>> Here to pay his condolences to the late Viren Shah, 85-year-old L K Advani made time to meet his old friend, the 80-year-old Nana Chudasama, for a cup of tea. Naturally given that both men are consummate watchers of and commentators on the political scene in India the conversation revolved around current politics, the BJP stalwart’s interest in reading and Nana’s famous banners on Marine Drive, which pass cryptic comment on polity.
When asked how he finds material for his wit, Nana joked that the politicians of this country give him ample food for thought for his banners, something that Advani who had released the old warhorse’s History on a Banner, a compilation of his quotes, was tickled by. Incidentally, Chudasama’s latest reads ‘The need of the hour — a Directory of Scams.’ Nice!
Not the best kept secret
>> Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare was in town just the other day. We, of course, know him better as Jeffrey Archer, prolific novelist, number one on best seller lists 16 times, writer with lifetime sales of — hold it — 270 million copies. Anil Dharker’s Literature Live, which seems to be growing stronger and bigger by the day, brought him to Mumbai to launch his latest thriller Best Kept Secret. As was expected, the Taj Land’s End auditorium was packed, and the hotel staff was seen scrambling to add extra chairs to accommodate the A-list crowd (A as in Archer). “Why do you go so often to India?” he said he was asked by his friends. “Because India contains the largest number of readers for my books, more than even the USA!” The audience, pleasantly surprised, clapped. “Wait,” he said, putting up a warning hand,” I said ‘readers’.
I didn’t say ‘sales’, because you naughty people are so enterprising that 48 hours after publication, your pirates are out with the book on the street! By the way, on my last trip here, a little boy at a red traffic light tapped on my window, ‘Get the latest Jeffrey Archer’, he said. ‘I am the latest Jeffrey Archer’, I told him.” After producing bestseller after bestseller for 40 years, Jeffrey Archer still works an eight-hour day, made up of four two-hour modules of writing. Each book is revised 12 to 14 times. “Has the writing got easier through the years?” someone asked, “No,” Archer replied, “It’s got more difficult! When I started, there was no pressure on me. Now there’s pressure on me, every time I write, to produce the number one best seller.” “Will he ever stop writing?” “No, I will never stop.” And given the number of Archer fans packed into the Land’s End room, it’s no secret which statement got the biggest cheer of the day!
The bold and the beautiful
>> Amongst industrialists he’s well known for his penchant for the bold and beautiful. And for the fact that he believes in the policy of sharing his bounty with his friends. Which is why his latest interest, an actress who proved her acting skills in a real to reel life role recently and who has a small but appreciated role in a recently released movie, was seen in the company of her mentors’ big time friends at a SoBo five star hotel recently. The lady who is only the most recent in a bevy of beauties (that include beauty queens and item number girls) should put her talent to better use given the oblivion into which her peers have disappeared once past their use by date !
Where’s Princess Leia?
>> “I’m en route to San Jose (yes, I do know the way) to present our movie as the closing film in the Cinequest film festival. And to receive a Maverick Spirit award... About which I will only say that this year’s other recipient is Harrison Ford. Han Solo’s sidekick... what does that make me? Obi-Wan? Or Yoda?” posted Salman Rushdie recently on his Facebook status.
The response that followed that query could give a Star Wars fan the tingles. From ‘Yoda, he’s Waaaaay cooler and has a sense of humour’ to ‘That would make you Chewbacca... Lol’ to Rushdie’s own ‘Omg of course! I'm a Wookiiee!’ And all we’re wondering if with all these Star Wars allusions if Princess Leia’s entered the scene yet.
One world party
>> And lastly, whereas the One World Retreat held this weekend in Jodhpur was aimed at showcasing all that was good and great about Bapji Jodhpur’s Indian Head Injury Foundation, and thus was packaged as an exclusive gathering of the world’s most brilliant and philanthropic people (the Duke of York Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were guests as were Sachin Tendulkar, RIL chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani and wife Nita Ambani, Hero Motocorp MD and CEO Pawan Munjal) and cost up to Rs 10 lakh a night to attend, we can’t help thinking that the party hearties were not too far away either. As this picture shows amidst the holier than thou stabs at philanthropy and public good Mumbai party girls Queenie Singh and Sheetal Mafatlal played their part too.