It's become something of a big ticket annual event on Delhi's social calendar, and so, this year, when Suhel Seth celebrated his birthday last week with usual aplomb, along with the usual suspects of top ministers, bureaucrats, media mavens and industrialists, insiders were curious to know who from the new dispensation would attend.
After all, Seth’s soirées are known to be uber-power events. And sure enough, there was Seth’s old friend Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, arguably the second most powerful man in the country, and there was the newly appointed Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi.
But, besides these two prominent names, the rest of the crowd was more or less the same faces that had dotted Seth’s parties before: politicians Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jay Pandey, industrialists Analjit Singh, Pawan Munjal, media folk like Tavleen Singh, Shobhana Bhartia and Rajdeep Sardesai. “You must understand that everything’s changed regarding Delhi social scene,” explained an insider, when asked why there were not more faces from the new regime.
“The new lot is just not the socialising type, and the ways to get to know them will have to be developed,” he said about a city that is known to change its loyalties as easily as it does its curtains. Mercifully, from the looks of Seth’s guest list, he’s still hung on to his old friends! But, that’s the result of his Calcutta chromosome!
Free hug to Preity
‘Someone please give Preity Zinta a hug!’, we posted on a social networking site when we saw Preity Zinta’s face crumple like a child’s discarded toy, when she realised her team had lost.
Preity Zinta and Shahrukh Khan after the match. PIC/PTI
To be sure, there had been many who’d wanted Kings XI Punjab to win for nothing else but the energy and infectious enthusiasm that Zinta had displayed during this IPL season. “She’s been at every match, rooting for her team,” many said, “And, we hope for her sake that they win!”
Which is why, in our book, one of the most graceful gestures in victory was SRK’s, who chose to wear the King’s XI Punjab T-shirt and spend a considerable amount of time talking about his affection for the actress during his post-win interview. Not his somersaults, cartwheels, nor his loopy childlike grin could have endeared him more and indisputably proved his superstar stature for millions of Indians!
Shotgun shoots from the hip
We hadn’t been familiar with his celebrated style of dialogue delivery, but this week, when Shatrughan Sinha put up a masterful rendition of injured pride for not having been given a berth in Modi’s cabinet and was seen as mounting the first stage of attack by the Advani loyalists from within the BJP we could not help but applaud.
Shatrughan Sinha. PIC/PTI
It was all there, wounded dignity, overweening patronage and veiled threats, communicated in the best Bollywood thespian style. And for those who think that Bollywood is a lightweight when it comes to politics think again.
From time immemorial, Bollywood has played an active part in politics: From Shivaji Ganesan, N T Rama Rao, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand, to Rajesh Khanna, Raj Babbar, Nana Patekar and Jaya Prada. If we were the powers that be, we’d attend to Shotgun’s grievance before it festers.
Diageo takes Bangalore?
And, whereas all eyes were on the finalists of the IPL, those who glanced at the Royal Challengers Bangalore box were struck by the notable absence of Vijay Mallya.
One theory doing the rounds is that the flamboyant UB group chairman had more or less been compelled to hand over his share of ownership to Diageo along with its foreign investors. “Diageo also has primary ownership of Force India now,” is what one source says.
Prime fashion folk
Friday night saw us attend a gathering of some of the men and women who’d set the fashion ball rolling in India at Vikram and Nisha Raizada’s party for international media maven, Fern Mallis. Mallis, a colleague and friend of Vikram’s, both from his IMG days and now at Tara Jewels, is credited as being the woman who put New York Fashion week on the international map.
(From left) Vikram Raizada, Fern Mallis, Anil Chopra and Narendra Kumar
An India-lover, she is said to have nurtured India Fashion Week in its early days, and so it was not unexpected to see Former Lakme Head and India Fashion Week’s creator Anil Chopra at the dinner. Also present were Vogue India’s editor Priya Tanna, designers Narendra Kumar and Sangita Kathiwada, and stylistas Mandira Bedi and Simonne Singh, and banker Manisha Girotra, amongst others.
The Raizadas are a couple who exemplify post-reform India. Stylish, sociable and involved in professions that were born as a result of liberalisation, Nisha is an investment banker and Vikram has worked in the fashion, luxury and TV industry.
Incidentally, standing out in this collection of fashion folk was Ravi Mantha, the man who’d translated Narendra Modi’s poems into English recently for publishers Rupa. “That was just a side thing,” said the dapper young man, a resident of Hyderabad and Singapore, “I’m more interested in policy formation and think-tanks.”