Dude, where’s my cover story?



         Welcome to the world of man-gazines. A realm of testosterone-fueled words and images, designed to cater to every fancy of the straight guy. So you have trashy women, alcohol, men’s fashion, trashy women, sex, lifestyle, gadgets and trashy women, all under one roof. (Did I mention the trashy women?)

         There is no real difference between the international editions of GQ and GQ India – the Indian edit team has done a good job of adapting essential GQ values and style to the Indian demographic. Thus, GQ India delivers all that is expected and true to its name, does it like a gentleman. Which, literally translated, means that the women aren’t as trashy, and the only people who can afford the featured clothes and accessories are Middle Eastern oil barons and Bill Gates. For Indian Joe, the office clerk, GQ represents only aspirations.

         So there is MTV India’s newest hottie, VJ Mia, draped in a bed sheet dispensing sex advice, and there’s Charlize Theron, um, draped in a bed sheet, dispensing sex appeal. Then there is the titillating Chastity Fernandes, (a fictitious tease created to dole out sex advice from the perspective of an Indian female) draped in a sari, advocating sex in the same. There is a lot of general draping of females in gauzy material and surprise, surprise, lots of sex.

         Watches, designer underwear, rock music, and alcohol fill in the gaps, as men are taught both how to wear a suit and how not to get champagne on it. (Politics is conspicuous by its absence.) The magazine is basically a circle jerk of elitist Indian metrosexuals affirming their masculinity and fabulousness through guy talk, who’ve got together to announce their greatness to the world. In short, it’s a man magazine. And not half bad at that.

          Now, the cover has three men most Indian men want to be and three women most Indian men want to bed – a perfect setting for some stimulating conversation. Which is why you are sorely disappointed when you turn the pages excitedly to read the cover story, and all you find is five sentences wrapped around an elaborate photo shoot. Sure, there are models prancing around in the pool of a five star hotel, and men in white flashing their nipples (which can’t be too appropriate for a straight guy magazine, come to think of it.) But three quotes from three celebs maketh a cover story not. Where is the meat in the cover story, I ask the makers of GQ India. Where is the one-upmanship and light-hearted banter expected from three of the most desirable and influential Indian men? I expected more, and I feel let down. Bad man-gazine! Very bad!

          All I ask for is a better cover story the next time round (and $10,000 in cash, but that’s irrelevant here.) Also some politics, serious issues and a little depth, because even though men are many things, there is no need to portray them solely as sex-crazed, materialistic maniacs.

 —  Anuya Jakatdar 


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