Understatement | It’s not just the lips


Understatement | It’s not just the lips

Ever since last week, when commentators on Twitter and Facebook began posting remarks about Bollywood star Anushka Sharma’s terrible lip job (well, alleged lip job) that was visible in the promos of director Karan Johar’s celebrity chat show Koffee with Karan, I waited for the episode eagerly. I wondered if Sharma would save the day with her mood and method and hoped that her smart responses would distract us from her terrible lips.

Whatever she has gone and done—whether it is a sulk, or lip implants, fat injections, Botox or significant facial surgery, she looked off-putting. Her new lips are neither sexily pouty nor well-proportioned, giving her face, as many have already said, a funny, lopsided look. But the bigger casualty is her wide, natural smile, which was fresh and cheerful if not sensually intoxicating when she debuted in 2008 with Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Not everyone may have found Sharma stunning but she had a joie de vivre about her.

But her lips were just one quarter of the problem on Johar’s chat show last Sunday. Right from her uncomfortable, tentative walk down the stairs of the set in grey-black stilettos, revealing a shaky self-countenance, a yellow dress that was poorly fitted at the armholes and the manner in which she self-consciously crossed her legs before sitting down, a move that forced her to plonk herself into the sofa—Anushka was all about her appearance and glamour props. Even her ponytail with the hair pulled back and perched high on her head robbed her face of its softness.

We have read hundreds of stories on plastic surgery and lip implants gone wrong or right globally; fans who spend millions to look like their favourite celebrities or celebrities who want to look like anyone except themselves. Surgery to correct age or perceived deficit, complexes about the body or dissatisfaction with oneself is but one of the many new engagements of our modern world, like divorce parties, luxury tourism or people spending huge amounts of money for indulging in self-denial—we’re not here to pass judgement on any.

But what can truly spoil a strategic intervention into nature’s attempt at art work on our bodies is allowing lack of confidence, flatness at repartee, and tedious attempts at laughter to damage it further. That’s a cosmetic soup alright, the one which drowned Anushka, who Johar had called “exceptionally talented” in his introduction.

Her talent and potential as an actress has always got more attention than anything she has worn or how she has looked since 2008. There is little reason then why she should prioritise the latter instead of wanting to be the smartest girl on the show. Mostly, when dress, makeup or external fixes at glamourizing are in competition with brains and easy humour, the veneer—porcelain or plastic—loses. Who would have cared how Anushka’s lips looked if she had dropped the cloak of uncertainty she came wearing so close to her skin. Or if she had revealed the woman and actor she has evolved to become regardless of her lips.

She said nothing of consequence (not that a majority of Johar’s other guests do), she made no insightful comment about herself, Hindi cinema or her industry colleagues, she even lost the rapid fire round to her Bombay Velvet director Anurag Kashyap. It is the shape of her celebrity hood that appears droopy at the moment. Let’s hope the lady redeems herself with Bombay Velvet giving us more to read into than her lips.