Esha Gupta is no stranger to glamour and fame. A former Miss India this Delhi girl started her career with thrillers like ‘Jannat 2’ and ‘Raaz 3’ and followed it up with Prakash Jha’s political drama ‘Chakravyuh’. While her perfect porcelain skin, wide eyes and lush locks, make Esha a true standout she has the acting chops to back up her mind-melting hotness. Excerpts from my interview with Esha.
How’s Bollywood treating you?
It’s been great so far. For a girl from a middle class background and no godfather I think I have done quite well. My dad was in the Indian Air Force. I am glad to be accepted by the industry so warmly. But I am still trying to figure out my base. There is no one to guide me here. While I consult a lot of people, I take my own decisions. I am working hard and taking each day as it comes.
How your first day of shoot?
In front of 2000 people in a crowded lane in Darya Ganj in Delhi – I was truly nervous. Emraan Hashmi has his own fan following and acting opposite a pro like him was very scary.
Tena Desae is over the moon. With a role in the Hollywood film ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,’ and a lead character in American fiction series ‘Sense8’ this hottie is raring to go.
Three films old and you are already making waves in Hollywood…how did that happen? When I was younger, I dreamed of being a part of Bollywood films. But working with Judi Dench who I have seen in James Bond films and Maggie Smith from Harry Potter is beyond my dreams.
So what was it like acting opposite these legends? Surreal! I would stay back to see these actors at work. Cast dinners gave me the opportunity to interact even with actors I didn’t have scenes with, like Tom Wilkinson. It was just incredible!
And then there was Dev Patel… He is Jim Carrey on 500 Red Bulls! Hyper-energetic and very funny he is great entertainment on set. I loved his company.
Any strategies to deal with link-ups?
I am waiting for the link-ups! Who wants a squeaky clean image? Maybe I’ll fuel the rumours. Being diplomatic is just so boring.
Raging Bull Director: Martin Scorsese Cast: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
This Scorsese film had a big impact on me. Though a film on boxing, it went much deeper than that. It’s the story of a sportsman who wanted to achieve great heights. And while he is achieving great things in his professional life, his personal life is completely ruined. The stark contrast of life within and outside the ring makes you sit up and watch. Robert De Niro was amazing in the film. It’s fascinating to watch his transformation from a boxer to an overweight club owner. Watching the film made me realise that certain films are never really about a profession, but about human beings and their trials and tribulations in the backdrop of the profession.
It was a perfect evening with great wines, company and food. Jacob’s Creek (Australia’s leading wine company) introduced its unique concept – The Longest Reserve Table with a wine dinner at the ITC, Parel. The idea is to invite people with a shared love of great food and fine wines to experience wines from Jacob’s Creek Reserve along with a curated menu – in this case Awadhi food. I felt quite privileged to be a part of the 100 odd invitees to this event.
The iconic fountain at the hotel courtyard was made dreamy with dry ice and intelligent lighting. It was almost like a Bollywood dream sequence! But nice. The evening rolled off with a sparkling Pinot Noir Brut Cuvee. This was paired with hors d’oeuvres – beetroot carpaccio and goat cheese with balsamic drizzle. I particularly liked the crispy baked sweet potato chips with cheddar and chili sprinklings.
Just when we were getting restless (not to mention bored of multiple glasses of the Pinot Noir) we were heralded to the terrace for the rest of the evening. And what a setting it was! Tables decked up with white roses, glistening cutlery and live violin. All this under a star lit sky. Perfect.
Conceptualised and put together by Executive Chef Bhaskar Sankhari the dinner commenced with dum cooked chicken mince kebabs served with Sheermal. The kebabs just melted in the mouth. The coriander pesto spiked fish fillets were moist and oozing with flavour. The wine with this course was Classic Shiraz Cabernet. I liked the wine but was a little put off with the temperature it was served at – room temperature in Mumbai! That’s blasphemy.
The next course took my breath away – Lamb Trotters. Simmered overnight with Hyderabadi spices and finished on dum it was a complete delight and went perfectly well with the crisp and elegant Chardonnay. Chilled shots of frozen pudina pani with a hint of chili acted as a palate cleanser.
The main course had to be the legendary ITC biryani – moist with saffron and Bohri spices. This was paired with Reserve Barossa Shiraz. The vegetarians got raw jack fruit Pilaf cooked on dum. For desserts it was saffron infused baked Rosogulla, served with edible flora and brandy snap. And the curtains came down with a sparkling Rosé.
The Longest Reserve Table will continue as Jacob’s Creek Reserve has partnered with leading 5-star hotels across metro cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Gurgaon; where the chefs will create three course meals to complement select wines from the Jacob’s Creek Reserve range.
Bipsaha Basu has been charming moviegoers since her debut opposite Akshay Kumar in Ajnabee. Now she’s bringing her star power to fitness and fashion with exercise DVDs and a clothing line. But it’s the ‘sexiest women in Bollywood’ title that best suits this queen of seduction. I spoke to the Bengali beauty on the pleasures and pain of being a star.
When a nasty accident saw this former state level goal keeper bed ridden and piled up with extra weight, Yoga and Cross-fit bailed him out. An all natural diet and lifestyle aided the road to recovery.
Actor Shiv Pandit believes in training year-round and not just for roles (as many actors in Bollywood do). A state level football player Shiv has been conscious of his health and fitness ever since his school days in Doon School. A major accident and a torn ligament around eight months ago saw the actor put on almost 14 kilos. Not being able to move his arm, shoulders and legs meant no gym training. “Three months of bed rest is enough to make you feel like a vegetable. Even a run on the treadmill was painful. That’s when I discovered Yoga.” Yoga helped the actor regain not just strength and flexibility but also self confidence.
