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Rajdeep booked!

And now that Rajdeep and Sagarika have gone on leave and their departure from CNN-IBN the channel they built with their excellence and credibility is passing into new hands, sources say that Sardesai has almost inked a contract with Penguin’s Chiki Sarkar to write a book.

And though no one knows what it’s subject is, an informed guess would be that it would cover the world of media and politics and their intersection.

Rajdeep Sardesai Sagarika Ghose
Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose

Meanwhile rumour has it that he is receiving regular calls from a large Delhi-based media group with holdings in TV and publishing that appears to be on a signing spree, given its high profile recent acquisitions.

Birthday celebrations all round
“It was at a birthday dinner at my home,” says author Laxmi Dhaul (A Family Affair) about this picture that features some stalwarts of Mumbai’s intelligentsia and creative worlds, like philanthropist and cultural warrior Asha Sheth, author and columnist Sidharth Bhatia (India Psychedelic) and his wife, the publisher of GQ, Almona.

Laxmi Dhaul’s birthday partyLaxmi Dhaul’s birthday party

“Actually Sidharth and me both share a birthday and this was at my home near the CCI last week. We played a lot of music from the 70s and 80s. Asha was her effervescent self and had just come in from the Amrita Sher-Gil exhibition. Jeroo (Mulla, who teaches at the Sophia Polytechnic) had just delivered a lecture on ‘The language of love’ and everyone was in a great mood.” We like!

The gift of the gab
Our attention was brought to one aspect of stardom that hardly gets reported on: stars and their relationship with teleprompters: apparently Akshay Kumar insists on one even for a two-line dialogue; both Amitabh and Shekhar Suman prefer that their Hindi dialogues be written in the Devanagari script and not the usual Roman.

Salman Khan Akshay KumarSalman Khan and Akshay Kumar

Shah Rukh meanwhile is reported to prefer the presence of a teleprompter but improvises considerably while using it to add flavour and freshness to his delivery.

Amitabh Bachchan Shah Rukh Khan
Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan

And the cake goes to Salman, who does not take the assistance of a teleprompter at all! Apparently, even his lengthy Big Boss speeches were all done impromptu! That’s called having the gift of the gab!

In praise of artisan bread
And apropos of absolutely nothing at all: here’s to artisan bread. Bread made with the reverence of a priest murmuring his morning prayer; bread that imparts the wisdom of the patient lover who knows all things come to those who wait; bread that crackles its approval when you tear at its crust it with your hands; ‘well-bred bread’ as Jamie Oliver calls it.

‘It’s a term you see a lot in the food world these days, along with ‘craft’, ‘fresh’ and the vaguest of all, ‘real’, says the Brit mega-foodie chef. ‘They’re usually used to signify care, expertise and quality of ingredients.’
Recently, in Mumbai we’ve noticed a few bakeries and patisseries advertising the availability of artisan bread and we have to admit our heart has given a little whoop of delight.

Because truth be told, we love bread. Crackly, crusty, toasty, freshly-baked bread, warm from the ovens of life, carrying the fragrance of morning; we can think of nothing better at breakfast than a loaf of bread, a pat of Olive oil, a smack of Brie and a few olives… so here’s to Mumbai embracing artisan bread. Give us this day our daily…

Unfair attack
It’s sad when people’s careers and reputations are besmirched to grab eyeballs. Our attention was brought to a spurious attempt to publicise the India release of the 2012 Canadian film, ‘The World Before Her’, by depicting well known Mumbai-based cosmetic physician Jamuna Pai in poor light.

Jamuna Pai

Jamuna Pai

The documentary is a look into the lives of two young women who participate in two very different types of training regimes, one as a Miss India contestant and the other, as a militant Hindu nationalist and appears to be a sincere attempt at getting under their skins.

Aishwarya Rai BachchanAishwarya Rai Bachchan. PIC/AFP

Unfortunately, its trailer shows Pai, a long-time consultant to the Miss India campaign advising a participant about her facial harmony and then coaxing her to relax while she’s receiving dermal fillers. Many newborn evangelists and faux activists have seen this as an example of ‘female subjugation’.

Relax guys, no one forces beauty pageant participants to enlist, and when they do, they know they are going to be put through a few months of gruelling preparation including back breaking exercises and gruelling diets.

And for as many of those who think these pageants ‘degrade’ women, there are others who believe that they in fact empower girls and afford them a world of opportunities. (Ask Aishwarya, Priyanka, Sushmita, etc). Above all, every participant signs a consent form before she sees Pai.

Cosmetic intervention like makeup is a matter of personal choice and if people want to tilt swords at the ‘Ugliness beneath the beauty myth’, it would be more fruitful to question deeper issues that degrade women than attack a practicing professional engaged for a task.

In any case, if you slip in a video camera while a procedure is being carried out, be it a root canal or a knee replacement surgery, the results would be pretty ‘disturbing’, if not more for the uninitiated viewer. Here’s hoping the film provokes deeper thought and does not trivialise the issue of what ails women today.

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