His eminent indolence

>> Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi was unable to host his salon for Thukral and Tagra for their landmark show this week in Bombay.

 “Aparajita Jain, director of Nature Morte is a force of nature, and it’s nearly impossible to turn her down, also T & T have long dazzled me,” said the author and cultural impresario.

Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

What was the reason for this omission?

SDS says he chose to sleep in, rather than engage with Mumbai’s ‘dramabaaz art world.’

But it was not this eminent indolence that prompted him to decline hosting the Crossword Book Awards this week.

Dayanita Singh

That night, in fact, he will be in Goa hosting the Shanghvi Salon featuring Dayanita Singh, arguably one of our most celebrated artists, whose ongoing museum solo in London we’re told has audience lines that go back a block.

“Singh will talk candidly about her top ticket lovers and their shadow on her illustrious oeuvre,” informs Shanghvi.


Enter, The Konkan Cafe
>> This weekend, along with a few other media mavens, we were afforded a sneak peak into that abode of succulent coastal cuisine The Konkan Café at the Vivanta by Taj President, which will be opening its doors to the public this evening, after being refreshed and reinvented by Mumbai’s celebrated Master Chef Ananda Solomon. Designed like a typical home in Kerala complete with a courtyard and a verandah, the refurbished restaurant, which launched in 1998 has been designed by K-Studios Interior Design and boasts of handcarved Rosewood panels representative of the carvings found in ancient South Indian temples, handcrafted furniture, a stunning cast in situ mosaic floor, symbolic of the courtyards in Indo-Portuguese homes in Goa and a giant granite carved central pillar inspired by traditional Indian courtyards. The effect is breathtaking. But not as breathtaking as the food.

Interiors of Konkan Cafe

Served in cast - Kamsya crockery, the menu celebrates the rich cuisine of the Konkan coast, from Karavali to Mumbai, and Raigad to Mangalore with dishes such as Komdi vade, Multigrain puri with chicken curry and Mutton Suka, Malabari style Fish/Prawn Gassi, and Rawas Fry with spices from Malwan, Kerala and Karnataka.

Chef Ananda Solomon

Old favourites like Malabari Chicken Masala, Curdee Mango (prawn with curry) and Manglorean fish curry also find a place on the menu. What’s more, the extensive wine list will feature a reasonably priced and very drinkable Chenin Blanc and Shiraz created by Fratelli wines especially for the restaurant to best bring out the flavours of the food.

Clearly a labor of love from the Chef Ananda stable and one which promises to attract as much footfall as his hugely popular Thai Pavilion.
And our absolute favourite? The special Meter Kaapi, sourced from Coimbatore’s most celebrated coffee experts, poured from one jug to another, the traditional way that’s meant to enrich the coffee-drinking experience.

The showstopper and starter
>> We look forward to the finale of the Bridal Couture Week at The Grand Hyatt on Wednesday where the flamboyant Rohit Bal will be showing his creations.

“It’s called the mulmul masquerade,” said Bal to us. And the showstopper?

“Uff,” he balked. And responded with a cryptic: “Me”.”

Soft targets and lit heavyweights
>> And even as consternation grows over revelations made by a few female members of the Goa Writers’ Group about the existence of an Old Boy’s Club that stonewalled their complaints over the sexual misconduct of a fellow member, word comes in that Jerry Pinto was not the only writer who appeared to have extended support to the gent.

Another far more successful and internationally celebrated Indian author who has a second home in Goa is also alleged to have taken his friend’s side during the snafu.

Except this time, the female writers may not want to invite the wrath of such a heavyweight name by expressing their dismay over his behaviour too, says our source.

“Pinto was a softer target,” we were told. Though in all fairness we must add that Pinto has been targeted because of his perceived hypocrisy — something that the heavyweight author has not been accused of. Yet.

Koffee with KJo and Salman
And so, like everyone else on the planet, I too had dodged as many Sunday evening invitations as I could, to catch the first episode of the much awaited Koffee with Karan, where the zeitgeist producer director would be subjecting Salman Khan to his particular brand of living room inquisition.

How would the darling of the multiplex crowd gel with the icon of the masses?

Like everyone else, I too, was aware of the multiple areas of nuanced conflict which broadly divided could fall in to two categories: SRK vs Salman and Salman vs all his exes.

So, how did the encounter between two of Bollywood’s leading lights play out ?

The answer to that is : uneasily.

Johar, a veteran of the silken innuendo and the affectionate put down appeared to be a tad swamped by Khan’s loose canon juggernaut.

The jousting was tense, the barbs a bit too close to the bone and the static of too many unfought wars, unsaid words and unresolved issues, was deafening.

Which is not to say we didn’t enjoy the show. We did!

But we look forward to the more slaphappy banter and affectionate teasing of the show’s promised future couples: Aamir-Kiran, Kareena-Ranbir and Juhi and Madhuri.

And before we sign off, here are two things we found heartwarming about the Salman interview with Karan.

First his father Salim Khan’s innate dignity and steadfast familial devotion and the second : how the swaggering Rs 100 crore Bollywood bad boy displayed the body language of a shy bashful school kid in his father’s luminous presence!

Some things never change. That’s what being human means. 

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