Saturday, January 31, 2009

Filmi Forecast: This Should Be Very Eeeenteresting.

Some time back, La Rai's signing of the film Endhiran (Robot) opposite southie-supastar Rajnikanth for the whopping amount of 1.5 crores made headlines. Now, I think, it is time that some of the costumes featured in the film and designed by Manish Malhotra, should make a splash. I must confess that I have no idea what the plot of this film is so I cannot hazard a guess as to how these costumes work in the story. However, I am thinking that ostriches might be involved in a pivotal role.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Cutie Patootie.

Awwwwww.Looks like Freida's not the only one spotted out and about. Dev Patel was spotted in Beverly Hills sporting a cas look that epitomizes geek-chic. So cute I can't stand it!
Photo Credit: Just Jared.

Aunty ji Strikes Again.

At the Raaz success party, quirky Kangana showed up in a fun, tropical-inspired dress, with fresh beach-worthy makeup, and - wait for it - an enormous bouffant hair-do courtesy of the one and only, Aunty ji. She's a real menace isn't she? There's nothing like dreadful big hair to ruin an otherwise perfectly nice look.

Oh I guess there's nothing like bad hair and bad accessories to ruin a look. Kangana is toting around the Louis Vuitton Etoile Shopper. Now I ask you: will Kangana be shopping at this party? Don't get me wrong. I love the bag. It's perfect for running errands, shopping or any other daytime activity. However, a large shopper isn't the appropriate bag to carry to any kind of party - short of a beach party. Actually, this shopper would have been tres chic with Freida's look at her LA interviews (see "Pretty In Pink" post). Seen here with costars, Adhyayan Suman (son of Shekhar) and Emraan Hashmi, it makes me wonder whether Kangana simply didn't receive the memo re. star dress code for this event. Was she also supposed to wear a white graphic tee and denims to match Emraan and Adhyayan's already close-to-identical pair? Let's show a modicum of creativity, guys. Don't force Kangana to be the only one who thinks outside the box.
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"Pink is the navy blue of India." - Diana Vreeland.

On the red carpet or off, this lady is a stunner. Freida's airy pink dress was perfect for an afternoon running around LA from interview to interview. Freida is fast-becoming famous for wearing bold, vibrant shades that are just gorgeous on her skin tone. She paired the dress with a casual denim jacket and sky high patent leather peep toe pumps. Hair and makeup, as usual, faas class!Photo Credit: Just Jared.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cover Story.

Twinkle Khanna lit up the January cover of L'Officiel India. I can't decide what I love more: her gorge hair or that lehnga. Take a look-see!Photo Source.

White Done Right ... And Wrong.

Taking a break from CC2C premieres, Deepika appeared on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Finals to promote the film. A much-needed departure from her fashion choices on the premiere circuit, Deepika looked very much a Grecian goddess in her white sari with a simple gold border. My gripe with Deepika's hair has been that long, thin hair on her long, thin frame is often a little overkill. The volume at her crown was a welcome change. She kept her makeup clean and neutral and avoided excessive shimmer. Loved her earrings.Mughda Godse appeared at Crosswords Bookstore in Bandra to unveil the "True Dummy" book in a Rabani & Rakha creation. At first glance, her white kurta (while the star embroidery was a bit much), seems passable. However, as the eyes travel downward - oh the horror! What kind of chudidaars are these?!? A side note: (I say side because the lacey chudidaars are the main horror here), Mughda's hair shows us the "bump" done poorly. My guess is that the stylist didn't pull enough hair back to accomplish the volume bump a la Deepika.
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Diagnosis: Excellent Style.

We've recently seen several Bollywood celebs inaugurating hospitals in fashionable chudidaar kurtas. Raveena Tandon inaugurated a pediatric cardiac center in a midnight blue suit showing us that simple can be beautiful.
Next up was the inauguration of the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Since it was an Ambani function, you can bet that the Bachchan clan was present in full force. La Rai changed things up with her burgandy, that's right, burgandy suit. Yay for color other than pastels! MIL Jaya Bachchan was not to be outdone in her vibrant pink and orange salwaar kurta.
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Shabash, SRK!

No snarky comments or fashion-related ramblings here.

In addition to being put on this Earth to entertain us, celebrities can accomplish a great many things with their fame. It really warms the heart to see celebs use their fame to support a charitable cause, a humanitarian effort, or otherwise make this world a better place. Kudos to SRK!Photo Credit: People India, January 2009.

