Tashan bombed but it gave me my two biggest hits: size zero and Saif.” That’s the saucy first sentence of one of the last chapters in Kareena Kapoor: The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva, a new book by Kareena Kapoor. Written with Rochelle Pinto, staffer at Vogue.in, it’s a girlie book with pink pages dotted with Kapoor’s pictures from childhood to celebrity-hood and dainty sketches of perfume bottles, stilettos, panties, scarves, bikinis, lipsticks, even lehnga-dressed girls at sangeet ceremonies.
The best bits of the book are its photographs, the most disappointing, its too-breezy tone, giving the impression that a stylish woman’s life can be as simple as “super”. Words like supercool, super hot, super sexy, super voluminous, pop up here and there—all written in first person by Kapoor, or Bebo. The anecdotes unabashedly underline why she is “her own favourite”, as she claimed famously, batting her mascaraed lashes in Jab We Met.
The reader can skim smoothly from Kapoor’s “chubby chica” days as a young, South Bombay kid who loved spicy pani-puri and grandma’s lipsticks to her size-zero phase, her tryst with yoga, dieting, films, nutrition issues, doodhi subzi, fashion, make-up, pizzas, Manish Malhotra and Saif Ali Khan. Almost in that order. She can kill for pizzas, she says, unless shopping interrupts, which it does, often.
It is a well-produced book, reproducing chirpy little post-it notes and diet charts, punctuated with Bebo’s stunning pictures from her private albums to fashion magazine covers.
The diet section is overhyped with much that you have heard before. There is the same old busting of diet myths, emphasis on eating five times a day, reliance on nuts, fruits and water (okay, home-made ghee is a surprise!), the importance of working out every day, and why we must not deny ourselves the food or freedom to eat what we really want.
The parts that work are Bebo’s style tips. You may choose to skim through her advice on how to get her looks in different films from Chameli to Ra.One, but what she does know very well is fashion. You either have it or you don’t, they say in fashion. Kapoor has it. So she not only chooses Max Mara, Roberto Cavalli and Roland Mouret as her favourite dress designers and Armani Privé and Dolce & Gabbana for couture (paying loving tributes to Manish Malhotra en route) but tells you how to shop for bras, panties, wear lehngas, which kind of jackets to own, and what your wardrobe can do without.
She names the Indian designers she loves—Anamika Khanna, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Masaba Gupta, Namrata Joshipura. Then she goes on to “poke” the status of the bandage dress as the ultimate symbol of sexy style and gives a thumbs down to bubble dresses. Being a winter person, she knows a bit about layering and the section is quite useful.
Add to it what to wear for weddings and red carpets, hair-colour advice, red lips, smoky eyes, a chapter on making your relationship work, even how to groom your man, with her bite-sized confession on Khan’s Kareena tattoo, and you have a women’s magazine template trimmed down and dressed up as a style book. “As Saif says, Sara (Khan’s daughter) and I connect on a chick level,” writes Kapoor. This book will make you want to agree.