Media frenzy in Havana

And word comes in that the magical mystery tour that Lalit Modi is currently on in Cuba, which we had reported about on these pages last week, has had a bit of a paparazzi problem.

“Had to run out of the #Habanos #gala #dinner in #Havana #cuba as there was total chaos at our table due to #paparazzi #frenzy,” tweeted the IPL founder and international bon vivant. His next words made it self-evident why: “@iamnaomicampbell and @parishilton.”

Paris Hilton and Lalit Modi in Cuba
Paris Hilton and Lalit Modi in Cuba

Apparently, the shutterbugs couldn’t get enough of the eye candy on Modi’s table, which included the likes of Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell! International glam girls, cigars and paparazzi frenzy in Cuba. Just another day in the life of Lalit Modi!

The paparazzi frenzy at Modi’s table
The paparazzi frenzy at Modi’s table

Another Orwellian nightmare
And in another instalment of Orwellian peculiarity comes word that internationally celebrated author Salman Rushdie who’d posted a picture of Pablo Picasso’s iconic painting Guernica had been reported by one of his FB friends for promoting ‘graphic violence’!

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie

“Sometime ago I posted a photo of Picasso’s Guernica here on FB. Today I learned that somebody reported this image for “promoting graphic violence,” fumed the author, who’d been on the receiving end of FB foolishness a while ago about his name/identity.

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica
Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

“Fortunately, someone else at Facebook had the sense not to take down one of the great masterpieces of modern art,” he said, adding, “Does the moron who reported me for posting this have the courage to identify him/herself? If not at least please unfriend me,” before posting another image of FB’s assurance that it had not censored the iconic painting! Oh well, oil’s well.

Homecoming Queen
It’s always a bit of a homecoming when Ravina Raj Kohli, the Delhi-based TV honcho and education entrepreneur returns to Mumbai where she once lived and worked. The most recent celebration of the prodigal’s return was at the apartment of her former neighbour Manish Goswami’s house at Pali Hill.

Archana Puran Singh with Ravina Raj Kohli
Archana Puran Singh with Ravina Raj Kohli

“It was a reunion of sorts and for those who couldn’t make it to the birthday in Bangalore,” said Kohli, who had thrown herself the mother-of-all coming-of-age party last year. “It was a giggly evening with everyone moaning about the state of TV today in India... And all imploring me to return,” said the lady who’d launched Star TV’s news shows and headed Sony TV.

There was Fahad (Samar) Archana (Puran Singh) and Parmeet (Sethi) and many others,” said the exuberant Kohli, in her characteristic effervescent style. “And apparently the industry is STILL trying to figure out the Ravina Kohli/Ravina Raj Kohli confusion!” she moaned referring to a conundrum that we had highlighted on these pages about much ado about nothing over a similar name confusion of two bright TV executives. As for the state of TV today we agree: come back Ravina, telly velly bad.

Ms Airy-Fairy’s disclosure
Sometimes names can be too good to be true! In the recent Essar media nexus PIL disclosures, which has witnessed the resignation of two senior journalists Sandeep Bamzai, Editor of Mail Today, and Anupama Airy, Energy Editor of the Hindustan Times, we were struck by how apt the latter’s name was in such a matter.

Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari

Because the feisty Ms Airy-Fairy has struck back with a hard-hitting letter that questions much more than the receiving of taxi services from a corporation, which she’s been accused of, namely: how media companies use the services of journos to garner advertising /sponsorships /the winning of contracts and other favours, like attendance and performance at awards shows, etc. when it suits them.

As for the case of the happy yachter Nitin Gadkari, as someone in the know said pithily: “Everyone knows that big corporations have a flourishing side business that takes care of the travel of politicians. In fact, so common is this practice that big industrialists maintain 2/3 planes just for this purpose.

One for themselves and their families and the other(s) for politicians! Travel, hotels and the education of the children of bureaucrats and politicians is the best way for them to oblige decision-makers - and now owning hospitals are increasingly becoming a source of influence,” says the source, adding.

“In fact, the four largest five star hotel chains in India have used their services very strategically over the years. For instance, if a bureaucrat or politician’s child is getting married, banquet facilities can be reduced from Rs 15 lakhs to Rs 1 lakh at their discretion - think of how much clout they have eared this way. And all this has taken place away from prying eyes - almost invisibly!” Now you see why Ms Airy-Fairy’s name is so apt.

Old friends like bookends
“Happiness is an evening of fun, love and laughter by the sea with my loved ones,” said our friend, former model and current TV actress Nandinii Sen about this warm and attractive picture featuring her with three of her classmates from Bombay International School, each a distinguished personality in their own right - namely actress and director Soni Razdan, leading advocate Navroz Seervai and dapper businessman Raja Khara - taken at a Sobo club recently.

(From left) Navroz Seervai, Nandinii Sen, Soni Razdan and Raja Khara
(From left) Navroz Seervai, Nandinii Sen, Soni Razdan and Raja Khara

“It’s like sibling bonding,” she said, “we’ve been friends since we were three. We have laughed together, fought together, cried together, bunked classes together, shared food, fun and serious moments - nothing can replace it!” And having recently been reconnected thanks to social media with our own classmates, we empathise completely with the sentiment: no friends like old friends!

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