Goan nights with SRK

The last time we’d interviewed him, it happened to be in Goa. Which is why when news came in that SRK would be gracing Goa’s silly season with his presence on an extended outdoor location at the end of the year, we could not help but recall the last time we’d met him there.

He’d been brought down by a luxury watch company for a party, to launch one of its latest products of which he’d been brand ambassador. The festivities were being conducted in a tiny and quaint old Portuguese bungalow in Bogmalo.

As part of the press detail, we’d been invited to interview the great man on the terrace of this establishment before the event. Outside we could hear the ebb and flow of hysterical fans who’d gathered at the gate and on the beach when they’d heard of his presence at the hotel.

What had struck us was that he’d barely acknowledged the electric frisson in the air. And later, when he’d sportingly agreed to play a game of volleyball at midnight, he’d done so with an athlete’s concentration despite the thronging, cheering, screaming crowds.

How will Goa receive SRK this time around? Already four-five prime waterfront bungalows have been booked to accommodate the stars and unit of the film. Will SRK once again agree to engage sportingly in the beach resort’s celebrated nightlife, adding a special thrill to the festive spirit? One thing’s for sure. It’s going to be a star-studded New Year’s in Goa this year.

Birthday extravaganza
Can there be any thing more OTT than the invitation card to announce the birthday of Hyderabad’s T Subbarami Reddy the flamboyant industrialist, politician, film producer, philanthropist and serial party host, who appears to have outdone even himself with this latest exercise?

T Subbarami Reddy and (left) the invitation
T Subbarami Reddy and (left) the invitation

The generously illustrated missive featuring Reddy in all his spiritual magnificence informs that the gregarious Congressman and former MP, will be felicitating ‘spiritual personalities and priests from scared shrines of India’ this Saturday in Vishakhapatnam.

Expect top-flight stars, heavy-duty politicos and sundry heavyweights in attendance. And wall-to-wall coverage the next day.

Fitting riposte
“I felt compelled to write about it as I don’t think any one person should feel entitled to define what Indian culture is. Culture in itself is, and should be, amorphous,” Isheta Salgaocar was explaining how she came to write what is being seen as one of the most fitting responses to our Minister of Culture, Mahesh Sharma, who last week evoked outrage over his attempt to define Indian culture.

Isheta Salgaocar. Pic/Twitter
Isheta Salgaocar. Pic/Twitter

“A 14-year-old girl wanting a night out maybe all right elsewhere but not in India,” had said the blithe spirit, with an alarming case of footinthemouthitus.

“I first read about his comments in the Huffington Post on Saturday and began a series of tweets with “dear culture minister,” said Huffington Post’s editor at large, an alumni of the Columbia School of Journalism who happens to be daughter of industrialist Raj Salgaocar and his cultural philanthropist wife Dipti, herself the daughter of India’s iconic industrialist, the late Dhirubhai Ambani.

“I then decided to write a letter to him, as I also think that any argument is worth discussing and if it doesn’t stand up to rationality and logic, then maybe it’s time to rethink the argument,” she said. “It is always easier to respect what is similar than what is different,” she’d said in a point-by-point rebuttal that nimbly demolished Sharma’s regressive assumptions that Indian culture was predicated on such things as three generations of Indians cooking together in the same kitchen.

Incidentally, Sharma who’d promised to elucidate on the subject with seven points, has only so far offered five. Asked what the two other points were, he’d said he would explain that later. What might they be — a treatise on Chavanprash? A paean to hamam baths? The mind boggles.

New media partners?
And whereas sources in Zee say they’re still waiting for the contract to be signed and sealed, other equally credible sources have told us that the CNN-Zee MOU is a done deal and is only awaiting public announcement.

Subhash Chandra Goel and Rajdeep Sardesai
Subhash Chandra Goel and Rajdeep Sardesai

Ever since the arrangement between the American TV conglomerate came unstuck with its Indian partner TV 18’s IBN-18 Broadcast, speculation has been rife about who the network would partner with. That it has chosen Subhash Chandra Goel’s Zee, ostensibly to strengthen its plans for the latter’s imminent English current affairs channel, bodes well for the TV watching public.

However one thing remains up in the air. Who will be the face of such a channel? After all, CNN’s earlier, a certain Mr Sardesai, as we know, is happily ensconced in India Today’s electronic arm. Will he be approached to do the honours again? Of such things is Press Club lunchtime chatter composed.

An ode to the typewriter
“In 2009, I came to know that Godrej — the market leader and the last of the Indian companies — was soon planning to discontinue manufacturing the manual typewriter,” said photojournalist Chirodeep Chaudhari whose book on the now antiquated machine is expected to be out by early 2016.

Chirodeep Chaudhari and Pheroza Godrej
Chirodeep Chaudhari and Pheroza Godrej

“That’s when I got in touch with a friend who was heading Godrej Archives and requested if I could photograph the last machines as they rolled off the assembly lines,” he said about an idea that didn’t materialise, but which led to Pheroza Godrej expressing a keenness to green light a book on manual typewriters a year later.

“For the next 3-odd years we travelled across India searching and locating stories around the typewriters, interviewing people,” said Chaudhari.

“I photographed typists outside courts in many cities around the country and in Allahabad, we found the last manufacturers of the types,” said the photographer, adding, “typewriters make for a great technology story, or rather about the death of a technology, a technology that just a decade back we seemed to take so much for granted.”

He said, “I had remained so obsessed with typewriters for the past few years that I would find them everywhere as hotel decor and even on a matchbox label — a brand called Naya Typewriter!”

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