If one has been following this space, I would not blame the reader for thinking that I had been taken over by some sort of consuming frenzy of an obsession with our Bollywood film stars. Either that, or had turned into a licensed couch-potato—an offshoot of the Covid effect—and thus, watch as much TV as possible, arranging my schedule around the idiot box, to the extent of letting my bed-tea grow lukewarm while standing at attention in front of whatever is on. (By the way, here cannot miss saying, that eons ago, bed-tea went out of the window…where’s the time to wrap a cup round your palm and sip with a mind calm and placid, savouring your Darjeeling?!) Yes, last time this strip was crammed with Kangana Ranaut.
This time I intend to start off with Kareena Kapoor and possibly, if space doesn’t, characteristically so, run out, wind up with, what one would think, the never-ever seen in the entire Universe, Wedding of Katrina and Vicky. So, we all know, even those who solely beam into news channels, that Kareena Kapoor Khan is all over. (Fine, so is Shah Rukh, the senior Bachchan and Akshay Kumar but…but Kareena basks on the screen, sultry, kohl-rimmed eyes and ever-pouting mouth in place, taking narcissism to an ear-drubbing pitch.) In the span of half an hour she is seen deftly frying perfectly round pakoras that would be reason enough for a final round contestant in a Masterchef show to run for cover. Here she’s promoting a certain cooking oil or was it a salt brand…the next moment she is about to be hosting a dinner party, with an impeccably laid table, ponderously wondering what was missing.
An English maid, with a frilly apron tied tight to her skirt is standing, with a craned neck eye in the backdrop. Right out of the Victorian ages, this maid. Kareena discovers that the air needed to be freshened, so out comes an air-freshener, with her being pleased as peach, out-and-out “perfect” arrangement. A little later, she sashays in a body-hugging dress, schooling the viewer how this Versova fragrance breezily morphs you into a Diva. The watcher would not give a toss, yet is held hostage since the programme being watched keeps slipping or screeching into a break, and if one gets up to dish out dinner or change into one’s casuals, then what one sat down to see in the first place would be missed by a few minutes. Then again, dear Kareena is promoting how medicines can be delivered safely with the click of a button, at your home, packed in sanitized cardboard boxes. Netmeds! And yes, when she was pregnant with her first child, there she was nurturing some pregnancy kit which in minutes would tell you whether the stork was bestowing a baby your way or not. Pregnanews! Let’s skip the commercials, whether of high-crust jewellery or run-of-the-mill namak, the heroine believes it is a must to post what she is doing at all hours—whether it is cuddling her newborn or taking an-only-family holiday up in Palampur methinks, or how, soon after her second baby, she had, in unmatched, time, popped out another baby—a book, titled, “Pregnancy Bible”. The million-dollar question: when one cannot survive cum thrive without this limelight, without the smugness of being in public consciousness, why pose as someone who is self-contained and regal?!
Last heard, Kareena was down with Covid—of course, one sincerely wishes her a speedy recovery—but bawling like a baby, crying buckets of tears while enlightening lesser mothers the world over, that she was missing her kids, couldn’t cope without them since she had been cordoned-off, quarantined till she was back on her feet?! NDTV carrying the running line: “Covid-Positive Kareena in Quarantine Missing her Babies”. Nails go practically raw scratching the skull—while she is running in circles endorsing a circus for more and more moolah, when does she have the time to croon soft lullabies or spoon mashed potatoes in their mouths?! In other words, ordinary mothers having been hit by Covid were not fretting whether their kids had eaten or were being taken care of, not by high-end nannies but simply by both the apathetic and bone-tired part-time maid who had her own brood to feed, to worry to death about?! Motherhood, Kareena Kapoor Khan’s special, even exclusive patent?! Enough!
Now for the unsurpassed wedding. Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal tying a love-bound knot or a commercial one?! Were they entering into holy matrimony or was it, “all about the money, honey”?! Was theirs a wedding which was real or reel?! Were they so immersed in playing the role of bride and bridegroom that they quite forgot, amidst the bejewelled walls done up for the occasion at Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur’s “Six Senses Resort” that “this” was not a majestically grand movie set, where they were the resplendent stars?! Or were they well aware that this was their wedding, with every expression, from every angle, being captured on camera, and so they had to act out each emotion flawlessly?! And that they were more than comfortable with this performance supremo?! The guests were accorded codes, did not go by their names, were prohibited from taking their mobiles, lest they click, snap up a picture or two of the four-day long spectacular event. Made to sign a confidentiality contract. Why ever so? Word has it that the couple intends to sell the gala affair to some streaming OTT platform for a whopping Rs 80 crores for the Wedding Bells to be made into a web series. Insatiable greed, a voracious money-grabbing appetite?! Licensed avarice?! Whatever name one wishes to call it, really is insignificant. One is at a soulless space, that’s what all one can say. Sonu Sood, a rare species, who gave and gave, crores and crores of rupees during the Covid ravaged times, and had the Income Tax department knocking at his door as way of reward.
For now, I have said my peace. My New Year Resolution: shan’t be touching Bollywood with a bargepole in 2022. And here’s to step, with bated breath, yet march forth, into the New Year!
Dr Renée Ranchan writes on socio-psychological issues, quasi-political matters and concerns that touch us all.