Shoo shaa and dhoom dhaam

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

It’s described as the mother of all Diwali Card parties when India’s Big Bull, Rakesh Jhunjhunwalla opens his heart and home to his legion of friends, fans and well-wishers later this week at his sumptuous Malabar Hill residence.

‘Join us to deal dance drink dine’ says the invite and according to sources each of these activities will have a dedicated floor and there will be much coming and going as the city’s movers and shakers celebrate the festival of lights with characteristic Punjabi zest (‘khub shoo-sha and dhoom-dhaam’ as they say).

What’s added to the anticipation is that this might be one of those few times guests will get a chance to visit the building as Jhunjhunwalla is said to be seriously contemplating buying an additional apartment in his existing home to create another sumptuous residence so that he does not have to move.

“He’d acquired this building to move into, but now it seems he’s changed his mind as talks with neighbours about buying them out are on and might reach fruition soon.” In that case there might be even more for the flamboyant punter to celebrate at the party!

Fellow travellers
The phrase ‘fellow travellers’ was very much on our mind this weekend, when we found ourselves sharing car space with not one but two of the Capital’s leading denizens on separate occasions, namely the vivacious academic and feminist Madhu Kishwar and the suave and sage former Indian Army officer and strategic affairs expert Maroof Raza.

Academic and feminist Madhu Kishwar
Academic and feminist Madhu Kishwar

We were attending the Khuswant Singh Literature Festival where we moderated a session with the willowy poet Arundhati Subramanian, whose incisive and illuminating book on the mystic motorcyclist Sadhguru Vasudev ‘More Than A Life’ we are currently devouring. Poetry, words and semantics of course are at the very core of the lit fest mango, but the random conversations, ad hoc introductions and social engagements that occur on the margins are its juicy flesh.

And so it was that on our two-hour car drive down the winding ribbon-like road from the mountains of Kasauli to the plains of Chandigarh, we were treated to an invaluable primer into all affairs military by the erudite Raza, the scion of an aristocratic services clan; and on the mad scramble from our hotel to the Kasauli Club to conduct our session we found ourselves in a car with Kishwar, being regaled with some spicy media and political insights. Fellow travellers we certainly were, or you could say, ‘Lit fests make for strange bedfellows.’

Big ticket affair
When Nita Ambani and Kiran Rao, both women of style and substance and married to two of India’s most high profile and powerful men get together to host something, you can be sure it’s going to be a big ticket affair. Which is why all eyes are on this Thursday’s inauguration of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, which will also coincide with the inauguration of the Royal Opera House, a much-awaited event on the city’s social calendar.

Nita Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan and Kiran Rao
Nita Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan and Kiran Rao

Now, the opening of a glittering film festival in one of the country’s leading film cities, hosted by two powerful women, at a historic venue would be cause enough for excitement. Add to that the cherry on the evening’s cake: Amitabh Bachchan, who will be the chief guest and the words - ‘It can’t get bigger than this’ - so often invoked superfluously, for once, ring true.

Like daughter, like father
He may have fathered one of India’s fastest rising comedians the sassy and sparkling Mallika Dua but noted TV anchor Vinod Dua is no slouch in the humor department himself.

Vinod Dua and Mallika Dua
Vinod Dua and Mallika Dua

The occasion of Karva Chauth saw the acerbic Dua post this irreverent message on a social networking site: ‘When is Karva Chauth? I am asking because I feel a peculiar delight in inviting all fasting husbands to join me for a meal at the Karim Hotel, Jama Masjid strictly on humanitarian grounds’.

The fact that Dua shares a birthday (please note the date, not the year) with yours truly gentle reader might make the irreverence and wit a part of our Piscean lore. Celebrating Karva Chauth at Jama Masjid on humanitarian grounds? We like!

And the Oscar goes to...
This weekend will see a celebration of iconic American designer Oscar de la Renta, when Shilpi Jatia, Roohi Jaikishan and Cecilia Morelli host a night of cocktails and fashion at the Jatia’s flagship enterprise the soon to be completed residential complex flanking their hotel. Described as India’s most exclusive residential address, the sleek and state of the art building which we had visited not too long ago, is a paean to Mumbai’s aspirations to world-class living.

Oscar de la Renta, Shilpi Jatia; (right) Cecilia Morelli
Oscar de la Renta, Shilpi Jatia; (right) Cecilia Morelli

The charismatic de La Renta, a Dominican-American fashion designer who dressed stars and royalty including the late Jacqueline Kennedy had been something of an Indophile and had enjoyed many close and abiding ties with India and Indians amongst them Sunita Pitamber and Prithiviraj Singh (Biki) Oberoi.

Incidentally, the fact that the celebrated designer had succumbed to cancer two years ago did not stop one giddy Mumbai socialite from blithely enquiring, “I wonder if Oscar will be at the party this weekend at Lower Parel!” we're told. Oh dear, there go those aspirations to world-class living.

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