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Now it's Amitabh Bachchan vs noted writer and columnist Shobhaa De. After her comments in a Mumbai daily about the "unsightly creases" on his bahu Aishwarya's black dress at Cannes, pa-in-law has posted a blog (see box) on her. Here, Shobhaa reacts to the Big B's comments.
When asked if she felt that Amitabh was expressing his genuine emotions or taking the opportunity through his blog to hit out at his detractors, Shobhaa says, "Mr Bachchan knows exactly what he is doing. If he chooses to make comparisons, it is to underline a point... and attract hits.
It"s a numbers game and only he can tell you whether or not those emotions are genuine. Blogging is the most democratic form of expression. The Big B is entitled to have his say. Just as others are entitled to respond."
The 'new' Amitabh he also keeps posting confidential and personal conversations between him and others with sarcasm. Is this aggravating or just plain candour? The fiery author says, "I wouldn't call it candour at all.
It is a breach of protocol and trust. Just as a journalist who does not respect what is clearly stated as being 'strictly off the record', loses all credibility (and friends!), a blogger too has to be careful when divulging details from private conversations.
We ask Shobhaa as someone who has known him for many years professionally and personally how much Amitabh has really changed, and she replies, "Let me put it this way. Nobody 'changes' after a certain age. I think it is a professional decision. Perhaps, a business decision.
After all, what's the use of a BIG brand if it can't be successfully flogged?? Amitabh remains the enigma he has always been. To my mind, it is a smart strategy, with great spin-offs. Plus, Amitabh is clearly enjoying himself after years of playing the Sphinx. I suspect there is a closet writer/author in there just dying to crawl out."
Here Shobhaa replies to the comments posted by him on his website
Bachchan wrote: "Oh! About the creases on Aishwarya's dress, I never noticed any and it is hardly expected of a team of 15 stylists, dress makers and make-up professionals from Armani to L'Oreal working on her for hours since the morning of the event, to have overlooked such obvious detail... I am disappointed though that your customary wit failed to notice the creases that needed repair on the faces of many of the other celebrated stars from Hollywood. Whither patriotism?" Comment.
Shobhaa reacts: I love the 'new' Amitabh - such a refreshing change from his old reticent self. Really, Mr Bachchan. That is stretching pa-in-law loyalty a bit too far! Pointing out creases on the FRONT of the lovely lady's gown does not qualify as treason!' Commenting on his 'bahu's' creased gown surely can't be called an 'unpatriotic' act? We all love Ash, and want her to look her divine, luminous best at such high profile events. I couldn't care less what Eva or Gwyneth or any of the other Hollywood stars wore on the red carpet at Cannes. My eyes were on Aishwarya alone, since I am an admirer.
Bachchan says: "My remark at the end of my speech for your book launch 'Finding the name of the author in a font larger than that of the title of the book is a conscious and brave beginning' was not to 'put you in your place' as you self-consciously whispered to me on stage, it was a fitting culmination to the context of my speech. It was a compliment to the power of woman..."
Shobhaa says: And... I shall definitely heed Mr Bachchan's advice regarding the font size of my name on 'Superstar India'. In fact, carried away by his encouragement, my publishers are seriously thinking of increasing it still more on the reprints!
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