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Cocking a snook

>> He is the perfect example of the phrase: ‘You can’t keep a good man down.’ Even as news came in that IPL’s former founder-commissioner Lalit Modi had been served a lifetime ban by the BCCI on Wednesday following a special general meeting held at Chennai, guess where the feisty exile chose to cock a snook at his critics?


Lalit Modi and Patrice Evra

Where else, but at England’s second oldest Test venue, the historic Old Trafford cricket ground in Greater Manchester, England, the home of the Manchester Cricket Club! “At old Trafford earlier today as guest of Patrice, the captain,” he said referring to his Facebook post which featured a photograph of him with his arm around Patrice Latyr Evra, the French international footballer who plays for Manchester United in the Premier League. It’s called chutzpah. Though we’re sure his detractors will mangle the word to their own liking.

Penthouse Blues?
>> And news comes in of our own desi Paris Hilton. The lady, who imports/exports her latest spouse as and when she requires, threw a party for her latest interest, someone much younger than her, we hear. The irony that this was done in her late husband’s penthouse where he had met with a tragic end hardly made a difference. Penthouses rarely turn into repent houses for some people.

Windswept Ash
>> “You are the only one who’s seen the issue so far. The hoardings will be up by the weekend and it will be distributed from October 1,” said our friend, the editor-in-chief and publisher of Noblesse, about the sumptuous inaugural issue of the luxury lifestyle magazine that she took on after L’Officiel.


Aishwarya Rai 

Packed to the brim with international luxury ads, and featuring a galaxy of articles (including one by us), the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the fashion spread presenting a windswept, sultry and surprisingly slim-looking Aishwarya Rai, in head-to-foot Dior on a beach.

“Our launch features the Queen of luxury, class and style — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,” says Superna Motwane, who is herself intricately connected to some of the country’s biggest names in Bollywood, society and business. “She exudes beauty in her mannerisms and lifestyle, almost as much as in her mesmerising looks.” We like!

Office in a time warp
>> One of the things we liked about The Lunchbox was the evocative realistic setting. Mumbai’s commuter lifeline, the stark architecture of railway stations, the minutiae of urban living — all so brilliantly presented. Best of all, was the depiction of Irrfan’s office: a citadel of rusting files and outdated ledgers, a veritable morgue for the everyday professional soul.


Irrfan Khan

And last Sunday, at the Asia Society screening of the film one of the more interesting things revealed was that the office used in the film was none other than a real government IT office from the Churchgate area. As the official explained: “Where else would someone find a place with slow-turning files, wooden desks and high ceilings? It would take ages and plenty of money to recreate the time warp. Hence, the decision to rent out the premises for shoots!”

Going rate for a Rajya Sabha seat
>> You want to know what inflation really is? It’s the going rate to buy your way into a Rajya Sabha seat. An industrialist we know, puts the figure today as Rs 40-50 crores, whereas five years ago, it was around Rs 8-10 crores! “There will be many takers for it at even a higher price,” he informs. “An RS seat ensures top-level networking, an opportunity to get on government advisory committees, a chance to influence policy-making and often an insurance against tax raids etc. Which businessman will turn his nose up at these? At the very least, that insignia of three lions on their visiting cards is the ultimate status symbol!”

Salaam Mumbai Superstars: Then and Now
I guess it was only fitting in the synchronicity of things, that yesterday the day when Dev Anand would have celebrated his 90th birthday, was also the day when his compatriot Dilip Kumar was dispatched from hospital. Both men, along with the late Raj Kapoor made up the legendary ‘Triumvirate’ of Hindi cinema in the ‘50s: the totem of unrivalled superstardom. What was interesting then was that each had carved out distinct and very separate personas as they ruled Bollywood. Dilip Kumar was the Tragedy King, Dev Anand was the ‘Eternal Romantic’ and the late Raj Kapoor was the ‘Loveable Tramp’ (though he also earned the sobriquet ‘The Ultimate Showman’). So closely identified were these three gentlemen with their onscreen personas, that often their own personal lives were imbued by them. Kumar, for instance, has spoken openly about how his depiction of tragic heroes brought on a depression for which he had to seek treatment from a Harley Street psychiatrist. The good doctor’s prescription? Act in comedy roles and lighter films! Is there such a system these days, of actors carving out distinct entities for themselves? Well yes and no. The ruling triumvirate of Khans: Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman, certainly have very different public images: Aamir as the cerebral earnest trailblazer, Salman as the mischievous and unpredictable bad boy, and Shah Rukh as the outspoken charismatic motormouth. But in their films, no such divisions apply. They all play the same kind of roles: avenging crusaders, village buffoons and slick urbane artists to perfection. Gone are the days of specialisation. As in all things today: there is no black and white, only shades of grey. 

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