Over a decade ago, soon after
’s super success, when told that he was the new poster boy, Shah Rukh Khan had reacted with shock and awe, “But I am not even handsome! My eyebrows are too bushy, my lips black from smoking too many cigarettes and I have dents in my cheeks.”
The allusion to the now-famous dimples sparked off a long-buried memory. I had just passed out of high school and seriously believed that I was the next Miss World. A five-year-old cutie’s frowning observation shattered my illusion, “Hey, your eyes are as big as that of the wolf that almost gobbled up Little Red Riding Hood. And your cheeks are holey. You scare me!” In a matter of seconds, I began to view myself as the bride of Frankenstein. Eeks!
In those dark days, only memories of Sharmila Tagore, in all her dimpled glory in
, could banish this monstrous self image. If the Phenomenon of the’70s, Rajesh Khanna, could serenade her with a ‘
Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu
…’, then, may be, I could metamorphose into a dream girl some day too, I consoled myself.
A month ago, I met Sushmita Sen. More than the Bong connection it was our dimples that had forged a bonding in the days when with Dastak, the Miss Universe had knocked on Bollywood’s doors. It had been almost two years since we met and Sush greeted me with a “Hey, Dimpy, where have you been?”Sweeping me into her office, she gave me a once-over and complained that my dents had grown deeper than hers. We both however agreed that La Tagore’s dimples were the deepest and loveliest.
The Begum of Pataudi’s chhote nawab has inherited her dimpled legacy, along with several of her striking features. Once Saif Ali Khan had told me with rare candor that sometimes it was unnerving to look into the mirror and see your mother’s face staring back at you. But he’s never complained about those charming indentions.
Tauba tera jalwa
And why should he? Today even a Deol—Abhay— is the proud owner of twin treats that flashed enticing when he visited our office last week and had a former colleague drooling dreamily. Up, close and personal with Deol D, last year’s chartbuster, ‘
Tauba tera jalwa, tauba tera pyaar, tera emotional atyachar
…’ suddenly took on layers of ‘emotional’ meaning.
John Abraham also boasts of a pretty pair of dimples. I met him at Karan Johar’s office once for a patch-up interview, following a prolonged cold war over a series of uncomplimentary pieces. We met as polite but far-from-friendly combatants, but towards the end of my allotted 20-minutes, I believed we had forged a dostana of sorts when John paid me an unexpected compliment, “Hey, you have lovely dimples.” I responded with my bestest smile and a “So do you, but Bipasha’s (Basu) dimples are the best.” His answering grin followed me out.
Dino Morea’s smile is sweeter than his crepes. I wait to see Gul Panag’s bloom in her dish TV ad with Aamir Khan. And every time I meet Preity Zinta I come away feeling second best to the pretty woman. Why? Well, because once she had pointed out to me that I had the ‘usual’ two dimples while she had one. And that made her luckier than me.
Befuddled? So was I. But when it comes to dimples, hard-headed logic has no say. Never mind, at least thanks to Bollywood’s beautiful people, I no longer feel like a ‘holesome’ creature from outer space. Thank God for smiling mercies!