Kings, queens and jacks

Time was when film magazine editors had a tough time deciding whom to put on their covers each month. Of course, it had to be stars from the same pack of over shuffled cards – the usual kings, queens and jacks, but their featuring had more to do with which one had given the best interview, or posed for the most recent photo shoot, or had been involved in an after hours scandal that had made interest in them spike.

Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan
Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan

Commercial interests rarely came in to play. Rauf Ahmed (Movie magazine) Gulshan Ewing (Star and Style) and genteel old BK Karanjia (Filmfare) would have balked, if they’d been expected to pace their covers with the film releases of the stars they featured.

Not so any more. In an era of brand placement and sponsored suits, it is only to be expected that a film as much awaited as the Salman Khan –Kareena Kapoor starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan (releasing this weekend) will have all manner of commercial platforms.

One such is the new issue of Filmfare sporting Khan Kapoor shot last month at Mehboob studios, in what sources say was an uncharacteristically jolly afternoon with the stars sportingly knocking back five costume changes.

Shot by Abhay Singh and styled by Tanya Ghavri (Kareena), with Salman going with PM Modi’s stylist Ashley Rebello, the results prove that even while you have the same old stars and newer commercial expediencies to shuffle you can still pull off a creative coup.

Incidentally going by one who keeps track of such things, this is the 12th appearance of Ms Kapoor on the magazine’s marquee. See what we mean about the same old ‘over shuffled pack of cards’?

Close encounter with Richie
“The North Sea jazz fest in the Netherlands has been on my must do list for years and finally this year the wife and I made it,” said Managing Director & CEO, of the Universal Music Group, South Asia, Devraj Sanyal, about the ‘3 days of absolutely the finest music on the Planet from the greats’ that he attended.

Devraj and Nikita Sanyal with Lionel Richie
Devraj and Nikita Sanyal with Lionel Richie

From pure jazz from masters like Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Correa, to the more mainstream Hozier, Lionel and Emeli Sande, it’s been a jazz aficionado’s heaven he said. But easily the cherry on the cake was Sanyal’s brief but close encounter with Lionel Richie.

I’ve grown up listening to Lionel from when I was 4-years-old and he has been a Universal Group Artist, so I had an option to say hello,” said one of the country’s top music suits. “He is so humble and grounded considering he is 4 Grammys old and his album, The definitive hits, with the Commodores just topped the charts after 23 years,” said the delighted fan.

“What’s most amazing was, he chatted with my wife Nikita and me, with no rush, considering he was going up on stage in under 10 minutes, telling us he loved India and was dying to come as he’s always loved us as a culture and people.”

So will we be seeing Richie any time soon in desh? “I promised him that I would move mountains to push his music, especially now that we have a global no 1 album and I also promised him to get him to India to perform,” said Sanyal. Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

Born to read, forced to work
“This image was taken on the set of Nirbhaya in NYC, by the Guardian newspaper, just before we started our UK tours,” said actress Priyanka Bose about this rather solemn portrait of hers, which we liked.

Priyanka Bose
Priyanka Bose

“I don’t think it’s my best picture - but especially because it’s vulnerable, I seem to embrace it now,” said the actress newly returned to the city, and resting after repair surgery on her knee, “Which is also giving me time to do some reading,” she said. What’s she reading currently we asked the dusky beauty, whose recent outing in an ad for Titan had won her much favourable notice.

“I’m reading Rob Brezsny’s Pronoia which explains simple methods of boosting inexplicable happiness,” she said. “I’m also reading some scripts. But nothing I have signed recently that I can talk about,” she said, adding, “But I’m open to new scripts, directors and ideas to explore.”

Attendance anxiety
Word comes in that the roster of authors for next year’s Jaipur Lit Fest include Margaret Atwood, Thomas Piketty, Stephen Fry, Alexander Hemon, David Grossman, Niall Ferguson, Colm Toibin, Simon Winchester, Margaret Macmillan, Eugene Rogan, Ayesha Jalal, Victoria Glendinning, Ben Macintyre, Hannah Rothschild, Esther Freud, James Shapiro, Susan Abulhawa, Ferdinand Mount, Christina Lamb, Anthony Sattin, Anthony Appiah, Tristram Hunt, Blake Morrison, Yasmin Khan and Steve McCurry.

Margaret Atwood, Esther Freud and Stephen Fry. Pics/Getty Images
Margaret Atwood, Esther Freud and Stephen Fry. Pics/Getty Images

And as if that were not enough the organisers have promised ‘a few more major surprises and exciting announcements pending.’ Whew. Is it OK to admit we have ‘attendance anxiety’?

Clash of feathers and fur
It’s perhaps one of the best examples of the cliche, ‘cat among the pigeons’, but we hear that the recent appointment of a prominent society diva to an adjunct of a staid old city institution, is ruffling many feathers.

“There is a divide between the old guard (read the institute’s erstwhile grande dames, mostly the wives of heavy weight industrialists) and the newer lot (essentially the Birkin babes) on how to go about things,” said a source, “and much fur is flying-of course very discreetly as no one wants to rock the boat too much.”

Which side finally emerges victorious will depend on whether more (pigeons’) feathers are ruffled or if it is more of the (cats’) fur that flies. Stay posted.

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