A certain sulky swagger

The life of a hack is never dull. Not so very long ago, we found ourselves at the Olive in Bandra discussing the outstanding instances of Hollywood actresses reprising male characters (Meryl Streep as an old rabbi in Angels of America; Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There) with the actress Kangana Ranaut.

Kangana Ranaut
Kangana Ranaut

“One of the characters I’m playing in Tanu Weds Manu Returns is of a tomboyish Haryanvi athlete,” the actress had said in her distinctive solemn style about the film she was then shooting, a sequel to the hit Tanu Weds Manu of 2011, which she had starred in. “I act and look totally like a young boy, wig, false teeth everything,” said Ranaut. “You must see it.”

Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich

And boy we have. The trailer of Tanu Weds Manu Returns, which is releasing next month promises to be Ranaut’s second Queen, a film that will win her many awards. Because the androgynous tomboyish woman, who Ranaut plays with a sulky swagger, recalls the great sirens of Hollywood Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo in their androgynous best.

Greta Garbo. Pics/AFP
Greta Garbo. Pics/AFP

Another award and another hit predicted for the actress, who walked away with this year’s National award. You heard it here first.

Neat Marketing Ploy
As a marketing ploy, it’s pretty neat. We are referring to this enterprising gent behind a hugely popular NoBo café and Club, which has a reputation of attracting the best looking girls in town to its gigs.

“The same owners also run a highly sought-after gym nearby,” says a source, “which is known to be the fave work-out station for a pretty high profile glam crowd.” The genius lies in the fact that according to the source the girls are given free/discounted membership to the gym if they promise to put in an appearance at the Club’s many music/bar nights.

“So you have dozens of drop dead gorgeous women hanging out there and it’s where every guy in town wants to be.” Neat na?

The PM's portrait
“It’s definitely PM Modi’s eyes. When he looks at you, you feel as if he’s scanned you completely and that your ‘chip’ will now be in his hardware forever”. It was artist Viveek Sharma waxing eloquent on Narendra Modi, the subject of his recent canvas called ‘Sons of the Same Soil,’ which he began working on in 2012 and which he completed in 2014.

Viveek Sharma and PM Narendra Modi
Viveek Sharma and PM Narendra Modi

“I have been following our Prime Minister’s journey for the last 12 yrs,” says Sharma whose work has been described as ‘also a means through which he comments on social structures, world politics and cultural encounters, within which he sometimes places himself as a player.’

“Showing the chess play is conveying a metaphor of patience,” says Sharma adding that Modi ‘loved the work-spent time looking at it.’ “I presented it to him at Mumbai Airport where I met him and finally dropped the painting to his residence at 7 Race Course Road at the beginning of this month,” he says.

And what would be the feature that had most charmed him while he’d been working on Modi’s visage? “His beard,” said the artist, who says he is currently working on a solo exhibition on spirituality. “It gives him character. In any case I like to paint beards.”

Apres moi, le deluge
As a keen observer of that vastly under examined urban phenomena, the Party, we consider ourselves some thing of a party- archivist. From the filmy parties held in rambling bungalows on Pali Hill in the Sixties to wine and cheese parties at Cumballa Hill to being one of the creators of that monster of all Parties, the wall-to-wall celeb Bombay Times Bash, we have an inordinate interest in their evolution.

Rahul Akerkar
Rahul Akerkar

So it is with some sadness that we note that part of the collateral damage following the unfortunate Akerkar-Indigo parting of ways is what’s become of the Indigo anniversary bash. But first a bit of background. The annual Indigo bash was yin to the Bombay Times Party’s yang.

Always held on a Sunday, the Indigo party invoked the notes of a New York Jazz Club meets SoBo hipster cool medley. There would be gregarious bankers in their Sunday regulation Todds and Polos, their well-toned wives in Goa sun dresses, there would be hip ad film makers on their way to making the next Bolly sleeper hit with their cool GFs who taught Hot Yoga…and others like them.

The parties became such a cherished occasion on the city’s social calendar (well a certain slice of the city’s at least) because the Akerkars had managed the almost impossible: creating a comfort celeb-neutral ambience at these bashes. Because any one in the know will tell you one of the worst things to happen at your party is when a big hitter A-lister megastar strolls in and all your other guests freeze or stare or feel ignored.

It’s a party pooper and the secret of how some of the best hostesses in the world make their parties a success. You invite like-minded guests who ideally haven’t met before for an afternoon and late evening of fun great food and dancing.

So you can imagine our sadness when we learnt that its new owners have turned the celebrated Indigo anniv party in to what sounds like just another choreographed event, ‘a massive Brunch + Sundown party this Sunday with an Outdoors BBQ station a DJ.. spiked golas and potent popsicles...’ as the flyer states, and which can be booked for a certain amount. Quelle horror!

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