Feeling Sari For Sagarika

Who knew Sagarika was reaching new heights of journalistic prowess one Chanderi sari at a time.

Sagarika Ghose

Move over Arianna Huffington, we have a fashion icon-cum-media maven of our own. Replete with sleeveless blouses, “pop lipstick” (whatever that may be) and “Chanderi saris in colours as assertive as her opinions”. Who am I talking about? Who else, but our very own Sagarika Ghose.

Thanks to the most bizarre article I’ve read in a newspaper in a while, I have been educated not just about Sagarika’s fine eye to colour blocking – and how she can effortlessly throw together “an oxblood blouse with a yellow and purple sari, for instance)” – but also about her “on-camera style”.

As the extremely insightful article in Lounge tells us, Ghose is of the belief that, “I think and speak in English and voice opinions that may make people uncomfortable. To some people I may seem like an elite babe in traditional saris with shocking sleeveless blouses, and trying to subvert a power equation. But this fusion is precious to me. I believe in shock value. This is who I am”.

Ahh, how sad a day it is for womankind, when our ability to shock lies not in our opinions but in our fondness for sleeveless blouses. Even if they’re of the Air India Shashi-aunty variety. Not that I’m judging. After all, one woman’s halter top is another woman’s magia sleeve.

Now why am I perturbed about this wonderfully inspired article on Sagarika’s sartorial virtues? Because if I was a journalist, I’d like to be written about for my journalistic skills or maybe my intellect or maybe my sense of humour or for all of the above and only then for my comb-over and bright red lipstick. But then again, maybe I’m being old-fashioned and feel that being congratulated and written about only for my path-breaking blouses is just a tad sexist.

Also, it’s highly disconcerting to be informed that an adult woman who has all her mental and physical faculties in place and who waxes eloquent on matters of state, politics, social issues and so on – is not capable of shopping on her own. As the article kindly informs us and unkindly crucifies Sagarika’s self-sufficiency in the bargain, “Ghose’s traditional-edgy style is much thought through, says Singh (a stylist with CNN IBN), who accompanies Ghose on some of her shopping trips”. It’s like being informed that Arnab can’t buy hair gel himself and must be accompanied by Surojit or Akash from Times Now.

And then if you weren’t already judging her enough, you are informed that the upkeeper of the conscience of the nation, the lady who looks distraught at the misfortune of the less fortunate, is no less than Imelda Marcos herself. If you just switch the shoes with saris. To quote, again, “Ghose, who says she makes sure she doesn’t look like an aunty or mummy [didn’t realise looking like an aunty or mummy was considered déclassé. Imagine a man making this statement, he’d be hoisted with his sexist petard], is candid about her large wardrobe that is updated often. ‘A few hundred saris, yes,’ she confesses, with an unedited hahaha. More than 14 new Raw Mango saris; 25-odd chiffon Leheriyas, a dozen-plus light Kanjeevarams and many, many others.” If she sets her mind to it, Sagarika may soon catch up with the caped crusader, Jayalalithaa’s booty of a 1000 sarees.

Not to split hairs, but I remember a year ago we had carried a comic strip on Sagarika, affectionately calling her the nation’s little princess. We made the cardinal sin of portraying her as a little girl who never quite grew up – and yes, we mentioned the “pop” lipstick. But since we don’t have as much of a way with words as Ghose we didn’t call it that. We had a bunch of Ghose’s uber-feminist friends come down on us like a ton of saree-clad bricks, getting their knickers in a twist about how Newslaundry was being sexist and portraying her as a little girl. Well, I suppose times are changing and no one considers that her being portrayed as a clotheshorse who can’t even shop for herself is sexist in the least.

Just to even the scales, I think Lounge should write a piece on how Karan Thapar and his bow-ties and waistcoats embody his opinions, and let’s not forget Arnab’s Johnny Bravo pouf. It’s a series dying to be written. After all, nothing is as fun, as unintentional comedy.

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  • soumya

    I personally don’t like ghosh and am annoyed by her squeaky voice. But this article is absolutely lame. The lady spoke about her wardrobe to a paper doing an article on it. What’s only worse than papers doing such pointless articles is an article to mock it.

    • Gupta

      Finally!! Somebody feels the same as me. I just get so put off by her squeaky screechy voice that I have to turn the channel. The fact that she seem to like the sound of her voice and does not let anyone else speak is not helping ..

      • Rithika Mehrotra

        O!! you’ll be amazed Gupta & @sowmya how many countless millions and trillions share that opinion..
        including me.. There’s simply no point dedicating these many articles to Sagarika (don’t want to adjecti-fy her) just because her video or article might get maximum number of hits.. The reason we choose to comment on such article is for you to know what we do not like to see on newslaundry… They all fall under the umbrella… Ghose (trained with Renuka Chaudhary anty ji), Rajdeep (I wonder who recommended him for the award this year), Barkha (whose claim of responsible journalism ends up sounding more like a futile shielded explanation for her not
        so responsible journalism)..And the woodooed eyed Karan Thapar… zippo substance.. well.. there’s an
        idea… why don’t you do Dhobi Ghat with them… :D… just to get the real feel of how the REAL Dhobi Ghat sounds.. with a touch of “posh english though” 😉

  • Arpita Seth

    Newslaundry don’t waste you’re time critiquing puffed up dolls. With an Ambani holding the torch, nothing’s going to change. You have solid backing of an eminent journalist like Madhu Trehan. Much much more can be covered. Dont travel the road travelled by those whom you are critiquing.

