Category Archives: Pop Culture

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’. πŸ˜„

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

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 onΒ TwitterΒ andΒ 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

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 onΒ TwitterΒ andΒ 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 wasΒ 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 allΒ came out in the 90s (a decade that doesn’t seem like that long ago).Β 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 wasΒ 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 makingΒ 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 worldΒ 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 wasΒ 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??!).Β 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 inΒ 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.Β 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. ItΒ 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 myΒ 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 decadeΒ (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.

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”

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 onΒ TwitterΒ andΒ Instagram.

 

I Wear: The Indian Turk

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

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

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 onΒ TwitterΒ andΒ 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

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

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 onΒ TwitterΒ andΒ Instagram.

I Wear: Lightweight Indian

I am a fan of Indianwear, primarily for its prints and fabrics. But the cuts and styles don’t suit me well, given that I don’t have traditional Indian features (tall frame, lean body,Β pointed chin, small eyes, prominent cheekbones). Most traditional Indianwear tends to swamp me in fabric or metal/stones. That’s why I rarely wear Indian designs in jewellery.Β I’ve also been a very infrequent wearer of salwar-kameezes. But in the past decade, I’ve found my own balance, my own ways to customise what’s available and suit it to my look. After all, Indian fabrics and prints really do suit Indian skintones and the weather better than any other.

So here’s one look:

* This videoΒ was shot by Reema Prasanna.
If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts andΒ videos.

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 TwitterandΒ Instagram.

I Wear: It’s Hard To Dress Up In Mumbai

The weather makes all the difference. Humidity is terrible for natural fabrics and for hair and skin. Synthetic fabrics aren’t very classy and they tend to make you sweat like a pig. And after everything, if you manage to find a fabric balance, the dust just adds a sheen of sepia onto everyone’s faces. Still, we try.

This is what I wore on a non rainy but threatening-to-rain Monday. I intended to step out early and catch a spot of shopping in Bandra. But the Andheri traffic and a madly complicated station intervened and I only managed to get upto Khar. I turned out to be too early for the Tuning Fork poetry event so Gautam and I stepped out onto the street to capture the general ambience around when it wasn’t muddy and drippy.

I Wear:

  • Navy blue linen shrug: Cotton World
  • Pale pink polyester top with blue piping: ONLY
  • Navy blue trousers: Cotton World
  • Olive green boots: Pavers
  • Blue stone necklace: Magick
  • Lipstick: Winged 07 by Faces Canada

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

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 TwitterΒ andΒ Instagram.

I Wear: Orange Is The New Everything

Sundays are Alphabet Sambar days and this Sunday brought the kind of sunny weather that I’ve been craving for weeks. I also recovered from a bad acidity/migraine attack the previous day and was feeling positively buoyant. So I took the sunniest colour I could find – orange – and painted my wardrobe in it.

I Wear:

  • Orange (coral!) tennis dress: AND
  • Distressed denim jacket: Forever 21
  • All-kinds-of-colourful sneakers: Adidas
  • Piggy earrings: Colaba Causeway
  • Lipstick: Obsession 03 Starry Matte Up Crayon by Faces Canada Ultima Pro

* The second part of the video was shot by Gautam Sukhija.
If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts.

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 andΒ Instagram.

I Wear: IndoWestern chic

From the archives. I’ll do this one of these days.

β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”β€Šβ€”

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 TwitterandΒ Instagram.

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