>> What’s in a name? A lot, if you are Anil Ambani and Steven Spielberg, apparently. On his successful charm offensive in India not only was the bearded wonder interviewed by Anil’s close friend Amitabh Bachchan, but another Amitabh name loomed large throughout, that of Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, group managing director of Reliance — Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, the entertainment tycoon’s low profile head honcho and loyal associate.
Each time Spielberg was asked a question about DreamWorks’s association with the ADAG group, he’d respond with a, “Anil and Amitabh could tell you more about that!” resulting in quite a few people assuming it was the superstar friend, when of course, he meant his loyal low profile colleague.
As for Jhunjhunwala (reported to be passionate about cinema) those who know him say this suited him fine: he prefers to be a low key, behind the scenes player, a trait which paired against the backdrop of Anil’s flamboyance has resulted in a near perfect fit with his chairman.
Weekend media buzz
>> News of two internationally celebrated Indian journalists whose career changes almost occurred on the same day was the buzz in Mumbai’s media world this weekend. Even while they were absorbing news that Tunku Varadarajan, top editor of Newsweek Global, Tina Brown’s all-digital brand, had put in his papers and was serving time for a month, word came in of noted Indian journalist Aparisim ‘Bobby’ Ghosh’s, appointment as editor of Time International. And of course, given the thrall that both men have over the media — hacks were overheard speculating on the possible connection between both events.
As our favourite media gossip said, “Everyone knows that Ghosh was being actively wooed by the India Today Group to head its operations. The salary offered was said to be astronomical. So, now that he’s opted for the Time berth, could it be that Vardarajan has accepted the job?” Wild speculation and unsubstantiated rumours of course, but that’s what a weekend chewing the cud with fellow hacks brings. For the record though, Tina Brown’s wonderfully warm office memo says about Tunku: “He wants to write a book; to spend time in India (a country he left when he was 16, and which he wants to get to know again); to travel with his wife and terrific young son.”
Calling Ms Cool
>> We have always admired her for her cool style, her music and her wholly original take on things, but Ma Faiza, the uber cool born, Pune based international DJ who performed in Mumbai on Saturday night has one more thing that recommends her: her approach to dealing with cell phone radiation and toxicity while still appearing hip. She carries an old-fashioned single location fixed phone receiver attached to her phone when she’s making or receiving calls. Kewl!
Dancing on the turf
>> The ASOT600 concert in Mumbai on Saturday to celebrate the 600th episode of DJ Armin van Buuren’s popular radio show called — A State of Trance — appears to have been a sell out success with mercifully better traffic management than the Swedish House Mafia (organised by the same group) at the Turf club.
Presented in the same arena and set up used for the Norah Jones event, it saw a VIP area (mixed crowd of various ages and types including former IMG head honcho Ravi Krishnan with girlfriend and a magnificently perspiring Prateik Babbar who danced like no one was watching) and an MIP area (for ‘Most important people’) where the likes of Arjun Rampal, Sushmita Sen and Suzanne Roshan grooved.
In the words of a member of the audience, “There was constant police presence and luckily the traffic situation was manageable and did not get out of hand leaving people stranded in their cars like on an earlier occasion.” Next up is DJ Tiesto who will perform at the end of the month at the same venue.
>> Only second to our fascination with Parsis, is our fascination for the French. A feisty (like Asterix) artistic people who love food, produce great wines and imbibe dark cigarettes and darker shots of coffee, what’s there not to love? Which is why we adored Christian Louboutin’s brief speech at the wrap-up party for the IDF at Amadeus, hosted by Rana Kapoor and Rajshree Pathy. Bouncing up on stage (well, he was wearing comfy shoes!) the elegant bow-tied maestro of footwear got hilariously tied up in his speech when he endearingly declared that his recent association with India would ‘make babies’. Obviously thinking he’d made a gaffe, the celebrated designer then went on to attempt to explain what he meant in more endearingly delightful ways: (‘by babies I do not mean ‘copulate’ ‘and ‘you can procreate without making love’) etc. The man’s got sole!
Bankers = books
>> What’s it with bankers and finance people writing books? Not just any books mind you: record breaking, best-selling, critically acclaimed books and then to make matters worse, running all the way to the bank!
The Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat, Ashwin Sanghi tsunami is only a small wave considering reports that Ruchir Sharma’s (Head of Emerging Market Equities and Global Macro at Morgan Stanley) Breakout Nations is steadily advancing on the charts, and of course, there’s Liaquat Ahamed (banker whose Lords of Finance: The bankers who broke the world won him the Pulitzer in 2010) and David Lender, the top-selling author of novels going for 99 cents. Interestingly, the Banker who fits in neatly with this clean cut looking, best selling, hard working claque is in fact not a banker at all! We’re talking about best selling author Ashok Banker who began his career as a journalist! Whew!