    • Arpita Seth

      have the solid backing* (grammar correction)

  • Newslaundry don’t waste you’re time critiquing puffed up dolls. like It

  • ,this lady thinks she is a little girl , i hope the columnist should ve written more about journalist virtues , which i think rajyasree is trying to avoid , apart of her criticism on twitter, there are some serious which one needs to ask her ? she think herself a super powered women , champion of women right , they are many female journalist who make their on their own , she become deputy national head just bcz she is wife of rajdeep sardesai , otherwise she is not even qualified to hold a debate like arnab or barkha does ? even anubha bhonsle of CNNIBN is more intelligent and qualified than her , if even criticize her on twitter m she call them trolls and i have problem with this , she is not ready to face criticism , quite a time i criticized madhu trehan , she welcomes it but this lady simply blocks that person , i never abused her but dont understand why she blocked me. am ending it here , i hope NL will come with a piece which takes her head on!!!

    • Why exclude Barkha……..??She is as good as Ghose……

    • Definite

      If you have a right to criticise someone…he/she too enjoy a right to block you….whatsoever the reason maybe…stop ranting about it like a toddler….this website is not to counter someone’s angst by writing against him/her…

      • ravi patel

        Shut up you definite moron!

        • Definite

          Abuse signifies that you have already lost the argument….Better luck next time..!!!

          • ravi patel

            Tell me definite moron, if one is walking in a park and comes across a lump of sewage, would one call it chocolate? There you are. That is my answer! Now got it? Goodh!

    • Geetali

      Rahul, being the wife of Rajdeep Desai is the least of her achievements. Her father and aunt (father’s sister) were powerful bureaucrats in their time. Believe me, that helps a *lot* in nudging a career along!

  • shaktifabian


  • Rajkumar

    Tonight Sagarika Ghosh did not wear a sleeveless blouse and she was irritating as hell.

  • ravi patel

    This ever ranting thing is so horrible that in any self-respecting news organisation, she, if lucky, would have been shoved off to a back office job of file pushing, well away from public gaze! Even my 12 year daughter can’t stand this useless snob!

  • SupernaK

    Women must stop ripping apart other women like this. I’ve never read an article in which one male journo criticizes another for anything as stupid as clothing style. I would like Rajyasree to write a detailed article on why she thinks Sagarika is not a good journalist. that would still make sense. But not like this…leave clothes & lipsticks out of it.

  • Geetali

    My takeaway after readign this piece is that the author is so bereft of issues on which to critique Sagarika Ghose, that she (the former) must now resort to the lowest common denominator – personal appearance. Such a waste of cyberspace and journalistic energy.

    • Mahesh

      I was wondering if a male writer could ever write a piece like this, with several references to her sleeveless blouses and lipstick color. Also, when i come across these kind of articles, i feel even i could become a journalist.

  • glad

    This lady is not worth talking about. She could have been an aspiring model/actress but might have not been able to make it. Anyways, on the matters that a so called OPINION MAKER should be versed at, she fails poorly. Her imbecility and shallowness often come up, getting her embarrassed. Hey hold on! she is one of the pow(D)er puff girls; (as says RAVINAR of MEDIA CROOKS) beauty is all about, how one looks? SORRY! if i sound sexist.

  • Anshul Kumar Pandey

    I think I am the only one here who likes the article. to all the folks who are criticizing it, I would say Newslaundry is not Firstpost. Its first concern is to critique the way media functions. In this article, the author makes three very important points (and this is not ‘The List’ trick used from Abhinendan Sekhri’s recent article ;).

    1. That the Lounge’s decision to focus on her dress rather than her opinions was sexist and objectifying in nature.
    2. That even Sagarika Ghose, who happily participated in the story, thinks that her appearance matters more on the TV rather than her opinions. To be precise, she thinks that ‘shock value’ is demonstrated more by her supposedly bold appearance rather than her bold opinions.
    3. That a journalist like Ghose, who wells up with emotion every time she discusses a story about the underprivileged, is herself a hypocrite in real life, who spends lakhs to maintain her wardrobe rather than invest it in the poor. This gives her no right to criticize the politicians and decision makers on their policies and programmes for alleviating poverty because that would just be like the kettle calling the pot black.

    Since majority of the other commentators couldn’t get these three points from the piece, I guess i am the only one who enjoyed it. Thanks for writing Rajyasree!

  • This is an article on FASHION written by a well-known fashion journalist. It does not even pretend to be a well-rounded profile of Sagarika Ghose’s. One may quibble about the style in which the article has been written or its occasional gauche turn of phrase, but unless you are saying that fashion is something no one should write about, I don’t see the point of this critique. Things must be seen in context.

    And yes, we *could* discuss men’s clothes as well but I’m kind of sure we would run out of things to say after ‘he wears nice pants and shirts’. Yes, women’s clothes are interesting. No, that doesn’t make them stupid or frivolous.