How To Dress For Less Formal Events.

This time, our celebrity instructor is the lovely Ms. Neha Dhupia. While attending the Loksatta People Empowerment event, Neha wisely chose to wear a crisp, white collared shirt that was rescued from the blahs by thin, grey vertical stripes and ruching at the bust. The shirt is sexy but definitely this side of too much exposure. Since her shirt has a low neckline, she added an eye-catching pendant which reminds me of an Amrita Singh creation. She paired her embellished shirt with simple yet classy black trousers. Can't go wrong with that can you?Her hair and makeup for the event were flawless without being overly styled. She kept her hair straight and sleek, and her makeup focused on a light dusting of blush, kohl tightlining on her upper lashline and soft lining of her lower inner rims, a touch of mascara on the top lashes only, and a nude, glossy lip. Bellisima!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

TV Guide.

Anything desi/Bollywood/India-related in the media, and you'll hear about it here! My apologies for being a bit late on reporting this, but it's not too late to catch some of these desi-ppearances live or on youtube!

# 1 - NBC's Superstars of Dance. Airs on Mondays 8/7c. This show is an international dance competition bringing together a variety of dance forms from countries including India, China, Australia, Russia and the U.S. Admittedly, I have caught a few episodes solely to watch Team India. Team India consists of a a kathak soloist, Amrapali Ambegaokar, a bharatanatyam soloist, Mythili Prakash, a Bollywood duo and a group. Team India's coach is choreographer Nakul Mahajan. I promise I won't reveal who has been voted off the show or what the rankings are, but here are my thoughts thus far on Team India's performances.

Let's begin with the major disappointment: the group bhangra performance. It was awful. Formations were sloppy and unimaginative, the dancers lacked crispness and were not synchronized, and the choreography can best be described as some sort of bolly-bhangra mashup, which is neither here nor there. The song was from a movie, I think, and wasn't all that great for a bhangra item. Also, I know bhangra-philes will be raging about the women's costumes: since when is bhangra slutty?! I know, I know. That's harsh. But honestly, they could have gone to Bhangra Blowout and picked up a much better team! The group later did a Bollywood-inspired wedding sequence which was better than the bhangra, but could certainly have used more dancers to really amp up the formations. Their energy is high and expressions are great, but actual dancing and choreography ... was only ok. I'm guessing these dancers are from Nakul Mahajan's very Bollywood-oriented troupe. I'm sure they could have done better. It's almost like they didn't have time to put something together.

The only performance by the Bollywood duo (both of who I believe are in the group performance as well) that I've seen was their rendition of "Dola Re" from Devdas. Dancing to a song made famous by Madhuri and Aishwarya ... that's a lot of pressure! Both of the girls were excellent dancers. Their movements were sharp and fairly synchronized with each other. I understand the theme of two sisters fighting over the same guy that they were trying to convey, but I think they wasted excellent climax music at the end just running around the stage. Their ending was a disappointment as they just sort of clunked onto the ground.

Now we get to the soloists, both of whom were a-mazing!! Clearly, both of these women are at the height of their respective areas of dance, and it shows! After the first episode, I only watch this show to watch these two. I have no idea who's advanced and such, but I can tell you, they are well worth watching.

Here is where my gripe about this show's format comes up. The international judging panel really has no basis it seems for judging dance forms with which they are unfamiliar. I'm not just saying that as a Team India fan who is griping that the judges just don't get bharatanatyam or kathak. How were they supposed to judge the tribal dance from South Africa? Anyway, they were fine at judging group dances because at least they can focus on formations and synchronization. But a solo performance doesn't leave much besides technique to judge. Anyway, at various points, both Amrapali and Mythili picked artistically difficult pieces that focused on the storytelling aspect of bharatanatyam and kathak. As someone familiar with both styles, I could recognize for example when Amrapali was doing a piece about Krishna. I understood the story she was telling in her hand movements and facial expressions. I'm fairly certain the judges got zip out of that. Basically, the judges would be wowed by technically complex foot work accompanied by fast rhythm. In the case of kathak, they loved the amazing chakars more than any thing else that the artist did, which is a shame. I think pieces like a taraana or thilana which are footwork focused, would have impressed the judges. Unfortunately, these don't necessarily represent the most advanced pieces in an artist's repertoire.

Whew. Ok, that said, it's still fun to watch Mythili and Amrapali perform, and it's wonderful to see Indian dance forms before a national audience in the U.S.

