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Power Moment
Text by Dishina Uttamchandani
Published: Volume 20, Issue 6, June, 2012

A foot-stomping number... a path-breaking missile...a trend-setting incisive novel... Each of these women had the nation talking about their one attention-grabbing accomplishment in the last 12 months. Verve zooms in on the six headliners and their defining statements that had them basking in the afterglow of attention...


“We are in a place where success and failure are so polarised – the media tells us whether we are successful or not.”

Unlike her debut film Luck By Chance, Zoya Akhtar garnered critical acclaim and box-office success with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. The story for her second stint at direction took shape “in my room, while chatting with my co-writer and fellow traveller, Reema Kagti”. Walking away with a total of 20 awards in several categories for the coming-of-age movie, the contemporary writer-director has proved that she has the sense ’n’ sell-ability needed to conjure up affluent cinema.

What’s next in store for her audiences? “I don’t know. I’m in my room chatting with my co-writer and fellow traveller, Reema Kagti!”

meenal BAGHEL

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Pulling the devil right by its horns was Meenal Baghel’s book Death in the City, released in December 2011. “There were two reasons to choose this topic – the particularly violent nature of the crime and secondly, I wanted to explore the world of Oshiwara to which two of the three main characters in the book belong,” says the scribe-turned-writer. Extremely well received by critics and readers alike, her work comes across as hard-hitting and riveting with some sharp writing and notably well researched accounts. The nature of Baghel’s writing is excitingly fearless and straightforward. “Just as the camera never lies about the picture, my biggest concern was to stay true to the story.” The real-life tale about the murder of a television executive, Neeraj Grover, gripped the media’s attention at once, bringing this Mumbai daily’s editor-in-chief into the limelight.

tessy THOMAS

“Leadership and technology don’t know gender. Science has no gender; it does not know from where knowledge is coming.”

Agni V missile has definitely given India the much-wanted edge in the defence arena. But what made Tessy Thomas – the scientist who headed the project for this powerful missile with a range of over 5,000 kilometres – succeed in her 20-year-plus undertaking is the determination to come through in a male-dominated industry. An expert in solid system propellants, she is credited with developing the technology for a re-entry vehicle system.

Known as India’s ‘Agni Putri’, she is a homemaker who also leads a team of 400 scientists at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), where she has been working for the past 21 years and is currently the project director. Named after Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa, Thomas’ aspirations and achievements are of a mountainous magnitude, yet she is simple, culturally rooted and incredibly down-to-earth.

parineeti CHOPRA

“I’m ambitious, but not competitive.”

Though she did not play the lead protagonist in her debut movie, Parineeti Chopra managed to trigger a flurry of sorts for her spunky turn in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. This Haryana-born cousin of Priyanka Chopra bagged 11 ‘debut’ awards and is still feeling heady with the acclaim she received for the portrayal of a brash Punjabi kudi in the movie.

Talk about her next Ishaqzade, and once again, she hasn’t failed to impress with her ground-breaking performance as Zoya – the small-town, loud- mouthed rebel. Former Marketing & PR consultant at Yash Raj Films, Chopra is a trained singer and plans to take it up in the future – after acting for a few years. Hmm…looks like multitasking runs in the family.

shilpa GUPTA

“The ability to be able to discover the language of art and use it freely to share what one feels with others is a powerful possession.”

This year in April, India’s visual artist Shilpa Gupta proved her mettle once again when she was called upon to design the set of John Adams’ three-act opera – Nixon in China – staged at the vintage Théâtre Du Châtelet in Paris. For one of the scenes, this Mumbai-born artist created a large chandelier of several dark TV screens against a striking orange background. The overwhelming set had about a 100 journalists reporting on the event.

Known for creating artwork using interactive video, websites, objects, photographs, sound and public performances, Gupta is an interdisciplinary artist who has participated in numerous solo and collective exhibitions around the world. A non-believer in the existence of boundaries, this JJ School graduate thinks that “human beings always move towards freedom”, making it impossible for them to be restricted.

katrina KAIF

“Tomorrow someone else will be where I am. Fame and glamour last a few days, no one should be over-proud of it.”

After Sheila’s belly dancing, Chikni Chameli’s lavani jhatkas did the talking for the ever-so-driven and winsome Katrina Kaif. Draped in Maharashtrian attire with a flask of pahua hanging around her kamar, she smashed her stereotype image in Agneepath – thanks to her desi-raw avatar and moves. Last year, this Bollywood beauty was seen arm in arm with Hrithik Roshan in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara which turned out to be 2011’s biggest hit.

With a chock-a-block calendar in 2012, it will be worthwhile seeing whether her next Ek Tha Tiger satiates the British-Indian actress’ animal instincts or…ours? And, whether or not India’s most googled actress continues to sit on her top-notch throne.

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