Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bollywood's eccentricities!

I do what I do with mild amusement. 
Amongst a host of travel, youth and trend shows..the one's I love anchoring, , are bollywood shows. And with good reason.This is a country that loves it's movie stars. I do too. I just don't care about the movies, i never have.

Most people are shocked, and some are convinced that I'm fibbing when I say... "I don't watch bollywood movies". But that's perhaps why i've been able to tirelessly do these shows for a few years now, because the films never excited me. The actors did.

I mean no disrespect to our cinema. It's our biggest cultural export, and perhaps our most entertaining one at that. Images of the Indian parliament and ministers hurling shoes at each other may rarely make it to the top of international headlines, but when Aishwarya Rai walks the red carpet at Cannes, the world sits up to take notice. Such is the power of our celebrities. Beauty over politically- flung footwear.

At the moment, we're shooting for episodes for a Bollywood show for the Zee network. We interview stars about their films. It's perhaps the first show , where I'm forced (by the show's format) to ask questions about the script,film,scenes (yawn!) and other things related directly to the movie making process. And yet somehow actors tirelessly repeat amusing stories about the process of putting together that film interview after interview. The very latest was a story about how a scene had to stop because a cow began giving birth on set! The film in question being My friend Pinto, the actors in question....were very amused!

I like that i have access to some of the most coveted people in this country. And i like that, I know some of them really well. Because the nicest moments are when the camera isn't rolling. Then it's just a bunch of young people having fun... and that's always a super thing!

P! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Air hostess, air hostiles!

“They’re not air hostesses, they’re air hostiles!”

And so it began. The journey from Mumbai to Toronto for IIFA 2011.

Air India might not be your airline of choice for the terrible word-of-mouth they’ve got over the years. You almost imagine air hostiles (kinda love that term) flinging shoes at you, refusing as much as a glass of water and pretty much threatening to throwing you out , should you ask them to get you anything. God forbid, THAT’S not their job.

Oh wait, it is! Only no one’s told them.

No such drama on this flight though. I hate to admit it, but this Air India flight is a revelation. But I’ll get to the good part in a bit. Gotta check-in first.

I am greeted by a woman at the counter. Mid forties, usual grumpy -ground staff demeanor with a I-can’t-believe-I’m-still-doing-this written all over her face kinda thing. You get the picture.

“Put your bag with handle it is easy for me to put tag”

I don’t comply. Quite frankly coz it’s hard to understand someone who’s juggling (what I imagine) to be around half a gallon of spit with a pen, all in the same deep cavity called the human mouth.

“Handle up,” she frowns at this point. Enough to let me know that this woman isn’t going to take too kindly to me listening to Colin Hay while I check in. Ear phones out, she has my full attention by this point.

*indescribable mumble

I now have someone from the IIFA team who’s come to my rescue, put the handle in a position that finds the approval of the check- in lady, who as I now understand must have been am army general in a previous life. She certainly has the talent to say “Here’s your boarding pass” with just about the same ferocity as “I’m gonna kill you, you mother F$%^#ng twat”

“Yes Ma’am”, I say. Partly obeying orders, partly smiling. Partly scared I’ve overstepped rank.

Oddly enough I see a sight most travelers may conclude is mythical. She smiles... and asks me to have a good flight. (it’s still an order, of course.)

And I really do!

I’m unsure of why Air India has such bad press. The flight is great. Service is wonderful. The air hostesses are anything but hostile, in fact if anything at all I might break out into a hugging spree when I’m getting off the plane!They’ve been fantastic. Sure there’s Sridevi (minus make up) walking around with hubby Boney in tow…but I can’t blame Air India for that. Can I now?

I’m lucky to be traveling with someone I’ve known for years but never hung out with. I ran into him literally five and three quarter steps away from the plane and then realized on boarding we’re sitting next to each other. In theory he has potential to be a friend. In practice I wouldn’t know because talking to someone who’s asleep 12 out of 16 hours on a flight usually yields very little result. Believe me, I’ve tried!

Anyway, to a happy trip now. Will keep you guys posted on what’s happening at IIFA 2011. You know where to look for that information.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why I'm not a political mastermind..

To say that my interest in politics is limited, may only be an understatement. To say that my understanding of politics isn't up to par, might be spot on though.