#2 - PBS The Story of India. This is a six-part documentary on PBS by Michael Wood. I DVR'd all of them because they aired at precisely the same time as the Superstars of Dance. I'm just now watching the documentary, but fear not, it is available for purchase via PBS for a reasonable cost if you are so inclined. Wood begins the documentary in the beginning so to speak with the first human migration out of Africa. From there, he proceeds, to Mohenjo-Daro and Harrapa, the Mauryan empire, the Mughal empire, the British Raj, and modern day, increasingly global, India. It's a lot to pack in six hours, but I believe Wood does an admirable job. Keep in mind that he's certainly not setting out to tell us everything there is to tell about India. This documentary is much more than a chronicling of the rise and fall of empires in India. Wood picks up historical, cultural, linguistic, architectural, artistic, philosophic and religious points of interest along the way as the camera shows us breathtaking images of India.

#3 - TLC What Not To Wear: Mala. This episode aired way back in October 2008. However, it does count as a desippearance. Clinton and Stacy help transform Mala, a mother and Obama campaign lawyer from frump tee and jeans to stylin' lawyer/mom-on-the-go. Loved it! Desi girls, if you catch a rerun, pay attention to makeup tips from Carmindy for desi skin. Also loved how Carmindy showed Mala how to play up her eyes behind glasses. I've never been one to mess with eye makeup when it's a glasses day, but I'm rethinking that policy now.

#4 - Emergen-C Bollywood Ad. I almost fell off the sofa when I caught this ad on tv. It was tres-Bollywood, with actual desi dancers performing actual Bolly-moves rather than a weak attempt at Bollywood. I loved it ... so much so that I googled Emergen-C to find the ad. If you go to their web site and click on "Good Ads," you can view their Bollywood ad.

#5 - Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show: Medicine Cabinet. Ok, I know, this guy's always up to some badmashi, but this clip is particularly appropriate for a desippearance though, yes, you are right, all of his appearances count. Here, Mandvi gives Sanjay Gupta a shabashki on behalf of the entire desi community - including you! He then channels put-upon Aunty ji when he learns that Surgeon General is not a cabinet position. I love that the sudden appearance of Dr. Mandvi's desi accent totally mystifies Jon Stewart.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

My favorite fashionista, Sonam Kapoor, was off her game at the Slumdog premiere. Her dress was ill-fitting and OD'd on sequins like it was straight out of the '80s. Please don't tell me those are shoulder pads!I am glad that she went a different route with her hair and wore it wavy as opposed to stick straight.

Poppa Kapoor was slick as usual - couldn't find a thing wrong with his look! He has been consistently stylish at all of his numerous Slumdog appearances. Loved his euphoria and decibel level at the SAG awards where he received the cast's award from Sir Anthony Hopkins! Photo Source.

Coordinated Couples.

Yet another post off the red carpet at the Slumdog premiere - there was just too much good material! Couple-wise, the prize goes to Preity Zinta and bf Ness Wadia for being the best looking couple at the event. Their styles totally mesh to produce one classy couple!

The Roshans in their too-cas denims and Imran Khan and gf Avantika Malik in their coordinated black and white were two couples that were too matchy. Arshad Warsi and his wife, Maria Goretti couldn't be more unmatching - no idea what her look is all about, but he's clearly going for a lumberjack thing.
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Red Carpet Bed Head.

There is but one word to describe Amrita Rao at the Slumdog premiere: disaster. It's as if she forgot about the premiere until ten minutes beforehand, contacted her fave designer in a rush, and ran out of the house in yet another Swapnil Shinde. We've seen her in two other designs by Swapnil Shinde (at the FHM India Style Awards and at Gitanjali Luxury Style Fest) with the same concept of contrasting colors, in the same silhouette, and with a belted waist. This time, she's got an added and alltogether useless fringe on the skirt. The fringe only draws attention to those - gasp - ashy knees. Note: if you're going with a bare legs look, you must moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! As for her hair, not only is it disheveled, it's also two tone: reddish along the bottom and black on top where the roots have grown in. eeeek.
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Sonali Kulkarni never fails to provide us with a WTF is she wearing moment. This is her ensemble for the Slumdog premiere. Thoughts?

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Fab vs. Drab.

