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Master Class with Kangana

"We thought of Kangana as the first guest because she's a compelling actor with an incredibly diverse body of work," says film critic, Anupama Chopra, about the Film Companion Master class, which she will be conducting later this evening at a suburban multiplex in Mumbai

Kangana Ranaut and Anupama Chopra
Kangana Ranaut and Anupama Chopra

“My hope is to create a portrait of the creative process and also to create a dialogue between talent, film students and film lovers,” she says.

And what is she looking forward most to having the Queen and Revolver Rani star sharing the podium with her? “I’ve always enjoyed interviewing Kangana. She’s very honest and straightforward in her responses. She tells it like it is,” she said.

We agree.

Older than his pa-in-law!
And this delicious nugget of information comes in about Sobo’s most famous ageing Lothario whose on-sometimes, off-sometimes engagement to his twenty-something fiancé has been more volatile than the recent Sensex.

Friends of his, concerned about his very public break up with her, were consoling him by dissing the lady, but were told off by the playboy. “You’re speaking about the love of my life and my future wife,” said the love-struck man, gallantly.

“The irony is that he’s four years older than his fiancé’s dad!” said one of his friends. And then she rolled her eyeballs heavenwards.

Frogs in Pune
A party that boasts attendance of both billionaire, bawa Cyrus Poonawalla and TV soap queen Ekta Kapoor, has covered the two ends of an important spectrum and must be a rocking one indeed.

Ekta Kapoor and Cyrus Poonawalla
Ekta Kapoor and Cyrus Poonawalla

Which is why, we do not regret our taking the long winding road (actually the short straight Expressway) to Pune over the weekend to attend Blue Frog Pune’s pre-opening party.

On the ground floor of a Pune mall, the newest addition to the Blue Frog brand appeared bigger, better and more happening than its Mumbai edition with a 800-seater adjoining amphitheatre all its own.

And all this with state-of-the-art acoustic system designed by Munro Acoustics (UK), whose client list includes U2, Coldplay and A R Rahman.

But regardless of its specs, we were looking forward to attending the party hosted by Blue Frog’s Pune partners Ishan Bhale and Govind Thakker because we wanted to check out how Pune compares with its elder sister Mumbai in the nightlife stakes.

Was its crowd really more ‘happening’ as we’d been assured by Pune denizens? Did they really put their Mumbai cousins to shame when it came to hi-jinks and good times? And most important of all-were they really better dressed?

And contrary to Mumbai’s self-image the answer to all three of those questions was yes. Less jaded, fresher and untrammelled by Mumbai’s stresses, the crowd we encountered on Saturday night seemed much more civilised and certainly more wholesome than their Mumbai counterparts.

But we spotted a sizeable representation of Mumbaikers holding up our city’s flag quite successfully: lovely ladies, Nandi Mahtani, Gayatri Rangachari Shah, Ira Rao, Sarita Tanwar and gentlemen like Ashok Salian, Rahul Bhatt, and Vivek Jain added their strength to the 700-strong crowd of revellers and did their city proud.

As for the aforementioned Cyrus Poonawalla and Ms Ekta Kapoor, we think its only fair to add they did not come together!

Taking London
“Today Indians have more or less ousted Russian oligarchs as the high rollers of London,” said a Sobo matron, known for her well-upholstered annual holidays at her St John’s Woods’ apartment. “And the two areas whose real estate they have cornered are Mayfair and Knightsbridge,” she said, adding, “Of course, the Hindujas and the Mittals were known for their sprawling mansions, but today even lesser-heeled desis are snapping up expensive apartments in these areas,” she said.

Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal

And latest to join the ranks is real estate and Pharma tycoon Ajay Piramal whose recent acquisition is reported to be a sumptuous pad in Mayfair. “Gone are the days when jewellery stores on Bond Street would turn up their noses at us,” said the diva. “Today they stand outside their doors with butterfly nets, trying to catch an Indian dahling,” she drawled.

Ajay Piramal with wife Swati Piramal
Ajay Piramal with wife Swati Piramal

Delusions of grandeur
We’ve heard of delusions of grandeur, but the size and immensity of the beleaguered Vijay Mallya’s disconnect with reality leaves us staggered.

Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya

This anecdote has to do with the ultra-luxury Kingfisher Towers in Bangalore that the UB Group’s chairman was building on the 4.5 acre plot on which his ancestral home once stood.

As everyone knew the building’s piece de resistance was to have been his personal residence – a penthouse spread over an acre - similar to the US President’s White House.

According to our source, so proud was the high-living tycoon of this latest jewel that not even a year ago, even while his economic woes had already begun to add up, he had summoned one of his top communications executives with the order that the blueprint for the proposed penthouse (his own White House) should be leaked to the country’s top pink paper.

The communications executive had balked at the idea. “Sir, it will be suicidal to release these to the media,” he’d pleaded. “Especially now when there is so much negative coverage about the Kingfisher Airline staff’s unpaid salaries!”

But so infuriated had Mallya become by his executive’s ‘temerity’ that he’d fired the well-meaning man forthwith!

See what we mean by a staggering reality disconnect?

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