Deepika's year

If there is any more evidence required, to prove that 2015 was the year of Deepika Padukone, here it is. The long limbed spunky actress made it to the ultimate power list — the Financial Times Women of 2015, along with international heads of state, economists, journalists and activists.

'Deepika Padukone isn't your traditional Bollywood heroine. In a film industry known for meek, decorative female leads, she is rounding out 2015 by starring in Bajirao Mastani, a violent 18th-century epic,' wrote James Crabtree, head of the FT's Mumbai Bureau, who interviewed the actress.

James Crabtree and Deepika Padukone
James Crabtree and Deepika Padukone

What did Crabtree, more used to interviewing biz leaders, have to say about Padukone? “Recently, she read an interview with Nicolas Hénin, the French journalist held captive in Syria for 10 months by ISIS, before being released last year,” he said.

“I thought that was quite instructive, showed she has broader interests than some in Bollywood,” he said. “I'm not sure many Bollywood stars spend their time reading profiles of ISIS captives, for instance.”

The Eagle has landed
Cumballa Hill has many achievements to its credit, not least of all, that it is home to the world's most expensive private residence. However, last evening Mumbai's tree lined neighbourhood added another item to its accomplishments: it played host to one of the world's most celebrated rock legends, none other than Eagles band member and amongst Rolling Stone's 100 greatest guitarists in the world, Joe Walsh.

Joe Walsh and Suresh BhojwaniJoe Walsh and Suresh Bhojwani

The occasion occurred at our musically inclined sister Devieka and brother-in-law Suresh Bhojwani's residence. The Bhojwanis are a true blue, dyed in the denim, rock and folk duo; Devieka cut her teeth on Baez and Dylan, whereas Suresh was one of the first Indian rock stars to command fan worship in the country in the Sixties.

The Bhojwanis had met Walsh through a mutual friend a few years ago and had kept in touch since. And so even as they invited 30 or so of their friends to meet Walsh and his elegant wife Marjorie, Suresh had his priorities right. He would get Walsh to sign his prized 1963 Fender Stratocaster Blackie — the oldest Fender to enter India.

“But when I opened the case to show it to Walsh, to my horror a string popped,” recalled Suresh. “Hey, it's only got five strings,” Walsh said when he held it. “You only have to sign it Joe — not play it,” said Suresh. “This is one fine guitar,” said Walsh who travels with not less than 25 prized guitars to his concerts admiringly.

But for Eagle fans dying to know if the maestro serenaded the guests with 'Hotel California' for the rest of the evening, it's no. Jet lagged and enjoying his vacation, Walsh spent most of his time chatting with guests about their Eagle memories. Not that there was a lack of music though. With other legends like Biddu and Asha Puthli present, you could say there was a 'whole lotta singin' last night at Cumballa Hill for sure.

Breaking records with dance music
“India created history in the world dance music yesterday,” is the message we received from Shailendra Singh, the joint managing director of Percept. Singh is a happy man this week as his new company, Guestlist Events executed the 'worlds largest Guestlist' concert on Sunday, which saw approximately 80,000 revellers pack Navi Mumbai's DY Patil stadium.

Shailendra Singh, DJ Hardwell and a friend
Shailendra Singh, DJ Hardwell and a friend

The all day event was open to the public, and all proceedings are said to go to the Magic Bus foundation. The concert featured Dutch DJ Hardwell (who flew into the stadium in a chopper) along with Vir Das, and Indian artists Anish Sood, Rishabh Joshi and Shaan Singh.

And given that Singh took to the stage and got the crowd to chant “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” after him it looks like his dreams of a company, that will conceptualize and execute live events, to raise money for the education of underprivileged children in India, came true. “I am dog tired. We mad, happy, crazy Indians made history last night,” he tweeted later that night.

Spreading his spiritual wings
Since the time the Buddha left his royal abode and attained Nirvana, the world of princes and holy men have often converged. And now word comes in, that Lakshyaraj Singh, former prince of Mewar, is spreading his spiritual wings too.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Lakshyaraj SinghSri Sri Ravi Shankar and Lakshyaraj Singh

Singh was an invitee at the recently held Peace for Business Summit organized by the Asia Arab Chamber in Bangalore, where he met delegates from 12 nations including his Holiness The Dalai Lama, the keynote speaker at this summit.

What's more, later that day Singh was invited to the ashram of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, where we're told he had a private audience with the spiritual leader and discussed philanthropic projects. Nice.

Political rivals, dinner companions
For those who think that politicians remain as acrimonious and rabid in their personal lives as they appear on TV debates, here's a reality check. This weekend saw not only BJP spokesperson Shaina NC dine under the same roof with Congress spokesperson Milind Deora, but they were also later joined by Parth Pawar, son of NCP leader Ajit.

Milind Deora and Shaina NC
Milind Deora and Shaina NC

These three political heavy weights, along with their families were part of the guest list, at Rishi Acharya's Doppio on Warden Road, which opens to public this week. “Doppio means double Expresso and along with its menu of world cuisine by Chef Anirudh, there's an emphasis on coffee in various forms,” said Acharya, who has expanded his purview from nightclubs with this bar and brasserie.

“There will be soft music, a laid back atom, and best of all, very soon it's going to be opening from 12 noon till mid night,” said Acharya. As for the politicians present that evening, “they all met cordially but sat on separate tables” he said.

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