Raj Kapoor's true-blue heir

May 26, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Could there be anything that epitomises the swashbuckling Kapoor charm more than this archival picture taken in the fifties, featuring family patriarch Prithviraj, surrounded by his three handsome sons, Raj, Shammi and Shashi Kapoor, with his grandson Randhir Kapoor on his lap?

With their blue green eyes and peaches and cream complexion, these men from Rawalpindi defined what north Indian an-mag was all about. We were reminded of this when we saw Bombay Velvet last week and were gobsmacked by the nuanced, riveting and absolute power-packed performance by Prithiviraj's great grandson Ranbir Kapoor.

Prithviraj Kapoor with sons Raj, Shammi, Shashi and little Randhir
Prithviraj Kapoor with sons Raj, Shammi, Shashi and little Randhir

Because, regardless of the negative box-office reception, most likely due to the film's weak script, and for being a few years ahead of its time for Indian audiences, there is no denying that Ranbir has turned in a magnificent performance, one that will be forever etched in the annals of cinematic excellence.

Ranbir with Anushka Sharma in Bombay Velvet
Ranbir with Anushka Sharma in Bombay Velvet

What's more, with his sixties old world moustache, his severely blow- dried frizz and vulnerable tough guy demeanor, the young superstar's resemblance to Raj Kapoor someone he's known to worship is uncanny.

"He has the same larger-than-life approach to cinema, and the same passion for it," informs a family source, "which is why, in spite of his recent box-office bad luck, Bollywood remains solidly behind him, and he still commands the best position and price amongst the new gen," said the source.

How has he taken BV's box office disappointment we enquired. "On his chin" said the source, "After all, he knows how Raj ji also went through many career reversals, only to emerge stronger and more successful. This is only a small blip on a journey of a hundred miles."

News from Dilli
Our Congress source had a lilt in his voice. "Ever since Rahul Gandhi's return and his dynamic parliamentary and public appearances, things have changed," said the happy man. "All his detractors and critics have fallen silent and are regarding him with new respect," he said.

Rahul Gandhi. PIC/PTI Sheila Dikshit Digvijaya Singh
Rahul Gandhi. Pic/PTI, Sheila Dikshit and Digvijaya Singh

Great, we replied. So now we can expect to hear a little more respect and less carping and derision from Modi, Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh? "Huh?" said the Congress source. "I was talking about members of his own party who have been criticising, like Digvijaya Singh, Sheila Dikshit, and those in the NCP camp. Their attitude is a bit more positive now," said the Congress insider. "The BJP will take a bit more time."

Irony, IT style
Irony has a strange way in making its presence felt. Or what else could account for the fact that no less than one of India's most revered IT personalities, Ravi Venkatesan, former chairman and corporate vice-president of Microsoft Corporation (India) and currently serving as director on the Board of Infosys, found himself on the receiving end of some IT crookery?

Ravi Venkatesan
Ravi Venkatesan

"Not sure how many of you use Matrix Cellular when you travel internationally, but be very careful. They are crooks when it comes to billing," commented the whiz on a social media site recently, a post that received much traction and support, for fellow victims. "Their CEO called," said Venkatesan, when we called him up. "They are desperately trying to recover. Pity India has so little by way of protection for consumers. Social media is our best hope."

More than skin-deep
"Last year I turned Paleo and organic, and feverishly began the task of replacing my normal diet with all things organic," says the lovely Colette Austin, who has recently launched a drool worthy range of skin care products under the name The Skin Pantry.

Colette Austin with her new skin care products
Colette Austin with her new skin care products  

"I started emptying out all my drawers and cabinets of make-up, lotions, creams, serums, but when I looked around in the market for organic alternatives, I wasn't exactly spoilt for choice," says the graphic designer, who describes herself as a 'genetic cocktail', her dad William (Bill) George Austin, the legendary horloger, who is said to have turned down the queen of England's job offer was born in Egypt and is a mix of Italian, Austrian and French ancestry and her mother, Altricia, was born in Shillong and was a mix of Khasi, Scottish and Bengali descent.

Colette with her father William
Colette with her father William 

"I decided to make my own skin care. I imported organic butters and oils, extracts, organic fragrances," says Austin, who sells her potions and lotions out of her charming studio in a leafy lane at Grant Road, replete with 14-foot ceilings, and a verdant backyard that houses Colette & Yvonne, the brand and identity studio she runs with her sister Yvonne.

"The Skin Pantry was created on the belief that you shouldn't put on your skin what you wouldn't put into your mouth! Our products are handmade using the finest organic butter bases drizzled with organic virgin cold-pressed oils," says Austin, who charmingly describes the accompanying pictures, as "one is of me in the office with the products, and the other of me and dad at a cousin's wedding when he got punch-drunk, and just lay down under a tree, while I sat beside him, quite worried."

Custom cannot stale
Word comes in that, in spite of his many professional setbacks and financial woes, this bon vivant erstwhile billionaire has already begun planning his Big Birthday Bash in December. A save-the-date missive has already been received by many of his friends, alerting them to the uber celebrations at the end of year at his fave Indian resort.

What's more, tough times do not seem to have dampened the tycoon's spirits. His missive contains much self-deprecating wit and humour. "Nice to know that he still has his sense of humour," says a friend. "After all, a big birthday comes only once. And, it's great that he's going to celebrate it in style."

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