>> It’s one of the most interesting projects I’ve shot - says CNN IBN’s celebrated film critic and entertainment editor Rajeev Masand about the Actor’s Round Table, his year-end omnibus on Bollywood which features four of India’s finest actors (Aamir Khan, Irrfan Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui) sitting around a table discussing the art and craft of acting and a whole lot else.
“I thought it would be a coup if I could assemble four of the best actors of our times. It was a very ambitious idea - given that this would mean coordinating all their schedules to get them in the same place at the same time - but it was worth exploring.” Says Masand, adding, “You’d imagine that it would be harder to convince Ranbir and Aamir to do this because they’re busier and they’re ‘bigger stars’. But I have to tell you, Ranbir was the first to say yes. He instantly agreed. Aamir, who I was almost certain, would not agree, surprised me by saying yes instantly. Nawazuddin was happy to do it, but it was going to be hard to figure out a way to get him because he was shooting in Wai, outside Mumbai. Irrfan made all sorts of excuses as he always does, but said he’d try.”
But of course a project as ambitious as this was nerve wracking.
“We planned to shoot it at around 10.45 pm at the Land’s End Hotel in Bandra,” says Masand, whose signature mop of prematurely graying hair must have turned a whiter shade of pale given the personalities involved.
“Nawaz was the first to arrive, Aamir next. Ranbir third, Irrfan the last.” He says adding, “Aamir revealed that the performance that blew his mind in 2012 was Ranbir’s in Barfi. Ranbir said his favorite performance was Nawazuddin’s in Gangs of Wasseypur,” says Masand. But for more, watch the show!
‘The Actors Roundtable’ airs on CNN-IBN on Sunday, Dec 30 at 10 pm.
Cumballa Hill Christmas
>> At Rahul and Malini Akerkar’s big fat Christmas lunch we ran into: 1) film director and author Fahad Samar who informed us that he has signed a two book deal and the first of his much awaited novels would be out next year, 2) Conde Naste’s Alex Kuruvilla who said his daughter was working with Tasneem Mehta at the Bhauji Lad museum, 3) fashion designer Nari Kumar who said he was very angry about the state of affairs in the country 4) hostess Malini Akerkar who said we were crazy to have eaten at the Taj before coming (we agree!)
An afternoon at a beautiful home on Cumballa Hill, crammed with good art, exquisite rugs enticing books and the choicest Sobo Bo-bos, (South Mumbai Bourgeousie Bohemians) who could ask for more?
Au courant dish
>> Clearly the break out dish on Mumbai’s palpitating palate has been Pork belly.
Ever since New York’s zeitgeist chef David Chang built himself a small fortune with the pork belly buns served at his Momofuku chain of eateries, the trend seems to have gone global.
Mumbai’s Hakkasan might have been the first to launch the trend being as it was a signature dish from the Hakkasan global brand, but it soon found favor across the Sea-link with Ellipsis’ dinner menu featuring the Pork belly… (Holland pork, steamed buns, kimchee, apple butter, jalapeños) and restaurants such as the Smoke House Deli, Yautcha the Cafe at NCPA and Zoe as well doing versions of it.
What’s surprising is that weight watching Mumbai that till now regarded pork as too fattening (long has the United States National Pork Board tried to convince us it’s actually a white meat) appears to be completely seduced by the dish’s brilliant texture and melt in your mouth yumminess.
>> Gaurav Bhatia responsible for introducing a certain kind of champagne lifestyle to India is truly a romantic at heart. We caught the dapper gent in Rajasthan where he was renewing his wedding vows with his gorgeous wife Pratima.
“Pratima and I got married here at Samode Palace ten years ago. So when our son Abeer asked why he wasn’t at our wedding, we decided on renewing our vows for the boys with a mehendi, sangeet etc.”
And how does it feel we enquired charmed off our feet at the thought. “Different,” smiled the consummate sophisticate. “We now have two boys, plus, we are better dressed and there’s lots of Dom Perignon!”
Fresh at your table!
>> Gauri Devidayal the statuesque CA who chucked up her job at KPMG in London to return to India and help her husband Jay set up one of the city's finest restaurants The Table has embarked on an exciting new initiative: serving her clients the freshest vegetables from The Table Farm in Alibag. “We are trying to give clients a truly farm to table experience!” said the lovely lady about the venture.
“Conceptualised with the assistance of Adrienne Thadani, we began with doing just baby greens in my balcony at home during the pre-monsoon and monsoon period, “ she says. “But post-monsoon we launched this on a larger scale in our farmhouse in Alibag. The idea is to naturally grow different varieties of produce used by our Chef Alex Sanchez, so that we can control most importantly the quality and freshness of ingredients served at The Table. So diners can enjoy the freshest of spinach, beetroots, radish, and broccoli and Brussels sprouts amongst other delicacies at the restaurant.”
“These are harvested once a week and ferried across from Mandwa to Gateway, literally 1 hour from the ground to the kitchen,” says Gauri.