Fighting for survival

Malavika SangghviRajeev Masand's teasing, insidious manner of prying the best out of his interviewees was put to best use, when he interviewed fellow compatriot from Sindh, Pahlaj Nihalani on TV recently. "I asked him didn't he mind that he was so unpopular amongst his film fraternity, and he said "No, people who do the wrong thing must be corrected," says Masand. "He really believes he is a force for good," says the film critic and interlocutor, who like every good journo wants to get the story behind the story. "Also it's his moment of glory. He was really irrelevant until he became head of the censor board last year."

Rajeev Masand
Rajeev Masand

And the film industry? Is this a passing cause celebre or are they in for the big haul, we enquired.

The Bollywood press conference in support of Udta Punjab
The Bollywood press conference in support of Udta Punjab

"It's big," says Masand, a Bolly insider if ever there was one. "Never have so many big voices come together, most of the indie directors are fighting for survival," he says. "If the objections to Udta Punjab are not challenged, it will be the end of the indie film movement in India. That's how big it is."

Waxing and waning
It's that time of the year, when friends and family appear weaker and sallower, as they brave their fasts along with the summer heat to observe the month of Ramzan. But just as the moon waxes and wanes so too are the highs and lows of this month, which also sees a flurry of, save the date invitations for sparkling and sumptuous Iftar dinners. Speaking of which, can anyone forget the legendary Iftar dinner by former Bandra MLA Baba Siddique where the epic SRK-Salman love-hate saga is visited annually to the delight of the Universe? This year the dinner will take place later this month at a suburban five star hotel and apart from the exquisite buffet of food on offer; the latest installment of the Khan tale is eagerly awaited. A word about the food served at the Siddiques. It is a family known to take its food very seriously. Siddique's wife Shehzeen is a talented chef and hails from the family that used to run the iconic A One Grill on Linking Road many moons ago. So as we were saying, even as there's fasting around us, there is also the promise of feasting soon.

SRK, Baba Siddique and Salman at last year's Iftar
SRK, Baba Siddique and Salman at last year's Iftar

And, of course, the Khan bromance which waxes and wanes too.

Dare to be funny
At a time in India when comedians are running afoul of public sentiment and seemingly unfunny jokes that should be ignored but are seen to offend, Vir Das is not one to cower. Das, one of India's most popular comedians and now actors (he played one of the lead roles in the lame sex-com film Masticate earlier this year) is gearing up to perform his stand up in South Mumbai next week. After previous success with shows like 'Walking on Broken Das', 'Battle of Da Sexes' and 'History of India: VIRitten,' his new upcoming show titled 'Unbelievable,' which has been written and directed by him will be showcased at the NCPA's large Tata theatre. Das will share stories from his life and career, and so much is the demand for such humour that we are informed tickets for his show sold out almost a month ago! But it isn't a surprise as Das usually seems get it right; by knowing where to draw the line, who to pick on and what not to say. This allows him to get the audience eating out of his hands.

Vir Das
Vir Das

Fashionistas ahoy!
In 2012 actress Sonam Kapoor, and fashionista Pernia Qureshi, had travelled to Paris on an all-girls trip, roaming the streets of Paris, eating their hearts out and even taking in a Rihanna concert.

Pernia Qureshi
Pernia Qureshi

Qureshi had styled Kapoor in Aisha and presumably their shared interest in fashion had cemented this friendship. What do you admire about Sonam's fashion sense we asked the designer on the eve of her first stand alone fashion show that was to be held later last night at a mid-city five star hotel, where Kapoor was slated to be the showstopper. "It's her individuality - her originality and the fact that she sports both established brands and upcoming designers with equal aplomb," says Qureshi.

Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor

Where do their tastes converge / differ in fashion?

"They converge in our love for experimentation - and differ in our sense of aesthetics," says Qureshi.

One more thing, does this fashion outing mean she will be spending less time now on her e-commerce fashion site?

"No both the line and the e-commerce site are my top priority – I'm a great multi-tasker and it's my love for all things fashionable that keeps me going," she says before her show began.

Overheard
Maria Sharapova banned for 2 years. Her only option is to come back after quickly changing her name to Rising Pune Super Gujarat Giant Lions
— Posted by Ramesh Srivats on Twitter

Tango in BKC?
Not much has been heard recently of chef Atul Kochhar, the India-born London-based chef, who won a Michelin star for his Indian food serving London restaurant Benares in 2007.

Atul Kochhar
Atul Kochhar

The soft-spoken Kochhar came back to India and opened his first Mumbai restaurant NRI (Not Really Indian) in Bandra Kurla Complex at the end of last year. A few months later he opened his second - Lima, a South American cuisine resto-bar at a neighbouring property in BKC (where in his absence a chef and manager both who previously worked at the kitchens of Altamount Road's Antilia look after the restaurant). But after an initial splash, both places haven't seemed to win over a large section of Mumbai's foodies or mimic the response to and success of his other overseas ventures. This weekend will see Lima and the acting Consul General of the Argentine Republic host a South American themed evening with a performance from the Argentina dance troop 'BTangoConscious'.

Lets see if they get Mumbai to Tango.

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