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Aashi Sogani

JWB Intern

Javed Akhtar and Shashi Tharoor On How India Can Be More Than Just A Land Of Fair and Lovely

  • JWB Post
  •  January 23, 2016


As I hurriedly reached the venue getting through the flood of people on my way, I should have guessed that this was just the beginning of my struggle! There had merged a zillion people because the session was too overwhelming to be real. Javed Akhtar, Shashi Tharoor, Anuja Chauhan, Marie Brenner and Nandana Dev Sen in conversation with Shoma Chaudhury. Too much of awesomeness in one frame? I thought the same.

Literature and Cinema play a great deal of importance in influencing people’s perception of beauty and I was in to raise my knowledge quotient on the same! Here is a sneak peek.

All women are beautiful”, exclaimed Shashi Tharoor. The crowd roared with elation!

Lesson learnt today: Beauty is a delusional concept and there are various forms of beauty, physical appearance being one.

Javed Akthar highlighted the fact that how personality can shadow the momentary beauty. He added, ‘People fall in love with charisma, not beauty! There are many models far better looking than many of the leading actors/actresses we have but janta loves only them who have something more than just a pretty face. Some personality, some charisma!’

At this, the host, Shoma Chaudhury remarked how ‘seductive’ Akthar can get with his dialect and the crowd nodded in unison.

The esteemed panel had a joint view on the depiction of beauty in Indian literature. How our goddesses are not depicted in some ‘fair’ light. They are dusky, bold and beautiful. But sadly, this is not how we depict them on screens today. How India has now become a ‘Land of Fair and Lovely’ when Indian literature never talked about fairness then! To this, Marie Brenner exclaimed that people should rather welcome the campaign of ‘Dark and Lovely’ and get rid of stereotypical notions about the beauty.

Nandana Dev Sen expressed how a powerful, beautiful, intelligent woman is a threat to all mankind and this is the reason why seldom a woman’s character depicted, inclusive of these attributes, in literature and cinema alike. Shashi Tharoor had his own view point on how today, the cinema solely depends upon beauteous faces because janta simply doesn’t want to shed bucks on anything that is not eye pleasing! Hmm.. Well can’t say anything about that!

The discussion then shifted to how a man’s struggle is no different and how he has to conform to today’s fad of owning a nice six pack ab body! Akhtar jokingly added that women prefer gift packs, any day over six packs! Well, we couldn’t agree more!

Shashi Tharoor stole our hearts when he made Mother Teresa stand the highest on the scale of being beautiful and the crowd burst with happy sighs!

The perfect end to this was the seductive phrase on flawless beauty which Javed Akhtar parted with,  and I swear to god I just died in that moment. That man knew exactly how to win a woman’s heart!

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