For someone who has lived through many a Delhi winter, and attended many a Delhi winter summit/wedding/cultural soiree/farmhouse party, the fact that the Arun Jaitley family wedding will follow on the heels of a well known newspaper’s leadership summit, gives rise to much idle speculation.
Arun Jaitley and Nicole Kidman. Pic/AFP
Because as anyone will tell you, at the very top of its rarified establishment, there is much overlapping of interests, attendance and engagement in the Capital and it might so happen that Nicole Kidman, scheduled to be in conversation with Suhel Seth at the summit might just be persuaded by the latter to stay back, for the finance minister’s daughter’s nuptials.
As might some of the summit’s other big-ticket invitees. As first noted on these pages, it’s not every day that Delhi witnesses the wedding of a serving finance minister’s progeny, and Jaitley, of course, is the man to watch in the BJP so the occasion is a closely watched affair.
As for a heads up on the nuptials: one of the much awaited evenings is when in the run-up to the wedding, the Jaitleys host an evening at home for friends, which features musicians Anup Jalota, Kavita Krishnamurthy and Shankar Mahadevan.
Forks and knives at the ready
Foodies, epicures, gourmets and gourmands, keep your forks at the ready: a 3 Michelin Star chef, Alvin Leung from Hong Kong’s modern Chinese restaurant Bo Innovation is visiting town next week and will be doing a pop-up restaurant at the J W Marriott, Juhu.
Alvin Leung. Pic/Twitter
What’s more, we hear the Indian Wine and Food Society’s Mumbai branch, has booked a night during his visit for its members who can experience ‘the demon chef’s’ tasting menu at a price of R12,000 per person, inclusive of the wine. Nice!
It’s kept many a SoBo sybarite awake during their afternoon siesta: will Vijay Mallya follow up with a concrete invitation to his BIG birthday party to be held in December in Goa? As noted on these pages a few months ago many of the beleaguered beer baron’s friends, had been delighted to receive a wittily worded ‘Save the date’ missive for Mallya’s 60th birthday.
Since Mallya’s parties are a many splendorous affair, the fact that it had got entered as a ‘must go to’ in many a diary, is not surprising. But sources say that there has been considerable consternation in this circle, as many have not heard any thing more from VJM.
“I had a 20-minute conversation recently with him,” said our Oolong tea favouring SoBo hostess friend in a small voice. “And he didn’t once bring it up. Either he’s not having it, or” and a look of sheer horror passed over her wrinkle-free face, “Or I’ve been dropped from his list.” And then she said “Boy zara hot water lao please.”
Unfurling of the Leela
Word comes in that the Leela group is looking to expand its current number of nine properties owned or managed by The Leela to 20 within five years.
Leading this initiative, according to insiders, is Rajiv Kaul, president of The Leela Group of Palaces, Resorts and Hotels, (who coincidentally is celebrating his birthday today) supported by the Leela’s co-managing directors, brothers Vivek and Dinesh Nair.
Towards this end, the group is looking at opening a Leela in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates when the financing falls into place. This will come as good news for friends and fans of the group which runs some of the finest hotels in the country, who had feared that its growth would be affected after the demise of its legendary founder Captain Nair.
The right mentors?
A solution has been found for this high profile, mid city residential real estate development, being built by a Marwari biz man on his family’s old mill complex, which was not seeing light of day.
With grandiose plans that included yacht, private helicopter and international concierge services for flat owners (along with a community Rolls Royce service), the promoter had roped in some of the city’s most well heeled denizens to book apartments in this building.
But after interminable delays due to issues with regulatory authorities, many had given up on their dreams of their castles in the sky. But their wait might be over: an extremely powerful politician and one of his associates are alleged to have been roped in as the project’s friendly mentor/partners. “All clearances will go through now ” smiled an interested party. “Happy days are here again.”
Telling Biki’s tale
Word comes in, that Oberoi Chairman, PRS (Biki) Oberoi, known as the finest hotelier in India, is busy working on his autobiography.
“It’s being ghosted by a family friend dating back 30 years,” said a source adding, “As is well known, his father’s biography was written by Bachi Karkaria. And While Mr Oberoi won’t reveal the identity of his ‘ghost’ who else knows the Oberoi family for so long?”
Regardless of that, the book, scheduled to be published in 2016, is long awaited given Oberoi’s rich and varied life and his contribution to India’s hotel industry.
Jha’s new role
He’s a long standing and abiding figure in Delhi’s intelligentsia and his erudition and eccentricity are equally celebrated; and now, word comes in, that noted author, columnist and TV commentator, Prem Shankar Jha has taken on yet another role: he now heads the Department of Media and Politics at JNU University.
Jha lectures widely around the world and his main grouse has been about students of political science in general, and JNU students in particular, whose interest in politics usually doesn’t extend beyond political protests. “Education in India is being politicized every day,” as Jha has often been heard to say. His tenure at JNU couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, said sources.