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Going, going Goa

Malavika SangghviAfter her bizarre attempts to attract investment in Bengal by making leading industrialists sing at her last convention (as reported in this page recently) came a cropper, Mamata’s yen for bringing in the big bucks hasn’t abated.

Our source informs that the fiery CM was slated to hold a series of meetings with some of Mumbai’s leading industrialists between February 13-14, but has been stood up by all and sundry.

West Bengal CM Mamata
West Bengal CM Mamata

“Everyone who matters in these circles have bigger fish to fry,” we were told. “After all, these are the days when the progeny of Gautam Adani’s and the country’s top lawyer Cyril Shroff will be wedded in Goa. No one wants to miss that,” said our source, adding, “After all, Shroff is the lawyer for every major industrialist in the country.

Cyril Shroff
Cyril Shroff 

His areas of specialisation are banking, oil and gas, mining and mergers and acquisitions so you can imagine his clout.” Or perhaps they are just frightened Mamatadi will make them sing we ventured in sotto voice. Incidentally, Shroff along with the country’s top criminal lawyer Amit Desai and the country’s leading investment banker Uday Kotak make up what is easily India’s most formidable trio of BFFs!

Uday Kotak
Uday Kotak

Fellow travellers
There’s unaccounted for collateral damage from the JLF. Imagine you’re the owner of a roadside dhaba minding your own business on the Jaipur-Jodhpur highway one balmy Sunday afternoon and from a distance you see the outline of an SUV slow down at your stall. Imagine if from the car emerge two attractive city slickers asking for your kachoris.

Parveen Dussanj and Kabir Bedi
Parveen Dussanj and Kabir Bedi

You’d go right back to swatting the flies and tell them it’s siesta time right? But what if the kachori hunter is a Bollywood star, who’s a cult figure in Italy and has a string of Hollywood hits to call his own? When Parveen Dussanj and what she calls, “My favourite beardy man,” Kabir Bedi drove off in to the sunset after the LitFest (“we’ve just moved in to a new home and we thought we’d buy some furniture,” she says) it was more of what the couple’s been doing all their lives together.

“Kabir and I just love road trips,” she said to us over a crackling phone line from Rajasthan. “We’ve done Rome, Tuscany. Our favourite’s been Vegas to LA,” says the London born Dussanj. “Road trips are incredibly fun,” she says. So, if you are a dhaba owner on the Rajasthan highway, guess who’s coming for dinner.

Cult DVD
It’s become something of a cult DVD and that’s no surprise when the star is corporate India’s unexpected hunk Yash Birla whose passion for bodybuilding is unmatched.

Yash Birla
Yash Birla

Released a while ago, it has the scion of one of the country’s most respected industrial family going through the motions in various mind-numbing positions and contortions with his trainer. A must have for those intent on emulating the industrialist. And for others for some delicious eye candy too. As for Birla with his interests in spirituality, art, lifestyle, trance music and fitness, he’s blazed a path where few of his peers have gone.

Padma Shri Pablo
You know you are getting old and too establishment when your friend and contemporary the photojournalist Pablo Bartholomew gets the Padma Shri! Pablo’s pictures of morphine addicts won him the World Press Photo award when he was 19.

Pablo Bartholomew
Pablo Bartholomew

Pablo’s iconic portrait of the Bhopal gas tragedy won him the World Press Photo award of the year in 1984. Pablo published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, National Geographic and GEO. Pablo, who eschewed the high life, sought out the mean streets and never played the fame game. That Pablo. Now, he’s a Padma Shri. And we salute him and the Indian government for giving credit where credit is due. And now can we all go back to being iconoclasts and rebels again?

Model friendship
Old models don’t die… they just form a sisterhood. We have always been struck by the deep sense of camaraderie that exists between former Mumbai models. Whereas we are told that there is cutthroat competition and intense rivalry between the glamour girls of today, yesterday’s showstoppers seem to be genuinely fond of each other.

Nandinii Sen, Aarti Surendranath, Sharmilla Khanna and Sangeeta Chopra
Nandinii Sen, Aarti Surendranath, Sharmilla Khanna and Sangeeta Chopra

And this weekend the good vibes were once again evident when half a dozen of the most popular faces from the eighties met at former model Vanessa Vaz Mueller’s home for lunch. Present were the luminescent Nandinii Sen, Aarti (Gupta) Surendranath, Sharmilla Khanna and the favourite choreographer of that era Sangeeta Chopra. Between them these girls have sold shoe polish, bed sheets, scooters and soap to a generation of Indians.

“These people are part of my heart,” said Nandinii who has evolved into a noted TV and film actor as well as a life coach. “Twice a year we’d travel all over India by train in our own bogey and what a riot that was! For some shows we’ve stayed together a month at a time in Delhi,” she says adding, “It was like ‘college’ campus time.” We like!

Fellow travellers 2
“It’s been a year since we were hitched,” says actor, singer and performer Ash Chandler about his fairytale wedding to the lovely Junelia Aguiar and we thought we’d celebrate it at the same church in Goa where we’d been married.

Ash Chandler and Junelia Aguiar
Ash Chandler and Junelia Aguiar

“So, this Sunday I drove down to Goa on my Harley Davidson and once again met Junelia on the church steps,” he says. “It was magical and we’re still walking on air.” Romantic yes! But sensible too: we’re happy to learn that the wife preferred to take a plane! ¬†

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