Posts Tagged ‘Glamor’

The glittering glamour world of India is and has always been an aspiration for majority of the youth. People in India idolize film stars and worship them. The world of entertainment attracts thousands of people all over the year viz. models, middle class people, musicians, actors trying to get a break and become famous. People leave their homes and families glared by the attractive side of the industry. Drawn by the intoxicating and flashy allure, all these aspirants see themselves as Amitabh Bacchan, Shahrukh Khan and Aishwariya Rai!

But what we don’t understand is that just as there is a dark side to the moon, there is a dark side to this shining industry as well. It is full of ‘behind the curtain’ stories that are not shown on the screen, that do not make the headlines and that are taken off the records.

Multimillion-dollar bungalows and sleek black Porches & Ferraris serve both, as an inspiration and a frustrating reminder of how far away the dream still is. This frustration devastates the lives of the wannabes, in the end. People with ambitions come and in the process, get lost in the fast moving world. There are a lot of unforeseen circumstances which take place and project the bad side of the glamour world. But by the time people realize, it is too late.

It is not just glamour, glory and grandeur. Behind the scenes are the toil, challenges, hardships and rigors. It is a laborer’s job and one has to withstand mental, creative pressure. Respect comes after a lot of slog and those who cannot cope up, succumb badly. It is not as rosy as it looks unless one has a family hierarchy in the industry, a huge amount of cash or the backing of a rich businessperson willing to invest!


Victim: Raj Kiran

Immediately related to ‘Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho…’ and recalled as the one who played Rishi Kapoor’s ‘pre-incarnation’ in Subhash Ghai’s ‘Karz’, actor Raj Kiran had gone missing for almost a decade. Later, he was also assumed dead by his friends. However, some of his friends and co-actors refused to believe his death rumors and decided to launch a search for their missing friend.  The entire search process commenced with the Facebook campaign of Deepti Naval who had acted with the actor in the film ‘Hip Hip Hurray’. She posted on the social networking site, “Looking for a friend from the film world, his name is Raj Kiran – we have no news of him – last heard he was driving a cab in NY city, if anyone has any clue, please tell…” “All we need to know is that Raj Kiran is okay somewhere… would love to reach out to him… he is a good actor – remember ‘Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho – kya gham hai jisko chhupa rahe ho…’ she said.   Meanwhile, actor Rishi Kapoor took it upon himself to find out. During a recent trip to the US, he looked up to Raj’s elder brother, Govind Mehtani to get more information – and that is when the truth was established. Raj Kiran has been fending for himself, without any family support at a mental health home in Atlanta. Says Rishi, “I’ve been wondering where Raj had disappeared. The question was haunting me for a very long time. Then these rumors of Raj being no more began doing the rounds. I was really disturbed. How can a colleague with whom I shared some really good times just vanish from the face of earth? I decided to look up Raj’s elder brother Govind Mehtani to find out about Raj.” But the irony is that his brothers – Govind and Ajit – had deserted him in his time of need. They didn’t even have a contact number to pass on to Rishi Kapoor. The actor was abandoned by his son and wife long back. The incident resulted in erratic mood swings and an acute mental depression. He was institutionalized in India before he was shifted to the US. He looks after his own treatment by working within the institution. It’s a heart-rending situation for an actor who was so successful at one time. Raj Kiran has worked in films like BR Ishaara’s Kaagaz Ki Nao, Ghar Ho To Aisa with Anil Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Deepti Naval and Kaaran apart from Subhash Ghai’s hit Karz and Mahesh Bhatt’s critically acclaimed Arth in the 1980s.

Victim: Parveen Babi   

Known for her glamorous long tresses, Parveen Babi was the sizzling glamour doll of the 70s and 80s. In her heydays, she romanced some of the best-looking men in the industry. Parveen never married but had relationships with many married men – director Mahesh Bhatt, actors Kabir Bedi and Danny Denzongpa. She was also strongly rumored to have had an affair with her co-star of many films, Amitabh Bachchan.   Parveen began her career with modeling and later shifted to the film industry. She was considered one of the most successful actors of her era. She starred in Deewar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Shaan, Namak Halal, Suhaag, Kala Patthar and others.   Like many other stars, she was also encircled in many controversies. She had accused many foreign dignitaries and her former co-star, Amitabh Bachchan, of conspiring to kill her, but her petition in court was dismissed for lack of evidence.   Parveen was too outspoken and openly talked about drugs; she even openly advocated her free love. However, she completely vanished from the industry in the mid-80s. She reportedly suffered from schizophrenia and sought mental solace through alternative contemporary spirituality. Parveen had then shifted to New York and when she returned, she was unrecognizable as her former self after having put on a considerable amount of weight.    Parveen had withdrew herself from the public due to her mental instability. She was found dead in her Mumbai apartment on January 22, 2005 after her residential society secretary complained to the police that she had not collected milk and newspapers from her doorstep for the past two days. The whole industry went gaga with her on-screen presence. But she died a lonely, controversial and forgotten death.

