July 2, 2007

Some fluff in The Hindu: hero worship meets reality

The Hindu has a piece about some of the less award-worthy stuff Shabana ji has been up to lately. Some of these endeavors are the ones I try to ignore, as they don't fit the idealized, pedestal-mounted facsimile of my idol that dwells in my mind. I certainly was bitten by hubris when Shabana ji appeared at a promotional news conference for Jet Airways alongside Shah Rukh Khan ... not weeks after I had grumpily criticized Shah Rukh Khan for doing so many commercial endorsements.

But the truth is - a truth I am sometimes bidden to acknowledge - that whatever else she may be, Shabana ji is also a movie star, and there's a lot of that territory that strikes me somewhere between irrelevant and distasteful. Today The Hindu reminds me of some of these things. No matter - there's still plenty to admire (including the very nice picture, reproduced here, that accompanied the article), and I'll post some more about that later today.

And at least Shabana ji is honest and expressive about her motivations:

In the recent past, her first surprise appearance was for a TV commercial, before she zapped everyone with a ramp walk for friend and designer Anuradha Vakil. The detergent ad where she appeals to the nation to save two buckets of water every day by using a washing powder came as a surprise — suddenly there she was on TV, wearing a kadak istri sari, pallu tucked in the waist, flower in her hair and holding a plastic bucket of water. "I did it because they gave me good money, but the advertisement also spoke about water conservation. Water is something I'm concerned about, and the ad helped create an awareness."
Read the rest of the article here. And I'll add that my discomfort with the more mercenary side of Shabana ji's dance card says more about me than it does about her.


Anonymous said...

Nice shades-LOL.
Cum on,even she has to keep up with da star image.Bsides 1, thing is 4 sure,wtever Shabanaji endorses,it's bound to b sumthin good bcoz onli den wud she hv agreed 2 promote it.On d other hand,more ppl will use them knowin dat a sensible person uses it.But at d end of da day,despite all dis 'fluff',she is still the Shabana u,i and many others love and 'worship'
I hv to add,she looked absolutely stunning when she walked the ramp 4 her designer 4end.BEAUIFUL!!


Anonymous said...

I really like the self-awareness and frankness of this piece.

I have a different take to my 'fan-hood'. I find it really hard to place people (in this case, well-known and talented people I admire) on pedestals. I may respect, love and adore them, but I have to find something human and relatable (and flawed) to add to the picture, otherwise I don't feel like I truly 'love' them (as much as you can 'love' a person you truly do not know at all).

When I become a fan of someone, I actually go out of my way to find out (what I perceive to be) their failings and flaws as well as their brilliance and strengths. Strangely this only makes me love them more.

I feel as though, being so imperfect myself, when I know of their imperfections I can relate to them more and enjoy the 'fullness' of their personae more (although of course my awareness of 'who they are' is strictly a mirage filtered through many layers of spin, celebrity, adoring indulgence and journalistic subjectivism).

My love for Dharam as a person has only been strengthened by my knowledge of some of his mistakes and failings in his personal and political life - much as I may find those faults unappealing in themselves. 'Tis weird.

I have to say I almost think I like your way (preferring not to dwell on the distasteful) much better, though - it seems purer, more principled and probably more in keeping with what it means to be a 'fan'.

Apologies for the long ramble...

Filmi Geek said...

Such great comments, DG - thanks!

Even though I sometimes idealize as much as I idolize, when it comes to Shabana ji her imperfections are also quite fascinating to me. That's why I wrote this post, and why I promised in my first post an occasional critique in the midst of the goo-head stuff.

I don't know what Shabana ji is really like, but I imagine that her strong opinions and outspokenness - and probably a touch of arrogance - do rub some people the wrong way.

Still, in today's press one doesn't see much criticism of Shabana ji (unless you ask the Imam of Jama Masjid!). But there were times in the past where the situation was quite different. I've only encountered a few of those old stories here and there, and they are both fascinating and a little unnerving to me. But they are also heartening, because it's nice to know that when she was my age (well, a little bit younger) she wasn't yet the fully-formed, magnificent and formidable woman that she is today.

Daddy's Girl said...

That's very interesting and insightful Carla - your idol does seem to have led a very full and exciting life so far, and it's great that she still seems to have so much 'fire' in her (from what I've read so far - thanks to this site).

I am really enjoying this blog despite my lack of knowledge about its subject - it definitely makes me want to watch more of her films (I'm going to pick up 'Masoom' soon - you may remember my comment on it over on Filmigeek). I hope Shabana comes upon this site someday - I'm sure she'd be very pleased. Please keep up the good work.

Filmi Geek said...

Thanks so much DG. I'm having a great time with this blog so far and I have lots of ideas for future posts .... When you get a chance to see *Masoom* I look forward to your thoughts on it. It's a great choice, very sad and beautiful, and also very popular and nostalgic - it seems so many people my age in India saw it when they were children and it made an enormous impression.