Leaving on a jet plane

Malavika SangghviNEWS of the results of the ISL Football 2015 finals held yesterday has dominated the airwaves, after all both finalists Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa have captured the imaginations of India's football crazy fans.

But yesterday, the chatter was all about the two private jets that took off from Mumbai for Goa, carrying some very high profile cheerleaders. The first was filled with Nita and Mukesh Ambani and their family and friends, who were on their way to support brother-in-law Raj Salgaocar's Goa team. The second jet was filled with some of Bolly land's biggest stars on their way to add glamour and cheer to Abhishek Bachchan's Chennai team.

Virat Kohli, Nita Ambani, Abhishek Bachchan and Varun Dhawan take a selfie during the ISL final in Goa yesterday.
Virat Kohli, Nita Ambani, Abhishek Bachchan and Varun Dhawan take a selfie during the ISL final in Goa yesterday.

Might as well have been 'May the best jet win'.

Dubey's Casting Coup
RARELY have we been so delighted by a theatre production. But then Gauhar, inspired by Vikram Sampath's acclaimed book, 'My Name is Gauhar Jaan', written by Mahesh Dattani and produced and directed by Lillete Dubey, encompasses so many genres, art forms and talents that it's hard not to love it.

Rajeshwari Sachdev and Zila Khan in Gauhar.
Rajeshwari Sachdev and Zila Khan in Gauhar.

Tracing the true story of one of India's first mass media superstars and its first recording artist, the play lays bare her life with all its attendant myths, legends and pathos masterfully.

Lillete Dubey
Lillete Dubey

“I'm celebrating 25 years of my theatre company next month and was looking for something exciting, challenging, original, music based and if possible woman-centric,” says Dubey. “Mahesh suggested Vikram's book and I loved Gauhar's character, and journey and felt that hers was an important story, one that people should know about.” But it is Gauhar's inspired casting that enthralled the wildly cheering audiences at the packed to the rafters Tata Theatre last weekend.

“The really hard part was to find actors who also were singers — we hardly have many in India,” says Dubey, who cast Rajeshwari Sachdev as Gauhar in a role she reprises with considerable charm. The casting of Sufi singer Zila Khan to play Gauhar's mother Malka and an older Gauhar though, is the coup. “I followed my instinct and decided to go with Zila. I thought she had the presence and personality for older Gauhar,” says Dubey, adding, “As Ustad Vilayat Khan Sahib's daughter she's learned classical music since she was a child and she sings wonderfully.” Indeed.

Friends, Romans, Freeloaders
FOR once, motor-mouth Suhel Seth has hit the nail on the head. Called on to deliver a eulogy at Vijay Mallya's 60th birthday celebrations — held in great style at his Kingfisher Villa in Goa over the weekend — Seth, not one to mince his words, took a long hard look at the crowd who'd been put up at five star hotels and treated to a sumptuous double decker celebration and began his speech with a breezy, 'Hello Freeloaders'. Most in the crowd cracked up in self-deprecating laughter at Seth's good-natured tease, but there were a few who reddened in the face, sources say. Not that it stopped them from collecting their give back present - a bottle of 60-year-old prime Scotch whisky on their way out!

Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya

Suhel Seth
Suhel Seth

Poetic exuberance
HE's not really known for poetic exuberance, but this evening some pretty well-heeled folks will gather at the London-based natural resources tycoon Anil Agarwal's Mumbai residence in response to a rather fetching invitation from the chairman of Vedanta and his wife Kiran.

Anil Agarwal
Anil Agarwal

'Enjoy the festive breeze, which Mumbai has to share/wear your cashmere scarves and walk with style and flair' goes the opening verse, a paean to Mumbai's brief but much celebrated winter. 'Warm music to your ears/to touch your youthful soul/spend time with near and dear/a magical night that feels whole'. Incidentally, many of his guests will drop in after the Bajaj wedding reception held next door at the Taj.

After all, there are only those many people in Mumbai 'who wear cashmere scarves and walk with style and flair' and they are most likely invited to both occasions!

Color Me Deep
“I started writing my novel a few months ago. Of course, like everyone else who is interested in the Mumbai scene I knew about the bad marriage of Upadhyay.” It was author Mohan Deep inviting us for the launch of his latest novel 'Color Me Rich', to be released later next month by Mahesh Bhatt.

Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt

According to Deep, the book is about the travails of a struggling young artist Akash Saigal who is accused of killing his wife Zen. “The similarities between the real life murder case of Hema Upadhyay (nee Hirani) and 'Color Me Rich' are increasingly uncanny,” he says. “Hema's family has openly accused their son-in-law, artist Chintan Upadhyay of being involved in the murder,” says the author, who also adds that he has included the disclaimer (all imaginary characters that have no connection with anyone living or dead) in the beginning of the book.

Chintan Upadhyay
Chintan Upadhyay

“During his struggle days Chintan used to live in a studio apartment (a more glamorous name for 1BHK) in Borivili. My artist Akash Saigal too is a struggling, starving painter…” says Deep

 Hema Upadhyay

Now all that's left to be seen is if Bhatt who has made many a movie cashing in on real life sagas announces that he's turning the book into a film!

'Okay, everybody, I gotta get to Star Wars!'
— US President Barack Obama after a formal appearance, once again proving that when it comes to engaging with his electorate-no one quite gets it like he does.

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