Picture this: it’s Saturday evening.

You finally sit down in a determined effort to try that meditation app everyone’s going on about but, somehow, you are now watching TV while masochistically scrolling through a fitness influencer’s feed and waiting for your laptop to charge so that you can switch to whatever web series you’re currently binge watching. . . .

This confluence is what the Entertainment Issue of Verve is about: the swift streams of content that flow into our everyday lives, converging towards a point of disruption. But, the kind of disruption that is a stimulus for ideologies reshaping, industries reinventing, and people readapting.

Entertainment is no longer confined to movie nights with the extended family or patiently waiting until 8 p.m. to catch your favourite soap opera. Whether it’s TV, movies, fashion, art, music or even the news — the ways that we consume culture and use our free time has radically altered. In the course of putting together this issue, we were confronted with recurring evidence of how technology, particularly the internet, is restructuring the domain of entertainment at an unprecedented rate.

Consumers have morphed into creators. And though this blurring of lines could be blamed for the overwhelming amount of ‘stuff’ that we are bombarded with daily (that, unfortunately, can include unsolicited oversharing by strangers), it’s forced a multitude of users online to be mindful about the world at large and the space they occupy in it. Socio-cultural hierarchies based on factors like age, sex, gender, class and caste have also prominently come into question in this updated era, with digital media gradually bridging the divide between the marginalised and the privileged. So, while exceedingly attached to our devices, we are consequently more connected to and aware of each other too.

‘Everything is copy’ according to Nora Ephron’s wise postulation, but as far as the Entertainment Issue goes, Verve declares that everything is content. Instead of resisting the digital (r)evolution, we find the way to its heart, which, much to our relief, is still human.

Under the
Influence

The perks of cyber popularity can undoubtably be intoxicating, but they are exponentially rewarding when you leverage the web to engage in constructive social criticism and open up dialogues. Verves follow list includes these eight prolific posters who are leaving a legacy that goes beyond the likes. . .

Left to Their
own Devices

In a special photo feature, Verve separates urban Gen Zer Zuni Chopra and her group of girlfriends – Lavanya Raju, Ish Patil, Anjali Savansukha and Lameeya Bandukwala – from their gadgets for a day and transports them to a dystopia without modern technology. The teen author shares an exclusive poem in which she muses on an eerie reality while speculating with Huzan Tata about an analog life. . .

Social
Butterfly

Her Instagram captions — wittily concise or an expertly selected emoji — present an intriguing combination of millennial insouciance with profundity that is beyond her years. The enigmatic yet instantly relatable Sobhita Dhulipala’s inner self emerges as Richa Kaul Padte peels back the layers of everyone’s new favourite ‘webtertainment’ celebrity, on the heels of the actor’s upcoming Netflix release, Bard of Blood.

Tools
of
Engagement

Emojis, acronyms, memes, GIFs and other forms of internet shorthand are helping us express emotions and open up to each other in a hyperconnected world. Infusing nuance and personality, they transcend the limits of traditional speech and writing and add a level of intimacy, letting us communicate in a more uninhibited way,
says Ranjabati Das.

Sky's
The
Limit

The creative gene runs strong in twins Meghal and Natasha Janardan. The New York-based photographers and video producers, who experiment with make-up in their downtime, dip their brushes into the dreamy hues of sunrise and sunset to envision an exclusive array of high-flying looks that take their eyeshadow game to the next level.

Too Much
of A
Good Thing

Madhu Jain looks back to a time of simple games and pleasures and compares these to the multitude of on-demand diversions available to all, in the present day.

Queen
of
Hearts

The newest means to go viral, TikTok, has also emerged as a democratising desi alternative to homogeneous and exclusionary Western social media. Influencer and first ‘regular’ Indian woman to be ‘crowned’ on the app, Nagma Mirajkar, opens up to Akhil Sood about the exhilaration and fragility of being an online superstar.

Watch
This
Space

The internet, especially its various gateways to self-empowerment, has proven to be a boon for a country as diverse and socially stratified as India, but its work is far from done. Mallika Khanna investigates.

Style|
Trends

Elevate your everyday basics with exaggerated silhouettes, statement-making tailoring and sharp cuts. Verve picks out four standout shapes – curved shoulders, elongated sleeves, boxy jackets and circular jumpsuits – and styles them on Sucharita Tyagi, the spunky film critic with an adventurous wardrobe, as she reviews her favourite fashion moments from the silver screen.

Keeping
It
Local

Former Country Head of HBO South Asia Shruti Bajpai’s insider guide to Beijing and emerging entertainment trends in China.