I love Konkona Sen Sharma: she is a fantastic actress with real range, and she has a quirky sense of style. However, denims and a wrap top at the premiere of a major film is totally inappropriate. It's certainly a cute look for some other activity - say catching a flick with bf Ranvir Shorey - but dammit, it's not for the red carpet! Contrast Konkona's look with Shruti Sheth in her teal Gauri & Nainika number. Photo Source.

Risk Takers: Red Carpet Edition.

A couple of celebrities stepped out of the same-old-same-old and took some major risks at the Mumbai premiere of Slumdog Millionaire. Genelia D'Souza and Soniya Mehra were successful ... Sushmita Sen, was so not!

Soniya took a risk with a dress that was both short and involved major skin show. However, she pulled it off with what is becoming her trademark breezy style. Plus it does help that her youthfulness and body kindly permit her to go all short and cut-out all at once. Warning: Poonam Dhillon, this would not work on you! The bold blue and black color blocking had an eye-catching effect. And her heels were fantastic! Everything else was minimalist, but those heels...were perfect statement pieces.

Genelia, another young starlet, took a risk with an unforgivingly tight mini-dress. Like Soniya, she has the body to make it work. You're only young once, right? Also love the sleek pony. When done right, the humble ponytail can be red carpet-worthy. She added a pop of color to her otherwise black/white ensemble in the form of her slightly-too-big red clutch. Chandelier earrings would have dressed up her look a little more. Is it just me, or are her heels slightly big on her? Not sure how she managed to walk around without losing a shoe.

Sushmita's big risk was going full-on metallic with her dress. Other than her as always fab hair and makeup, Ms. Sen's risk didn't quite pay off. She looked like someone uncrumbled a ball of aluminum foil and crafted a gown for her.

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Hot Hot Hot!

After a quite literally, red-hot appearance at the Mumbai premiere of Slumdog Millionaire, all is forgiven, Jiah Khan. After some recent, questionable fashion choices (read: Ghajini success party), Jiah surprised us all by blowing everyone out of the water at her most recent red carpet appearance. The bold color of her floor length gown was stunning, particularly when coupled with the one-shoulder style and elegant draping of the dress. She was radiant with dewy makeup and fierce red lips. Mercifully, she pulled her hair up rather than wearing it loose which would have distracted from her chic look. Her hair and makeup evoke old Hollywood glamour. Photo Source.

What Happened To Our Dhak-Dhak Girl?

If you caught Aaja Nachle, you will agree that Madhuri Dixit has only gotten better with age. A marriage and two kids later, La Dixit is still the Queen Bee of Bollywood which is why her appearance at the Slumdog Millionaire premiere in Mumbai was all the more disappointing. First off, it looks like little to no effort was put into her hair as it looks more like a result of scrunch-and-air-dry than anything else. Her makeup is ultra-matte which makes it harsh and screams "middle-aged mom" rather than diva. I wish she had gone with dewy skin with a slight shimmer and glossy lips. Note: for maturing skin, skip full-coverage, matte foundation in favor of a lighter foundation combined with an illuminator. Matte products will only serve to emphasize fine lines and will add ten years to your appearance, whereas a slight shimmer will create a glowy effect that will diminish the effects of age. Think of it as photoshop in a bottle.

As far as her choice for eveningwear, her boring salwaar suit paired with chappals was a real snore. Seriously what happened to Aaja Nachle Madhuri who rocked out that black-teal lehnga? C'mon, you guys know what I'm talking about! Judging by the border on the sleeves and hemline, the salwaar appears to be a Manish Malhotra creation. If so, then it's the dowdy cousin of the anarkalis worn by the Kapoor sisters on Nach Baliye. Anyway, here's hoping this is a one-off for Mads and that she comes back as fierce as ever at her next public appearance!Photo Source.
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Momma Knows Best.

At the Mumbai premiere of Slumdog Millionaire, Ila Arun was certainly passable in her chudidaar-kurta. The heavy embroidery at the bust and the giant bindi were both a tad excessive, but the red-black-gold combination was a nice evening choice and gold bootis are always a favorite of mine.

Ishita Arun, on the other hand, could learn a few things from mummy dearest. Her outfit screams "Cinderella went Punjabi!" Did she borrow a little girl's dress up outfit, slap on gold chudidaars and think "Voila! This is brilliant"?!
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Slumdog @ SAG

The cast of Slumdog Millionaire just walked away with the Screen Actors' Guild Award for outstanding motion picture ensemble. The winning of the top award at the SAG Awards further cements what many of us already expect: Slumdog's position as the Oscar favorite.

