>> “We are having a trial today at Ketnav at Union Park of our friend Ektaa Kapoor’s movie Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara. Very few people so please confirm,” texted BJP spokeswoman and designer Shaina NC. And though we were unable to take up the invitation we were intrigued by her friendship with Kapoor, both women being on the face of it such different people and in divergent professions. But Shaina threw light on this camaraderie.
“Ektaa is an example of true determination. Most people who knew her in college days had written her off as a spoilt brat, but she did a 360 degree turn and proved to be one of the most dynamic enterprising and hard working entrepreneur’s India has ever seen,” she said.
And what is her favourite Ektaa offering? Always thoughtful and politically correct, Shaina eschewed her friend’s more regressive and controversial ‘Ma Bahen and Saas’ productions. “I think it’s Once upon a time in Mumbai,” she said.
Hampi and the cool crowd
>> And word comes in that a delicious slice of Delhi’s cool crowd (the white linen and pink champagne lot) are off to Hampi for some much needed R& R and to explore the region’s historic and cultural magnificence. Leading the brigade is Delhi’s enfant terrible designer (not an enfant and not terrible, in fact) Rohit Bal accompanied by Priya Paul, chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, her husband a prominent Chennai-based industrialist Sethu Vaidyanathan, Delhi’s leading graphic entrepreneur Viveck Sahni and Nikhil Khanna, the swashbuckling managing director of Avian Media the specialist communication and PR agency.
Many years ago this was more or less the same happy group of urban gypsies that had put Goa on the map when it had rented a stunning waterfront mansion in Saipem village over New Year’s eve for an extended party.
Perhaps the same fate awaits Hampi.
A candle for Pam
>> Sad news: the great Jazz singer Pam Crain is no more having succumbed to a cardiac arrest yesterday. Her long time music collaborator, fan and friend Louis Banks the Grammy Award-nominated film composer, record producer, jazz musician-keyboardist and singer was besides himself with grief. “The greatest jazz diva of India is no more. Her contribution to western music in India is enormous. She has been the undisputed diva since the ‘60s entertaining and mesmerising her audiences with her amazing interpretations of songs... she had the lethal combination of stunning beauty, brains and super talent which was totally devastating... I was lucky to have collaborated with her in many concerts, tours and regular nightclub performances since the 70s and she dazzled me every time she sang.
She was the queen of jazz ballad singing. Her original creativity, daring improvisations were breathtaking,” he said.
Crain, an Anglo-Indian began her a career when at the age of 17 she sang at Kolkata’s legendary Mocambo on Park Street -- independent India’s first nightclub, where she dazzled audiences with her singing accompanied by a six-piece band led by Anton Menezes. That and her famous fishtail dresses designed by Kitty Bryanan consolidated her position as a crowd puller.
That was the Golden Age of Indian Jazz, next door at Moulin Rouge, jazz guitarist Carlton Kitto, (the subject of Finding Carlton, a superb documentary made by our friend Susheel Kurien) would regale music lovers into the wee hours of the night. Cancan dancers imported from Mexico added to the great rousting nightly orchestra along with Banks, Usha Uthup, Skinny Alley, Marie Samson at Trinca’s and the Blue Fox; and the unfortunate forces that smothered India’s multiculturalism and internationalism were not even a gleam in the political eye. RIP Pam. May you continue to dazzle in that great orchestra in the sky.
>> For long now we have not given credence to the rumours of trouble within the Tharoor household. After all, both Shashi and his wife Sunanda are friends (we even attended their wedding – a sparkling high profile one in Delhi) and we have had the pleasure of breaking bread with them on numerous occasions -- the last with the charming Sunanda in Srinagar. Shashi has been an admired colleague and peer for many years. But what on earth is going on between them and will the couple please put rumours to rest about the state of their marriage?
Shashi Tharoor with wife Sunanda
Both parties are said to be seeing other people and crying on friends’ shoulders. If this is true (and we hope it isn’t) all we can say is what a shame: after all that they have been through and all the flak they have faced about their relationship it seems a shame. Here’s hoping the couple clarifies its status and all rumours of trouble in paradise are put to rest especially now with elections drawing near and Shashi’s alleged prominence in the Congress campaign.
Star crossed couple
>> According to a popular city astrologer, the troubles have only just begun for the beleaguered popular social couple who have had to relinquish their bungalow due to financial difficulties recently. Next on the cards is a crisis of a more personal nature. Two morals emerge from this unfortunate story: when it rains it pours. And the more essential one: don’t trust any one with your secrets -- not even your astrologer!