Victims: Geetanjali Nagpal, Renu Rathi 

The journey from ramp to road is very frequent when it comes to modeling. The story of Geetanjali Nagpal, a designer turned model, is hard to believe. She was one of the top models appearing in the best of advertisements with brands like Lakme. Geetanjali once walked over ramp with Miss Universe 1994, Sushmita Sen in the 90s and others of same class.    The model is believed to have been a victim of drug abuse and alcohol addiction. She was rescued from the pavements in the national capital by a team from Delhi Commission for Women. They found her living off the streets, spending her nights in parks and temples and working as a maid. She also spent her nights with men for money to quell her craving for drugs.   After she was rescued from begging at a posh market in Delhi, she was admitted to VIMHANS Hospital, where doctors diagnosed her as suffering from fear psychosis. Similar is the story of the model Renu Rathi. She was found on the streets outside her rented flat in Bandra, Mumbai. She was allegedly lying there for two days without food or water after her landlord allegedly ‘threw her out’. Not being able to get success under big banners, Renu had turned to drugs.


Everyone, be it you or me, desires instant acquisition of money and fame. But it doesn’t take long before these ambitions get lost in the big, bad world, where there is ruthless competition in every step of ascent to the top. Unpredictability of personal relationships, lack of privacy, high depression levels and ever-increasing ego problems with the competitors also pop up with time. For some, the pressure is too much to bear, which pushes them towards dark paths of drugs, alcohol and crime.   It is worth pursuing as a career only if one is well aware of the pros and cons and is willing to cope with the failures. And remember, not all that glitters is gold!

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The BWF has come up with new clothing regulations for the female Badminton players. The move came as a part of an overall campaign to raise the profile of women in Badminton and profile of the sport. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is the governing body for the sport of Badminton and has its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with an office in Lausanne, Switzerland. The rule 19.2 of the General Competition Regulation requires female players to wear skirts or wrap arounds for Level 1 to 3 tournaments. This specific regulation has its genesis in the extensive review into the marketing and events structure conducted by an external international marketing agency in 2009.

The new rule was supposed to be enforced on May 1, 2011, the date from which the 2012 Olympic qualification period begins. But it has been granted a month’s extension and it will come into effect from June 1. The game’s governing body said that the postponement would give enough time to the shuttlers to adapt to this change. Also, it will provide an opportunity for its members to understand the reasons behind this rule, leading up to its May 28 Annual General Meet in Qingdao, China. Thus, now, the Li Ning Singapore Open, which will be held at the Indoor Stadium from June 14 to 19, will be the first tournament where all female badminton players must wear a skirt.

The BWF has developed guidelines to implement this rule, to ensure that it will not, in any way discriminate against any religious or other beliefs and respect women. Players can continue to wear shorts if they wish but they need to wear a skirt over the top of the shorts, as is often practiced already by some players.



“Sometimes it is necessary to make rules to get a consistent implementation. BWF have for many years encouraged both, Badminton clothing manufacturers and players, to produce and wear clothing that would enhance the presentation of the game in general. We are, however, always willing to listen to the players, which is why we have decided to delay the implementation date … to be able to advise and have a dialogue with the players on the implementation guidelines.”

SAINA NEHWAL (World number 3 Indian shuttler)
“The stadium is always packed whenever I play, even if I’m in shorts. Let’s see how well they can promote the sport through

this rule. I am sure it will be made optional after two months. Badminton is a lot about jumping and running across the court. Once the players start getting uncomfortable doing this while wearing skirts, I am sure they will fight against the rule together.”