I find myself mildly amused when I read headlines about Rahul Gandhi being arrested and rumors of Shilpa Shetty being pregnant, all on the same web page. It might strike you as being ironic, but if news pages aren't talking about the fact that Aishwarya got her Cannes fashion right (finally!), they're talking about the fact that Ratan Tata is taking potshots at Anil Ambani for being in a billion dollar mansion in the heart of a slum infested city. Can you blame me then for not paying too much attention to the other news items about the farmer's of Bhatta Parsaul? 

Like many of my peers from Bombay (and I insist on calling it that because that's how I've ever known this city) I might be largely disconnected from the world of Indian politics. When I meet my cousins in Simla, they're a lil more inclined towards knowing which party might come to power in their state. In Maharastra however, as long as political goons aren't ransacking a stadium or a pub or beating up autowallas for some strange agenda that makes them only increasingly unpopular, it's hard to find traces of politics in daily life. Thank god. 

The spectrum scam has dominated headlines for months now. And while many hundred crores may have exchanged hands during the 2G scam that landed several in trouble while some others continue to hide ...I don't understand why I'm STILL unable to make 3G video calls from my vodafone number. If you call THAT  a political question, then I probably ask a lot more of those everyday. 

I'm not sure if politics disinterests me or the fact that politics in this country simply equates corruption, is what has put me off altogether. I admit, when the American elections are on, I'm glued to CNN for absolutely no apparent reason. I'm sure they have their political filth, but that usually comes in the form of stained underwear and glamourous vice presidential candidates who make for great reality tv when not elected to office. I don't see Mamta Banerjee being half as exciting if a crew from TLC decided to follow her on a  reality show, like they did  Sarah Palin. It's a good thing we're not about to find out .

It was only last year that we were shooting in Gandhinagar during Dandiya that I had a brief encounter with Narendra Modi. In my head he's everything that's wrong with Indian politics. The fact that he's not only glorified, but also in power in a state that's possibly suffered the most because of religion in this country is what completely baffles me. I have to admit though, the man's got style. A state function in Gujarat might resemble something that Wizcraft may have planned. And you can call him anti secular all you want, the fact is Gujarat is planned, cleaner and the infrastructure is to be envied. I can see how people are willing to put the past behind.

I'm glad I don't need to understand politics in this country. And I'm glad I live in a city which is largely self governing. If my life depended on making sense of politics, I'd be in heaven by now , far from politicians who'd be in a whole different sphere! 

If however someone deconstructs it and makes a cartoon strip of the whole mess and emails it to me, I'd gladly read. It is the best reality tv after all.


Friday, May 20, 2011

From Breast massager to the Fluffer?!

Yeah I bet that title got your attention. And why wouldn't it?

To be fair, the breast massager, may have started out with the intention of helping lactating mothers ease the process of...well lactation. But we all know what pervy minds like you and me are thinking. Turns out some other residents in Shanghai (where this issue was being errrr...handled) weren't too thrilled about men handling the breasts of new mothers. The fact that these "masseurs" were charging anywhere between $50 to $70 an hour to nurse new mommy's boobies in a "scientific" way..just seemed like a slap on the face to the fathers who were actually paying to have another man fondle the mother of their new borns!

To put this in perspective...  man squeezes breasts (for an hour!), gets paid $50. No wonder the Indian rate of unemployment is so high...we dont have these lucrative options. And while the Boob massager might definitely be on the list of "most desirable professions" for most men... women have done something similar for ages in an effort to add a certain, well,  stiffness to that wonderful art form we boys call pornography. 

You see the penis has a mind of it's own. Excitement barely ever lasts as long as one would want it to. And if the penis in question is attached to a pornstar, chances are it's being over worked. The most exciting of propositions, threesomes, plots, sub plots, role playing etc can seem tiring beyond a point...and if you're a male pornstar (an occupation most boys have dreamed of at some point!), chances might need a hand .

Enter the fluffer. A job so "hands on" it'll make your palms sweat. The job of the fluffer is simple.. keep the pornstars erection intact. IF the flag is at full mast, you can collect your cheque. And while this might come with a certain degree of health risk, not to mention some rather embarrassing moments during also comes with pay cheque ranging from $35 an hour to $200 a day. I'm sure your bringing out your calculators just about now to figure that an average monthly salary of the fluffer is about $6000 (that translates to about two lakh seventy thousand INR)  For the second time today, I clearly have your attention now! 

No job's big or small. In the case of the fluffer, the tool..just might be. Incase you come face to face with a fluffer my advice is , stay clear of questions like "do you spit or swallow", "wow, that's quite a mouthful", and "can you fit a sword in your mouth"...and you should be alright.