‘Miss Americana’ — a telling look at pop’s most polarizing star

The 85-minute documentary premiered at Sundance in January. (AFP)
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Updated 05 February 2020

‘Miss Americana’ — a telling look at pop’s most polarizing star

CHENNAI: It is never easy to write a biography or direct a biopic about living celebrities in today’s PR-driven world, but filmmaker Lana Wilson — of “After Tiller” fame — manages to offer a less than sugary sweet vision of pop star Taylor Swift in her new documentary, “Miss Americana.”

The 85-minute documentary — which premiered at Sundance in January and is now streaming on Netflix — presents a seemingly balanced view of Swift and the more unsavory aspects of the song writer and musician’s life. 

Swift spent the first few years of her career, which she launched at the tender age of 14, carefully cultivating a good girl image and the documentary does a stellar job at highlighting Swift’s obsession with being appreciated, admired and loved by her millions of fans.  Swift is captured on camera distraught when her album, “Reputation,” receives no attention when the 2018 Grammy nominations are announced. She had already won the coveted trophy on multiple occasions and, as I can see it, is thirsting for more and more admiration, rather than the prize itself. Approval can be a big issue with stars and Swift seems particularly desperate for this — something that is perhaps understandable in the fickle world of social media-driven exposure.

‘Miss Americana’ is now streaming on Netflix. Supplied

The Netflix-streamed documentary lets watchers in on the pressures of being a star in a world where thousands of users can take to Twitter in an instant to proclaim they hate you — something the young talent has had to contend with while a camera crew captured her in tears.

From an eating disorder, unveiled for the first time in the documentary, to her mother’s illnesses and Swift’s decision to use her voice to make political statements — she famously went public with her criticism of President Donald Trump in 2016 after years of staying silent on American politics — fans can expect a varied look at the ups and downs of the now 30-year-old pop star’s life.

However, where Wilson slips is her inability to show us more about Taylor's song writing skills, which launched her to superstardom in the first place. The documentary could have benefited with a behind-the-scenes look at Swift’s song-writing techniques, which would have allowed fans to better understand her immense talent.

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra considers role in Arabic films

Updated 03 August 2020

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra considers role in Arabic films

DUBAI: Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas revealed in an interview with Africa News this week that she would “love to” star in Arabic films.

“I just don’t speak the language,” said Chopra Jonas. “I think that I would love to be a part of the film industry anywhere. I love my job and I would learn a new language if I have to.”

The 38-year-old producer, who has a couple of Hollywood flicks under her belt, said she is working on an unscripted series with her husband, the American singer and songwriter Nick Jonas.

“I am developing a show with my husband which is for Amazon. It is based on the Indian tradition of sangeet (a music-filled pre-marriage ceremony),” she said.


Felt like wearing a saree. So I did...At home. Miss everyone. @nickjonas

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She is also working on a new series for Amazon, produced by the Russo brothers, and a “buddy comedy” with actress Mindy Kaling.

The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the former Miss World has been using her social media platforms over the past few months to raise awareness about the coronavirus pandemic.



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Chopra Jonas, who started her career 20 years ago, has hosted an Instagram session with doctors and experts from the World Health Organization who answered frequently asked questions about the virus.