She wore what?

For some odd reason the Cannes film festival has become a fashion event. Who wore what and offended our sensibilities no end captures more newsprint than the films shown.

In this light, the fact that Sonam Kapoor whose red carpet appearances seem to be the bedrock of her career wore a Ralph & Russo gown, for her second appearance on the highly watched red carpet is apparently significant. “Having made a breathtaking appearance on the Cannes red carpet in a Ralph & Russo gown, Sonam chose to don another creation from the haute couture house,” said her spokesperson.

Sonam Kapoor in the outfit
Sonam Kapoor in the outfit

This was not all: along with her fashionista sister, she met Ralph & Russo in London to customise the outfit. No we were not informed which film she wore this outfit to view.

Characters and actors
Nice to know that we spotted a winner. Last November we had written appreciatively about debut film director Pushan Kripalani’s The Threshold, in which actors Neena Gupta and Rajit Kapur reprised the roles of a middle-aged couple tiptoeing around a crumbling marriage.

Neena Gupta, Rajit Kapur and Anupam Kher
Neena Gupta, Rajit Kapur and Anupam Kher

This week, the film won the best actor and actress awards for Gupta and Kapur at the recently concluded New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF). “Me and Rajit Kapur best actors for the film threshold in Newport,” Gupta
had tweeted happily.

Incidentally, this had prompted Anupam Kher, her costar in a hit theatre production, which had recently toured the US, to tweet, “Congratulations @Neenagupta001 for winning d Best Actress Award for your film THRESHOLD at New York Film Festival.”

Of course his omission of congratulating Kapur on the victory was only on account of Twitter’s 140 character rule and not because he was not as happy for his fellow actor. Yes, we are pretty sure of that.

Noblesse Oblige - One
The Tata Group has always had first-rate leadership at its helm. JRD Tata exemplified this. And the current Chairman of the Tata Group, Cyrus Mistry, has been cut from the same cloth. We stumbled upon this picture posted on social media of the industrialist sitting with his chauffeur eating lunch from a thali at a basic roadside dhaba.

Cyrus Mistry enjoys a meal at a dhaba
Cyrus Mistry enjoys a meal at a dhaba

The photo was captioned “Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry having lunch at dhaba with a driver. This is an example of ego less.” The photo evoked much appreciation from Mistry’s peers. One such was from chairman of RGP Harsh Goenka, who commented, “Cyrus is a great guy - down to earth and very incisive.” We like.

Noblesse Oblige - Two
These are the kind of stories that a city diarist lives for. In yesterday’s column, we had promised readers that we would unearth the make of the automobile that the iconic Durga Khote drove in, when she was the Queen of Bombay’s film world.

Durga Khote
Durga Khote

We hadn’t known that our sleuthing would unearth an even more charming story about the Bombay of yore: Deven Khote, the iconic yesteryear actress’ grandson who we spoke to yesterday swore his grandmother had been chauffeured to her shoots in a Volkswagen van. “Later it was most likely Ambassadors,” he’d added.

Deven Khote and Kunal Vijayakar
Deven Khote and Kunal Vijayakar

Then he let slip that Kunal Vijayakar had shown him the ad featuring Durgaben alighting from the Mercedes. That’s when the plot thickened. We called Vijayakar.

“Pushpasen Rane’s, my maternal grand dad’s family ran the Dadajee Dhakjee motorcar dealership. I remember growing up in the same building in Chowpatty which housed the car show room, all glittering chrome and granite with an elevator that could take cars all the way to the top floor,” said one of India’s top comic talents. “He must have requested Durgaben.”

Did Kunal know what car she preferred herself? “We were told Khote, who was the daughter of the fabulously wealthy Lauds, would come in the family Rolls to fetch my paternal grand mom for college,” said Vijayakar.

Young high born beauties being ferried in Rolls Royces to college; glittering chrome and granite car elevators for limousines. But one mystery remained : Why had the actress’ family insisted on recounting Volkswagen vans and Ambassadors as their grand mum’s mode of transport?

The likely answer is : Noblesse Oblige. Bombay’s original aristocrats had passed on to their heirs their penchant for understatement: Rolls Royces over Ambassadors. As far as we are concerned this is as good a lesson in old values of grace and style for a brash new Mumbai as any.

Serendipity in Goa
It’s an idea whose time has certainly come. Ever since Tarun Tejpal’s Think had vacated the ‘sexy schmooxy destination summit’ space in Goa there had been a vacuum created. Especially over the Xmas, New Year season when NRI India meets Lutyens Delhi, and Mumbai society for some serious networking and looks for occasions to do it.

Tarun Tejpal and Sunil Munjal
Tarun Tejpal and Sunil Munjal

Enter the ‘Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa — Dec 16-23, 2016’ a curated, interdisciplinary Arts Festival which promises multiple disciplines like theatre, music, dance, photography, sculpture, crafts, fine arts and food and an “Invitation Only” event with ‘a likely spill over on the Christmas weekend on Dec 24 and 25.”

The fact that the idea emanated from Delhi in the form of Sunil K Munjal and the Hero Honda Group, only proves that Delhi has outraced Mumbai in the Goa stakes.

This December, think swashbuckling artists, avant-garde musicians, dishy photographers, high strung master chefs, edgy prime time intellectuals and ethereal young waifs in artistic resort threads, wafting in and out of sylvan settings.

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