Derby Day without Mallya

Vivek Jain, Sunny Leone, Kishore Dhingra and Daniel Weber at the RWITC. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Vivek Jain, Sunny Leone, Kishore Dhingra and Daniel Weber at the RWITC. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

While this year’s RWITC Derby held over the weekend, saw its fair share of women in fancy hats and stilettoes, it had one marked difference: the absence of Vijay Mallya, currently one of London’s most well-heeled refugees, who is said to have unfailingly attended Derby Day for over 30 years.

However, besides this glaring omission, the event was at its flamboyant best with performances by Lucky Ali, Shadab Faridi (of Sultan fame), Maadhyam and the Cuban Boys, and glamorous attendees like actress Sunny Leone (who, it is reported, made it difficult for many to concentrate on the action on the track); along with, of course the country’s racing fraternity and Derby Day regulars drawn from across the city.

As is the tradition, at the end of the race, the chairman of RWITC, Vivek Jain drove onto the tracks in a splashy car (this year, it was an open top Mercedes Cabriolet), led by Caribbean carnival-style girls and the Cuban Boys, for the trophy presentation, with Mallya’s replacement sitting besides him: the Managing Director of Kingfisher, Shekhar Ramamurthy. And as is the practice, the rolling greens of the race course were dotted with bars, food and gaming stalls, where huge prizes could be won, including a free car, we are informed.

“One could be excused for forgetting for these two days, that the RWITC was in the midst of its worst crisis,” said a racing insider, adding, “At yesterday’s Derby, they pulled out all the stops showcasing the year’s most iconic property in its time honoured tradition”. (G)race under pressure?

BFF escort for the evening, Manish Malhotra
BFF escort for the evening, Manish Malhotra

BFF’s royal visit
As we have mentioned before, Sheetal Mafatlal, has been making quite an impact on the international glam circuit over the past few months. The vivacious Mumbai girl, who seems to have put her numerous legal battles behind her, was invited along with her BFF, designer Manish Malhotra, to the British Asian Trust Dinner in London last week for a formal dinner in the presence of Prince Charles.

Sheetal Mafatlal with Prince Charles
Sheetal Mafatlal with Prince Charles

Some of the other guests that attended the annual dinner included Natasha Poonawalla, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Boris Becker. Sheetal posted these pictures on social media with the comment, “A royal encounter with HRH the Prince of Wales,” along with a picture with her BFF escort for the evening, Manish Malhotra, who dressed her in a sari for the event.

Engaging news comes in
Word comes in that Anant Goenka, the dashing executive director and new media head of a publishing company, was engaged to his long-term girlfriend, Kanika Sharma, a lawyer from Mumbai over the weekend.

Kanika Sharma and Anant Goenka
Kanika Sharma and Anant Goenka

The two are said to have known each other from their school days. Goenka, who finished his schooling in Mumbai before attending the prestigious Print and Journalism course at USC Annenberg in California, took over the reigns of the family-owned media group a couple of years ago and proved to be the fillip the age-old media group required.

The engagement is said to have been a low profile and private affair, with only close family and friends present at Goenka’s home. We wish the young couple well.

Poster boys for Kashish
Good to see that KASHISH Mumbai, the international queer film festival said to be South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ film festival, is going from strength to strength. Founded in 2010, the festival is the first Indian LGBT festival to be held with the approval of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry. And this year, we are informed, Goa-based designer Wendell Rodricks, will judge the festival’s International Poster Contest.

Wendell Rodricks
Wendell Rodricks

“I am proud to support KASHISH. Each year the poster moves forward in a direction that the LGBTQ community in India is going towards. I wish the participants all the best and I am excited to see how they will creatively interpret this year’s theme. The film festival, on its part, has managed to achieve greater visibility and empowerment for the LGBTQ community,” says Rodricks.

The winning poster carries a cash prize of R20,000 ($300) instituted by Rodricks, and will be the look of the eighth edition of KASHISH, featured on billboards, banners, cinema slides, delegate cards, T-shirts and catalogue cover.
“Every year, there is great anticipation about this contest because it defines the ‘look’ of the festival. We now keenly await designers globally to send us their brilliant entries,” says Sridhar Rangayan, festival director.

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