Shakespeare and the stars

Monday night the stars descended on the NCPA to listen to icons Aamir Khan and Ian McKellen talk about Shakespeare and his global influence on film, art and culture.

Aamir Khan must have been the obvious choice to do the honours for Bollywood, but we would have gone with Naseeruddin Shah. Not only is Shah as fine an actor but his gritty world views are pretty similar.

Aamir Khan and Ian McKellen. Pics/Sameer Markande
Aamir Khan, Ian McKellen, Anupama and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Pics/Sameer Markande

So too is their bemusement with Bollywood. Shah’s feelings on the subject are well known, as he speaks his mind stridently on every occasion, but McKellen’s were mirthful. “He was very gracious, of course,” said someone in the audience. “And Aamir Khan was at his earnest best. But there was no comparison in the caliber of the discussion,” he said. “McKellen is a class act.”

Sonam Kapoor and Raj Kummar Rao
Sonam Kapoor and Raj Kummar Rao

What’s more, to witness the two icons go mano a mano on the life of the bard, and to be or not to be, the packed auditorium boasted the likes of Kangana Ranaut, Sonam Kapoor, Imran Khan, Kiran Rao, Kabir Khan, Mini Mathur, Raj Kummar Rao and Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

Kangana RanautKangana Ranaut

“Raj Kummar Rao asked some intelligent questions,” said the source. “Even Sonam Kapoor asked a question,” he said.

What was it about we enquired.

“She asked why there were such few strong female characters in Shakespeare,” said the source.

And what did he reply.

“He gave several examples of good female characters in Shakespeare like Portia,” said the source, “Then he looked up and said that in fact going by Sonam’s legs she’d make a very good Lady Macbeth.” And of course that got a guffaw from the audience.

Why so? “Well, it was obvious he was kidding. The hall was so dark that he wouldn’t have seen Sonam’s legs.”

And what did Aamir say about the bard? “He said that in fact his first film was inspired by Romeo and Juliet and was a true Shakespearean classic.”

Oh dear was he referring to Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak? We enquired. “Yes I think he was,” said the source.

Come to think of it Sonam would make a great Lady Macbeth. “Is that a stiletto I see before me?”

Zizou on the ramp?
More news on Zinedine Zidane’s India visit, which we had written about last week. As known, Zizou has been signed on by a real estate group as brand ambassador for an upcoming project in BKC, and will be in India during the second week of June in this connection.

Zinedine Zidane and Rohan Shrestha
Zinedine Zidane and Rohan Shrestha

“There are big plans in place including celebrity matches, a fitness conference and he may even walk the ramp!” informed a well-placed source. So it’s not too long before Indian fans will get their glimpse of the football legend. But word comes in that one such fan already got to meet Zidane recently — and that too in Madrid.

Photographer Rohan Shrestha, an avid football fan, had recently flown to Madrid for a shoot with Zidane for his upcoming project ‘The White T-shirt campaign.’ “Zidane was a thorough professional, a fantastic human being,” said Shrestha, and from this picture we can see he even managed to get the French star who is used to sporting well-cut suits, into an Indian bandi.

The Circus master comes to town
In 1974 the world was introduced to the first Le Cirque restaurant, a luxury gastronomical dining experience that opened its doors at New York’s Mayfair Hotel, and was the brainchild of the passionate food lover, Sirio Maccioni.

Mauro Maccioni
Mauro Maccioni

Over 40 years later, today the brands have become a name synonymous with exceptional food and service the world over. Sirio’s sons have taken over the business and currently run over 10 locations worldwide of the signature brand Le Cirque, as well as sister brands Circo and Sirio.

And outside the United States, India is the only country where the Le Cirque signature brands are present at the three super luxury palace properties of the Leela Group in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. And as things happen, Sirio’s son Mauro Maccioni will be in Mumbai today.

“Mauro is currently overseeing his latest project, a travelling pop up series that take the Le Cirque experience to 10 cities across the USA where the proceedings from the dinners will go to a children’s hospital.

He will be in Mumbai today where he has a few meetings lined up, and will check on his successful Indian franchises,” said a spokesperson. And now with the Maharashtra beef ban law slightly relaxed, we hope he persuades the restaurant to put its famous Bistecca Fiorentina back on the menu!

Relief all round
Friends and fans of this yesteryear Bollywood hunk are heaving a sigh of relief, that his bout with illness is past him and he is on the road to recovery. Amongst his loved ones, it was known that he had disappeared from the scene because of his health issues, but the larger public was not aware of the seriousness of it. But now that he’s better, his legion of fans and admirers will be happy to have him back in the public arena of politics and entertainment.

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