Aamir Khan, chef Vicky Ratnani, Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Shaikh
"Both Aamir Khan and chef Vicky Ratnani attended the Bombay Scottish School, where Khan had been four years senior," says a spokesperson for The Korner House restaurant, where the superstar had dined on Tuesday night with Fatima Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra, who play his daughters in Dangal.
To our great regret, we have not seen the film, but Khan, his oeuvre, his world view, and even just his physicality are topics of interest, so we asked the spokesperson what the actor had eaten, now that he was no more on his role's dietary demands. "Soft shell crabs, Korean BBQ chicken, Bianco silver onion flatbread," she said, adding that the star had particularly favoured 'the chicken and the flatbread'.
Which, of course, leads us to the obvious question: Did either of the schoolmates wrestle during their school days? Playground? "AK was a fantastic tennis player, very quiet, and the chef and him used to travel in the same Khar-Pali Hill school bus," said the spokesperson. Ye old school tie. Turns up at the oddest places.
Meals on wheels
A source calls in to inform us that restaurateur and Masterchef India judge Zorawar Kalra's Farzi Cafe might just replace the iconic Cirque Le Soir, London's popular nightclub and watering hole for the rich and famous. This will certainly be a great coup for this second generation foodie (his dad Jiggs Kalra, a former journalist, was one of the pioneer foodies of his day).
Kalra himself appeared wary when we asked him if this was likely. "After the success of Farzi Dubai, we are going to launch at least four Farzi's around the world this year," he said. "And 70%-plus clientele is non-Indian, proving the mass global appeal of the concept. However, it might be premature to mention London as one of the likely venues," he said. Watch this space for more.
Shopaholics Mumbai ishtyle
A most piquant, but not altogether unknown, situation arose this week around Anita Lal's annual luxury retail store preview sale, when some of its top associates were overheard complaining bitterly about the extreme lengths to which they were being pestered, harassed, and badgered by the store's faithful clientele, to be invited to the sales preview.
"Even though we renew stocks daily, getting invited to the pre-sale preview is a big deal and people think up the most creative methods to get on this preview list," says Pavitra Rajaram, who has been designing for the brand since its launch.
Pavitra Rajaram with Anita Lal and Ambika Jain and (right) Liz Hurley
"From sudden travel plans that compel them to come one day earlier, to veiled threats of social boycott, to even mentioning claustrophobia as their reasons to come in before the 'janta' does the next day," she says about this form of social terrorism. What is most bemusing is that some of those who petition the most vociferously to gatecrash the invited list happen to belong to the highest echelons of the city, according to Rajaram.
Do women behave the same way across the country in response to the preview sale?, we enquire of Rajaram, for anthropological purposes. She gets coy, "Um... No, I would say it's more of a Mumbai syndrome," she says from the site of the presale shopathon, where in the rooms some of the city's most celebrated women come and go, (including, we hear, Liz Hurley) talking no doubt of Michelangelo...
In these times of doom and gloom, here's a ray of sunshine: When freelance marketing consultant Tina Kapur posted an SOS on social media this week, asking her friends to assist in finding 'an Indie dog who answers to the name Dolly', which had gone missing from a Lower Parel compound full of restaurants and pubs, the comments ranged from 'Oh nooo,' to 'Hope you find her soonest'.
In no time at all, various friends had rallied around in a wave of empathy, concern and sensible suggestions, one even locating pictures of the much loved stray taken lovingly in happier times. Kapur, who had continued caring for and feeding Dolly daily, had become alarmed when she had not met her in two days. But fortunately, the tale has a happy ending.
"She was found today after two days and has now done a disappearing act again," said Kapur, when we spoke to her about her dog-day afternoons over the disappearance. "At least we know she is in the compound and can track her down," she said, adding, "It's wonderful to see how everyone came together to try and help her. From people in nearby offices to security guards to staff at the restaurant where she normally sits."
"One guard even took medicine from me so he could treat her if she came to him," she added. As we were saying, in this time of gloom and doom, and in the bright lights of big city Mumbai, once in a while, (miraculously when you think about it) some dogs have their day.
Hedging its bets?
Word comes in that things are hotting up in the hospitality sector in Mumbai as new entrants from abroad are looking to open up in the city that never sleeps, and have their share of its pie.
A large international hotel group that recently launched a five-star overlooking a beach in Goa is said to be in talks to launch the same brand in Mumbai. "The brand is young and edgy, and with its success in Goa, they're hoping to replicate it in Mumbai. Talks have been on for a while and the project seems to be going through," says a source.
But interestingly, the international hotel group has decided to change its local partners for this project, we are informed, and is now in talks with another big real estate company with interests in Dubai and lots of land in BKC. Why would the hotel group want to deal with two different real estate companies from India though?
"It's because their current partners are known to be close to a state political party and the other real estate company is close to another political party. So, I guess, they are simply hedging their bets," says the source.