Guess who came to dinner

Word comes in that Jacqueline Lundquist, the leggy blonde wife of former Ambassador to India, Richard Celeste, known for her championing of all things Indian especially fashion, celebrated her birthday last week with Hillary and Bill Clinton at a fundraiser for the former’s Presidential campaign. "Celebrating with the two most interesting men in the world!" She said about this picture with her husband and the former POTUS. "Thank you to all who contributed to a fab birthday fundraiser for Hillary." As is known, the Clintons have many friends in India, The Chatwals, Deepak Chopra, and Richard and Jacqueline belong in this group.

Richard Celeste, Jacqueline Lundquist and Bill Clinton
Richard Celeste, Jacqueline Lundquist and Bill Clinton

So will India get a better deal if Hillary becomes the President of the United States? The jury’s out on this one, though past experience has proven that we’ve always fared better with Republican leaders.

The hot wheels crowd
Saturday night’s inaugural evening at its Santacruz showroom, to announce Italian luxury carmaker Maserati’s entry into West India, following the official opening of its New Delhi and Bengaluru dealerships last year, saw a clutch of socialites leave their various comfort zones to make the trek. The car after all, is a benchmark in luxury automobiles. Hosted by Sukhbir Bagga, an industry veteran along with Rukshana and Mustafa Eisa, the evening saw the likes of Anoop and Devaunshi Mehta, Rishi Sethia and Queenie Singh, Yash and Avanti Birla, and Sandeep Khosla witness the unveiling of the Maserati Trident brand, including the Quattroporte, its latest sports executive sedan. Champagne and appetizers preceded the unveiling following with DJ Mat taking over the console. All this must have considerably helped make up people’s minds; according to a spokesperson ‘eight cars have already been delivered’. A Maserati car, depending on the model, incidentally starts at Rs 1 crore!

Khushboo and Sukhbir Bagga with Sandeep Khosla
Khushboo and Sukhbir Bagga with Sandeep Khosla

Queenie Singh and Avanti Birla
Queenie Singh and Avanti Birla

Coldplay and the Birlas
"My daughter will be thrilled," said Neerja Birla when we congratulated her on her successful bid for Chris Martin’s signed electric guitar at Rahul Bose’s NGO The Foundation’s fundraiser this past weekend. The Coldplay front man had personally gifted the instrument to Bose for his philanthropic enterprise. "Ananya plays the guitar herself," said Neerja, adding, "In fact, Coldplay is one of her favourite bands." What Neerja didn’t add was that it was one of her favourite bands too. The Birlas happened to be listening to Coldplay we hear when they drove down to the auction.

Neerja Birla and Chris Martin. PIC/AFP
Neerja Birla and Chris Martin. PIC/AFP

Friends and footie
The Sunday evening sundowner hosted by architect Ashiesh Shah, with Sameer Dattani and wife Ritika, as Shah had promised saw a substantial presence of Bollywood. Besides Jacqueline Fernandez and Sonam Kapoor, actor Arjun Rampal came with wife Meher Jesia. And holding up the side of non-Bolly glamour were the likes of Ambika and Satya Hinduja, Roohi and Chetan Jaikishan and Surily Goel. But unbeknown to many of those present there was another star who almost made it. "Ranbir Kapoor did drop by, but only to the building’s parking lot," said an onlooker.

Rhea and Sonam Kapoor with Jacqueline Fernandez
Rhea and Sonam Kapoor with Jacqueline Fernandez 

Ranbir is said to have driven in all the way from the suburbs to congratulate Shah on the creation of what is being described as Mumbai’s most glamorous penthouse. "Shah went down to meet him and the star drove off after he’d wished him. There was an important European football game on and we all know Ranbir is a die hard fan!"

Arjun Rampal
Arjun Rampal

Ranbir Kapoor
Ranbir Kapoor

Overheard
Arnab Goswami is now Dr. Arnab Goswami. Conferred Doctorate for running doctored footage of Kanhaiya.
— Posted by director Shirish Kunder on Twitter

So long, and farewell
"Being a foreign correspondent is a funny thing," said the head of FT’s Mumbai Bureau James Crabtree, who is on his way to Singapore after an eventful stint here. "You always know you are going to have to leave," explained Crabtree who plunged into the life of Mumbai with noted enthusiasm, and now will be taking a sabbatical from the newspaper, which includes a role as senior visiting fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore (wife Mary Abdo who works with Parthenon, will join its Singapore branch).

Mary Abdo and James Crabtree
Mary Abdo and James Crabtree

Crabtree also had a fascination for Bollywood, he appeared briefly in a Salman Khan starrer, and his interview with Deepika Padukone had been memorable. But these haven’t been his only bright spots in the country. "I’ve driven an Aston Martin up Marine Drive, played elephant polo in Jodphur, got thoroughly drunk on Johnnie Walker Blue Label with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, had tea with Ratan Tata, lunch with Raghu Rajan, and in between, done everything from skiing in Kashmir, and tiger safari in Madhya Pradesh, to "glamping" in the thin air of Ladakh," he said. "Living in India has been the best decisions Mary and I have ever made, and we will miss it an awful lot," he said, adding, "As is often the case with Brits in India, there comes that time when it is wise to shuffle off quietly, before you get kicked out on your ear."

Indeed.

When it rains, it pours
One of the first families of Bollywood is certainly having a bad hair year. Not only has the elder daughter-in-law moved out, allegedly with a Britisher, but now word comes in that the younger one has allegedly packed her bags too.

All this while the solitary star in the centre of it all remains unfazed. But this must make things pretty unsettling for the clan who were once known for their strong adherence to family ties and domestic bliss.

Sadly, we guess when it rains it pours.

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