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BOOK REVIEW: The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva

Reviewed for SHE Magazine / Feb 2013
Reviewed by Afrah Jamal
Author: Kareena Kapoor with Rochelle Pinto

A diva and a critic take the stage to tell a story about style.

Retrofitted with a pink and white colour scheme, a confidential tone and helpful sign posts at every turn, this handy looking manual deploys its personal style philosophy to survive fashion-ville. At the helm of this split-screen guide to style haven is fashion columnist Rochelle Pinto and film actress Kareena Kapoor.

This a movie icon’s journey to ‘Size Zero’ land and beyond, where her public and private personas converge to host a confessional and a fashion manifest under a single stylish roof. Here she can present reminiscences about friends, family and beloved stylists, play the shaman, draw up plans to prevent (wo)mankind from committing any more faux pas; and show off her collection of pet designers.

Kapoor’s trendy ‘fixit’ arrives on cue to bring devout fans into the fashion loop and dazzle them with star power as they contemplate the glossy list of do’s and don’ts from the personalized collection of a Bollywood sensation.

I am not an extremist, except when it comes to shoes’ she declares marching off into the glitzy realm of fame, fortune, fitness and fashion where few can follow. Her association with fitness guru & nutritionist to the stars - Rujuta Diwekar helps her slip into the role of a mentor with ease. Liberally sprinkled with anecdotes from the film industry and snippets from her private life, the advice is framed against an attractive looking background of pretty pictures, luxury brands and life lessons.

She goes out of her way to establish her credentials as the 'girl next door' with her proclivity towards all things comfortable, fondness for French fries and an unfortunate tendency to get into trouble. One minute she is the ‘Chubby Chica’; the next she declares the secrets of a ‘Desi Stunner’- her ‘Dear Abby’ side is always on stand-by mode. Trading Louis Vitton’s for a cotton Kaftan at home and opting for sensible shoes during travel (paparazzi be damned) are meant to make that pedestal less intimidating. That she can no longer shop in her beloved city because of her elevated stature and must jet set off to London, Paris, Milan or Dubai to satisfy those cravings is filed away in the flip side of fame.

Names like Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin make up a diva’s fashion inventory. Whenever possible she adds high street labels like Mango, Top Shop or Zara to the conversation to make mere mortals more comfortable.

An exhaustive list of Kapoor’s go-to designers, must have accessories, and a tour of favourite travel destinations is topped off by a behind the scenes look at the regimented lifestyle and the meticulous planning that goes into making a star. She brings out that trove of helpful little tips to nudge the uninitiated in the right direction divulging beauty secrets along the way.

Redundancy can seep in at times. Because she worked with Rujuta Diwekar to achieve her famed look, there are portions that are derivative of Diwekar’s ‘Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha’, mixed up with backstage footage of fantasy lifestyles and caviar dreams.

The occasional bout of irreverence tries to keep this bulky endeavour that holds all her style secrets, upright. As she documents numerous fashion crimes and impales the offenders for breaking sacred commandments, the narrative keeps expanding to accommodate the essentials of good living.

It uses bite-sized doses of style, grooming, relationship advice and image control to hold little nuggets of wisdom. There is a prescription for almost everything in here and many of these ‘how-to’s’ or ‘must haves’, like an in-depth study of a nice stretchy vest, for instance or the kind of tote to tote around the office, would perhaps appear ‘superfluous’ to the savvy reader.


Sum Up: This lightweight paean to fashion renews the lustre on a diva’s greatest (style) hits collection and rummages determinedly through all those closets for the perfect makeover.

The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva’ is available in stores now.

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