>> What is it about famous Bollywood wives, heartbreak and candles? (Yes, you heard candles and not scandals.) Ever since Dimple Kapadia declared her independence from Kaka by launching her candle company ‘The Faraway Tree’ it appears to be something of a trend. Latest to embrace votive power is pretty singer new age artist Suchitra Krishnamoorthi whose marriage to Shekhar Kapur unravelled a few years ago.
“I have been in love with candlelight ever since I can remember,” says the lady who launched the Candlelight Company, her store in Juhu, with a well-attended party last week. “Hooked onto the miraculous healing properties of essential oils and their power to alter moods and emotions and promote wellbeing I headed to the Candle Academy and Molinard Perfumery in France and Plush Folly England to further my skills and knowledge,” she says. “I believe that a candle is not just an object of beauty and light. It is also a tool of divination and wellbeing.”
See what we mean?
Rest and recovery
>> Good news for friends and fans of legendary director Shyam Benegal who has been recovering from surgery at the Jaslok Hospital these past few weeks.
According to a source he has made satisfactory progress and will be discharged soon. “While in hospital he’s been working round the clock on his dream project — a dramatized series on the making of the Indian Constitution for Rajya Sabha TV — by copious reading and keeping up with the TV news,” we were informed. “But given that much of it contains vileness and venality like Ajit Pawar’s urination statement — we hope his ulcers don’t act up again!” said our source.
RIP ‘Takeover King’
>> To know what true noblesse oblige meant one had to live in Kolkata in the eighties, where legendary Marwari industrialists resided in impossibly large mansions, entertained in a style that’s hard to imagine, were knowledgeable about a vast range of subjects and immersed themselves in art and culture.
And of the lot RP Goenka, who died on Sunday from age related illnesses, was the King.
Hailing from one of Kolkata’s oldest families, Goenka quickly established an empire that spanned a variety of businesses ‘from power to hotels to music’, winning himself the title of ‘India’s original takeover king’ for the swashbuckling manner in which he’d acquire companies.
Along with this he acquired a formidable reputation for his fabled art collection and the elegance of his style.
We had met him on many occasions in Kolkata as well as at his official bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi.
As though to the manor born his sons Harsh Vardhan and Sanjiv have also inherited their father’s penchant for the arts.
He shall be missed.
>> Visual wit is a rare commodity and even more welcome than its verbal equivalent. Which is why when we saw this picture featuring Vishal Dadlani self-styled as ‘Retard Kumar 70s superstar’ we were delighted. “It was for a series of promos for Indian Idol Kids,” said the composer, who along with band mate Shekhar and singer Shreya Goshal, will be judges of the popular show. “We were put in various costumes by the producer,” laughed the hunky musician “but of course the hamming was all done by me alone.”
As for the reality show, Dadlani is making pretty sure no kids will be harmed in the shooting by way of too much attention or celebrity. “Both Sony and Freemantle share concerns about children’s rights and treatment,” he said.
Our neighbour the hypnotherapist
>> We used to run in to him in the building lift. A silver maned handsome man with piercing eyes. It was our friend the dashing police chief Sivanandan, a frequent visitor to his home who informed us that we lived in the same building as one of the city’s most sought after hypnotherapists. But that was not the only reason why Rooshi Kumar Pandya who died suddenly over the weekend was enigmatic. He was also the husband of the reclusive Anapoorna Devi, acknowledged by those in the know to be one of the most gifted sitar players ever and former wife of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Though we often saw Pandya, we had been putting off seeking an interview for a rainy day. Well, that day is not to come. Pandya was cremated by his friends and admirers and Anapoorna Devi has withdrawn even further in to the recesses of her chosen reclusivity.
We wish her strength and courage.
Streets of blood and gold
>> ’The sky tinged with blood, a man sliced in two by incandescent steel, the sudden fear when the ambulances went by, the black market in grain, the debris floating in the bay, and for me, the image of a headless horse, still running, still spurting blood.” With these evocative words noted Mumbai writer Jerry Pinto ended his essay in Bombay Meri Jaan, (edited by Naresh Fernandes and Jerry Pinto. Penguin) on the Fort Stikine explosion in Bombay harbour on April 14, 1944, whose anniversary fell yesterday.
For those who came in late, “The SS Fort Stikine had arrived from Karachi more than 24 hours earlier carrying a highly inflammable cargo of cotton bales, resin, lubricating oil, torpedoes, detonators, one million pound sterling in gold ingots and 1200 tonnes of Category A explosive - the most sensitive kind,” wrote Pinto
Incidentally, Pinto joins an august bunch of writers this week whose books have been shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth Book Prize 2013. His Em and the Big Hoom an autobiographical first novel set in Mahim has made the cut along with offerings by Jeet Thayil (Narcopolis), Nilanjana S Roy (The Wildings) and Farhad Sorabjee (God on every wind) amongst a galaxy of excellent writers.