JWALA GUTTA (India’s doubles specialist)
“I have no problems because I wear skirts on and off the court. I think they are just trying to glamorize the sport. But I don’t think it’s the right way. You cannot make it compulsory for everyone to wear skirts. It depends on each individual and their comfort level. I am not sure people will like being told what to wear and what not to.”

ASHWINI PONNAPPA (India’s doubles specialist)
“I personally feel happy about it because I am quite comfortable wearing it. But I know a lot of girls would not be comfortable with it. It is quite interesting for those who like it. A lot of Indian girls like wearing shorts as they have always played with shorts but even in skirts, you can wear shorts underneath it, so it would take a little time for them to get used to it.”

YASMIN ABRAR (National Commission for Women – India)
“Sports should be treated as sports. Forcing a dress code to make a game attractive is wrong. What is important is your performance, not what you wear.”

NORA PERRY (Former world champion, Head – BWF Women in Badminton Working Group)
“I am thrilled to be part of putting the women’s game higher on the agenda in the BWF. And the new clothing regulations are one of the tools that can help create a better presentation and more distinct profile of the women’s game. We need to be able to differentiate the women’s game to create the attention that the women’s

game deserves. Being a woman myself, I do not think that the rules in any way discriminate against women. The rules give sufficient room for the players to chose comfortable clothing and still be living up to the intentions of the regulations.”

LILIYANA NATSIR (Mixed doubles world champion – Indonesia)
“I wear skirts or such dresses only in special occasions, but never in tournaments. Skirts hamper my movement when I play.”

“Most of the time, I just want to find an excuse not to wear a skirt. Just the way you play, it’s really different. Your movement is limited. Thankfully, this rule is only for BWF events, not local ones.”

GREYSIA POLII (Women’s doubles specialist – Indonesia)
“I have no problem with it. If some people are not comfortable with it, I think it should be made optional. I believe this rule was made with the best intentions. Let’s just hope that it will do the sport good and more sponsors do come in to support Badminton.”

SHANTANU AND NIKHIL MEHRA (Fashion designers – Sports)
“What is important is the comfort of the players. They should be allowed to wear what they want.”

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How does it feel like to be a part of ‘The Hutheesing Family’?
With every privilege, comes responsibility. Therefore, when you hold a powerful legacy or are a member of such a family, it is a huge responsibility. This is because of not only people’s expectations, but also your own code of conduct. For e.g. If everybody is highly educated in your family, you need to maintain those standards. Hutheesing family has over the years, earned a lot of money and even spent and donated it well. Now, to donate, you need to earn and be wealthy. This in itself is a pressure! And wealth is not only about money. Education is wealth, respect is wealth and achievements are also wealth. I think it is a privilege for anyone to be born in a good family. There is nothing like a bad family, though! But by the term ‘good’ Imean ‘historic’. And when Hutheesing family has done immense work for the city, it is our duty to take it forward. And very often, this may even take a priority over your lifestyle or your own self!

True. You studied science and banking. So was this one of the reasons for the switch to this field?
Yes I have studied business & marketing from America and then studied banking at Japan. I am not an art student. I have inherited the institutes that I run. The institutes are mainly involved with art, culture, heritage and other historical activities. But what people forget is that even art &culture, hospitals, religious trusts – all require management. There should be accounts on the income and expenditure of the money, a legal structure and many other aspects have to be looked after.

How do these institutes differ from each other? (The Hutheesing Foundation, Hutheesing Art Gallery, Hutheesing Trust)

  • You must have heard of the ‘Maslow’s Law of Hierarchy’. It talks about the five basic human needs viz. food, procreation, clothing, housing and finally it comes to ego. Now, I have crafted five different abstracts that are perhaps ‘My Laws of Hierarchy’ and this is how I believe our society functions.
  • The first thing that any human being needs is HOPE. More than food, we need hope. If we have hope, we will live another day. But if we don’t have it, all our motivation will be lost. And who gives us hope? God gives us hope! Even a person who says he is an atheist, a non-believer in God, trusts Him as a divine power. If your child is dying and you cannot find a cure for his suffering, you will surely turn to God. So, God gives us hope and that hope keeps the society balanced and moving ahead. Therefore, we have the Hutheesing Trust that manages temples and derasars.
  • After hope, we want GOOD HEALTH. More than education, we need health. And so, we built the Hutheesing Civil Hospital. This hospital became the largest public charitable hospital in the world, with 4700 beds.
  • We have hope and good health. Next, we need EDUCATION. So we came up with the Ahmedabad Education Society, for which I serve as the governing body.
  • Being educated is not enough, we need CULTURE. And so we have The Hutheesing Visual Art Centre that teaches art and culture.
  • After all these comes HERITAGE, our values, our lineage, our history. So, there is Hutheesing Heritage Foundation.
  • The Hutheesing Family as these 5 trusts and all these trusts address different things. Each of these is important for the society to function. These are all independent and have their own systems. But there is a lot to follow up on.

