Category Archives: Pop Culture

I Wear: Fashionista In The Wild

I managed to catch a rather reluctant Reema on camera and she agreed to stop and tell me what she was wearing. This woman manages to look effortlessly chic even in the middle of a warm, sticky summer day in a suburban mall. Well, we are not all born with Libran taste, I suppose.

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Bohemian Rockstar

I was invited to feature as one of the performers at the US Consulate’s event for 100 Thousand Poets For Change, the theme being ‘Women Empowerment’. The event was in Kitabkhana and Reema agreed to come along so we decided to make a day of it. Here’s us suburban girls in town, on town!

And this is what I wore for a day out, traveling and to perform in my kickass, fashion-forward, sex-positive feminist avatar.

I Wear:

  • Pink top: ONLY
  • Black jacket: Life
  • Distressed jeans: United Colors of Benetton
  • Red handbag: Baggit
  • Red shoes: ONLY
  • Red fascinator: Mumbai local train

Reema was dressed in her classy-but-ready-for-travel avatar and here’s what she wore.

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

I Wear: Women At Work – Diva Minimalist Or Tomboy Chic?

Reema moved into a new place last month and I helped her (slightly) by keeping her company while her new place was professionally cleaned. The rather mundane circumstances didn’t stop both of us from dressing up. And this is what we each wore:

I Wear:

  • Yellow hoodie: Cou Cou
  • Blue racerback: Zivame
  • Loosened skinfit jeans: Levis Diva
  • Lavender jockey hat: Baggit
  • Snow quartz pendant: Magick
  • Checkered socks

and Reema in style!

I Wear:

  • Pink (almost bespoke) top: Miss London
  • Severely distressed jeans: Ross Dress for Less
  • Black socks with pink toes

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Ranger Ramya Goes Adventuring With Stories

Alphabet Sambar meets are always a pleasure. But getting up on a Sunday morning when the weather is so meh (rainy! cloudy!) needs all the willpower I can muster. So on this grey morning, I decided to ask colour to play sunshine to my mood. Here’s what I wore:

I Wear:

  • Yellow halterneck top: Flipkart
  • Olive green shirt: Cotton World
  • Denim miniskirt
  • Olive green boots: Pavers
  • Peacock necklace: Globus

* This video was shot by Gautam Sukhija.
If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Candy Valley Girl

Reema and I had a funny experience last month. We met for a quick coffee-and-gab at a Kandivali mall. One of the things we enjoy doing together is dressing up and comparing notes. After all, the I Wear videos were Reema’s idea. On our way out, we decided to shoot in the open compound outside the mall. Midway through Reema’s shoot, we were interrupted by a mall employee claiming to be the manager. He told us that we couldn’t shoot there because of security concerns. He went on to say that,

“Photos are allowed. No videos. We have been told that terrorists will use it to do reiki.

I gawped, Reema stared. Then Reema began arguing with him while I, disgusted by people’s proud ignorance told her we’d just shoot elsewhere. It wasn’t till the next day that it occurred to me that the man may have meant ‘recce’. 😄

This is what we managed to capture.

I Wear:

  • Beige, floral chiffon top: Globus
  • Teal trousers: Jabong
  • Brown cloth lace-ups: North West
  • Turquoise earrings: Lokhandwala
  • Lipstick & turquoise gel pencil: Faces Canada
  • Pink handbag: Baggit

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

 

I Wear: Dressing For Rehearsal

A week before my September feature calendar unfolded I ran off to Bandra for a rehearsal with Gaysi. I wanted to be comfortable and protected from the monsoon but also look good. The gay community is so well-dressed! This is what I pulled on.

I Wear:

  • Denim tunic: Cotton World
  • Red silk tie: Borrowed from dad
  • White jeggings: Bandra
  • Red sneakers: Only

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

The Politics Of Cinema: Ideas, Influence & Agenda

Today I was asked to be part of a debate on Salman Khan’s statement that Pakistani actors are not terrorists and hence should not be asked to leave the country. I couldn’t make it to the event after all but it did force me to think about what my stance was.

My first thought was that the arts have nothing to do with politics and should not be interfered with, by politicians. But over the course of the evening, I had a chance to remember that artists and performers wield such influence that we may also bear moral responsibility for our personal ideas, beliefs and actions. Politics after all, is not just for politicians. Politics is every knotty dilemma, every complex life experience. Every single one of us ascribes to certain politics, whether we’ve reasoned them out or not, whether we live them out deliberately or under duress.

I’d be the last person in the room you’d call a cinephile (I prefer books). But I can’t deny the mass influence they wield. Three movies that I watched in the past month made me think about how they’re permanent chronicles of social mores. Especially so because they all came out in the 90s (a decade that doesn’t seem like that long ago). All three are movies I watched when they first came out, enjoyed tremendously and have watched again several times over the years.

