>> Breaking news: a little bird tells us that one of Bollywood’s most anticipated weddings, the Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor nuptial is going to take place on October 16 this year in Pataudi.
“A simple registered marriage has been planned,” our source tells us. And how reliable is the news? “It’s ninety-nine point nine nine per cent reliable,” we were informed.
Fingers crossed! Here’s wishing the couple well. And if it does take place as reported: you heard it here first!
Billionaire best friends club
>> One of the most astute observers of the corporate world was extrapolating about the ‘billionaire best friends forever club’ (hereby referred to as BBFF syndrome). “The thing is,” said the wag, “It’s all about availability. A billionaire might call up a friend and say ‘I’m flying off to South America this weekend’ or ‘come watch a movie at midnight’ and the BBFF is expected to be there — no questions asked.” Really? We said. “Yes, it’s about availability on one side and a business relationship on the other. Look at the country’s top four corporate czars. Their closest confidantes are always people who can devote packets of time to them — and who also are dependant on them for their business in some way.” Yes? We said.“In fact,” said the insider warming up to the topic, “I know of one businessman whose best friend was not only expected to join him at his weekend getaway on a regular basis-but also lose to him at tennis while there.” Gosh… we said. “Sycophancy is the second requirement in these relationships,” we were told. “The men at the top are so strapped for time, that every thing has to happen on their terms and for their convenience.”
We hear you, we said. “There was one top industrialist who for a while had become a BBFF to someone, but has now graduated to having BBFFs of his own,” we were told. “So his place has been filled by another who’s got loads of time on his hands.” So, there you have it gentle reader, the gyaan on BBFFs from the horses’ mouth.
The ailing superstar
>> We spoke to Anju Mahendru on learning that she had visited the ailing Rajesh Khanna over the weekend. Mahendru, who had once been famously engaged to the superstar in the ‘70s had recently returned from London and was shooting for her teleserial on Star Plus Ek Hazaron Mein Meri Bahena hai near Powai when we called.
“It’s tiring,” she said in her husky drawl about her latest assignment, “It’s a daily soap.” When asked about her meeting, she said, “Yes. I did meet him, it was a short meeting at his home.
He’s a bit weak, but he’s on the way to recovery.” Asked what was the matter with her former fiancé there was a long silence, “Babes, I don’t want to talk about it,” said the usually outspoken actress finally, “Let’s just say he looked weak but still as handsome as he always was.” The silence spoke volumes. Here’s wishing the star a speedy recovery!
Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment
>> A lot of people in the know swear that the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project launched in 2009 by His Holiness Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, the spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community is going to transform the face of Central Mumbai. Covering approximately 16.5 acres in Bhendi Bazaar, the project will impact 3,200 homes in 250 buildings and around 1,250 businesses. When it’s complete it aims to transform the lives of approximately 20,000 individuals.
Speaking about the ambitious plans, the COO Abizer Diwanji said, “Bhendi Bazaar was first settled in the 19th century. Post-independence, unfortunately, little has been done, to stay in tune with the times and its evolving landscape. After the redevelopment plan is brought into reality, significantly more space will be available for green spaces, play and open areas, recreational facilities as well as for community activities.” To our minds it sounds like the pioneering initiative undertaken by the Parsi Panchayat to house its community when it created the Dadar Parsi Colony decades ago. The wide tree-lined roads, well constructed, solid buildings and thoughtfully designed recreational areas are a testimony to progressive city planning. Moreover, we are happy to note that the people behind the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project are going about it in a secular and sensitive way. “Care has been exercised to ensure that all the religious structures in the area are retained in their present state and the redevelopment skillfully happens around them,” they say. We like!
The politics behind the Carter road protest
>> Word has it that it was politics that skewered the much-hyped anti archaic laws (and Dhoble) Carter road protest on Sunday. A little bird tells us that the Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray, and Farhan Azmi son of Abu Azmi, the SP leader along with actors Sohail and Salman Khan who were planning to attend and support it withdrew at the last minute when they found a local Congress politician was trying to hijack the protest.
And whereas the organisers had informed the media that they were expecting ‘5,000-10,000 marchers’ only a few hundred eventually showed up. Meanwhile, a raucous and colourful debate had ensued on a social network between author and journalist Naresh Fernandes and a few of his friends who hotly contested the original figure that the organisers had expected.
Fernandes, who is consulting editor at Timeout and knows a thing or two about the city had wagered a bottle of his finest feni if the figure crossed 500. We haven’t heard if said bottle has been handed over yet. Or to whom.