How do you manage to justify all these roles?
I cannot say that I manage all these institutes. This has come down through the generations. And hence, each generation has to make its own contribution and leave its own mark, however big or small. It’s not that I have set up and all these and I manage them. No! There are systems, there have to be. Say for instance, the Prime Minister does not run the country. The IAS does. PMs keep changing. So, there are systems. Wherever and however I can contribute, I do!

One question out of personal experience. This Haveli, in spite of being so gorgeous, has less visibility. Why is it that people don’t know about it?
Because it’s private and not open to the public. It’s our home and not a museum or a hotel. It is a stately home and so many people of historical importance have stayed here. Also, it has been a home for the family since several generations. So, we would like to maintain that honor of the family.

Your views on Heritage Week and people’s perspectives. 
See I’ll tell you, I don’t believe in the celebration of all these days. Mothers’ day, fathers’ day, lovers’ day, secretaries’ day, rose day, today fingers’ day, tomorrow will be hair’s day… Nooooo! In other cultures and traditions, everyday is a day when you pursue what you believe in. There is no time-table where each hour is dedicated to a subject, like we did in schools. All tasks are done simultaneously to do good to the society. I believe these celebrations are needed for a larger audience. But we can’t take them too seriously. It is silly. If you really want to value and preserve our heritage, then do something concrete about it. The taste of the food comes from eating, not from the recipes. The ground realities are quite different. Government cannot reach everywhere, if people are really interested, then they should be encouraged to preserve their own heritage. And in turn, if everyone does this, the heritage of the city too, will be well preserved.

To what extent does the Government support with regards to this issue?

Government may come up with any role. Let’s take for example, ASI. Ahmedabad has 52 ‘A’ grade monuments, recognized by ASI, which is more than the Old Delhi. (There are gradations of the historical monuments. There are global categories. A historical palace and a Haveli in a Pol will not have the same grades. They both are heritage, but the grades define their level of importance) Some places of historical importance in Ahmedabad are really filthy. It is the Government’s duty to maintain them. However, there are communal and political issues that obstruct the maintenance. And heritage is a complex issue as it is multi-cultured. But we need to look beyond religion. Whatever heritage is present on Indian soil is Indian heritage. Hats off to our CM Narendrabhai, he has started the Sarkhej Roza fest and does many other such things. But I feel the support is not there! Then there is Heritage Tourism and we have Amitabh Bachchan as the ambassador. But where is the necessary infrastructure? Geer – no proper roads, indefinite availability of jeeps, no proper hotels, no cleanliness. Modhera Temple – fantastic, but when you go there, you find that there are no washrooms! Marketing is necessary, but ground level facilities are a prior necessity. We Gujaratis are very good at business and entrepreneurship. But we terribly lack at service. And art and culture is a part of the service industry, as it comes under entertainment. We have lost the spark. Where is Gujarati theatre? Where is Gujarati poetry?

So, what do you think can be done?
It is not a simple solution! Travel & tourism, art & culture, entertainment, events need to be excavated in Gujarat. Gujarat completely lacks in the glamour industry too, be it sports or political or any other. It could not make it to the IPL as well. There is huge amount of money in Gujarat, but zero glamour. And the aspiration of the youth, that constitutes 65% of India’s population, is nothing but to be a star. That is why the reality TV sells!

Glamour reminds me, you have the highest number of royal clothes in your wardrobe in India. How did you manage to get them?

A lot among them are inherited; many of them were bought by my grandparents and parents. Others are collected.

