The things you learn if you only listen carefully! Struck by the cool picture of former Cong MP and rocker Milind Deora looking tanned and very transcontinental with the celebrated and glam Arianna Huffington nee Stassinopoulou (whose widely read and influential news site The Huffington Post was acquired by AOL for $315 million in 2011), we called his mum for details.
“Actually Arianna and Murli, Milind’s dad, have been friends for decades,” said Hema, Milind’s elegant bridge-champion mother about the media whiz and her husband, Congressman Murli Deora, a man legendary for his role on the national stage of the India of the eighties. “She had come to Rajasthan, maybe as a student, as part of the Peace Corps and somehow she had got to know Murli and visited us when she was in Mumbai.
Milind and Arianna with friends
A friendship had developed and she had also met us in London to congratulate us on our wedding,” said Hema. “Then we lost touch and only recently, after Murli had come across a mention of her in a magazine that he recalled their friendship. And so, when Milind met her recently in Aspen, he reminded her of this and our old ties.
Hema Deora. Pic/Getty Images
She was always very bright and independent-minded even being the daughter of one of the richest men in Greece. So good to know she’s done well for herself,” said Hema.
We love moms. Especially for their understatements. So we thanked Hema for this wonderful and little known story about the former conservative commentator and author who had famously turned liberal and gone on to create a media empire. Arianna in the Peace Corp in Rajasthan? Who woulda’ thunk?
And even as the cream of the city’s top echelons get ready to attend the nuptials of Smita and Deepak Parekh’s younger son, the dapper Siddharth to his long time girlfriend English-American Claire O'Neil, in Jodhpur’s Umaid Bhavan at the end of the month, the celebrations were officially flagged off with a glittering dinner held over the weekend hosted by KKR head honcho, the swashbuckling Sanjay Nayar and wife Falguni.
Deepak and Smita Parekh
The Parekhs, of course, happen to be one of Mumbai’s most blue-chip of couples, both celebrated for their individual achievements in the fields of banking and education, as well as their personal charisma, so it’s going to be a big ticket celebration later this month.
Roasting Ranveer and Arjun
Tanmay Bhatt, Gursimran Khamba and Rohan Joshi, that gifted clutch of humorists who collectively make up the popular comedy group ‘All India Bakchod’ responsible for that super smart Alia Bhatt parody, has another surprise in store. They will be hosting India’s first live comedy roast next month at the NSCI in Mumbai.
Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh
The roast format, which was made popular by the Comedy Central roasts, which are telecast on the Comedy Central channel and featured brutal roasts of celebrities like Charlie Sheen, Pamela Anderson, Donald Trump and recently James Franco, is a fun show where celebrities are invited to be put on stage with a bunch of comedians who take turns at making fun of them.
The proceedings go to charity and all in all it’s a fun night out. For the inauguration roast in Mumbai on December 20, AIB has roped in the Bollywood ‘Gunday’ pair of hunky Arjun Kapoor and maverick Ranveer Singh, who have been brave enough to put themselves out there. We were informed that though the promotions for the event were only done on Twitter and Facebook, tickets for the good seats sold out in 30 mins! Nice!
6 degrees of separation
In which we join the dots...
Shubha Mudgal: Born in 1959 to two Professors of English Literature at Allahabad University with a deep interest in Classical Hindustani Music and Kathak, Shubha Mudgal is a celebrated singer of Hindustani classical music, Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, and popular Indian Pop. She has been trained at various stages of her life by eminent personalities, such as Pandit Vinaya Chandra Mudgalya, Pandit Vasant Thakar, Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, and Pandit Kumar Gandharva. She has a vast following of fans and admirers, not just for her musical genius but her humanity, progressive outlook and her commitment to good causes.
Vikram Seth: One of India’s most renowned authors and poets, Vikram Seth, was born in 1952 to Leila and Prem Seth, a budding legal luminary and an executive with a multinational firm in Kolkata. He spent part of his childhood in Patna attending St Xavier’s High School, before going to Doon and then finishing college at the Corpus Christi College, Oxford and then for a graduate degree in economics at Stanford University. He has received many awards, including the WH Smith Literary Award, the Padma Shri, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, and the Crossword Book Award. He is an outspoken advocate of human rights especially LGBT rights.
How they are related: Vikram’s mother’s brother’s wife’s sister’s son, the very talented tabla player Aneesh Pradhan happens to be married to Shubha Mudgal.
Other relatives of this highly talented and unlikely duo include Bollywood star and BJP politician Vinod Khanna; industrialist Ajit Gulabchand and art historian Saryu Doshi.
Bandra walks the talk
“Equal Streets! Bandra-Khar’s first ever-pedestrian only zone on busy Linking Road! I can’t believe it’s even possible,” gushed the lovely Sushama Reddy about Bandra’s latest claim to superiority over Colaba! She was referring to the welcome initiative of cordoning off a large swathe of Linking Road and SV road as a pedestrian-only zone on Sunday.
“I couldn’t believe that the city could actually do this for us!” said the actor-producer. “People turned out in droves to actually ‘claim’ the streets. Kids went wild on the road, scrawling with chalk from the Art Corner, there were bicycles available for free, and Dance and Aerobics sessions that people participated in without inhibition. All in all, really a very well thought out and coordinated event which drove home the point of Fitness and Fresh air in a very cool way.”
Buck up Colaba!