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What lies behind the Hurley-Nair Romance

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July 2003
What lies behind the  Hurley-Nair Romance

By SIDDHARTH SRIVASTAVA

Elizabeth Hurley has been in the spotlight for some time now ? as Hugh Grant's girlfriend, an actress and a beautiful woman whose personal life interests everyone.

Arun Nair, until recently, was known only in pockets of Europe where his business interests lie and Mumbai where he originated. He is handsome, successful, a charmer (the press reports say so), with pots of money and not too happy with his wife ? ideal conditions for another woman to walk into his life.

It happened to be Hurley, herself in a similar personal situation. (Lucky him!)

In contrast to her fame, he is near anonymous and should recede to his relatively faceless existence, were she to drop him. Unless he is smart and cruel and writes a book on how and where to make out with Hurley, like many have done with Princess Diana.

Even in that case, a few millions more and a couple of months of facing flashlights later, he should disappear from collective consciousness, when the media forgets him, while Hurley will endure, through her movies, or the next man she chooses.

Right now, though, in the company of Hurley, Nair is always news ? whether holding her hand at Cannes or inside the British Airways flight where things between them got a trifle too hot for passenger comfort or on a discreet visit with her to home town Mumbai that was well caught by the tabloids here.

An Indian Achievement?

The question is: should an Indian man going out with a Hollywood diva be considered a national achievement?

Or did Nair get plain lucky?

To put the query in correct perspective: Ever since Bollywood heart throb Madhuri Dixit married an Indian doctor settled in the USA, many similar doctors across the world feel they too stand a chance with Bollywood starlets and rue they did not woo Dixit.

Or, to word it differently, should every tangible Indian male consider himself worth a shot whenever a Hollywood actress finds herself single or is on the rebound, ditched by a former boyfriend?

It is difficult to estimate why Hurley went for Nair, as women are inscrutable, but there are many different arguments being bandied about here.

First ? the vital stats, which can be an important factor. The beauty and the beast is a fairy tale. How much of Nair is Indian looks? Did she spot him at a do and say, "Oooooh, he looks so Indian." (Drool, drool.)

Would it have made a difference to Hurley if Nair were not an Indian? Well, looks wise, he could pass off as a Pakistani, Fijian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian or Saudi Arabian. Even Afghan or Iraqi. Some say he looks a bit like Saddam Hussein's elder son Uday, dead or alive, with a different hairstyle. Arguments of nationality being a factor are thus eliminated, though, to be fair, Hurley probably would not have gone for Nair if he did look like Uday.

The only male in this region to attract women anywhere in the world on sheer brute looks was Pakistan's former cricketer, the charismatic, though now aging and struggling politician Imran Khan.

Nair is no Khan.

Philosophical Attractions

To delve deeper ? what is it that attracts western beauties to India or things Indian, in the first place?

Kate Winslet and Goldie Hawn have visited India on spiritual journeys. Nicole Kidman dropped by incognito, in dark glasses and a salwar kameez, though everyone recognized her. These incredibly beautiful women arrived for spiritual solace, yoga, alternative healing, meditation and making peace with their tumultuous professional and personal lives.

They didn't come chasing Indian men. It is unlikely that Hurley went for Nair's spirituality, not in designer suit. There is lots of snooping going around (very soon we should see them naked on the internet, beach bathing; perhaps it could already be a search engine away.)

But, one hasn't read anything that suggests that Nair interprets tomes of Hindu philosophy, reasoning to Hurley that Grant with pants down and a prostitute was just the play of Maya, the truth that such a happening in the ultimate analysis does not exist. Nair wouldn't, even if he did read about Maya. Let's grant him this much. Nair's loss could be Grant's gain.

He certainly is not the spiritual Indian eyed by western beauties to discover their souls sitting by his knee. If it was not Hurley, it could have been anyone else, equally beautiful, perhaps not as famous. Nair seemed ripe for it.

Money is not a factor here; it is, but there are too many millionaires in her circuit. It is the least common eligibility factor. She is hiring a private jet on her own steam, to fly cozy with Nair rather than BA executive class; she shouldn't need anyone else's dough.

On the other hand, Nair could be just another global male defined by a sustainable logic that appeals to women such as Hurley. A patient listener who makes her laugh, given her other relationships.

Maybe he is better than Grant and Bing put together, in bed or the seat of a BA flight. This, assuming it was discovered later, might have added to his earlier attributes.

A common catchphrase here is, ?We Indians are like this only.' Perhaps more and more like everyone else.


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