Saturday, October 06, 2007

Suggestion for the day: wax in vain

Bollywood celebrities, we are repeatedly told, are in vogue all over the world, what with Shilpa Shetty slaying racists on British reality TV and Salman Khan slaying the English language in an American-produced film. Now Madame Tussaud’s, that grossly overpriced wax museum, is in felicitation mode, planning a statue of Salman to go with its existing ones of Amitabh, Aishwarya and Shah Rukh. But I think this is a serious waste of money and effort when other candidates exist who are already in an advanced state of ossification.
I speak in particular of Jeetendra, whom I last saw more than a decade ago, when he was over 50 but modeling for something called “30-plus”. So it was immensely surprising to find that he was one of the judges on a dance show called “Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa” and that, remarkably, his appearance didn’t seem to have changed at all from those Sadaa Suhagan/Sindoor/Tohfa days spent in the company of Jaya Prada-Sridevi-Baby Guddu. But as the show progressed, I began to suspect that something was wrong. This Jeetendra looked human all right, especially in the long-shots, but close-ups revealed that only his eyes moved and the rest of him was stiff (if well-preserved). Obviously, parts of his face had been carefully worked on by Norman Bates (“needles, thread, sawdust…the chemicals are the only things that cost anything”). The only other possibility is that the show’s producers have cleverly put together a remote-controlled robot to fill in for him, but this is too far-fetched. (Still, it’s fitting somehow that his daughter has spent the better part of the last decade providing us with homegrown versions of the Stepford Wives.)
And then there’s Dev Anand who, as recent posts may have indicated, has been haunting my dreams for days now. The DVD accompanying his book features him bounding about a room, nodding his head manically and saying things like “Helloooo, dear friends, it’s meeee, Dev Anand, saying hiii to all his fans!”, trying very hard to look alive but not succeeding. The man is still 16 years old in spirit and one must commend this spirit etc, but the evidence of our eyes reminds us that his corporeal bits turned 16 in the month that the Second World War began. And they’re falling apart now. (His corporeal bits, not our eyes.)
I’m not sure whether this refusal to look old is vanity or a collective hormonal imbalance, but either way Madame Tussaud’s can afford to downsize some of their sculptors. All they need to do with these gentlemen is overlay a thin coating of wax and stand them upright in the “Bollywood” section. That way, they can turn their attentions to Salman 40 years hence.

To paraphrase a black-haired Dharmendra in Johnny Gaddaar, "It's not the age, it's the dotage!"
[Note: family members advised me against writing this, saying, “Be respectful of elders.” But since the people mentioned here are so young at heart, I’m sure they won’t mind. Besides, they have no strands of white hair and I have several.]


  1. Oh you mentioned "30-Plus"!! that was priceless, Jai

    and btw, are you planning to review divisadero? English Patient has been one of my favourites. really hope you do

  2. Hi Jab,
    english patient was a bore for me. i loved running in the family.
    ah. the power of botox, we have tradition here mind you. and getting botoxed is now part of our culture and tradition. so dont scoff at our culture my dear young man.

  3. Jai, What about the great Yusuf Sahib who looks as if his whole body might disintegrate any moment he showss up for an award night or somehing of the sort ,yet his hair are jet black . Imagine jet black hair on a man whose skin looks like molten Wax.

    P.S This is true for most of our ageing stars.

  4. hahahaha..this is insanely funny...specially the Dev Anand part(s)

  5. "Imagine jet black hair on a man whose skin looks like molten Wax."

    I think absurdity has no nationality. How about you Google 'Alistair Darling', click on images and share with us all what you think of the contrast between his brows and his hair? :-)

  6. AI: Have had to shelve it after reading 20 pages. Not because I didn't like it but because other books (for review) had to be prioritised.

    Haggy Paggy: my deepest apologies to Indian Culture, Jeetendra, Ekta Kapoor, Botox and lobotomized saas-bahus all over India, not necessarily in that order.

    Shwet: unfortunately I've only seen a couple of recent photos of Yusuf sahib at award functions, so technically I still don't know whether the man can actually move any of his body parts.

  7. Radhika: Devsaab has many funny "parts". I might be setting up a separate blog soon just to transcribe passages from Romancing with Life.

    Anon: I see what you mean, but at least Darling has white hair.

  8. Jai,

    First and foremost, thanks for writing about Johny Gaddar especially after what all trash rediff-junta has to say about that movie. JG's soundtrack reminded of Tarantino's style, and by any chance the name "Johny G" in the movie taken/inspired from Memento?

    And Jai, your blog has almost become an addiction...the first thing I do after reaching office is: check if there's any new post. Honestly, I've loved almost evrything that you've written: reviews,views about religion, and some absolutely funny posts about movies like Katha. Thanks for putting up such an interesting blog.

    P.S. : Do you review/write-about Mistry/Rushdie's books? If you've any posts on them, please share.

  9. Where is the longer review of Devsaab's autobiography? Pls post it with the funny bits and your commentary. I am sure your editors must have censored bits of it in the official version.

  10. LOL! Norman Bates & Stepford Wives... :-D

  11. The Salman statue makes no sense unless his face is dripping with blood. The statue should have a roast leg of blackbuck in one hand and a hobo impaled on a crowbar in the other.

  12. Alok: done. Check.

    Anangbhai: And with the Aishwarya Rai statue clinging to his leg?

    Puneet: thanks muchly! I don't think I've posted at length about Rushdie and Mistry's novels (have only read one Mistry anyway) but might have put up something about some of Rushdie's non-fiction writings, like the essays in Step Across this Line.

  13. Capital! to borrow Sherlockian vocab.