A fake cover of a fake magazine ‘Blah!’ with real Indian model/actress Sherlyn Chopra created by somewhat real Mayank Chhaya (Picture www.sherlynchopra.com)
This morning I am confronted with two weighty issues to write about and the question is which one I should tackle first—Indian model and actress Sherlyn Chopra asserting that she did not sleep with Hugh Hefner as part of her deal to be in Playboy or India’s Outlook magazine producing a tit-for-tat, tongue-in-cheek cover calling US President Barack Obama ‘The Underachiever’?
For those of you who may not keep up with such things Time magazine’s Asia edition recently did a cover featuring India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh where it called him ‘The Underachiever’. That created a minor tempest in India. So Outlook, a serious news magazine, thought it a good idea to examine the US president similarly. So while the content of the cover story is bound to be serious, the initial impulse certainly appears to come up with a humorous riposte.
Since it is Friday I think The Underwear Achiever trumps The Underachiever. I am not able to offer a full measure of the 28-year-old Chopra’s accomplishments because I genuinely cannot ascertain them. But let’s just say that she knows how to make the best use of her natural endowment. I have always been a great advocate of people leveraging their best talent, be it physical or intellectual. So there is zero judgment here about how Chopra has in recent years managed to build up her celebrity by riding a wave in the rather shallow media waters. So much so that she has now become “the first Bollywood starlet to appear nude in Playboy.” She just finished shooting for the November issue of Playboy. More power to her.
That brings me to her reported comment that she did not sleep with Playboy boss Hugh Hefner. The folklore is that potential Playboy Playmates have to spend time with Hefner in the manner of his choosing before they are featured on its august pages. Chopra has been quoted by The Hindustan Times newspaper’s Minakshi Saini as saying, “I did not sleep with Mr Hefner. No one at the mansion has till date made an indecent proposal to me. I love my naked skin. Felt quite comfortable displaying my nakedness … that is all.”
When I first read it my immediate question was “How would he know if anyone slept with him?” I mean the man is 86 and notwithstanding his legendary reputation in things amorous human body has its limitations. When Chopra says she did not sleep with him, she could also mean that he was already asleep. At his age neurons take forever to travel between the brain and the groin. By the time they complete the round trip, either the brain or the groin has lost interest. But I take Chopra’s word for it.
Speaking of Chopra’s word, in a tweet on July 16, on presumably returning to Mumbai from Los Angeles after the Playboy shoot, she wrote, “Since when has masturbation become a remedy for jet lag/insomnia??Does it really work???” We will never know, Ms. Chopra, we will never know.
Outlook, one of India’s most respected news magazines, is coming out with this cover in response to Time Asia’s earlier cover of the same theme about India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. I am sure the implicit humor in it will not take away from the seriousness of the content.
The Indian media does not seriously scrutinize goings-on America in a sustained fashion. While there is a fairly strong Indian media presence in Washington, New York, Chicago, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles it is not reflected in the quantum of serious news coverage. It is essential that the Indian media take a greater interest because all broad trends in America do eventually have an impact on India.
The Outlook cover story is done by Pranay Sharma, Ashish Kumar Sen and Seema Sirohi, the last two being friends of mine. I have not read it yet because as of this morning it is not out yet. I would not be surprised if it was Outlook boss Vinod Mehta’s idea to subject “the leader of the free world” to the same exacting scrutiny as the leader of the fairly free world, namely Manmohan Singh, was subjected to.