I often hear Blackberry-punching, pen-wielding women swoon over the likes of George Clooney, Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Shashi Tharoor. More recently, women at blogger meets have been ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over the charming Chef Vikas Khanna. When this Khanna dude won the title of ‘New York’s Hottest Chef’ he said, “Cooking makes a man sexy. A guy who cooks can take care of his women.”
I don’t agree though. In that case, my local halwai would be a chick magnet.
I am no expert at decoding charm, but dig deeper and the mysteries of charm lie elsewhere. Don’t confuse raw sex appeal (deodorant advertisement types) with sophisticated urban charm. While appearance, wealth and success matter, I feel, urban women are floored by intellect, humility, eloquence and a dash of humor.
And is it a co-incidence that all the above men are clean shaven? Well, an unkempt man can be a turn-off for anyone.
“When Shah Rukh looks at you with those deep brown eyes, you don’t have a hope in hell,” confides a friend. I am no Shah Rukh fan. But glimpses of his quips make for compelling listening. He is not the distant ‘No Comments’ guy. Ask him the most irritating question and he is ready with a spontaneous repartee. On one occasion, when Vir Sanghvi irked him by questioning his sexuality, he said, “I don’t know why Vir asks me that. Perhaps if I had said yes, he would have asked me out on a date.”
I remember viewing an old interview of Shah Rukh with the intimidating Tim Sebastian of the BBC. Holding forte, SRK emerged a winner with his irrepressible wit and sharp intellect. I was more floored by his brains than I was irked by his no-brainer Ra-One. No wonder he received an award for not spreading his arms, but for intellectual merit at Marrakech International Film Festival.
Though I don’t think much of SRK as an actor (apart from Chak De and Swades), he scores points on my ‘Likometer’ because of his respectful attitude and protective nature towards women. He has the knack of making women feel special. When a pesky reporter asked Katrina the done to death question of choosing between Salman and SRK, the lady was in a fix. Trust SRK to chime in with, “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday -Salman and Thursday, Friday, Saturday -Shahrukh.”
Among the 'Khans', while Aamir is the most versatile , he is a prisoner of his perfectionist image. He is diplomatic and distant when it comes to a one-on-one. And Salman is handsome in a classic sort of way but his humor does nothing for me (I do not speak for all). Wit of the kind Salman displays borders on the crass. His towel enabled pelvic thrusts and fart jokes are more for the frontbenchers.
With oodles of urban charm, Ranbir Kapoor is another charmer. Women of all ages love him for his modest approachable persona. I once saw him at an airport. The guy was exuding an air of comfort balanced exactly with what was going around him. Sometimes shy sometimes naughty, but always refreshingly humble. And don’t we love that?
Finally we have Shashi Tharoor - the thinking woman’s man. Barring the suave Sachin Pilot (a lady doctor friend who met him at Medanta swears by his charm) or a dour Omar, who remains distant, no one in politics can come close to Tharoor's spontaneous eloquence . And he is a writer to boot. The smile is enticing too! He smiles as if he is keeping a delicious secret. When he recently professed that his wife is ‘priceless’, he went up a notch higher on the charismatic ladder. His opponents in the BJP can call him 'Love Guru' but its better to smile and be candid than flare nostrils and sulk 24/7.
Chances are that many will not agree with my ‘comprehensive research’. But fikar not, since we are all wired differently, it’s best to be the way we are. Cosmetic changes do more harm than good. And what is the point? A man could be charming to one and not to others.
‘All men need to do is flash a smile at a woman to get her to do his bidding,’ says today’s newspaper.
The smile needs to be warm, respectful, and earnest. There is a fine line between cheesy and charming. A cheesy grin can make one look like Shakti Kapoor, not Ranbir Kapoor.
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