A Barbie World

Happy plastic
Its fantastic

Whenever I hear these lines from Aqua’s Barbie doll I cant help thinking about Aishwarya Rai. I just dont like her….ever since she burst on the screen singing “Thora Sa Pagla thora deewana”. Initially I didnt like her because she could not act. She still cannot act (Exhibit A: Bride and Prejudice, exhibit B: all the rest of her movies) but my disliking of her is no longer based on her lack of histrionic ability. To be objective, my disliking of Aishwarya Rai is motivated not by who she is as a person but more as to what she stands for. Which to me is a manifestation of modern society’s corporate-sponsored worship of vacuous physical beauty to the exclusion of everything else.

Let’s look at Ash. No I didnt mean at her picture——–let’s look at her achievments vis-a-vis the Indian film industry. Some of her most fanatical fans may claim she can act but anyone who is analyzing with their brain knows that her acting is extremely artificial and stilted. Acting ability has not gotten in the way of Bollywood stars producing box-office hits but even here her record is abysmal. And yet she finds herself on the Cannes jury as the representative of the Indian (Hindi) film industry when far more deserving icons (Amitabh Bachchan) stay at home. The reason? Ash looks much better than Amitabh in a back baring dress. Ergo she gets on the jury rubbing shoulders with Martin Scorcese et al. The fact that she makes a fool of herself looking like rogued-up tart is quite besides the point.

But then there she is. The face of Indian cinema. The cross-over queen who shall do for Indian movies what Crouching Tiger did for the Chinese movie industry. Backed by Miramax—she was supposedly even invited to present an Oscar ! She’s on 60 minutes giggling like a 15 year old girl on a date. She’s on David Letterman’s—–rehearsed and stilted in all her plastic glory. Which would all have been fine if she was there as Aishwarya Rai. But no she was representing India—and that’s how the publicity machine both in US and India choose to drum her into public consciousness. Which is why I want to shout out—no no she does not represent me…..oh good lord no.

The same kind of objection I have with the new darling of the Indian media—Sania Mirza. Ok I got it—she won a couple of matches in a Grand Slam……….SO ? Does that justify the media circus around her or the fact that her endorsement earnings are just below Sachin and Saurav among all Indian sportsmen ! I mean Sachin and Saurav have reached their superstar status after years of consistent performance and here comes Ms Mirza—-a couple of victories and she is there ! Leander Paes had many significant victories—-the Davis Cup miracle they pulled off in France , his total demolition job of Goran Ivanisevic…..Ramesh Krishnan took out Wilander when he was World No 1 in the Australian Open. But here comes Sania and people are asking Leander who? Sania may go on to become one of India’s legendary sportspersons but she has done nothing till today that warrants the hype surrounding her. Her status is only because she has one common characteristic with Aish—she is easy on the eyes. Ramesh Krishnan’s pot belly vs Sania’s legs—–guess which one wins !

Why has beauty replaced ability? Why? What happens to overweight, male, talented people like me? Who will look after me and Arjuna Ranatunga ? Who?

14 thoughts on “A Barbie World

  1. regarding Ash – I will say that although I despise that woman for exactly the reasons you mention (I refuse to be represented by HER), I have to grudgingly grant that she deserves the publicity she’s getting.
    Not because she’s talented or anything, but because she is the first Indian actor who has figured out how to play the world media like her personal band. The little soundbites, the uncomfirmed rumours, just enough to always keep herself relevant, and lobbying to get herself important assignments. Given that most Westerners have no clue about Indian cinema but are all for diversity – they are only too happy to accept this gorgeous woman’s claim that she represents Indian cinema.

  2. And she is in the wax museum.. gosh !

    I think she has a very effective agent / publicist. And the media or the junta doesn’t think about rhyme or reason when they hype or idolize. They built a temple in the south for Khushboo, so why dint they build one for Rajni or ManiRatnam or even Sridevi ?

  3. Gamesmaster: Yes she has , in Madonna style, totally manipulated the media throughout her career. She is indeed a very intelligent woman who knows the art of self promotion to a T.

    Shruti: I dont think Maniratnam aroused the mass hysteria that Rajni does. I am puzzled as to why Rajni does not have a temple……..I would be the first to do Karseva for a temple to Rajni and Mithun-da.

  4. Well, I reached here thru ORKUT chain, and lemme tell you, although I also feel that Ash is one of the over-rated actors in the industry today; but she did a decent job in RAINCOAT!Call it director’s genius or whatever but for the first time, I think she did not have any awkward moments in the movie! Besides, I also wonder how she got to represent India because she does every possible thing not to look Indian (well, so does most of the others),but u got the point?What is Indian about her?Except the nationality!

  5. Ash does what she thinks is the most beneficial for her…she plays her Indian card when there is need to associate herself with the exotic mystique that is associated with India. Which again is fine I dont grudge Ash her little self-publicity games—it’s just that the media plays along with her and a lot of common people actually buy into the “face of India” thing

  6. Could not agree more on the hype surrounding Sania Mirza…high time we let Sania Mirza concentrate on her game. And let not the likes of Koneru Hampi forver remain unsung heroines!

  7. Agree wholeheartedly on the hype surrounding Sania Mirza..high time we let her concentrate on her game..also high time that we started taking notice of unsung heroines like Koneru Hampi!

  8. You could not be more spot-on with your views on sania…thumbs-up to the guy who wrote it?

  9. Whether any one likes it or not Aishwarya is famous. Her requirement of privacy prevents her from opening out in the press. Hints, rumours are not necessarily pumped in by her PR people. Some of the articles are very sarcastic and hateful about Ash. This itslef indicates that they are placed by someone who wants to attract attention. Say Ash exposes- This blog will get eyeballs. In the final analysis, Ash has done well abroad. Her new movies though slow in relase will show case her. EU award and other honors are regularly coming her way. All this cannot be manipulation or due to PR only. Grant her some substance or let some other Indian overtake her and shine. Criticise by all means but dont have the crab mentality.

  10. What a sad lot you are, Aishwarya gave brilliant perfomance in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Taal, Raincoat, Kuch Na Kaho. Stop concentrating on the negative points and focus on her positive points. Thats the problem with our people we dont recognize people in our country that do so much like Aishwarya

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  12. @Damien

    I got on this article a little late, but I totally agree with GB. She is one of the most irritating actress around. Same performance, and raincoat…. was a very average performance… good movie but a very very average performance… I am sorry to say that you have a bad taste in movies… but thats fine… atleast you have a good majority on your side. Taal was very bad. Hum Dil De chuke sanam was only good when Ajay Devagan was on the screen. Have you seen provoked… she cannot even act in a good defined role….

    @ GB I agree exactly to whatever you said….

  13. @Why has beauty replaced ability?

    The point in using beauty as a mouse-trap is obviously to combine the two most important life’s achievement: Sex and Wealth.

    This of course, works fine for everyone;

    Reaction to Beauty, be it from a male or a female:
    I want her/him
    I want to be her/him
    Beauty creates strong sexual and/or envy desires.

    Perfect and simple.

    Oh, might I add that this is not your best rant. I prefer the ones that are at least partly objective, informative and constructive.

    Thank you very much for your blog

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