Men we love, and can’t wait to see more of on screen and on print
When (re)watching the trailer of Ek Villain (Editors: these days it is “Brothers” for the umpteenth time just because Sidharth Malhotra looked so good in it, we couldn’t help wishing that beautiful men weren’t such a “guilty” pleasure.
As a thinking woman of a particular age, it is no longer as easy as picking your favourite Khan.You know better. You want to like men who have substance and who inspire you in some way. Here then are five Indian men with interesting resumes (and faces), that you can stare at for a moment too long (or follow on the social networks if thats your thing) without feeling terrible about your taste.
Kay Kay Menon
The trailer of Haider reminded us just how much we’ve missed Kay Kay Menon. Yes, he chewed scenery with relish against Prabhudeva in last year’s ABCD- Any Body Can Dance, but it has been a while since we’ve witnessed one of his masterclasses. We first took notice of his craggy features and slightly deranged intensity in Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, but continue to be amazed by his range. Watch him throw himself into the role of the over-the-top Riz Raizada in Drona, or break into an abandon-free dance in Honeymoon Travels, and you will know that this is an actor who can elevate any material by the sheer force of his performance.
If you loathed him in Life..in a Metro, or felt a sense of trepidation any time he walked into the room in Sarkar, it is only because he wanted you to. And this ability to play characters who are all edges and imperfections is what makes him such a house favourite.
Kay Kay Menon is not a subtle actor. There is always something too-expansive about his gesture, or too-florid about his movements. But in our opinion that kind of carefully calibrated theatricality is more difficult to pull off than the modern emphasis on underplaying every gesture.
For this intensity (and insanity), Kay Kay Menon is a man worth dreaming about.
As a young bookish girl this Red Bagger has always found it easy to fall in love with the characters (and by extension, writers) of her favourite books. She loves the rock star nerdery of Neil Gaiman and the socialist zeal of China Mieville, and more recently, the strident wit of Mohammed Hanif. But a recent Indian writer who has stolen her heart is Basharat Peer. In some way, with his emphasis on truth and on measured journalism, he is almost post-post-modernist in a world that prizes strong opinions and knee-jerk reactions. But she finds herself looking forward to everything he write- for its empathy, for its autobiographical digressions into his life (this 2012 piece about the New Delhi power outage is a particular favourite), and for his ability to shine a light on underreported issues .Most of all, we respect the nuance he brings into his writings about Kashmir. There is an expert’s love of facts there, and a native son’s romanticism, and the two together make an irresistible combination.
As one of the script writers for Haider (have we mentioned already how excited we are about this movie?) Peer is presumably about to take on a more public role with interviews and public speaking engagements. We can’t wait!
It is quite likely that Somdev Devvarman will never win a Grand Slam. But that’s no diss on a consummate sportsman who can boast of Commonwealth and Asian Gold medals, along with a record three NCAA finals in his college years.
The Indian tennis fan has waited for years for its own success story, and while we appreciate the leaps taken by Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza- among others- we are a bit tired of the drama. We like the way Somdev continues to play tirelessly through the season, making no excuses for his failures, clearly relishing his successes and improving by increments every year. We are also huge fans of the way he is such a team player during our Davis Cup encounters with scant traces of ego or anguish.
And that is why we cheer for him when he comes dangerously close to defeating bad-boy Jerry Janowicz this Wimbledon, because if there’s one man who deserves to be seen for longer on court, its him!
You wouldn’t know it from talking to us but are a bit reality TV crazy (Actually, you would know it if you spent more than five minutes with us during American Idol season but lets just pretend we are better than that). And in one of the umpteenth iterations of music shows, we lost our heart to Shekhar Ravijani. He lacks the bombast of Himesh Reshamiiya as a judge or the nonsensical poetry spouting of Anu Malik. Instead he follows a laid-back approach with more emphasis on constructive criticism than quotable quotes, and brings forth a veritable feast of nifty sunglasses and encouraging smiles for the contestants.
But that’s not enough is it? With his partner Vishal Dadlani he’s responsible for some of our favourite tunes from the last few years. Seriously, the world spends too much time thinking about AR Rahman (and to a lesser extent, “hit maker” Pritam) and not enough giving credit to Vishal -Shekhar for churning out one ear worm after another. Don’t believe us? Tell us which of these songs doesn’t get you singing along in the car:
- One Two Three Four, Get On The Dance Floor
- Radha on the Dance Floor
- Anjaana-uh uh aah- Anjani-ee-ee-ee-i
Not to mention the fact that he’s a pretty fine singer with a passion for reviving the indie-music industry in India.
Totally worth watching Zee TV For!
Talking of television, Indian television is dotted with supposedly goodlooking men ranging from Karan Singh Grover to Vivian DSena to Gautam Rode. But maybe its just the characters they play, most of these men strike us as either strangely personality free, or as misogynist creeps. That’s why when the first season of Master Chef came on television, we were willing to eat whatever Chefs Kunal Kapur and Ajay Chopra fed us. While Ajay Chopra has since moved on, Kunal Kapur continues to work on the Olympics of televised Indian cooking in his trademark warmth. He has partnered with bigger egos and bigger names ranging from Akshay Kumar to Sanjeev Kapoor to the sweetly bemused Vikas Khanna, but also managed to develop his own confident presentation style along the way.
The closest parallel we can think of is that he’s the Tim Gunn of Indian Television- with his gently empathetic manner and an ability to both improve and champion his contestants with his experience. What’s more, he plays well with the kid contestants too (and doesn’t break into false tears at every sob story, thank goodness.)
Besides, any man who can bake a multi-tiered cake has an automatic key to our hearts!
Who are some of the men you can’t resist in the current Indian Pop Culture space? We’d love to hear your thoughts as we aim to put together a list for this issue of Monsoon Mayhem.
This post was originally published on 7th July 2014