The showstopper at the Oscars this year was undoubtedly Angelina Jolie. And for once, the famous crimson-streaked pout was overshadowed by the right leg. Provocatively thrust out of a daring slit, it captured the imagination of not just those gathered at the Kodak Theatre but also viewers across the globe.
I don’t recall any such LBW encounters with our Bollywood stars during the many award galas I’ve been a part of. But I do remember a special ramp being built and a wheelchair ordered for an ailing BR Chopra who couldn’t walk up to accept his lifetime achievement award. The wheelchair, parked close to the entrance, raised many eyebrows but remained unoccupied because Choprasahab eventually didn’t turn up, instead offering his apologies in a handwritten note that arrived the next morning. However, on another occasion, Mehmood rolled in on a wheelchair to watch a ‘show’. He brought along wife Tracy and also an oxygen cylinder so he could ‘breathe’ easy. We admired Bhaijaan’s spirit but we ourselves breathed easy only after he had rolled out, none the worse for an evening out.
Red carpet fashion is the talking point at any award function. Last week, everyone was going starry-eyed over Meryl Streep’s golden gown, Rooney Mara’s Snow Princess look and JLo’s sheer see-through fancy. Back home, I’ve seen my share of gold-crusted Kanjivarams, exquisite Dhakais and rainbow-hued chiffons with ruffled lace on the red carpet. But what remains in the memory bank is a fire-engine red dress from back in 2003. It had eyes popping and pulses racing as a ‘rangeeli’ Urmila Matondkar sailed in, with a confident smile on her lips.
The smile slipped as judgement hour neared and Urmi wondered nervously if she’d be able to out-race six strong contenders to a coveted golden lady. God blessed Bhoot and a ‘victorious’ Urmila returned home in her scarlet glory to an irate mom who had been left home as an ‘unsure’ Urmi hadn’t wanted her to be disappointed in case she missed out on her ‘ghostly’ dessert. Looks sure can be deceptive!
I’ve heard enough about our stars being sore losers and unsporting when it comes to cheering for a contemporary. But that evening Urmila screamed herself hoarse as she cheered through Hrithik Roshan’s magical act, complete with aliens and acrobats. As she croaked through her ‘Thank you’ speech, the Best Actress laughingly blamed Hrithik for turning her almost speechless!
Every dog has its day… Last Sunday, Uggie had his when producer-director Michel Hazanavicius invited his canine artist up on stage and fed him biscuits. Rekha too would turn up with her puppy love cradled in her arms. We’d wait for a bark or two from Pisti, but the dog never gave us a ‘bow wow’ moment. She always slept through it all… As did Jackie Shroff’s infant son when daddy brought him along once to pick up a best actor award. We waited for Tiger to grrrrrr, he didn’t even purrr!
Hollywood waited in anticipation last Sunday for India’s music maestro to perform ‘live’. Years ago, India’s nightingale Lata Mangeshkar had came early to hear ‘Hollywood ka singer’ Keanu Reeves. The Speed star was playing with his band, Dogstar, and Lataji was all ears.
After the act, the ‘firangs’ retreated into their vanity vans to watch the show. But they made one more unscheduled appearance when the first of the fireworks that followed the announcement of Lata Mangeshkar’s lifetime achievement award exploded in the sky, shouting in panic, “What the f@#* was that?” It took us a few minutes to convince them that they were not under attack by Bollywood aliens!
At the previous award function I attended, I was introduced to the ‘jump for joy’ by anchors Akshay Kumar and Sajid Khan. What if we could suggest it to Billy Crystal for the next Oscars? It’d be fun to see Angie do the jump in another daringly slit gown. This time, the right leg would be on show too!