We caught actor Randeep Hooda on his way to the Race Course for a ride on Sunday. "I'm going to pick up the reins after a long hiatus," said the passionate horseman whose rugged physicality and Jat good looks set him apart from his contemporaries. We had called the star about a beautiful photograph he'd pasted a few days ago on a social media site featuring his sister and niece doing yoga.
Randeep Hooda with his mother and sister
"Two of the most beautiful women in the world," was his comment. "My sister Dr Anjali Hooda-Sangwan followed our father's footsteps and became a doctor; in fact, she is one of the country's leading US-trained obesity medicine specialists," said the star readily admitting to the close ties between them.
The picture put up by Hooda on a social media site of his sister Dr Anjali Hooda-Sangwan doing yoga with his niece
"She's a few years older than me and was on the national swimming team at the MNSS Rai academy which I too attended and where our bond grew," he said. "In fact it was watching her act in the school production of the West Side Story that inspired me to become an actor," he laughed.
Hooda with his sister and brother
What does he admire most about her? "Well, she's lost 35 kilos not once but twice, transforming herself entirely," he said. "That's why I turn to her for advice on transforming my physicality for my role requirements," said the actor, whose role as Charles Sobhraj saw him transforming his appearance to look uncannily like the mass murderer.
"Our younger brother is a software engineer in Singapore and the family is very close. Anjali not only visits Mumbai often on work, but we talk all the time on the phone," said the star whose Do Lafzon Ki Kahani is under production. "In fact it is my sister who handles my bank accounts!"
The troll who couldn't spell
It was such a classic case of regressive trolling that it might have come off as a parody. Except, no one was laughing when theatre impressario and art critic Kaizaad Kotwal alerted his friends, how his mother, the celebrated actress and director Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal whose championing of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues had made it a household word in India had been viciously attacked by a troll, whose lack of vision appeared to keep pace with her lack of spelling. 'Please ristrict (sic) yourself to shit Vajiana (sic) monologues' said the faceless lady on Facebook, 'In a Hindu country we should ban you and your play.'
As expected, the Kotwals who enjoy a formidable reputation as impassioned and progressive theatre veterans, received resounding support from their friends who jumped to their defence. 'This lady obviously enjoys oppression and heart-ache such as to be pitied,' said one sample comment.
As for Mahabanoo, who we had occasion to meet over the weekend before her trip to Delhi, the grande dame dismissed the whole thing with an "It's obviously a fake account. No one can have such bad spellings in reality.
Art of the matter
Next month will see another edition of artist Sharmistha Ray's Bellevue Salon, her personal attempt to import a bit of New York boho chic into the Mumbai art scene. We had attended Ray's first Salon at her home in Khar, where, over bubbly and canapés, guests were invited to wander through her rooms looking at her recent works.
Artist Sharmistha Ray with art critic Girish Shahane
"I will be unveiling a large new painting with mythological themes exploring gender and there will be musical performances by Joi Barua and Geetu Hinduja," said the savvy art maven. "Verve will be the official sponsor and as usual there will be artists, buyers, critics and art lovers," she said. Nice!
Geetu Singh will perform at Sharmistha's Salon
Marina in the suburbs?
Move over Sardinia; take a hike Capri, if sources are to be believed, very soon Mumbai might just have a super luxury marina of its very own.
Here's how it goes: a very powerful, local political heavyweight, said to own a humongous plot of newly reclaimed land near the sea link, has all but handed it over to his son, and his trusted PA, to develop it in to a marina, a recreational plaza and a leisure activity zone.
How this will pass muster with the city's environmental and regulatory authorities though, remains to be seen. "The politician who is behind this, after all, is not as powerful or land rich as some of his other political colleagues so it remains to be seen how he garners support for his dream project," said a source. "Nonetheless work has already started on it."