Statements About Race

The first was Independence Day, that alien-bashing saga we all loved. It only struck me recently how independence_day_moviepostermathematically precise the film’s racial ratio was. The 80s started making a point about black/white integration. Remember the episode in ‘Small Wonder’ where a potential rich (and WASPy) employer comments on Jamie Lawson’s best friend being black and how such things would never happen in their new neighborhood?

By the 90s, it had gotten subtler and maybe storytellers were not supposed to point out how racially integrated they were. And enter Independence Day with one studly, wisecracking black male lead (Will Smith), one hunky, intellectual Jewish male lead (Jeff Goldblum) and one golden WASP male lead(Bill Pullman). Each man was paired up with a colour-coordinated female character. Is that how world is? Ha, no.

Mainstream Hollywood movies settled into all-white or all-black movies with token representation of the other racial group and barely-there nods to other racial communities. There’s a rare movie like Hitch which had a black male lead and a Hispanic female lead but did not once touch on the issue of race. Tokenism is so real, it’s an actual word.

Gender Politics in Bollywood

The second film I thought of was Rehna Hain Tere Dil Mein, which was rehna-hai-tere-dil-meinMadhavan’s entry into Bollywood. For years I have loved the film and enjoyed its music and its droolworthy hero (a Tamilian man can look like that??!). Sometime in the last decade I began thinking the story was a bit dated. Maddy’s lies (such a crucial part of the plot) started to bother me a few years ago. But it was only in my last viewing, that I was truly appalled. RHTDM is the story of a stalker with a history of violence who has no qualms about lying, cheating or misogyny. And I’ve been ingesting its narrative as a romantic film. I will never watch this movie with pleasure again. As for Madhavan, the actor. I can’t think of him as anything but Stalker Maddy anymore.

Transphobia or Awareness?

And finally, I just finished watching Mrs.Doubtfire. On this mrs-doubtfiremovie’s politics, I’m not sure. On this last viewing, I caught a subtle thread of antagonism towards the trans community. When Chris accidentally walks in on Mrs.Doubtfire peeing standing up, he reacts as if there is a criminal in the house. His sister Lydia automatically grabs a hockey stick, wielding it as a weapon. Robin Williams explains his actions and the situation is resolved. But the whole thing has an air of ‘I’m dad in disguise. I’m not really abnormal.’ He even says

“I don’t dress up like this all the time or frequent old lady bars.”

When the judge pronounces his ruling, he takes away custody because he wants to protect the children from unsavoury influences (not from a person who lies). All implying that a man who dresses like a woman is abnormal, unsavoury or a criminal.

At the same time, I can also see how revolutionary it was (still is) for a popular male actor to play a female character and do it without parody. The film deals with divorce and relationship breakdowns in a very sensitive way, projecting neither parent as bad but just victims of a broken relationship. It even makes me wonder whether transphobic attitudes were being subtly mocked. I really don’t know.

Cinema is a commercial medium and movies have to find ways to make money for their makers. They have to do this by catching attention and popular fancy but also by avoiding unpalatable ideas.

The politics of a Salman Khan

I was asked “Do you support Salman Khan?” and my answer is a definite NO. I have a problem with his history of partner abuse, endangered species killing, violence towards the media and of course, American Express bakery. I have boycotted Salman Khan films for over a decade (making a single exception for Dabangg). My politics do not permit me to support his work by paying for tickets, and that means I’ve brought politics into art too.

I’m still undecided on the original question, a prerogative I get to keep if I’m not on a debate. And here’s something of interest I found while considering the question (‘Dear India, Pakistani actors don’t need Bollywood to become stars‘). Let’s not forget that this is about economics and power, not justice.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

 

I Wear: The Indian Turk

A little style tip I borrowed from Instanbul women that works perfectly well for Mumbai’s weather and terrain! I guess cultures may vary but urban style is universal.

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Independence Sari

Independence Day fell close to a weekend this year. And it was also a sunny, dry day in the middle of a wet August. I took the opportunity to pull out a garment that I added to my wardrobe on another Independence Day four years ago – the sari.

I won’t talk about all the merits of the sari and how it suits Indian weather and body structures. But I will say that it gets better and easier with practice. I’m almost entirely sari-normalised now in that I don’t consider it a special garment to be brought out only among fanfare and tripped around in awkwardly. I reach for a sari as easily as I reach for a pair of trousers or a favorite top. It does tend to reduce in the monsoon because of the filthy city I live in and the fact that I prefer cottons which don’t dry as easily.

But here’s the look that it only took me 20 minutes to get on, right before I went out on a family dinner for Independence Day!

I Wear:

  • Red and white cotton saree: Bengal cotton
  • Lace croptop: Lokhandwala market
  • Painted wooden earrings: Bangalore airport

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

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