Since you are a fashion consultant as well, what’s your take on today’s fashion industry?
The fashion world today is buzzing. It is a very big industry around the world. Roti, kapda and makaan are the three basic necessities of any human being. And fashion is not an invention. It is a psychological and physiological need. If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you make other people feel better. So, remember – fashion is not shallow. It brings happiness. Apart from this, the fashion industry employs so many people. It is not an entity of the affluent class of the society. Do you mean to say, poor and middle class don’t wear clothes?! Everything has cascading effect. But the raw inspiration is translated and brought down to various levels, various standards and various groups of people. So it has great domino effect.

What drives the trends, the fashion industry and the mindsets?
People are inspired from movies for their fashion and they follow trends, so that is the impact of entertainment. According to me, the glamour industry is a great empowerment tool. Today lot many people are taking this industry as a career. Many youngsters and college grads start their own event management company. This industry has even reached the smaller villages. With such cascading effect, this is the reducing pressure on the urban society. People used to migrate for better opportunity and better quality of life but now they are going back taking urban phenomena back with them, at very less cost. Every product needs to be marketed, even politicians need to be marketed, that’s what they do with the use of different media. And entertainment is great marketing and it’s all done by the youth through modeling, event management, hair-styling, make-up etc. Every girl, be from a metro or from a village, likes to look prettier. We need to understand the combined impact of beauty, entertainment and fashion industry. If we can develop this culture and mindset in Gujarat, then lot many people will get employment. And more importantly, it is self-sufficient, no bank is required to loan for that. I tell you, I had started ‘Lakme India Fashion Week 12 years down the line. And today, there are so many fashion weeks being organized all across India, promoting so many young designers who in turn employ so many artisans. Government has not poured a single penny for it; still it feeds lakhs of people being self-sustained without the help of Government, NGOs or any other external support system. These are the kind of activities required to be performed in order to empower the youth.

Somewhere heritage is being linked with fashion…
Fashion, historically, always comes from the top. See… Today what Kate Middleton wore, that became the trend, the fashion. It always flows from top-down. People in great position and power are the derivatives for mass clothing. Even if you look at our traditional system, the jewels that our Kings and Queens used to wear are being replicated by other classes of the society. The diamonds may be replaced by silver, but designs are the same. There is street art, popular art, but all these are more functional. Today, the youth want style, not functions. Though it has to be functional, but it also has to be stylish. And I think these both can very easily blend. For example, a saree. None of the designers in India has invented it. It is there for 5000 years. Why are we so afraid of the word ‘Fashion’? I want to get this myth out; people think fashion is something frivolous. No, it’s not. Every human being needs clothes! Both, fashion and heritage are very important for the human society. A tree cannot grow tall without its roots and heritage is our roots. If you don’t take care of the roots or cut them off, then how would a tree grow? Grass will grow, but not a huge banyan tree!

Just to end with, 10 years down the line, what do see Gujarat as? Would it be a heritage state, industrial hub, education city or something related to fashion?
Let me tell you, it already is a hub for fashion. 40% of the manmade, synthetic fabric in India comes from Surat; Ahmedabad was the Manchester of East and is the largest producer of cotton and denims, 80% of the world’s diamonds pass from Surat. Clothes and jewellery, two most eminent parts of fashion come from Gujarat, what else is left to focus on?! But we need fashion to convert the raw materials to final product. It is the value addition where we are lacking. And by doing that, we can multiply our growth, in turn add income for the state and employ youth as well. This is my personal wish too! For this, we need education and insight. We have education institutes like NID, EDI, NIFT, NIJD etc., we have NGOs like SEWA, Kala Raksha, Shrujan etc., we have mills like Arvind, Ashima, Garden etc., we have textile museums like, Calico, Shreyas, TAPI collection in Surat; we have it all. Gujarat will be a great center for fashion. It will be a great learning center for education and it has been since history. First school of pharmacy, first entrepreneurship institute, ATIRA, first school of architecture, first school of design, IIM etc. – Ahmedabad is home to all these. The vision of Narendrabhai is to make Gujarat, a knowledge corridor and he will do it by encouraging knowledge investment. Every economy is driven by knowledge and Research & Development. If you have knowledgeable people, you can do R&D. Gujarat will be an industrial hub for sure, but it will also be a knowledge driven society in a span of couple of years. Gujarat will be rocking and it should be rocking. And we really will make it. What was missing, was a catalyst and I think those catalysts are here now! (You are the catalysts and this is what you people are doing! You are taking it to the masses. It has to be inclusive growth.)

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