mid-day 37th anniversary: Summer of 79

Born in the same year as this paper, fame’s children talk about life at the top

Emraan Hashmi
Profession: Actor
Born: March 24, 1979
Claim to fame: Serial kisser of Hindi cinema.

Emraan Hashmi

An Indian actor who has seen a successful run at the box office until now, Emraan Hashmi is a member of the famous Bhatt family. He won praise for his work in movies like Gangster and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai He says, “I have grown obsessive about food and health over the past few years. It was not so earlier. In fact, I was the most indisciplined person five years ago.” Emraan says the birth of his son was a turning point and, “after that my life has changed drastically. I am very particular about the things I eat now.” Emraan agrees that it makes him a party pooper in a way, and he has earned his friends’ wrath, “I am so obsessed that when I am out with them they cringe, because I am constantly harping about everything that is wrong about the food they have ordered when it comes to the table!”

Vir Das
Profession: stand up comedian/ actor
Born: May 31, 1979
Claim to fame: One of the finest stand-up comedians and a pathbreaker in the new entertainment genre

Vir Das

Vir Das was born in Dehradun. He has established himself as one of the finest stand-up comedians in the country and is also an actor. Vir has acted in several films and has hosted television shows, but, the actor is best known for his play, ‘Battle of Da Sexes’. Yet what he essentially is, is a comedian. So, he says tongue firmly in cheek when asked about unknown aspects of his life and work, “I am actually 6 ft. 7 inches tall and I have incredibly large biceps! I am also very rich! These are things that nobody knows about me, they just think that I am short, skinny and poor.”

Diandra Soares
Profession: Model
Born: August 13, 1979
Claim to fame: Once India’s top ramp model who revolutionalised the scene with her bald look in the 1990s

Diandra Soares

In 1995, Diandra Soares was crowned Miss Bombay. In a successful career that included walking the ramp for international fashion shows, for popular designers and brands like Gucci, Leonard Paris, Emanuel Ungaro and Sonia Rykiel, she made her first appearance as a bald model in 1999 at a show in Goa. The fashion world wrote her off for the stunt. As a result, she was forced to let go of ramp opportunities. Soares has been bald four times since. Her latest stint in the reality television show Big Boss made her a household name. “Not too many people know that after my class 10 exams, I had joined a jewellery design class because I wanted to be a jewellery or fashion designer. Our teacher was from TBZ Jewellers and two of my designs were selected for their yearly design book. I was offered a job with them too, but the universe had other plans and modelling happened. I did shoe designing for friends and then for designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Shane & Falguni Peacock and a few others. I walked in my designs as well for them. I design a lot of my own clothes but I’m yet to do it professionally,” says Soares.

Rahul Mishra
Profession: Fashion designer
Born: November 7, 1979
Claim to fame: In February 2014, he won the Woolmark Prize at the Milan Fashion Week. The award carries Aus $100,000 prize (over R 5.4 million) and was previously won by designers like Karl Lagerfield and Giorgio Armani. Mishra is the only Indian to win the award

Rahul Mishra

In 2009, Rahul Mishra became the first non-European designer to win a scholarship at Istituto Marangoni, a fashion school in Milan. Over the years, he has showcased his work at fashion weeks in London, Dubai and Australia apart from India. “If I wasn’t designing, I’d be playing cricket. I used to be very good at it. I played for NID when I was studying there. I would like to play the IPL even now and make all that money,” laughs Mishra. “But on second thoughts, at 37, I would be preparing to retire from cricket. As a designer, I’m still young with fresh designs.” The designer who hails from Auraiya district, 80 km from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, is a big fan of animation films. “You cannot count the number of times I have seen Kung Fu Panda and Ratatouille. I’m a new parent. I spend a lot of time these days with my eight-month old daughter. Recently, she watched Martian with me too. Another favourite film that I can watch on loop is 3 Idiots,” Mishra signs off.

Kainaz Messman Harchandrai
Profession: Pastry chef, owner Theobroma chain of patisseries
Born: September 14, 1979
Claim to fame: One of the early flag bearers of the city’s dessert and bakery revolution

Kainaz Messman Harchandrai

There isn’t a true-blue Mumbaikar who doesn’t know and love Theobroma, a tiny Colaba Causeway patisserie opened by a mother and daughter who love to bake. Most of those who frequent its aroma filled rose pink and powder blue interiors, have a favourite on the shelves, some will say, strawberry tart while others pick the masala chicken pasty. When we meet the successful entrepreneur, who has a diploma in hotel management from Dadar’s IHM and a post-diploma in kitchen management from the Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development, she speaks of death, not success. Well, we’ve asked for it. Messman says the one thing about her not known to most is that she “almost died seven years ago for not following rules”. And that made her a better chef. She was in Yssingeaux, a tiny town in the south of France, with Lyon as the closest city around. It was during the time she was doing a refresher course in advance pastry at the Ecole Nationale superior de la Patisserie. The town had no railway station nor hospital. “I was at a chateau where a pastry school was housed. One day, we decided to go foraging for mushrooms in the forest behind the chateau,” she says. They were told of an important rule as they set out, the mushrooms needed to be vetted by a pharmacist, who would determine if they were edible. “I was young and reckless then,” she laughs. Ignoring the pharmacist, she put the mushrooms on a barbecue, and ate one raw. “The next thing I knew, I was vomiting my innards out. My body had lost water, and my hands and feet curled up. Since no hospital was around, the firemen were called in to drive me to a Lyon hospital. There, they pumped out the poison. It taught me that a chef must respect rules.”

Commander Abhilash Tomy, (KC)
Profession: Indian Navy officer
Born: February 5, 1979
Claim to fame: First Indian and seventh Asian to circumnavigate the earth solo, unassisted, without any stops, on a sailboat

Commander Abhilash Tomy, (KC)

Then a Lieutenant Commander, Abhilash Tomy gained national and international fame when in April 2013, he circumnavigated the earth on the 23-tonne Indian Navy Sail Vehicle named Mhadei, a journey he completed in 150 days. After surviving angry cyclones in the south Indian Ocean and being left with just 10 bottles of water because his water supply got contaminated by diesel in Mauritius, Tomy was greeted by President Pranab Mukherjee on his arrival at the Gateway of India, and later was also awarded the Kirti Chakra. He has become a public figure since then, with not an appearance in a creative dramatisation of the National anthem but also an Amul ad and a Tinkle cover dedicated to him. Ask him what is the one thing (if any) that the world still doesn't know about him, and he says, “In 2007, I had visited the Mumbai Boat Show and spotted a yacht worth R25 lakh. A friend asked me, ‘Kya karega uska?’ To which I responded that I would park it at the Gateway of India and live on it. While I didn’t buy that yacht, I did get the Mhadei from Goa to Mumbai for a presidential fleet review year and stayed on the boat for 11 days when it was parked at the Gateway. It wasn’t the same yacht but I had fulfilled my wish. In fact, Mhadei was three times larger.”


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