'Fervent requests from Indrani'

We like talking to ace legal eagle Mahesh (Tony) Jethmalani, urbane and engaging, the hardworking Oxford lawyer belies his gravitas with a light touch and can be counted on to tell it like it is.

“Isn’t it awkward for you to represent Indrani after being Peter’s lawyer, now that it appears that the couple is... hurtling towards opposing positions?”, we asked choosing our words carefully. Jethmalani could have deferred to reply but chose not to.

Indrani Mukerjea, Peter Mukerjea and Mahesh Jethmalani
Indrani Mukerjea, Peter Mukerjea and Mahesh Jethmalani

“I was brought in right from the beginning to represent Indrani” he said. “And the understanding was that once the charge sheet was filed I would have the option of opting out” said Jethmalani candidly, adding, “and I almost did.”

Then what made you change your mind? We enquired. “Fervent pleas from Indrani,” said the lawyer “and the thought that — what the hell — every one deserves a lawyer.”

Semantics and cigars
We’d never really understood the phrase ‘Close But No Cigar’ until Wednesday evening at the Arora’s. It was approaching midnight and the chariot called, and while we prepared to exit, we saw newly weds Parveen Dussanj and Kabir Bedi enter.

Parveen Dussanj and Kabir Bedi (left) Nikki Bedi
Parveen Dussanj and Kabir Bedi (left) Nikki Bedi

Parveen dressed in earth colors with her post honeymoon in Maldives glow intact, was holding on to a lit cigar — a handsome Churchill, we think. We air kissed as we crossed but were curious. Why is your wife holding a cigar? We asked Bedi.

“We were with Nikki (Bedi),” is what we think we heard the country’s second most famous baritone, also from Sherwood, say. It was the fact that Nikki had been Bedi’s wife no 3 preceding Parveen that made us understand the phrase ‘close but no cigar’. Or so we think.

Sparkling evening
Simonne and Ajay Arora’s sparkling evening to introduce Dr David Thomas, Dean of the McDonough school of Business Georgetown University Washington, saw a collection of some of the city’s best and brightest gather to welcome the head of the renowned institute, known as the incubator of America’s power elite.

Simonne, Ajay Arora and Swati Piramal
Simonne, Ajay Arora and Swati Piramal

From Delhi’s power couple Sumant Sinha — brother of Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance and son of former Union Finance minister Yashwant — and his wife, the new energy entrepreneur Vaishali Nigam Sinha, to the city’s leading eye surgeon Burjor Banaji, to scientist and philanthropist Swati Piramal, to industrialist and art patron Harsh Goenka, they were all there, rubbing shoulders with the glamorous assemblage.

Thomas, who joined the Georgetown Mcdonough School of Business, following a two decade career as faculty of the Harvard Business School, spoke enthusiastically about welcoming Indian students to his college.
The Arora’s son, Armaan, who is now into his second year at Georgetown University, McDonough school of Business, is said to have benefitted tremendously under his deanship.

The evening’s conversation centered mainly around education, the state of the nation, an upcoming wedding and a popular thespian’s provocative remarks on a social networking site. Ah yes — and the moon.

Because even as the party ebbed and flowed, there were some who had looked up from the Arora’s magical lawns and chanced upon a surprisingly bright and almost round beautiful moon competing for attention with the beauty on the ground.

The tender loving Kher
This evening Pooja Shetty Deora is hosting a special screening of her latest production, Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive, the sequel of the 2010 hit Tere Bin Laden, directed by Abhishek Sharma and produced by her Walkwater Media.

Pooja Shetty Deora and Sikander Kher
Pooja Shetty Deora and Sikander Kher

The film, like its predecessor, is a satirical comedy about America’s hunt and eventual assassination of terrorist Osama Bin Laden and features actors Manish Paul and Sikander Kher in pivotal roles.

And from sources that’ve seen the film at previews, it’s said to be a stand out performance by Kher, one for which he has undergone painstaking make up to reprise the role of US agent David Chaddha.

Ships and sightings
Much to the consternation of many of our friends we had actually liked Ship of Theseus, Anand Gandhi’s national award winning film that questioned questions of identity, justice, beauty, meaning and death through the stories of an experimental photographer, an ailing monk and an enterprising stockbroker.

Anand Gandhi and Jitesh Kallat
Anand Gandhi and Jitesh Kallat

We’re not sure we had understood it completely, but something about its audacious, out-of-the-box content and treatment had delighted us, which is why the forthcoming interaction between the director and edgy cerebral artist Jitesh Kallat sounds promising.

Titled ‘Sightings,’ Jitish Kallat in conversation with Anand Gandhi at the Chemould Prescott Road, and presented by Avid Learning, the conversation purports to ‘explore the predominance of ideas of the themes of time, sustenance, sleep, interplay of scales and proximities, and evocations of the celestial preoccupations.’

“As my exhibition ‘Sightings’ comes to an end, I look forward to a closing dialogue between Anand and me; we might explore the many themes in the exhibition but also many of our shared preoccupations,” said Kallat.

The Russians are coming
Yes and it’s not a question of locking up your daughters — it’s about locking up your men. Three prominent biz men currently have had their personal lives turned upside down on account of their dalliances with women from the erstwhile Soviet Bloc.

Two of them are married and one was famously living in with his attractive middle-aged paramour. Time was when Mother Russia was revered or feared by the bourgeoisie for her ideology and the young men of our country who had fallen under its thrall.

Today it’s ironic that it’s not the young men but middle aged ones who have succumbed. But this time it’s not the politics but the charm of some very pretty women that’s causing much heartburn amongst wives and paramours in SoBo.

As for the three Romeos, one’s wife is said to have resigned to her fate, the second is putting up a brave front, and the third has dug her heels in and is refusing to move out of their residence. A case of ‘Russian where angels fear to tread?’

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