Akshay's Airlift

There's no doubt that the world has seriously underrated Akshay Kumar and now, he's having the last laugh. To be honest we had already begun to suspect that there was more to the hunky Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia than his outings in Singh is Bling and Entertainment .

This was mainly because of two things: Mrs Funnybones. Anyone who could have got the smart, talented and preternaturally sophisticated Twinkle Khanna to marry him and then stay married to him for over a decade must be quite a guy. Consequently, every new instalment of Khanna's zany, witty self-deprecating column has made us regard Kumar with new interest.

Mr and Mrs Funnybones: Akshay Kumar and Twinkle
Mr and Mrs Funnybones: Akshay Kumar and Twinkle

And so, while watching the first ever showing of Kumar's latest offering, Airlift on Tuesday night we were not surprised, that the actor packed in a first rate award-winning performance as the average Joe, who finds himself rising to his full potential during a crisis in Kuwait.

Reena and Ashok Wadhwa
Reena and Ashok Wadhwa

Media and luxury entrepreneur Reena and her investment banker husband Ashok Wadhwa, had organised the screening at a SoBo preview, as the former's production house had been one of the film's producers. "It's the first screening ever," informed Ashok, regarded as one of the city's sharpest financial brains. "There's a simultaneous one going on in Delhi," he said and then the film began: a tightly wound, gripping and surprisingly moving two hours of some very fine acting by the leads, Kumar and Nimrat Kaur, with some very credible recreation of a true life human tragedy with a feel good ending.

You have a winner on your hands, we said to Reena on our way out. Incidentally, on the night before the release of her film, the attractive producer along with her husband, had hosted her annual sit down dinner at the Jaipur Literature Festival for the likes of Thomas Piketty, Hetal and Bijal Meswani, and Subhash Chandra amongst others, which puts a whole new spin on multi-tasking 

As for Airlift, see it for Akshay's coiled like steel, yet refreshingly humane depiction of a middle-aged loving husband who surprises everyone including himself, when he rises to great heights when the occasion demands.

Wonder what Mrs Funnybones will have to say about that.

Chalo Davos
If the city seems strikingly bereft of its tycoons and heavy hitters, put that down to the pincer-like action of both Davos and the JLF, which has robbed it of its heavy weights.

Vir Sanghvi and Richard Branson. Pic/AFP
Vir Sanghvi and Richard Branson. Pic/AFP

Davos, of cours,e boasts the King's share of big shots ever since Rahul Bajaj discovered that the second tiered ski resort hosted the world's biggest ball annually, and coaxed his friends and peers to give it a shot.

Tina Brown
Tina Brown

Our own truck with Davos has been tenuous. In 1993, Vir Sanghvi was declared 'A Global Leader of Tomorrow,' by the World Economic Forum and invited to receive his honour at Davos. Because no one in India at that time was familiar with the Summit we didn't realize it was a big deal. (To his credit Sanghvi has played this achievement down even till now)

The award had come with an open invitation to visit future WEF's at no cost and we had made plans at that stage to visit some day.

Alas, by the time it became the hottest place for world leaders and Indian plutocrats to rub shoulders, that invitation was not valid for us any more.

However, the Davos ball just got fancier, and the de rigeur uber power dinner to be seen at this week we are informed, is Tina Brown's for Melinda Gates and Obiageli Ezekwesili. The high-powered guest list includes Sir Richard Branson, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Uber founder Travis Kalanick and policy chief Rachel Whetstone, and Ertharin Cousin from the United Nations World Food Programme!

Mother's Courage
Each deserves not a tribute but an entire tome dedicated to her, but the fact that both, the crusading health evangelist Dr Vijaya Venkat and the iconic cultural exponent Dr Mrinalani Sarabhai chose the same month to leave us strikes us as significant.

Dr Vijaya Venkat and Dr Mrinalini Sarabhai
Dr Vijaya Venkat and Dr Mrinalini Sarabhai

Both women were epitomized by their passionate commitment to their areas of expertise and their spunk and their courage. Venkat, with her championing of alternative healing and nutritional home cooked dabbas, had introduced generations of Indians to the concept of holistic health; Sarabhai had broken so many glass ceilings and contributed so much to female empowerment, and the cultural landscape of our country, that future generations of Indian women have much to be grateful to her for.

The two icons have one more thing in common. Both have passed on their wisdom, brilliance and grit, to their sterling daughters, Mallika Sarabhai and Anju Venkat who will no doubt carry on their lineage of commitment and courage.

RIP Mrinalani Sarabhai and Vijaya Venkat. Salutations and Salaams.

Overheard
Mindfulness and mediation are now American ideas. Wonderful session in Davos today. Our Gurus should be sent off to learn in the US of A!!
— Posted by author Tavleen Singh on Twitter

Birthday Bonanzas
We were privy to a piquant exchange at the high tea organised by Shania NC at her home for Baba Ramdev recently. As it happens, Mumbai traffic makes even the best made plans go pear shaped, and the Baba was a bit off schedule, so there we were, making small talk and pecking on the delicacies on offer. For some reason, the ebullient TV actor Sameer Soni, who was present, enquired from industrialist Yash Birla if he was "a Libran." "Yes," said the affable industrialist, and mentioned his birthdate, "29 September."

Sameer Soni
Sameer Soni

At which Soni jumped. "Hey I'm born on that day too," he said.

What were the chances of such a thing happening?

Yash Birla and Rupert Murdoch. Pic/AFP
Yash Birla and Rupert Murdoch. Pic/AFP

Even while we were marvelling at this coincidence, we thought it germane to mention that we ourselves shared our birthday with two of the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

"You've just upped the ante for all of us with this disclosure," grinned Birla. "How can ever we match that?"

And before we could respond – the Baba had arrived and the discussion segued quite effortlessly from astrology to wellness.

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