Vinita Dawra Nangia
In an era that prides itself on ripping away dreamy veils to reveal ugly truths, a sense of mystique is a rare, undervalued commodity!
If most people were left gawking after actor Sonam Kapoor’s verbal ‘full monty’ recently at an event in the capital, it was certainly not in admiration! Some snickered, others turned up their noses, while yet more frowned in disapproval. Tsk, tsk, tutted the capital’s swish set, how can a well-brought up lady talk of unmentionables like saggy bums, cellulite and facial hair!
More to the point, how can an actor, who is by the nature of her profession a dream merchant, unpeel the glossy layers to reveal an ugly truth?! Let’s be honest, this is not about honest revelations; it is more about shattering illusions! Tough to forgive someone who does that! One can never look at Sonam again without thinking of all that is hidden from view!
As it is, social media sites haven’t left much to the imagination. This is an era that has ripped away the aura of mystique, where very few see the advantage of maintaining an enigmatic image. You do not need to wonder anymore what celebrities are doing, with their obsessive compulsion to tweet minute-to-minute ideas and thoughts; gosh, even details of their illnesses and fears!
Compare this to the mysterious aura that surrounds stars of yesteryears, or even Rekha for that matter. A mistress of mystique, never has she stepped out to confirm or deny a rumour. She has been accused of many things but the lady has never reacted. In fact she has smartly teased rumour mongers further by well-executed, pre-meditated acts. Remember the time she stepped out in public with sindoor in her hair, giving rise to rumours that she had secretly married Big B? Or, another time when at an Awards Nite she hugged each member of the Bachchan family till she reached the man himself, who in panic staged a walk-out?
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a truly enigmatic woman who despite living out a life in full public glare, was able to maintain her mystique. So is Sonia Gandhi; she leaves people with a sense of wonder and curiosity even in an era of totally intrusive and aggressive media coverage. To their credit, a few actors who keep a distant from tweets and tell-all interviews and so retain some enigma, are Aishwarya Rai, Ranbir Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif!
Those who know the art of dwelling long in public imagination and hearts, learn the art of keeping the veil in place; it is those who are desperate for any kind of attention, even if short-lived, that insist on tearing all veils down and executing regrettable full montys!
The incessant blows to imagination by hard-hitting reality make it impossible to indulge the ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ (S.T Coleridge’s term for suspending judgement on unreal elements in literature), which is so intrinsic to the true enjoyment of art -- be it fiction, films, theatre or painting and sculpture. It’s almost as if everybody has a compulsion to keep lifting the veil of imagination to let reality make its way through.
For instance, how can you possibly enjoy a television serial when there is a raging controversy on Facebook regarding “double frames vs single frames” and body doubles? When you are made to realize that the romantic lead has actually not shot a single scene together for weeks on end and what you are witnessing is actually a slick job by editors? When while watching a programme, facebook starts vibrating with protests about how the creative team has messed up and the real actor and the body double used for the same scene from different angles, are dressed differently?
You do not want to notice these things! I, for one, find it extremely irritating when people watching a movie keep critically pointing out the liberties the filmmaker has taken with reality. For heaven’s sake, he is supposed to do that in order to build a reality away from your actual world -- a space where you can escape for some blissful moments! A space where you give in to a willing suspension of disbelief and allow yourself to believe all that the dream merchant wants you to believe.
Of course if you allow yourself to do so... And yes, with your permission, all you actors out there busy washing your dirty linen through tweets!
And yes, of course Ms Sonam Kapoor, once you are done telling us all about your bodily hair, insisting we count your moles and warts along with you and critically examine your “rolls of fat” while you confess that your “t*t and a*s are not very nice”!!!
After all that… please, please allow us to weave back together our web of shattered dreams once again…. Allow us to suspend disbelief!