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A star's deadliest arsenal

Malavika Sangghvi“Hot off the gristmills,” said our Deep Throat, “Deepika’s in Bhansali’s Bajirao and Imtiaz Ali’s next! She’s clearly left the competition looking askance.

She is getting all her rival actresses’ goat,” said our source, obviously referring to the long limbed be-dimpled current box office queen Deepika Padukone.

Why do you say that, we enquired. “They don’t acknowledge her anymore. Some have even told their dress designers to stop designing for her!” he said.

Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone

Ouch! Every one knows that co-opting designers into their rivalries is one of the deadliest stilettos in the arsenal of our actresses!

Spelling fascists
îMumbai’s Car Free day yesterday at Carter Road had many takers. After all, any thing that aims to ‘raise awareness for environment and quality of life, provide citizens with an opportunity to experience the absence of exhaust gases, and lowers pollution levels’ is a cause that deserves supporting.

Priya Dutt and husband Owen Roncon
Priya Dutt and husband Owen Roncon

But when Bandra boy Owen Roncon, whose company Oranjuice Entertainment has done much to add to Bandra’s charm, posted his excitement on Facebook, it gave rise to much hilarity and ribbing. “Beautiful classical Indian dance at Catheter Road’ he said posting a picture of three striking women getting their cultural fix thanks to the easing off of vehicular traffic.

Dancers at the event in Bandra
Dancers at the event in Bandra

Catheter Road? asked his friends in mock horror. “Jesus haha Carter Road” corrected the affable rocker married to Bandra MP Priya Dutt. But the hilarity did not stop. “Hahaha hope the dancers are feeling light...” was amongst a few of the teases that his error evoked.

Being something of grammar fascists ourselves (we cannot, for instance, see ourselves dating anyone who confuses ‘lose’ with ‘loose’) we have to admit that Carter Road, on which we spent some of the best days of our youth, definitely doesn’t deserve to be associated with anything as painful as a ‘a flexible tube inserted through a narrow opening into a body cavity,'

On a winning spree
We caught Jaydev Mody at where else, but the Poonawalla’s Millions yesterday. But we were calling about another race in another country: Mody’s Nozipho, a South African filly trained by Bindya Patel and ridden by Jacob Lokorian we learnt had won the first race in Nairobi, Kenya at the Ngong Racecourse last Sunday.

Jaydev Mody leading his horse Zander which won on Thursday
Jaydev Mody leading his horse Zander which won on Thursday

Unfortunately, Mody (who the Kenyan papers described as ‘Mr Moody’) had not been present to cheer his filly on. “I was in Bombay when Nozipho won, which was sad but coincidentally another horse of mine Penny Lane won the EO Trophy on the same day and time as Nozipho,” says the self-made man, married to Zia, one of the country’s top lawyers.

“Nozipho is a filly that my trainer bought for me as a baby from South Africa,” said the man whose company Delta Corp in the last five years has gone from a one-ship, 10-to 12-table operation to 200 tables today and starting another 100 in Daman, with opportunities being explored in Sri Lanka.

And how does he respond to being called Mr Moody in the foreign press “I don’t think I’m called that too often. It probably happens only when I’m in one of those moods!” he laughed.

Playing Patel
“It was a humbling experience. As a Gujarati and as an Indian I felt proud to portray this extraordinary man,” said our old friend, the talented theatre actor and director Utkarsh Mazumdar about playing Sardar Patel in Shyam Benegal’s 10-part TV serial Samvidhan on the making of the Constitution of India, which premieres next week on the Rajya Sabha channel.

Utkarsh Mazumdar (left) playing Sardar Patel in Shyam Benegal’s Samvidhan
Utkarsh Mazumdar (left) playing Sardar Patel in Shyam Benegal’s Samvidhan

Mazumdar, who hails from a highly cultured Gujarati clan and has been doing plays in English, Hindi and Gujarati for the last 45 years with directors as notable as Satyadev Dubey, Sunil Shanbagh, and Nadira Babbar, says, “One scene between Patel and Ambedkar is unforgettable.

Ambedkar was in favour of reservation and Sardar thought that it would divide the country but when Ambedkar offered his resignation, Patel tore it up saying he was for the larger good. For him nation came first. His personal likes and dislikes were secondary,” says the thespian.

Formidable and feisty
The first time we’d met her was almost two decades ago in Pataudi in the company of her illustrious husband the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, senior senator from New York and former US ambassador to India.

But truth be told, on Saturday when we met her again at Saryu Doshi’s airy Cumballa Hill apartment, Liz Moynihan author of Paradise as a Garden, scholar and avid Indophile seemed just the same. In Mumbai where she was hoping to be given a tour of the new terminal by her old friend Rajeev Sethi amongst other art related activities, the octogenarian exuded nothing but the feistiness and never say die attitude of legendary wasps of her ilk.

“She’s quite amazing,” recalled Saryu, “I remember going on archaeological expeditions with her, where she’d wrap her self in a single sheet and sleep on railway platforms!’ This passion for her goal had in fact resulted in Moynihan’s discovery of Babur’s lost garden near Dholpur, believed to be the earliest Mogul site in India.

Following clues in the Mogul emperor’s autobiography, Moynihan had driven around vast countryside’s for days in her search. Ultimately she’d found an unremarkable and neglected stone platform and a lotus pool in 1978.

“I started yelling and clapping,” she recalled in one of her interviews. “The village people thought this was the funniest thing they had ever seen.” This trip she was off to Rajasthan to attend one of her friend Bapji, the Maharajah of Udaipur’s cultural interventions.

Congratulating her on her unbelievable passion and energy, the renowned Indophile mother to our friend Maura said, “I am 86 years old and have no diseases.” And then she was off to lunch with Charles and Monica Correa at the Willingdon!

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