Magazine Wars: May 2012
On the cover: After Freida Pinto and Sonam Kapoor, it’s now Nargis Fakhri’s turn to do the mag cover rounds. Here, the half-Czech, half-Pak model/actress is the wet-haired, pouty face of summer. Thankfully, Fakhri poses sans interview or accompanying profile, demonstrating the always well-worn truism, it is better to show than tell.
Read it: “By the Book”, about the cutie-pie star of the upcoming film Midnight’s Children, Satya Bhabha, who just happens to be the son of renowned academic Homi Bhabha. “Comic Timing”, mini profiles of four stand-up comics, including Rohan Joshi and Varun Thakur, who showcase their wit in pithy paras. “Destiny’s Child”, about Priyanka Chopra’s formerly “fatso” cousin Parineeti Chopra. For using the word “fatso” five times in a piece on a Bollywood megastar’s blood relative, Elle gets double bonus points. “True Grit”, because even though Shah Rukh Khan interviews rarely tread where no SRK interview has been before, this variation on the Proust questionnaire does prompt somewhat entertaining answers like SRK’s fear of his arms being cut, his scant regard for other people’s time (“I have this enormous, self-serving pompous belief that time starts when I reach somewhere.”) and his way of dealing with crises (going into his bathroom, crying for a bit, then “wear make-up and look like the movie star that I am”). “We Need To Talk About Lionel”, an interview with author Lionel Shriver who says she wrote eight books before she hit it big with We Need To Talk About Kevin (aspiring writers, take heart: one of her books sold as many copies “as there are days in the year”).
Don’t bother: “Walk the Talk”, which does double duty as first, a one-page advert for L’Oreal’s “Because I’m Worth It” campaign with different celebs spouting their confidence mantras, and second as a salve for Elle‘s conscience for having pushed Fakhri’s body as a swimsuit ideal just a few pages before. “On the Bright Side”, where fair-faced socialite Kadambari Lakhani espouses the benefits of skin whitening creams by Clarins.
On the cover: Jacqueline Fernandez who, like her over-exposed compatriot Fakhri, is in danger of becoming this year’s Freida. Unlike Fakhri, however, Fernandez is foisted on us along with an interview with the half-Sri Lankan, half-Malay actress, who has nimbly trotted up the rickety slope to fame and fortune in just four films. The shoot in the African bush naturally calls for animal prints and embellishments (feathers!) and a few strapping Masai warriors, one of whom is called upon to look rather lustily at Fernandez’s, er, face.
Read it: “My List With Karl Lagerfeld”, where the designer dishes on his daily rituals, which involve drinking ten cans of Diet Coke a day, not bathing until lunchtime, keeping two houses (one for sleeping and sketching, the other for entertaining), and rarely eating. “Better Than Therapy”, about the controversial Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy that essentially blasts bad memories of break-ups and trauma right our of your brain by using light and sound. Best part? Apparently it’s only seeming down side is an overwhelming sleepiness post treatment.
Don’t bother: “Race For Time,” which is in essence a puff piece on new mother Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s association with watch brand Longines. “Let There Be Light”, unless you have a dying need to know what went into making Elie Saab’s first perfume.
On the cover: Chitrangada Singh, looking a shade or three lighter than her usual dusky self, wearing a cleavage bearing Burberry Prorsum dress that does little to accent body parts other than her chest. Inside, the always photogenic, 30-plus Singh (whose age is notably not mentioned) appears to be cheerfully unperturbed by her erratic career choices (five films in nine years, many of them flops), all the more reason to love her.
Read it: “Drama Queen”, where producer Ekta Kapoor addresses her temper issues (she still has them), her superstitions (she doesn’t give a hoot about what people think of them), making people fear her (she enjoys it) and meeting men (she likes men to look at her with a mix of fear and attraction). “Class of ’94” about former classmates Manish Arora, Payal and Rajesh Pratap Singh, Namrata Joshipura and Himanshu Dogra (of Play Clan) who all emerged from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi at the same time and still appear to be besties even today.
Don’t bother: “Game Changers”, about style-funkifying wardrobe items, where a “steal” is qualified as something in the Rs24,000 price range.
On the cover: Models Tamara Moss and Rachel Bayros in the third “summer” shoot of the month (Elle is the only mag that refrained from putting the season in their coverline). For frolicking on the beach, in wet jeans, and looking like they love it, Moss and Bayros earn our love.
Read it: This month, “Label Alert”—where the mag spotlights cheap and cheerful emerging design brands—features jewellery brand Outhouse by New Delhi-based sisters Kaabia and Sasha Grewal whose glitzy chain mail baubles are available in Mumbai at Atosa. The “Pampered Pets” photoshoot because the surest way to any woman’s heart is with puppies (though we’re not so sure about outfitting them in leather and polo shirts).
Don’t bother: “You Can Leave Your Stilettos On”, a late-in-the-game interview with Christian Louboutin whose style tips include shopping at his store in New Delhi. “The Perfect Bride” hair shoot with L’Oreal products that looks too much like the advertorial that follows.
On the cover: Brad Pitt, representing one of three “Kings of Hollywood”, the other two being Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney. There isn’t a cover story as such, just pin-up-worthy portraits of each actor, accompanied by a mini bio. The three tiny profiles have been written by three different GQ India writers, but they all roughly say the same thing—how an impossibly good-looking actor such as Pitt/DiCaprio/Clooney could have easily sailed through his career making big-budget tripe but chose instead to hone his talent with challenging roles that have repeatedly proven he’s much more than just a pretty face.
Read it: “The Magnificent Adventures of Captain Nair”, an interview with 90-year-old Leela Group of hotels founder CP Krishnan Nair. A series of anecdotes, including those about how he helped save Subhash Chandra Bose’s life, was responsible for introducing Bleeding Madras to the world, and why he has a bone to pick with Four Seasons’ founder Isadore Sharp, Nair’s answers often sound too incredible to be true but are a hoot to read nonetheless. “The New Rules of Wine”, which tells you, among other things, that it’s perfectly okay if the only thing you smell when you sniff a glass of wine, is wine.
Don’t bother: A profile of Jerome Griffith, CEO of luxury luggage brand Tumi, and an interview with Calvin Klein’s creative director Kevin Carrigan, both of which inevitably read like advertorials.