A star was born

'Remembering the day before the audition of a friend, who wanted to get into films... #star.' This was Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Rachel Dwyer's post featuring herself with Ranveer Singh, before his Bollywood entry (perhaps on the exact day before it!).

Rachel Dwyer with Ranveer Singh
Rachel Dwyer with Ranveer Singh

When asked to comment on the then putative and sexy star, she said, "Ranveer is a nice guy, smart and funny. I met him years ago with a group of friends and who was to know he'd become such a star? Of course he's handsome, but it's really his talent, charm, star quality and hard work that matter. Incidentally, the renowned academician who insists that she's now Ranveer's 'fan as well as a friend!' had campaigned valiantly to have her friend's youthful and abundant animal magnetism contained by some prudent 'cropping' of sumptuous bare chest on display. "We will request cropping to protect his modesty," we promised. Here goes.

Gutsy women
Amidst the startling revelations that have hit the headlines, made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner M N Singh at the launch of Godfathers of Crime - written by veteran journalist Sheela Raval, the one praising actress Preity Zinta, for being one of the few persons, brave and gutsy enough to depose in court about the threats she had from the underworld, most impressed us.

MN Singh, Sheela Raval and Shobhaa De at the launch of the book
MN Singh, Sheela Raval and Shobhaa De at the launch of the book

"Not everyone can fight against the underworld and help police," he said. Incidentally, sharp readers might have connected the dots when a few weeks ago we'd written about the imminent publishing of a book on the underworld written by a gutsy Capital-based female journalist.

Preity Zinta
Preity Zinta

It was a day after Raval's riveting manuscript had reached our inbox. Raval's account of her trysts with some of the underworld's biggest dons was informative and engaging. We'd predicted a best seller then; the fact that it's already gone into reprint in its first week bodes well for our instincts.

Looking within
Amidst all the cacophony and shrill voices and wild allegations, the one voice of wisdom, compassion and sanity which we came across in response to artist Hema Upadhyay's murder was that of gallerist Abhay Maskara. We carry it here without comment, as it speaks for itself.

Hema Upadhyay and Abhay Maskara
Hema Upadhyay and Abhay Maskara

We don't know why
Our dear Hema was taken from us.
there are only wild theories
to console our bereaved hearts.
if it was for the pittance that was owed to the perpetrator
let us reflect on the ugly face of money
and its evil twin - greed.
If it was in a fit of rage
let us reflect on the consequence of anger
and its mirror image - hate.
If it was over a piece of property
let us reflect on the price we are willing to pay
to get a better view of the muck below.
We don't know why
our dear Hema was taken from us.
There are only wild theories
to console our bereaved hearts.
And no matter what the motive
It will never lessen our sorrow or our pain.
So let us all pray
that Hema is in a peaceful way.
And as we close this year and ring in the next
let us all hope for Love.
Because Love changes everything

Farah and the 'K' factor
It could happen to any one, but that it happened to one of filmdom's funniest women, adds to its hilarity. Apparently, along with top cop MN Singh, author and columnist Shobhaa De, the third panelist invited to launch Sheela Raval's book on Tuesday was none other than our friend, the director Farah Khan.

Farah Khan
Farah Khan

"By error she received a message from the hosts that it was near BKC instead of the BMC," said a source. "After many urgent calls and frantic searching on her part, when the mistake had been revealed, Khan who was prepared to make the crazy dash into town, was advised not to as the affair would have long been over by the time she arrived." Obviously 'K' s are not fortuitous for all film folk.

The Subbi charm
Way before parties became the currency of social clout and political heft, Dr Subbarami Reddy had perfected the art.

Pinky Reddy, Manish Malhotra, Nitasha Nanda, a friend and Rina Dhaka
Pinky Reddy, Manish Malhotra, Nitasha Nanda, a friend and Rina Dhaka

In Delhi or in Mumbai, Hyderabad or Goa, Reddy's earthy charm and endearing braggadocio ensured a stellar guest list at his bashes.

Sania Mirza and Sadia Dehlvi
Sania Mirza and Sadia Dehlvi

And going by his recent Delhi celebration for Sania Mirza, the uber host has not lost his touch. Shatrughan Sinha, Manish Malhotra, Rina Dhaka, Nitasha Nanda and many more joined hosts Subbarami and Indra, and daughter Pinky and Sanjay Reddy in the festivities.

In God we trust
Every now and then, stories of wealthy and powerful individuals who seek solace in religion and spirituality emerge. After all, life's blows and uncertainties afflict everyone, the high and the low. But even so, the recent spiritual engagement of an NRI biz man, whose India projects have run into considerable set backs has been a point of comment.

"These days he spends a lot of time with this spiritual order," said a woman known to the industrialist, naming a world wide spiritual organisation. "His stunning weight loss and calmer persona is all due to this." And perhaps old bug bears which scuttled his plans are in check, given the new economic climate at the Centre?

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