Ekta at Harvard

>> “It’s back to books, dorms ‘n’ combined studies.... blaaaaaaah,” moans Ekta Kapoor, the enigmatic film and TV powerhouse, whose allegedly doing a summer course at Harvard in business studies.

Ekta Kapoor

With recent stories of a Balaji CA turning whistleblower over irregularities in the company perhaps the young alumni from Bombay Scottish, who went on to become one of the biggest game changers in media, is sprucing up on her bottom line! And this time it’s not with dieting — or even worshipping!

Ratings surge
>> Normally I am not one to boast but just wanted to share that last week NewsX was the top news channel in the country (35 per cent market share),” informed Jehangir Pocha, the soft-spoken head of the so far beleaguered news channel.

The NewsX team celebrating the rise in ratings

“For English news channels, people look at the TAM segment known as “25-44 Male AB” — which means male viewers in the age group 25-44 in A and B level towns,” says the Mumbai-born Parsi lad. With a more restrained approach to news, the absence of screaming and gesticulating news anchors and a pretty low profile existence what according to the media maven accounts for this sudden surge? “People are tiring of opinionated, biased, personality-driven news.

Our ratings are climbing because NewsX is a return to purity — straight, sharp, unbiased news with incisive debates where guests get to speak more than anchors.” Our news formula is simple — don’t fixate on politics. Go beyond to address issues that touch peoples’ lives. Interact and engage with viewers, don’t enrage them. Raise viewers’ IQ, not their blood pressure. Speak with authority not aggression,” he says. Time to remove the earplugs?

What! No Swati?
>> Organised by Restaurant Magazine, part of William Reed Media, ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list’ is touted as ‘an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of over 900 international restaurant industry experts.’ With the caveat ‘what constitutes best is left to the judgment of these trusted and well-travelled gourmets.’

Even so the relative paucity of Indian names in the Asia section is surprising. Except for Dum Pukht, Bukhara, Varkh, Wasabi by Morimoto from the five-star hotels and Indigo as the only stand alone one — not many made the cut. As is the plethora of eateries based in China! Cultural discrimination? Outdated mindset? Or one more instance of China’s importance in the general scheme of things? As for us, Mumbai’s Trishna and Swati get our vote, as the best in any category!

Looking for an English rose
>> Soni Razdan, the talented actor, wife of Mahesh Bhatt and mother of the effervescent Alia, is soon going to give cine audiences one more Bhatt to watch. Her film — produced by Pooja Bhatt’s Fisheye Network — inspired by a notorious love triangle and murder in the late ’50s is in its casting stage.

Soni Razdan

And given the passion with which she is approaching it and her own track record of doing meaningful films and theatre (we still remember her scintillating performance in Satyadev Dubey’s Bund Darwaze) it will be eminently watchable. Meanwhile, Razdan is said to be looking out for a pretty young English rose to play the female lead. Any takers?

Water woman!
>> Her slim silhouette ’70s cover girl look and six-inch heels have long departed the corridors of power in Lutyen’s, Delhi but Jacqueline Lundquist, the glam wife of former US Ambassador to India Richard Celeste, is making waves elsewhere.

The Beach Boys performing in Hong Kong in August 2012

Recently, the blonde beauty and former manager of the iconic ’60s California surfer band The Beach Boys (remember Surf’s Up?) posted a picture of herself at the band’s reunion on a social networking site.

Jacqueline Lundquist

Lundquist who long shed her rock chic avatar for the considerably more staid one of a diplomat’s wife and an author (her book Letters from Vietnam — A soldier’s daughter’s search for her Father won notice) has now thrown herself in to philanthropy and works as VP of corporate affairs and chief serendipity officer at WaterHealth International (Serendipity officer? Hmmm). Makes a change from — Baby that’s all there is to the coastline craze, You gotta catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world. Yeah yeah yeah!

Papa don’t preach
>> This one’s got Mumbai high society exceedingly convulsed. Big names are being called on to intervene. Back-room discussions. And, of course, the gossipmongers sniggering.

When the divorcee daughter of a high profile SoBo family began dating the son of a builder five years her junior a year ago it became a topic of discussion.

But nothing compared to when (after a bit of not so gentle persuasion from her family) the young man proposed to his ladylove recently. What followed according to insiders were a flurry of phone calls made by the soon to be bride to all her friends with the famous, “You’re the only person I’m telling, I’m engaged”. With a wedding date set for July, there was much excitement as the news got around. But then came the slip between cup and lip: the boy’s father — who is said to have dug his heels in and refused to give his approval to the marriage. “After all, how could he?” said our source. “He was the one who’d created such a shindig when his own nephew had also married a divorcee. What position was he in to agree this time around?” And this is where the big names come in. Apparently, another high profile builder and a billionaire businessman were roped in by the girl’s side to appeal to the father’s better senses. As for us — we are all for second marriages and waiving aside age compatibility. Times have changed! Move on dad!  

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