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Guess who came to dinner

By now every hack worth their scoop, has been tweeting about their Priyanka Chopra encounter. The actress about to fly off for 6 months for rigorous filming for Quantico abroad, pulled off what is being described as a master move by inviting a slew of the capital’s top media personnel to Olive for dinner on Tuesday. "Senior media men with large egos, believed it when they were told by the PROs that Priyanka had especially asked for them," laughs a young cub.

Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra

"And when they arrived, you could tell they were a bit distressed to see that rather than a select group, there were at least 30 people present including designers like Tarun Tahiliani and Varun Bahl," she laughs. "But PC really made up by making it a point to speak to everyone present," she says, adding, "Which certainly stroked their egos."

The odd thing, says the source, was the eagerness with which some of the country’s most powerful and famous bylines, queued up to take selfies with the star. Who would have thought they’d be so star struck?

Enter Nicole Kidman
We ran into Pooja Batra at our friends Akbar and Mariam Khan’s sumptuous Eid lunch yesterday, a much-awaited celebration on our annual calendar.

Pooja Batra and Akbar Khan. Pic/Himmat Singh and Nicole Kidman. Pic/AFP
Pooja Batra and Akbar Khan. Pic/Himmat Singh and Nicole Kidman. Pic/AFP

The willowy actress who had made a pretty Noorjahan in the former’s, Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story, now lives in LA where she runs Glow Bell Inc. a firm which facilitates collaborative productions between Hollywood and Bollywood, and was responsible for getting Sylvester Stallone for the Akshay Kumar starrer Kambakht Ishq last year.

"We have recently signed Nicole Kidman to come on as global ambassador for an Indian company based in London," she says. "There’s a huge Indian presence in LA now. Sonu Nigam and Salman have homes there. And of course with CAA's (Creative Artists Agency) presence in India — stars like Irfan, Priyanka and Deepika are in demand."

Forthcoming as she was, the soft spoken Batra, who says she almost signed Katy Perry and Britney Spears for a big Indian producer, and Steffi Graff as ambassador for the Kerala government — could not be persuaded to reveal which Indian firm had inked Kidman.

The silken cougar-like Kidman as brand ambassador? Now could it be for an uber luxury feline-sounding, Indian owned UK based car brand? We wonder...

Business indicator
How times have changed. Time was when the benchmark of a businessman’s success was how his company’s shares were faring on the Sensex, or the size of his latest business acquisitions.

But in today’s bold and beautiful times, guess what the newest indicator of his worldly status is? The appearance of his mistress. Or so swears a lady with her periscope trained on Bandra about the significant other of a leading builder. "He must be really doing well," she says, "His mistress’ life style has improved several notches."

How so we enquired. "A fleet of new limos, a complete wardrobe overhaul with a king’s ransom of international designers, some serious cosmetic intervention, multiple trips abroad…," she says. What about his wife, we enquired, has her appearance changed at all? "His wife? Not at all," she says.

"She’s still the same old traditional tyrant. When businessmen get successful, their wives only get fatter. It’s their mistresses who change," says our friend. See what we mean about changing times.

Blockbuster in the making?
It could easily be the biggest publishing coup in a long time: sources say Chiki Sarkar’s publishing house, has bagged the biggest book deal of the decade. "The Mumbai-based correspondent of a media house, who happens to be the wife of one of the country’s top news anchors, has allegedly been signed to write Indrani Mukerjea’s story," say sources.

Chiki Sarkar and Indrani Mukerjea
Chiki Sarkar and Indrani Mukerjea

"Not only does she happen to be a respected journalist, but she shares the Assam connection with Mukerjea, and can shed a lot of light on her background," says the source, adding, "So finally we may get an understanding and insight into what made one of the most fascinating criminal minds to do what she did." Indeed.

Masand and Matt
Our former colleague Rajeev Masand easily has the best job in town, jetting off to one red carpet event after another across the world. This week Masand was in Sydney for the Australian premier of Jason Bourne, where he ran into Matt Damon, the film’s dashing star.

Rajeev Masand and Matt Damon. Pic/AFP
Rajeev Masand and Matt Damon. Pic/AFP

"They don’t call Matt Damon the nicest guy in Hollywood for no reason," says Masand, who’d first interviewed the star more than 12 years ago at Mumbai’s domestic airport when he was heading back from Goa to Los Angeles, after having shot a long schedule of, The Bourne Supremacy, there.

"You could make out the team was tired and hot, but he happily agreed to do a short interview at the airport with me. His costar Franka Potente said no. And he’s a way bigger star than her. Over the years I’ve interviewed Matt Damon in New York (for The Departed), in Cannes (for Ocean’s Thirteen), in Los Angeles (for The Monuments Men), and this time in Sydney (for Jason Bourne), and the one thing I found is that he’s still just as warm and gracious.

Unlike a George Clooney or a Brad Pitt who’re clearly charming and very much starry, the thing that has struck me repeatedly about Matt Damon, is how "normal" he is. Just the nicest guy," says Masand. As for having the best job in the world Masand is noncommittal. "In the same week I’m watching, Jason Bourne, in Sydney and interviewing Matt Damon, two days later I’m in Mumbai watching Sultan, Salman Khan’s new film - the crazy schizophrenic life of a film journalist."

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