Spotted: Padma Lakshmi in Mumbai

Padma Lakshmi autographs her latest book for a reader. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
Padma Lakshmi autographs her latest book for a reader. Pics/Sneha Kharabe

Sultry cookbook author, Salman Rushdie's former wife, actress and single mom, the luscious Padma Lakshmi is said to have checked into a leading SoBo hotel yesterday.

Apparently, the Alpha woman, who is known to have walked away from a series of unsuitable men, regardless of their heft or wealth, had checked in under a pseudonym but had been spotted in the hotel's lobby by fellow residents, who recognised her chiselled good looks. Padma, who is walking the ramp at the ongoing fashion week, gave Mumbaikars a taste of her writing at the reading of her memoir, 'Love, Loss and What We Ate'.

Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi

The other glamour girl in the city, of course, is Liz Hurley, whose presence we reported in this column yesterday.

Testino is in the house
He is known as one of the most celebrated fashion photographers on the planet, and along with Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz, comprises the trinity of lensmen, who have defined how we see pop images. So, when Mario Testino, the Peruvian photographer, was flown down to India to edit the 12th international edition of the international issue of a leading fashion glossy, which happens to be its Indian edition's May issue, naturally the country's luvvies and fashionistas pulled out all stops to celebrate his arrival with parties and programmes across Mumbai and Delhi.

Mario Testino
Mario Testino

In the capital, he is said to have been quite the centre of attention at a party thrown in his honour, which saw the likes of Katrina Kaif, Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Arora, Gaurav Gupta, William Dalrymple, Natasha Poonawalla and Google India's Rajan Anandan present.

"Mario came with his personal mini-camera, which is his constant travel companion since several years. And after meeting guests and posing for the mandatory selfies, when he had a few minutes to spare, he was seen clicking images of the evening on his mini-cam," says an insider.

"His team has kept his itinerary rather closely guarded, but we are told he is likely to shoot in Rajasthan tomorrow onwards, before heading back to London. However, this is
not an official announcement, since Mario's team doesn't want us revealing any details of his trip to anybody," she added.

However, never taking no for an answer, when it comes to news that is off limits, we had already learnt that the great man, celebrated as much for his philanthropy as his creative genius, may also be making a short trip to Goa before he flies home. Nice!

When Mehlli met Jerry
This delightful portrait, shot yesterday by celebrated city lensman Chirodeep Chaudhari, featuring artist Mehlli Gobhai and award-winning author, poet Jerry Pinto, at the former's home at Cuffe Parade caught our eye. "Jerry and I were working since morning to finish all the work for our upcoming show in March," says Chaudhari. "And we were rushing because, in two days, Jerry is off to Boston for 4 months for a writer-in-residence programme that he's been offered. In between, he's also trying to say his goodbyes. He was to go to meet Mehlli and asked if I wanted to join him. I haven't met Mehlli in a while, and so, I just tagged along."

Padma Lakshmi, Mario Testino, Mehlli Gobhai and Jerry Pinto. Pic/Chirodeep Chaudhari
Padma Lakshmi, Mario Testino, Mehlli Gobhai and Jerry Pinto. Pic/Chirodeep Chaudhari

While waiting for Mehlli to join us, I sat there taking in the details of his studio scattered with family photographs, his drawings, books and papers, his paints, his brushes and two dolphin head skeletons, and planned to make a quick picture. Jerry had carried a magazine for Mehlli, and as he was flipping the pages, he asked Jerry about something on one of the pages. The picture is of the two of them discussing an article in there — a picture of the two friends, which I had been wanting to do for a while now," he says.

Om sweet Om
"It was an amazing evening with Sudhir Mishra, Lillete Dubey, Ranjit Hoskote, Rajesh Khera, and the team of G5A Foundation," says New York-based director Sarah Singh, about the premier of her latest offering, A Million Rivers, at Anuradha Parikh's art and culture centre, which had been one of the late Om Puri's last films before his tragic passing last month. "It was presented as a tribute to Puri," says Singh.

Sarah Singh, Lillette Dubey and friends
Sarah Singh, Lillette Dubey and friends

"This is only the third public screening of the film; and technically, it was fabulous," says the mixed race offspring of an American mother and a member of the royal clan of Patiala (Congress's projected CM candidate Amarinder Singh happens to be her cousin), who is looking forward to screenings at the Kochi Biennale and Bengaluru's NGMA next month.

"It was an honour to have had Om Puri star in A Million Rivers and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with one of the world's most interesting and meaningful actors. He was generous and very present as an actor and human being... intuitive and complex." she says. As for her next project, it's a black-and-white feature set in Lisbon that uses the Western genre, and will have Indian and Western actors, and is already underway.

Kiss, kiss, kill, kill
At a recent high-profile wedding, which saw some of the country's biggest names in attendance from the world of business, Bollywood, society and fashion, this altercation between two designers, both very high-profile, is still being discussed on the margins.

And whereas the reasons for these two usually cool-headed gents quarrelling is not known, what can be confirmed is that there were enough spirits in both of them to add to their hot-spirited outburst. Of course, in deference to their hosts and the occasion, the rift was dusted up and set aside and it was all back to (air) kiss (air) kiss-kill, kill the next day.

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