More than enough has been discussed about Katrina Kaif waiting in the wings for Ranbir Kapoor to pop the big question. Are they aren’t they? We honestly seem to be more interested in seeing their wedding pictures than their movies. How does Lady Kat respond? With a gorgeous advertisement that says she’s in control of her wedding choices.
Kaif’s new turn for Titan sees her dressed up for a wedding and giving advice to other girls: don’t marry because you are the right age, don’t marry because aunties keep asking, don’t marry because you want kids, don’t marry because you have a younger sister waiting. Marry because you’ve found someone worth your time. (Flash: buy a watch)
Kaif — whose only advice prior to this was how to eat a mango — wins with this one. She also joins a league of young female actors who have realised having good looks, sufficient talent, an actor-father and a movie with a Khan is not enough. The youth of India today want to their heroes (heroines actually) to stand up and speak their minds, to take up issues that concern the common public, step out of their ivory towers and yes, be very, very politically correct. The Generation Z of heroines are leading the way for a new kind of celebrity: one that has a mind and isn’t afraid to own it.
Alia Bhatt apologised for being an ignoramus with a laugh-out-loud video making fun of herself. Sonakshi Sinha says love her whatever shape she is. Anushka Sharma admits to lip plumpers and to dating the most famous Indian cricketer today. Vidya Balan speaks for rural sanitation. Priyanka Chopra for education for all. Deepika Padukone has made herself into a full-fledged, double-kissing member of the actor-with-issues club. Brand Padukone is so much bigger than the actor today. She came out recently to say she had suffered depression and sought counselling for it, urging others to do the same. Next: she fronted director Homi Adajania’s campaign for Vogue Empower, a gobsmackingly beautiful video called My Choice that tub-thumped respecting a woman’s choice, whatever it may be. It was radically feminist and in line with the global mood of absolute freedom for women. Incidentally, “Free the Nipple” — where women demand to be accepted topless in public and in pictures — campaign has taken the US and western Europe by storm.
An older league of female actors seems inconversant with this cultural shift. Aishwarya Rai recently posed for a jewellery campaign with a dark-skinned young boy providing her shade with an umbrella. Articles calling the campaign racist and a promotion of child labour made the jewellery house brake with both feet and had the ad dropped. But Rai kept mum, following an old-fashioned principle of celebrity: ‘never complain, never explain’.
Meanwhile, Hollywood actors have taken on the “Ask Her More” campaign where they demand red-carpet anchors ask more intelligent questions other than the usual “Who are you wearing?” While it may sound like a death knell for fashion designers and stylists, no one is saying they don’t want to be beautiful. They’re only saying they are more than just beautiful.