Okay, every once in a while something happens that restores your faith in humanity. On a friend’s Facebook timeline this morning, I saw a link to Priyanka Chopra’s disastrous ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Reddit. If you haven’t seen links to this page before or if you haven’t read about it at other media outlets, you absolutely must go there right now and read at least the top fifty comments.
Me? I read the whole thing. I deeply distrust and dislike mainstream Bollywood – not just for the poor quality of work they do, but also for the massive social power they wield over impressionable minds in the country (not all of them children). So when I saw people asking questions that would have made Priyanka Chopra squirm in her seat, I whooped and cheered.
Just to give you a sample, here are a few that made me smile.
1. What has your father done to deserve having a road named after him?
Agentbigman, a reddit user, had this to say: ‘Recently a road was renamed in Andheri, Mumbai after your father. What was the reason that it was renamed? What contributions has your father made that a road was renamed after him and not after countless other people who strived and died for India? What made you decide to nominate him and not other people for such a thing? I as a citizen of this city would like to know from you since the whole deal of renaming a city road unnecessarily is sketchy and shady and reeks of corruption. Thank You.’
2. How important is ‘Auto-tune’ in your singing career?
Listen to this. Ever since auto-tuning entered the music industry, our stars have suddenly become multi-faceted. Now Shraddha Kapoor is going to sing, Salman Khan is going to sing, Siddharth Malhotra is going to sing. How the dead singers of old must be rolling in their graves.
Another Reddit member responded to this question thus: ‘How important is singing in your auto-tuning career?’ Ouch.
3. Why is it sub-human to be dark-skinned?
For those of you who don’t get the context here, watch this gem. Priyanka has been a long-time ambassador of whitening and beauty products. Indeed, she owes her fame and Bollywood career to the Miss World crown she won in 2000, as an eighteen-year-old. How can a person who has such deep, active roots in an industry that objectifies women today become a spokesperson for women’s equality?
4. Do you think beauty pageants are a bad influence on society?
Reddit user ‘sunnydelish’ linked to ‘The World Before Her‘ and asked if beauty pageants set unrealistic benchmarks for physical beauty and contribute to discontent and low self-esteem among women. The answer is yes, of course, and I’m sure Priyanka Chopra knows it. But why admit it and jeopardize those big fat checks coming her way every month from the likes of Pond’s?
Neither she nor her PR team answered any of the above questions. At least if she hadn’t answered any questions on the list, we could have given her the benefit of the doubt and said her laptop crashed or something. But she did answer a few. When asked if she liked Hyderabadi Biryani, she said, ‘Loooooooove it.’
When asked for her views on homosexuality, this was her answer: ‘I believe that people should be free to live the way they want to. Love is love and is not defined by whether you are homosexual or heterosexual! Very simply, I believe in the adage “to each his / her own”. I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their own sexual preferences.’
To which a person replied: ‘Love is love. Wow.’ Another said, ‘She knows her tautologies.’ She does indeed.
And she ended with this
‘This has been interesting,’ she said while signing off. ‘Thank you guys for your time. I’m sorry I could not get to everyone’s questions but I hope you enjoyed this as well.’
Well. Yes, Priyanka. We did rather enjoy this. Thank you for the entertainment.
Image Courtesy: Bollywood Gandu