Of glamour, reel and real

NEW DELHI: It was a classic case of a set of glamorous people robbing the glam of the word glamorous. Reason: some were not prepared, while others refused to be drawn out of their own world.



TV producer and actor Neena Gupta (in a dress that would have raised the eyebrows of information and broadcasting ministry mandarins objecting to `Kaanta Laga' music video) had to look up the dictionary for the exact meaning of glamour, while the now aged poster boy of yesteryear, Shashi Kapoor, failed to find glamour beyond his mother's long hair.

If you are wondering what we are talking about, then the reference is to a day-long seminar on `Women, Society & Cinema' organised by the Ficci ladies Organisation (FLO) yesterday here and one of the sessions, called `The Changing face of Glamour : Reel to Real'.

Held post lunch, the session on glamour, contrary to expectation, attracted lesser number of people. Despite the fact that the panel on the dais looked impressive --- Screen editor Bhawna Somaaya, Kapoor, Gupta, Deepti Naval and controversial filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt --- it was moderator Sunil Sethi who had more to speak on glamour than the panelists. What's more, he was also left to decipher the ramblings of most panelists for the audience who wanted more, but got less.

Ramblings may be the right word to describe the `glamorous' session. Kapoor, looking charming despite his bloated self also managed to draw some sighs from the not-so-young ladies in the audience as he wore his dazzling smile throughout the session. But that's where his glamour seemed to end.

If for Kapoor, glamour began watching his "beautiful mother's long tresses" being washed and combed (these days the glam quotient for Kapoor has been replaced by his young grand daughter), for Bhatt, glamour started somewhere in Iraq (probably still nursing his Iraqi hangover after a recent visit) and ended somewhere between the real and make-believe worlds where he too found his lovely mother and her long hair glamorous.

So glamorous that Bhatt, according to his own admission, caught some `jugnus' (fireflies) and let them loose in his mother's hair that shone in the darkness of the night. Not to mention that in a bid to sound serious and also controversial, Bhatt uttered at one place, "Heightened sensuality is what spirituality is all about." Like you, even we are still reeling under the Bhatt profundity.

After this mother and hair fixation came Naval who has always tried not to use her looks, or the lack of it, to get assignments. Again, as per her own admission.

Thankfully, she did not divulge any father or hair fixation, and uttered some original words --- "glamour is a relative concept." Though she did admit that she had not come prepared for the session as she had not been properly briefed by the organisers and was to participate in some other session, Naval playfully made more sense than all of them put together.

Pointing out that she had been "mesmerised" by yesteryear's film actress Sadhana, Naval made sense when she said, "Glamour to me is also Jaya Bhaduri,Shabana Azmi, Barkha Dutt (of NDTV and `I am calling from a bunker' fame) or even Kiran Bedi (India's first woman police officer)."

For Naval, glamour was not only looks --- it may be important --- but was also an individual's achievements, his/her character and the whole personality. Atta girl.

Then came Neena Gupta who, it seemed, had borrowed Mandira Bedi's wardrobe. With her hair hanging loose and long, Gupta actually looked glamorous. But, unfortunately had to sift through the pages of the dictionary to look up the meaning of glamour. She still had not found the right meaning because she raised some questions, left them unanswered and the crowd smirking and confused.

But Gupta did know that glamour was big business. After such illuminating insight into glamour, one could not fault the organisers when they, through small chits sent to moderator Sethi, demanded more substance from the panelists in the form of women empowerment (through glamour??), whether glamour in reel life imitates real life or vice versa and such topics.

What could have been really glamorous is Ektaa Kapoor being on the panel to answer the panelists and the audience on why is that her serials have totally made-up women in the kitchen or even when they get up in the morning. Probably, Gupta, having now produced some serials for the likes of Star Plus, had the answer when she said that one of the channels demanded that her serial's heroine should get out of the bed in the morning wearing pink eye shadow. Gupta, of course, acceded to the request, though we don't know the reason for it.

However, it seems that the small screen has become more glamorous as aptly put by senior film journalist Somaaya: "If you are not happening on television, then you are not happening (at all)."

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