Magazine Wars: November
On the cover: Sonam Kapoor. The tag line says “Meet the girl behind the fashion, the films, the fame”. But sadly, we have met her. Many, many times before. To mix things up a little, Vogue does give us Kapoor in close-up! But, Kapoor, who we admit can only answer the same questions in so many different ways, is forced to rehash quotes from her September interview with Harper’s Bazaar. In short: she doesn’t give a shit about what people think, is obsessed with clothes, does get freebies and thinks Ranbir Kapoor is a wet blanket who gets his toe nails cut by his mother.
Read it: “Jenny Back on the Block”, a superbly badly timed piece on actress-singer Jennifer Lopez that was done just one month before she announced her divorce from Marc Anthony. Though Lopez says the two are as happy as two stars in love can pretend to be, she does provide an inkling of her impending divorce, by hinting “It’s getting increasingly harder” to balance work life, their marriage and children. “This Man Will Make You Sexy”, about half-American, half-French designer Joseph Altuzarra, simply because he says: “I also get that a bra is important. Designers don’t often think about that with crazy backless pieces”. The “Light and Shadow” fashion spread shot by Paolo Roversi is ethereal and not a little eerie, and perhaps to reflect the current melancholic mood of the world, shot through a dreary grey-blue filter. The “7 Rules of Blush”, because there’s a technique to applying it that could give the round-faced among us cheekbones. “Heaven and Earth”, where author Pico Iyer turns a puff piece on choosing Vietnam as a honeymoon destination into something poetic.
Don’t bother: “Set in Stone”, a suspisciously promotional looking photo spread on Indian jewellery; “Leading the Way”, because if we read one more wedding-focused article that profiles Tarun Tahiliani, we might vomit (instead, watch Lady Gaga refer to Tahiliani as a woman in this video); “By Special Order” where actress Lara Dutta getting her Louis Vuitton vanity case monogrammed with her initials apparently seems to qualify as feature-worthy; The “Laws of Attraction” photospread of nine of the “country’s sexiest couples”, which is less about showing the shirtless, oiled chests of its subjects and more about finding innovative ways of displaying the jewellery of its advertisers. There’s also a weird Maxim-ish vibe about the photoshoot than generally befits a magazine of Vogue’s stature. Vogue tests out Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime in an “exclusive” except that Elle beat them to it by two months.
On the cover: The breathtakingly lovely Jyothsna Chakravarthy, almost unrecognisable on this cover in berry lipstick and a plunging gown by Alpana & Neeraj. Inside, Chakravarthy, like in the June Harper’s Bazaar issue, seems doomed to fall prey to the whimsies of fashion directors who like to “ugly up” pretty models.
Read it: “The Influencers”, mini profiles of 25 hot shots in the fields of fashion, art, literature, music , film and sport, like model Angela Jonsson (she’s heading to Bollywood!), artist Ranjani Shettar (her works were displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York), hockey player and Olympic hopeful Rani Rampal (she’s just 17), and New York-based chef Jehangir Mehta (he works from 9am to 4am). Read at risk of feeling like an under-achiever. ”Beautiful Creatures”, which uses photos of the cute furry (and baby) inmates of the lovely Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals in Parel to persuade you to donate money (it works). “Dream Maker, Heartbreaker”, a reprint of a 1991 interview with Audrey Hepburn just a year before she died. Hepburn’s succinct turns of phrase (on Gregory Peck: “fabulous charmer, isn’t he?”) are a graceful reminder that once upon a time, Hollywood actors were erudite, elegant and could form complete sentences without resorting to “love”, “like” and “amaahzing”.
Don’t bother: The “Fantasy Art” photo spread, where a model walks among neo-classical sculptures in a museum in such underwhelming clothes that we prefer the nude sculptures. “Model Behaviour” with Rachel Bayros is a seemingly random collation of facts, including her love for designer Kallol Datta.
On the cover: Kalki Koechlin in an unattractive bouffant and raccoon eye make-up that make the normally impish actress look like a gawky child star who hasn’t quite mastered the art of applying make-up. Inside, Koechlin, made to channel 1960s mod, probably sums up best our sentiments about this interview when she says of herself: “I’m sick of Kalki, man, sick of hearing my own voice.”
Read it: “Label Alert”, which spotlights the crazy digital print scarves of label Kundalini Arts.
Don’t bother: Two comedians debate the “Can Women By Funny?” argument, except Sorabh Pant’s rationale that all women are good-looking and have lovely personalities and therefore don’t need to “lower” themselves to making wisecracks is so fatuous that we’re hoping this was Grazia’s way of being subversively ironic. In other words, choose an idiot to make a nonsensical argument, and inadvertently prove that men aren’t funny either. “Show Me The Money, Honey”, where rich people offer up advice on spending money wisely, which ranges from the explicitly obvious (Shobhaa De advises buying gold) to the marginally less obvious (“buy from your local grocer as opposed to a mall” says filmmaker Madhavi Tangella). Our personal favourite (and by favourite, we obviously mean silliest) is the suggestion by television anchor Seema Rahmani, who advocates buying “audiobooks online” and gives an example of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now as an example of a slashed priced book.
On the cover: Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s a joint interview with director Clint Eastwood but only young Leo gets the photo spread. Two of Hollywood’s most likeable stars, DiCaprio and Eastwood discuss their new film, the new Eastwood-helmed biopic J. Edgar; the old studio system; and (mostly Eastwood’s disdain for) comic book superhero flicks.
Read it: “The 100 New Rules of the Internet”, with guidelines on how to conduct yourself on everything from Twitter (“Never tweet questions that can be answered easily on Google.”) to Flickr (“Upload only your best photos.”). “Identified”, in which American writer Vince Beiser travels across India to find out the workings and shortcomings of the governments’ ambitious Unique Identification project, an article originally published in Wired magazine’s August issue.
Don’t bother: The interview with Delhi Belly director Abhinay Deo, which seems like a left-over from last month’s series of Q&As with the recipients of GQ’s Men of the Year Awards (Deo was given an “Excellence” award). He’s asked the same old questions about producer Aamir Khan’s alleged interference and the gratuitous use of bad language in the film (which people could choose not to see) but surprisingly, not about the song “Bhaag D.K. Bose” (which was aired on television during the day when children were likely to be watching the tube).