> In spite of all the flak that his recent utterances have won him, Rahul Gandhi still finds the time to keep up with his friends and social life. Over the weekend, the Congress VP and most enthusiastic paper shredder dropped in at a young and hip party hosted by his close friend Andrea Aftab Pauro, the Delhi-based restaurateur (of Baci in Sunder Nagar and Amici Café in Khan Market) and husband of the noted designer Pia. According to an insider, it was a private party and the other guests, who were all part of the same circle, were careful to give the young Congressman his space. Incidentally, Rahul’s friendship with the Pauros is predicated on more than just social bonhomie. Both share Italian-Indian parentage. Aftab, whose family owns the Imperial Hotel on Janpath, is the son of a Sikh mother and an Italian father.
> Good to learn that stars send each other fan mail too. When we spoke to our old friend Anil Kapoor, whose adaptation of the hit American TV series 24 on Viacom’s Colors is creating waves, he sounded chuffed by the response he’d had from his colleagues.
“My colleagues in the industry have been calling and texting 24 hours round,” said the exuberant star. And to be sure, the texts we saw certainly reflected this: From Imran Khan’s ‘Just watched 24, and I loved it! You’ve been very honest with the source material, and I loved Jai’s character,’ to Preity Zinta’s ‘Hey Anil, just wanted to say that I LOVED 24! You rocked it and I must confess you’re going to change Indian TV forever,’ to Ekta Kapoor’s ‘Sir saw 24! Faaaab!Ur a maverick producer, actor, innovator,’ the response has been overwhelming. In fact, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra summed up the peer response when he said: “You have more than delivered.
I pray it grows from strength to strength and becomes a cult classic and a game-changer. Respect and solidarity!” As for Kapoor, who says he’s already holding discussions to adapt another American series, the icing on the cake is his family’s approval. “Sunita, Rhea, Sonam and Harsh all have such different tastes,” he sighed, “So it’s a huge relief when they all liked it.”
Antilia’s special November guests
> Most people have missed the blink-and-you-miss-it scene in the Krrish 3 trailer, but if you rewind it in slow-mo, it looks very much like India’s favourite superhero is holding up a large (read very large) piece of Mumbai’s most famous residence -- Antilia. And whereas we will only know for sure if the world’s most expensive home indeed features as a very recognisable landmark in the Diwali release film, what is interesting is that while it is being screened, the real life Antilia itself might be playing host to a very high-profile visitor: Prince Charles. Yes, even as we speak, high-level, closed-door talks are on about an exclusive charity dinner soon to be held at the Ambanis, graced by the Prince of Wales himself. Wonder if the superhero will drop in too.
“Along with Ratan and Mukesh, Kumar Mangalam is one of our tallest business leaders and his indictment is the last nail in the UPA’s coffin. Morale is at an all time low.”
-- An industrialist on hearing yesterday’s news that the CBI had chargesheeted Birla in the Coalgate scam
The football club
> They make an unusual pair and though we’ve known of their friendship and mutual admiration society for long, south Mumbai MP and Minister of State for IT and Communications, and also for Shipping, Milind Deora seems a very different kettle of fish to Salman Khan, flamboyant star and devil-may-care host of Bigg Boss.
Be that as it may, our sources say that both might share the same platform this Friday at a south Mumbai community football initiative. You heard it here first.
Salaam Mumbai: Sea worship
One of the activities I enjoy most of all is staring at the sea. Endlessly, I can watch the waves coming and going, ebbing and flowing. Each wave different and unique, but so anonymous and uncelebrated.
It is their sum totals that are so awe-inspiring. Next to staring at the sea, for me comes the singular pleasure of walking by the seashore, and last the activity of swimming in the sea. I do not know if we appreciate how lucky we are in Mumbai to be surrounded on three sides by this great water body, that more or less defines us.
For like a great blind spot, often we forget to acknowledge the ocean’s reassuring and magnificent presence, incessantly murmuring in the background of our lives. I grew up by the sea and I am fortunate to live close to it now. But there was a time when I thought I’d lost the sea completely. That was when I’d moved to Kolkata and the sea receded from my life like an ebbing tide.
Of course, there were rivers and lakes near where I lived, but truth be told, I missed the sea more than I realised at that time.
And very soon, sea- starved, I was back in Mumbai. My stint in Delhi was even drier. Landlocked in India’s capital, I longed for those sudden spontaneous moments that I used to experience in Mumbai, when I’d turn a corner and come up against the vast tumultuous ever-vibrant sight of the sea. Look out if you can, in the direction of the sea today. It is Mumbai’s own, very special and under-acknowledged benediction.