Shobhaa De | Word of Year: Where there is no fizz, there’s no ‘Rizz’…

The Asian Age.  | Shobhaa De

Opinion, Columnists

For now, I’m stuck on the word “Rizz”, short for charisma, charm or seduction

Even Ranveer Singh pales in the rizz department when compared to our Prime Minister. (PTI Photo)

Tis the season for lists. I love it! All lists are, by definition, highly subjective and arbitrary, which makes it more fun for those who have nothing better to do (me!) than to go tch tch over the “absurd” choices and offer instant alternatives… all in a vain effort to establish personal superiority of taste. Rubbish! We are all pathetic suckers for those year- enders which feature random people who we may or may not have heard of, but then get highly curious about. For now, I’m stuck on the word “Rizz”, short for charisma, charm or seduction. And as slang goes, it has a certain catchiness and oomph, an immediate resonance, which automatically means “rizz” is here to stay. Rizz gained prominence when actor Tom Holland used it during an interview in June. He was asked about his “rizz”, to which he replied: “I have no rizz whatsoever, I have limited rizz.’’ Since “Rizz” has been declared the word of the year by the Oxford Dictionary, with more than 32,000 votes and a team of language experts endorsing it, I am making my own Rizz-wala list -- who has it, who doesn’t. Feel free to make your own Rizz list… too much mazaa.

In politics, the first and last vote goes to Narendra Modi. Come on. Even Ranveer Singh pales in the rizz department when compared to our Prime Minister. Namo is still rizzing away after the BJP’s recent hat-trick (winning the state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh). The stage is set for the national elections of 2024. The “Rizz” factor is firmly in place. Rahul Gandhi, bechara, lost whatever little fizz was left in his original “rizz” during the same period. The rest of the Team INDIA doesn’t really count. Who knows anything about the non-rizzy minor players, and who cares? The lady who once had rizz-plus, Mamata Banerjee, needs to up her game, if she wants to remain relevant.

Meanwhile, Mahua Moitra, the original Rizz-wali, is not in a happy place at all, even after getting reunited with King Henry. Think of her sorry haalat -- her handsome Rottweiler is better looking and has far more rizz than her ex-es. The lady with the maximum rizz at the moment is the beauteous Diya Kumari, the recently chosen deputy chief minister of Rajasthan. There can be no more rizz than royalty, beauty and power coming together in one package -- Diya is a one-woman rizz manufacturing factory of her own.

Coming to showbiz, every single Bollywood star is convinced he or she leads in the rizz stakes. At the moment, only one animal is living the rizz life, with box-office figures that are mind-numbing. Ranbir Kapoor has smoothly displaced Ranveer Singh and all the Khans with the spectacular success of his blockbuster film titled Animal. Never mind the movie’s malignant anti-women message, but for now, Ranbir and his missus, Alia Bhatt, are the Rizz Couple of the Year, with a combined net worth of Rs 885 crores. This includes properties, jewellery, cars and other investments.  Rizz, talent and money go together, as you must have guessed. Ranveer Singh and his biwi Deepika Padukone don’t lack for rizz. Both have topped the most stylish power couple lists for 2023. But the surprise entrant in this category is Ibrahim Khan, the son of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh.

Considering the young man has still to make his film debut, his unmistakable rizz is working big time in creating a huge buzz of anticipation. Well… the same buzz did not work for the newcomers in a dud called The Archies, which was nothing short of shocking, given the hype around Netflix’s biggest commercial disaster in India. The explanation is simple: No rizz! Do movie buffs really want to see these kids back on the screen anytime soon? No chance! They’d rather see them back in film school, learning a few basics about acting before signing their next movie.

My personal Rizz vote goes to the immensely talented Vicky Kaushal, who was clearly born with dollops of oozing rizz. Watch him as Sam Bahadur, and linger on the last freeze shot… Uffff. Such a visceral performance by Vicky, who effectively captured the original rizz of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, down to the naughty twinkle in the old boy’s hypnotic eyes.

Virat Kohli wins hands down as the sportsman with the maximum rizz power. Unfortunately, India lost the World Cup, which took away a great deal of Rohit Sharma’s original rizz, but spared Virat Kohli, who managed to come out on top by winning the Player of the Tournament of the ODI World Cup 2023 with an outstanding knock of 765 runs in 11 innings. Even without his latest laurel, VK really does not have any competition in the rizz department. His is the only name that jumps out when one thinks of Rizz-y cricketers. But 24-year-old Shubham Gill is showing enormous potential as the next Virat -- good looking, successful, competent. Plus, he is single! More rizz!!!

In the international arena, TIME magazine has named Taylor Swift as the Person of the Year. If you, like me, are wondering why Taylor jumped over all the other nominees… well, ask a few loyal Swifties. Yes, the singer with the signature red lips and sparkly clothes has a cult following of youngsters across the world, who band together under the “Swiftie” banner. The 34-year-old American singer and songwriter has rewritten the rules of the music industry, while building a personal business empire of an estimated $1.1 billion -- becoming the first billionaire with music as the main source of income. She is also the highest grossing female touring act, a philanthropist and an advocate for artists’ rights and women’s empowerment. I was sufficiently blown away by Taylor’s awe-inspiring story to go watch The Eras Tour with Ahiliya Devi, my 11- year-old granddaughter in a cinema hall filled with screaming Swifties who knew every line of her hit songs and sang lustily through the 2.4-hour movie. I saw Taylor’s rizz. I felt her rizz. And it must have impressed me enough to theme our family X’mas party around the pop icon. Last I checked, Ahiliya Devi was rehearsing “Is it over now…?” and trying on her sparkly outfit for her performance at our home. That’s major rizz at work!!

Have a super Rizz-y X’mas, folks… and get the fizz going.