RBI Governor Urjit Patel (Left); Tom Hanks (Right)
It might be just a coincidence but the dashing and highly qualified RBI governor Urjit Patel was spotted at the movies in Mumbai over the weekend, watching Hollywood’s latest mystery thriller, the omnisciently titled Tom Hanks-starrer Inferno. But no, we are not insinuating that Patel, who recently took over his respon-sibility from the towering Raghuram Rajan, is in any way presiding over an economy that is hellish. However, many in the biz community admit to being a trifle underwhelmed by the way things are going, and with war clouds gathering on our western borders, his choice of film could be seen by those more jittery to be prescient.
“It could also be surmised that he’s doing such a fine job of managing the economy and has ensured such a peaceful phase ahead that he has to seek outside stimulation in the form of cliffhangers like Inferno to keep his adrenalin going,” says a long-time admirer of the governor. And neither is there any point in reading too much into the fact that Patel went to the movies alone. The RBI governor, after all, is a man who often has to walk a solitary path as he balances the economy between all kinds of interests.
Some real, hilarious gaffes
Guests at a well-heeled glamorous awards ceremony over the weekend (yes, they are breaking out like a rash and often result in the same aggravation) were amused to see the compere, model and actress Sarah Jane Dias’ travails with the teleprompter.
Ruby Bhatia, Sarah Jane Dias & Manmohan Singh
“Let us just say that they were not quite interacting eye to eye, which often resulted in some unintentionally hilarious gaffes,” says a source. And apparently, Ms Dias was pretty upfront about her inability to decipher the script that she’d been expected to deliver with much good-humored teeth gnashing accompanied with rolling of eyeballs and asides, which had the audience in splits.
“A few seasons ago, a similar disaster-prone performance by a predecessor of Dias, the svelte hostess and TV anchor Ruby Bhatia, had put paid to the poor woman's career,” say sources. Apparently, as the hostess of a prominent business awards ceremony, Bhatia, who was at her time one of the most prominent comperes for such events, had requested the evening’s chief guest, the country’s prime minister, to come up on stage.
Things turned a bit sour when she went on repeating the request blithely, unaware that the man had come up on stage and was standing right beside her. “She made matters infinitely worse when, after her oversight was pointed out, she turned to the hapless gent, saying quite audibly into the mic “Oh, so YOU are the prime minister of India!”
Of course, the fact that the gentleman happened to be Dr Manmohan Singh, a man generally regarded as not too strong in the personality stakes, was no excuse, and poor Bhatia watched her compering career evaporate soon after.
Dias, we are told, didn’t go as far as not recognising the Indian prime minister, but her antics with the teleprompter added much hilarity to the evening’s proceedings.
A piece of Punjab in Mayfair
If you had any doubts that a certain part of England will always remain Punjab, this will be the clincher: recently the robust balladeer Sukhbir is said to have regaled key members of London’s NRI community with a high-voltage performance for an early Diwali celebration at — hold your breath — the iconic Claridges Hotel.
Sukhbir performs at Claridges Hotel
The hotel’s long-standing connections with royalty has earned it the unofficial title of ‘annexe to Buckingham Palace’. You could call it cultural assimilation or, of course, the Revenge of the Raj!
Glittery award night for Sussanne Khan
The thing about the Juhu Khans is that not only are there so many of them, but they all appear to be involved in so many different and interesting things, that most of them seem to be newsworthy or high profile. Hence, more often than not, they make an appearance in columns of this nature.
Sussanne Khan with her award
And so, it was this weekend, when Sanjay and Zarine Khan’s youngest daughter, interior designer Sussanne Khan, won an award at a high-powered ceremony hosted by a media group. Though the Khans are a much-feted lot, Sussanne’s absolute and undiluted thrill while delivering her acceptance speech made her all the more endearing for the gathering, which liked her unabashed child-like candor.
“Though my family is no stranger to awards and has won many such recognitions,” said the pretty and diminutive lass, “This is the first award that I have won and I am thrilled,” she is reported to have said. So nice not to be blasé and to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve, we say.
A show just for animal lovers
Few cities wear their hearts on their sleeves like Mumbai does when it comes to animals. From princes who start state-of-the-art vet clinics and NGOs that lobby for animal rights, Mumbaikars sure do like their four-legged friends.
Comedian Cyrus Broacha at the show
No surprises then that the weekend saw much singing, dancing and celebrations at the St Andrew’s Auditorium when soloists, musical ensembles and stand-up comedians, namely Cyrus Broacha, put up a show for an auditorium full of animal lovers that benefited the Welfare of Stray Dogs. “It was a truly heartwarming affair,” says an attendee. Nice!