This Article is From Mar 31, 2015

Dear Deepika, Great Hair and Exposed Bra Strap are Not Empowerment

(Shobhaa De is an established writer, columnist, opinion shaper and social commentator, who is considered an authority on popular culture.)

I am not sure what the 'outrage' is about this time. Do people loathe 'Vogue' so much? Or do they just loathe....?

I watched the VOGUE EMPOWER video ... and laughed!  Yup. It's that funny. Apparently, a huge number of viewers are not amused - they are enraged. The video has gone viral. And everybody is screaming -  it's an insult to women... how dare they reduce important issues to a meaningless photo-shoot? Is 'empowerment' about an exposed bra strap and a wind machine for Deepika's hair? Why did she do it? why are we watching it?

Let's start with Deepika. After her brave and seemingly sincere public admission about battling depression....after her cleavage war with the mighty Times of India... here's this cringe-making effort. Why? Sometimes, the wonky script reads like this: a dishy director, Homi Adjania ("Finding Fanny') flips for his muse (Deepika Padukone) while shooting a meandering, meaningless, tiresome vanity project (the same) in luscious Goa. Worse things can happen. The guy, ambitiously aping Almodovar, thinks he has found his Penelope Cruz. Once the movie is done, the poor chap can't let go. Voila - Vogue to the rescue. And the third film in the EMPOWERMENT series gets underway.

Come on, everybody - this is VOGUE. It is a high-end global fashion magazine. Brand Vogue promotes and projects glamour that blinds. Period. That is the glossy's USP. Geddit?

That still does not explain the bizarre rationale behind the My Body, My Mind, My Choice disaster. What were the people who made it smoking... err... thinking? I looked for the bhindi ... sorry,  bindi... on my forehead in search of a cosmic explanation. Had the universe expanded when I was checking the mirror? Should I be linking my 'odour' to my husband's 'anarchy'? I rehearsed my lines for our daily tea-time rendezvous - how would  hubby react to my dramatic declaration as he bites into his Digestive bikki to hear these words: 'I am not your privilege'? What if he retorts, "Don't  fancy yourself, darling!" Unfortunately, it's a tad too late to warn him, "To have your baby or not - my choice." We have had quite a few of them already.

Deepika the flake, sorry, the video, tells  every woman, "I am the snowflake, not the snowfall, you are the snowflake." Matlab?

Matlab, zero, boss. That's the point. Stop looking for bloody matlab in this nonsensical effort. Stop analysing something that means absolutely nothing. Watch it just for a laugh and forget about it. The really deep and meaningful questions the video raises have to do with the styling - how much mousse did Deepika use in her hair? Which other products? Spray or no spray? What about the amazing volume - natural or hair extensions? Who did the lighting? Did an international shampoo brand secretly sponsor the project? Is it a sly attempt at subverting the spirit of women who prefer shorter hair?

Dekho - this is an existential, experimental video, meant for highly evolved aesthetes who speak a different language and live on another planet. The aam aurat can take care of her own damn empowerment issues. But the least she can do is get a decent blow dry before she steps out to assert herself in this nasty, violent, hostile, unfair world.

As for me, this video really does not matter a dot one way or the other.

My body. My mind. My choice.


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