>> The ever-ebullient Ashok Hinduja was at his witty best when we called to enquire about the state-of-the-art super luxury Hinduja Healthcare Boutique hospital being launched in Khar. After serving the sick and diseased of Mumbai for the past 60 years at the PD Hinduja charitable Hospital at Mahim, the group has now moved up the food chain. Apart from offering high-end luxuries akin to a seven-star hotel, the hospital also will provide multiple specialties such as cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, surgical oncology, gynaecology, paediatric surgery and much more.
When asked how he himself kept healthy, Ashok was bashful. “I am a vegetarian and very disciplined,” he said, “But yes, a bit overweight. But otherwise in good health! I wake up each day at 6 am, go for a walk on the beach, avoid late nights and meditate regularly.”
And which among the four Hinduja brothers, SP, GP, PP and AP is the healthiest, we asked. “Oh undoubtedly our eldest brother SP,” said Ashok with pride. “He’s 76, and I have to run to catch up with him on our walks. He’s fanatical about eating fresh vegetarian food wherever he is in the world, and so his cook travels with him internationally.”
And as a parting shot the buoyant younger brother said, “Can I tell you something no one else knows? We have our own nicknames for each other, SP stands for super profit, GP for gross profit, PP (who lives in Switzerland) stands for pre-profit, and since I live in heavily-taxed India AP stands for after profit.”
We wish all biz men — fit or overweight — could be so jolly!
Leading Lady Woes!
>> Our little friendly Bollywood jasoos tells us that the sultry Chitrangada Singh, for all her protests about bagging the role in mentor Sudhir Mishra’s much awaited and long in the making (40 years by one account) Mehrunissa might just land the role, after all.
Even though Mishra went public with his desire to cast the very hot and happening Vidya Balan in the poignant story of two close friends (played by Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor) who quarrel over a lady!
A while back we were informed that Chitrangada who began her acting career to much acclaim in Mishra’s Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi had just wrapped up shooting for Mishra’s Inkaar, and was looking to take a break and return to Delhi where her husband ace golfer Jyoti Randhawa and son Zohrawar reside.
Earlier, Aishwarya was being considered for the role but pregnancy rendered that plan unfit and rumours had it that Balan was the next (and obvious) choice. So how did Chitrangada bag the project after all? Date problems, we’re informed. Mishra was keen to start shooting as soon as possible and Balan could only give him dates at the end of the year. Though no formal announcement has been made about this, our sources tell us it’s more or less a given. Though we have to say a film with AB, Rishi and Vidya would have been a casting made in heaven!
Subrata’s Big Cool Friend
>> More news on Subrata Roy. A friend on the inside track of Delhi-Mumbai’s power expressway (we call it the Mumbai-Delhi Biz Class lot) says we can expect much from the swashbuckling ‘Saharasri’ in the next five years. “As long as his buddy Mulayam Singh Yadav remains one of the key players at the Centre and one of the people the Congress can turn to in sticky situations to bail it out, the Sahara Group is going to be very much in the news —announcing new projects, buying up international hotels, and (this comes from the horse’s mouth) making a bid to the enter the energy sector in a big way.”
That’s what the advantage of having a big cool friend in the right place means we say!
Delhi’s Seedy Tales
>> Ever since the latest sex scandal involving a high-profile and high-level national politician being caught in a compromising CD with a lady lawyer hit Delhi’s already overheated grapevine, the innuendo and jokes have been flying fast and furious. Trending on Twitter as a subject for most of yesterday, the topic played in to every home-grown punster and self-styled wits’ penchant for humour. “I have always considered him to be an excellent pokesperson,” quipped one tweeter, while another said, “X had consensual sex? In New Delhi?! Someone give him an award.”
No problem that many of the jokes were recycled from the Clinton-Monica era given that the alleged tapes of said politico revealed him in a similar situation. And whereas this diarist condemns holier than thou self-righteous positions wherever they emerge from and firmly believes that one man’s sex life is another’s pornography and no one has the right to pass judgment on what occurs between two adult consenting individuals in their personal capacity —we can’t help adding our own feeble attempts at wit with, ‘We guess the said politico took his role as party mouthpiece a bit too seriously! And this time there was no gag order!’