For more on how the actor bounced back to health click here Shiv Pandit fitness (my story in The Man magazine).
Infuse a bout of freshness into your wardrobe with the latest in fashion. Here’s everything you need to know to stay on trend this summers.
White is right
It’s been a complete white-out on the red carpet off late. From dresses to jackets and gowns – this summer hue has dominated Spring Summer runways. What’s more! Both Bollywood and Hollywood stars are choosing white as their shade of choice.
An easy white shift dress is perfect for a hot summer day especially when you go brunching or for a movie outing with friends. Keep it casual and comfortable with a pair of open toe sandals. Grab a pair of colourful sunglasses to complete the look.
Though florals can be chic all year round nothing says summer like a fresh bout of flowers. Big and bold, small and petite florals are here to stay. “Wear it to a brunch or even to a party by adding a jacket over it. Accessorize with the right amount of jewellery, a sling bag or clutch,” says designer Vidhi Shah, Creative Director at BKind.
This season flowers are everywhere from dresses to smart suits, slinky gowns and retro jumpsuits. Florals in themselves make a strong statement. So go easy on the makeup and keep the hairstyle simple. Just add a pair of sandals. If you’re not ready for the jungle yet, ease in gently with a floral jacket with a plainer outfit. Go ahead – take the plunge before winter kills both the plants and the style!
If in doubt… go for denim
There’s a reason why denim remains a fashion mainstay since its invention. It’s easy, stylish and oh so versatile. This season raise the fun quotient on your denim with dark-wash, low-slung, high-waisted, or even patched or bedazzled denims.
If you are overwhelmed with the variety in terms of styles, washes and rises – here are a few hints. Pair skinny jeans with voluminous tops to balance out the tight fit. Go with white shirt and blue jeans for a preppy look or trendy denim jacket for an easy appeal. Pair your jeans with heels to glam up the look.
Ring in romance into your wardrobe with sheer fabrics. From Rick Owens and Valentino to Corrie Nielsen and Vionnet, sheer rules this season. They are not just feminine but a great way to show off a little flesh without showing off too much. There is a very thin line between sexy and sophisticated. And with sheer it almost diminishes. Smart layering is the way to go.
Feeling adventurous? Team a neutral blouse with a colourful slip. Sexy? Show off a stylish bra or crop top underneath. You could even add a dash of sophistication by throwing on a blazer over a sheer top for some structure or a knit sweater for warmth. The idea is to keep it loose for a relaxed and floaty look. The more fitted the sheer garment, the more risqué your look becomes.
Crop… Crop… Crop
This midriff baring trend is still a hot favourite this season. Pair it with long pencil skirts for an elegant evening or go playful with matching shorts for summer days. A flash of midriff may be difficult to pull off, but it’s not impossible. The operative word here is ‘flash’, not the whole thing. A high-waisted pencil skirt is the best bet. And remember to keep it simple.
Avoid fussy prints and too much detailing. And if you are baring the midriff, spare the cleavage. Go for a high neckline. Whatever you choose – plain and lacy or bold and bright don’t forget to match the top with the bottom. But before that hit the gym!
Unassuming and down to earth best describes this 64 year old who clothes almost all top politicians including four chief ministers and the President of India. With no training in design he started his career as a Bollywood designer (designing mostly for villains in over 200 films) and then for the political class. Meet Madhav Agasti the most sought after designer by the political class of India.
Vidya Balanhas finally discovered the secret to success: being herself. For years, waifish girls with striking cheekbones were the very definition of a Bollywood heroine. Well, this 30 something Iyer girl has rounded up those stereotypes, stuffed them into a bag and bludgeoned them to death. A confident, content and brilliant Vidya has captured our hearts with her honest and close to real performance of an overweight, desperate movie star in The Dirty Picture. After memorably bursting onto the scene with Parineeta years ago, Vidya Balan is now ready to take on the mantle of a star after being an actor for so long. Her unpredictability ensures that we never take our eyes off her. Vidya even seems to become more attractive with age. In fact she is one of the few in Bollywood who looks naturally beautiful rather than nipped and tucked. With her new found confidence, natural beauty and flair for picking movie roles with tons of personality, Vidya is destined to have a long career in the public eye. I caught Vidya in a candid mood for an interview Continue reading “Vidya Balan – A new beginning”
Arjun Rampal is proof that good things come to those who wait. Though he showed slivers of potential in films like Ankhen and The Last Lear, success eluded him. It took the vivid imagination and deft hand of film maker Abhishek Kapoor to give Arjun the biggest opening of his film career with Rock On. The resurgence that began with Rock On was followed by Rajneeti and today Arjun Rampal is suddenly one of Bollywood’s hottest commodities. But unlike his fellow muscle bound meatheads, the Jabalpur born actor’s broad appeal stems from his willingness to play the part of a suave politician as easily as he does a divorced father of two. After many stop-and-starts, it looks like Arjun’s transition from super model to a serious actor may be complete.
Arjun Rampal is often referred to as one of the most stylish men in India. It’s easy to see why. Despite being one of the best looking men in India somehow Arjun has managed to avoid the hot lights of the paparazzi by staying scandal-free. Aside from his daytime duties as an actor, Arjun is a devoted husband to yesteryears super model Meher Jessia and father of two girls. I did an interview with the new heartthrob for M magazine.Continue reading “Arjun Rampal – The second innings”