda sorta did? In that case, Ok! Here's to crossing the line!
Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. She runs Devi Pictures production company. Reach her at www.parodevi.com.
The views expressed in this column are the individual's and don't represent those of the paper.