As per usual, Freida Pinto et all did not disappoint on the red carpet. Lucky Freida got to make her entrance surrounded by the dapper likes of Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan and Dev Patel. Freida wore a Marchesa chiffon gown in a lovely periwinkle shade, which she accented with Martin Katz jewels and a Roger Viver clutch.

Photo Credits: AP, Getty Images

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jaane Tu ... Ya Jaane Na

Introducing first-time director Abbas Tyrewala as well as two newcomers - Imran Khan and Genelia D'Souza - Jaane Tu ... Ya Jaane Na is an uncomplicated tale that is high on laughs and low on drama and tears. Imran and Genelia play Jai Singh Rathore and Aditi, a couple of college friends in serious denial about being in love. Jai is a smooth-talking, peace loving guy who'd rather talk his way out of a scrape than fight, and Aditi is every inch his opposite.

I enjoyed the inventive story-in-story format in which Jai and Aditi's college friends retell the love story. Jaane Tu ... Ya Jaane Na is by no means a deep or thought-provoking movie. It is exactly what it holds itself out to be: a lighthearted peek into the lives of Indian college kids. Since the plot is fairly simple devoid of major drama, and the writing is unremarkable, this movie relies almost entirely on the chemistry of the young actors Imran, Genelia and those who play their college pals. In particular, Imran (who happens to be Aamir Khan's nephew), will be a force in Bollywood movies with his as-yet boyish, charm. Genelia captures the conflicted flirty and feisty aspects of her character. Mercifully, the director chose to cast actual twenty-year-olds to portray characters in their early twenties, rather than say Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra.

Not that they stole the spotlight away from the young cast, but the movie includes a number of Bollywood "big guns" in small but important roles. Naseruddin Shah's role as Jai's father is priceless. Paresh Rawal as Inspector Waghmare brings a level of comedy you would expect out of him. Arbaaz and Sohail Khan play a pivotal and comic role.

A little necessary drama is introduced by Manjari Fadnis who plays Meghna, Jai's itnerim love interest. Meghna's character provides the necessary spark for Aditi to discover her true feelings for Jai. I do believe that Meghna's parents were a little too over the top and were distracting from the story. Meanwhile, Aditi also meets somebody she thinks is Mr. Right. However these plot twists were necessary to the unfolding of the story and didn't seem to be terribly excessive. I'll note here that I am still mystified by Aditi's parents' names. Anyway, this movie had just the right amount of twists and turns to keep me interested, and was packed into a movie that never elicited the "when is this movie going to end?" response.

JTYJN has its share of filmi dance sequences. However, I wouldn't watch this film just for the esake of costumes or dances. While the songs are catchy, the dance choreography is more along the lines of what you might expect with college students. Nothing is overly stylized and choreograhped. However, with A.R.Rahman as the music director, the songs were certainly catchy in a techno-pop kind of way. "Pappu Can't Dance" and "Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindagi" were the most hummable tracks, but the rest fit right in with the college kid theme of the movie.

JTYJN did an excellent job of capturing the exuberance and anxieties of young love as well as the carefree time period between college fun and the "real world" of jobs and bills. It was a fun and entertaining film that never for a moment masqueraded as something deeper. JTYJN is well worth a watch if you're looking for a fun time-pass.

Long live the Ranjore ke Rathores!

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Gitanjali Luxury Style Fest: Wendell Rodericks.

The LBD is the quintessential wardrobe staple that is always a safe fall back answer to the "What to wear?" question. However, the Wendell Rodericks collection represents the venerable LBD gone horribly, horribly wrong. The designs worn by Neetu Chandra and Sonali Kulkarni were totally unflattering to their body types. Hell, I don't think any body type would look all that great in these creations.

The rest of the collection was fairly blah. Nothing spectacular.

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Gitanjali Luxury Style Fest: Rohit Bal.

Known for his blend of fantasy with artistic construction, Rohit Bal is an inventive designer whose whimsical designs often resemble walking art work.

I loved the hot pink, red and black color scheme, as well as the pink flower motif on the male model in Rohit Bal's trademark jodhpurs.

Neha Dhupia was red-hot on the ramp. The girl has quite the runway presence!

IMHO, a couple of the pieces Rohit Bal showcased at Gitanjali fell a little short of his high standard. Almost as if he ran out of creative inspiraiton. For instance, the design pictured at left: I couldn't help but wonder what my bathroom rug was doing draped on a model.
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