By Kahini Iyer
Justin Trudeau’s dulha-style sherwanis, the bhangra, it was a bit OTT. Looks like #ManCrushMonday is finally over?
We’ve had a whirlwind ride getting to know Justin Trudeau since the dashing young Canadian PM shot onto the global stage. Three years haven’t done much to dull Trudeau’s shine in the eyes of the world, and in today’s action-packed political landscape, that’s nothing to sneeze at. He’s been a diplomacy darling, courted by adoring heads of state wherever he goes, with more fans internationally than in his home country. Especially after a year of Trump as his American counterpart, Trudeau has been a tall, refreshing drink of water.
Unfortunately, the glass is now half empty. Optically speaking, Justin’s got competition from hot new leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Each of these bureaucratic babes is still in their 30s. And Trudeau’s visit to India hasn’t garnered him the usual glowing reviews, i.e. proposals of marriage.
So what’s happened on this trip? Is #ManCrushMonday finally over?
Headlines have been flying around, alleging that Trudeau was snubbed by Modiji – the Indian PM did not receive him at the airport, he didn’t even volunteer to give them the usual Gujarat darshan. Not even a standard “Welcome to India, atithi devo bhava” tweet from our PM. Sigh! In fact, he kept JT waiting for six whole days in the country for his Jaadu ki Jhappi, leaving the Canadian first family to hang around like a bunch of Bollywood extras escaped from the set of Outsourced.
The tension between the world’s two cuddliest leaders, after Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, has been both odd and palpable. The biggest Trudon’t has stemmed from his not-quite condemnation of Khalistan supporters. In what was presumably a prank worth getting fired over, an unsuspecting Sophie Gregoire Trudeau was lured into taking a picture with convicted terrorist Jaspal Atwal. Trudeau has since claimed this was a mistake, but some damning family photos he took at the Golden Temple won’t help his case. Some are saying they look like propaganda posters for the Akali Dal, while others are crying cultural appropriation. Regardless of which side you’re on, it’s not a cute look for J Tizzle – and that takes some doing.
Appropriation, terrorists, and politics aside, what’s really riled folks is Trudeau & Sons’ fashion choices. Clearly, he’s a big Virushka fan. That or his advisors told him to jump on the Manyavar madness while the people still remember the commercials. Either way, he and his family have been embracing the ghost of early-2000s KJo with shameless gusto. He’s been spotted in dulha-level embroidered sherwanis, with the whole khaandan styled to match. It was ok until they were sticking to a series of perfectly coordinated namaskars and sat Sri akaals, but it was only a matter of time before they graduated to dancing. Justinjit pulled out his best white-boy bhangra moves, causing the nation to groan a collective “Oh phitte moonh!” Naturally, this was mistaken for a thunderous cheer.
What is going on? Could the Canadian first family be making a pitch to enter Bollywood?
What is going on? Could the Canadian first family be making a pitch to enter Bollywood? The Trudeaux even had a customary meeting with Shah Rukh Khan, who must have offered the whole family starring roles in an item number for an upcoming film. Rumour has it the song will, aptly enough, be called “Justin Badnaam Hui”. Canadians would not complain, the “Keep Trudeau in India” petition has been gathering steam.
Sorry, Justin. This is what happens when your cultural exposure to India consists of big fat Punjabi weddings and a couple of Khalsa Day parades. Hopefully, a good PR move will put all these criticisms to rest. Why not do what you do best and stage a J Law-style tumble on the steps of your airplane? You’ll likely soil your beautiful gold kurta pyjama. But it’ll garner some “awwwws” and at least we’ll fall a little bit in love with you again.
Featured Illustration Credit(s): Shruti Yatam/Arré
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