Not People Like Us

Strictly Professional

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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Oh, for a Dream Debut! | Live and Let Live

Arjun Kapoor’s patience appears to have run out, especially with troublemakers who’re determined to portray him as an unprofessional party boy. The actor lashed out at a so-called ‘respectable’ film magazine recently for running a story that he’s had a falling out with his Half Girlfriend director Mohit Suri. To be fair, the magazine wasn’t the first to report the alleged tiff between the two, but Arjun made it a point to explain that he expected better from what he believed was a responsible publication.

Lately, stories have surfaced that Arjun wasn’t being professional during the shooting of the film, and that he handed a bill of Rs 150,000 to the film’s producers for his drinking and partying on an outdoor schedule. The actor rubbished the rumours, insisting that the only party he attended was one that was hosted by the producers themselves to celebrate his birthday, and that he reported to set bright and early at 7 am the following morning.

Arjun has also urged fans to apply common sense before believing such “nonsense”, which he is convinced is being bandied about by “people with an agenda” to malign him. He makes the argument that being a producer’s son himself, he would never burden them with bills of his extravagances.

Oh, for a Dream Debut!

Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s teenage daughter Sara is reportedly gearing up to make her debut in Agneepath director Karan Malhotra’s comedy starring Hrithik Roshan. The film will be produced by Karan Johar, so it’s not hard to see why Sara may have decided it’s a worthy project to kick off her career with. But sources close to the family reveal that Sara’s mum Amrita is less than ecstatic about her daughter’s decision. Some are saying it’s because she thinks Sara should star opposite an actor close to her own age.

Others are saying Amrita would’ve liked Sara to have at least considered making her debut opposite one of Sunny Deol’s two sons, who’re also being groomed to become actors. Amrita, after all, made her own big screen bow opposite Sunny all the way back in 1983in Betaab, and the two remain close friends.

Live and Let Live

The tabloids, and those pesky paparazzi sites in particular, have not been kind to this star wife whose appearance at a public event recently was minutely dissected. Self-styled experts and opinion makers noted that the elegant lady in question looked ‘puffy’. Some have suggested that “she’s had work done recently” and hence the “startling new look”. Others said she “looked a lot like” a has-been actress who made her debut opposite her husband.

This insensitive commentary is not unlike the intense scrutiny that Hollywood star Renee Zellweger was subjected to in 2014 when she made a rare public appearance after many years away from the spotlight. The actress famously wrote an op-ed for The Huffington Post slamming a section of the media for its obsession with what they described as her ‘transformation’, and for pretty much insisting that she’d had cosmetic surgery.

Three years ago, an American film critic faced a fitting backlash after he callously went after actress Melissa McCarthy in a review of her then new film Identity Thief. The New York Observer’s Rex Reed called McCarthy ‘tractor-sized’, a ‘screeching, humongous creep’, and a ‘female hippo’.

Incidents like these—including the one involving the Bollywood actor’s wife—are a reminder of deep- rooted prejudices against women over 40 who choose to conduct their lives in the public eye. The media’s harsh judgment of their appearance is reflective of blatant hypocrisy at play. When was the last time the press went after one of our 40-plus male stars? Shame.

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