Hosting Sania, praising Tanu

We caught director Farah Khan at the supermarket yesterday. "I'm hosting a small dinner this evening for Sania Mirza, who is a dear friend," said the spunky director and mother of triplets, whose Happy New Year placed her as one of the first women filmmakers in Bollywood's coveted one-hundred-crore club.

We were calling to enquire about her generous praise of Tanu Weds Manu Returns, which she'd termed outstanding in a tweet on Tuesday night. "There were around 15 or so of us directors at the special preview in Santacruz," said Khan.

Farah Khan dancing with Sania Mirza on the set of a TV show. File pic
Farah Khan dancing with Sania Mirza on the set of a TV show. File pic

"Raju Hirani, Vikas Bahl, Balki, Gauri Shinde, Anuraag Basu," she said naming Bollywood's most celebrated moviemakers, "and we were all whistling and cheering madly. Kangana was brilliant!" Does it inspire you to make a smaller film next time, we enquired.

"No. Because that's not my genre," said the director on her way home to prepare for her dinner for the world's number one women's doubles tennis star. "Anand (Rai) understands that world completely.

I make another kind of movie, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good film from another genre," said the feisty director just back from Dubai and on the eve of her month-long family holiday in Europe.

The Gujarati Chronicler
Salil Tripathi, Mint's intrepid columnist, whose latest book, The Colonel Who Would Not Repent garnered favourable reviews, appears to be on a roll. He has been signed on by Aleph, David Davidar's award-winning publishing house, to pen a book on his own community, the Gujaratis, which, thanks to you know who, appear to have taken pole position in India if not the world.

Salil Tripathi and David Davidar
Salil Tripathi and David Davidar

"There is indeed a lot more interest in Gujarat and Gujaratis because of the outcome of the elections last year," said the London-based Tripathi when we lobbed him the question of timing. "But Gujaratis have always been an extremely important part of Indian culture and society," said the writer known for his liberal, progressive views.

"It begins with Mohandas Gandhi who was a Gujarati, as was Mohammed Ali Jinnah; the Tata family as are all great Parsis, including freedom fighters like Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji are Gujaratis; I can't leave out the Ambanis, nor the Shahs and Mehtas who dominate the diamond trade; a list of Indian film music would seem incomplete without Jaikishan of Shankar-Jaikishan or Kalyanji Anandji; the original all-rounder in post-independence cricket was Vinoo Mankad; both Bhupen Khakhar and Ghulam Shaikh are Gujaratis; voices of Indian conscience Ela Bhatt and Teesta Setalvad are Gujaratis…" recounted Tripathi.

When we asked David Davidar about the book he said, "I have long wanted to commission magisterial biographies of the major communities in our country. Two other books by top writers are in the works, and I am hopeful that within the next 2-3 years we will have great books about the Bengalis, the Tamils, the Punjabis, the Malayalis." Now all that remains to be seen is how the Parsi community responds to being clubbed with Gujaratis.

The curious case of Anu Malik and the neon green t-shirt
So Mumbai Indians successfully resurrected their IPL season on Tuesday by beating the Chennai Super Kings for a place in the finals at Eden Gardens.

Anu Malik in the tee. Pic/BCCI
Anu Malik in the tee. Pic/BCCI

And while there was no shortage of star power off the field with Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan cheering on from the stands, what is curious is how social media decided to focus on another 'special spectator': Bollywood music producer and Mumbai Indian's self-appointed lucky mascot Anu Malik, in his trademark pista green tee, which he's been superstitiously wearing since 2008 to ensure his team's victory!

"Change isn't the only constant thing in the world. Anu Malik's green T-shirt is." "Anu Malik should get written on his T Shirt 'Wearing Same Pista Color T shirt since 2008'" were just some of the tweets posted. And for the sake of the other spectators in the box, we hope he has a cupboard full of those slimy neon green tees!

The War of the Roses
Time was known when Cocteau and Fellini, Truffaut and Scorsese, were associated with the Cannes film festival. But now the French Rivera's iconic movie fest appears to be nothing more than a red carpet photo op for various stars peddling cosmetic brands.

Sonam Kapoor, Eva Longoria and Andie Macdowell
Sonam Kapoor, Eva Longoria and Andie Macdowell

What's worse, is that in India the focus seems to have shifted completely to who wore which designer gown and looked better in it. And now word comes in that Sonam Kapoor's Elie Saab tribute to Sesame Street appears to have found a fan in Hollywood glamazon Eva Longoria (why are we not surprised?).

"Eva loved the outfit and the styling so much that she was overheard complimenting the actress and her sister Rhea Kapoor about it," said her spokesperson. We told you, it's the Age of Kalyug and everyone's wearing their Jimmy Choos to the ball.

Taking NYC by storm
After a successful run of 28 rousing performances, Nirbhaya, the play by Yael Farber on the Delhi rape case that convulsed the world, downed its shutters at New York's Lynn Redgrave Theatre this week. And it appears to have been a cathartic experience for its cast and crew which includes Poorna Jagannathan.

The people behind the Nirbhaya play
The people behind the Nirbhaya play

"Last show in New York this evening. Cannot put it in sequence as my heart is full and my mind is expanded," said another of the show's actresses, the Mumbai-based model Priyanka Bose. "I am suspended in the generosity that this place and its people have shown," said Bose in an emotional farewell. "New York, we leave you with our name."

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