Some cheer in hard times

We were happy to see son of in the news Vijay Mallya — Sid Mallya — taking to Instagram last night to post this picture of himself with his paternal grandmother, the elegant Lalitha Mallya.

Over the last few months Sid has rather unfairly become the target of trolls on social media, who blame him for Kingfisher’s problems and it appears that despite this, he is managing to be keep his chin up.

Sidhartha and Lalitha Mallya
Sidhartha and Lalitha Mallya

His grandmother Lalitha Mallya has always maintained herself with dignity and elegance. Sid captioned the picture “Saturday night tequila shots with my Grandmother! #legend #banter”. Good to see the Mallya family have not allowed hard times interfere with simple joys.

Two icons together
Could there be any thing more delicious than this advertisement for Mercedes featuring iconic Indian actress Durga Khote? Tweeted by the site Mumbai Heritage earlier this week, it depicts the graceful Khote emerging from the front seat of an exquisitely crafted car, with its bulges and curves and snooty snout.

The ad featuring Durga Khote. Pic/Mumbai Heritage Twitter
The ad featuring Durga Khote. Pic/Mumbai Heritage Twitter 

Did Khote herself own such a vehicle? “Gosh, can’t remember what she drove,” said theatre veteran Anahita Uberoi, the legend’s granddaughter, herself the daughter of another iconic actress, Vijaya Mehta. “My brother Deven would know, but he’s in a rehearsal.”

Durga Khote and Anahita UberoiDurga Khote and Anahita Uberoi

So as of going to press we do not know what automobile the Dadasaheb Phalke award winning Khote had gone to work in when she played those unforgettable roles. Most notable among them were as Jodhabai in K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960), as Kaikeyi in Vijay Bhatt’s classic, Bharat Milap. But we will persevere. Watch this space.

Mumbai at sea
Word comes in, that erstwhile J Walter Thomson executive Randhir Behl was presented the Allan Rae trophy at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, over the weekend.

Randhir Behl with Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba (left), C-in-C Western Naval Command. Vice Admiral Lanba has been appointed as the next Chief of Naval Staff.Randhir Behl with Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba (left), C-in-C Western Naval Command. Vice Admiral Lanba has been appointed as the next Chief of Naval Staff.

The trophy is reported to be awarded annually to the person who does the most for the promotion of the sport of sailing. “I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been selected for this award,” said Behl, who’d had a long and flourishing career in advertising.

When Behl had come to Mumbai, the sailing community had been composed of men with names like Kersi and Nadesh, the Unwala brothers, Sanjoy Mongia and Farokh Motiwala. Now in his seventies and with a cultivated sea dog appearance, we asked him what was needed to be to be done to promote the joys of sailing in Mumbai.

“Parents need to get over their fear of water,” said Behl. “They also they have to realise that sailing is character building.” Legal eagle Aspi Chinoy had a more pragmatic response, “I believe that it would help sailing tremendously if the authorities either set up or at least allowed the yacht club to set up a floating jetty from the existing jetty no 5, which could enable the safe boarding and disembarking from a number of sailing boats/yachts.” The sea-loving lawyer sails every weekend. Hopefully, authorities are listening to both suggestions and more of Mumbai will be at sea soon.

Penn Masala comes to town
Founded in 1996 by students of Ivy Leagues’ University of Pennsylvania, Penn Masala is a hugely popular American–South Asian a cappella group that has a fan following world over.

Some of the members of Penn Masala. Pic/Penn Masala Instagram
Some of the members of Penn Masala. Pic/Penn Masala Instagram

So it isn’t surprising to us that when the group is scheduled to perform in Mumbai next weekend as part of their highly-awaited Indian tour, tickets are already sold out. We hear that the Hindi-pop mashup-producing group will perform live at Farzi Cafes in both Mumbai and Delhi.

The group is much sought after, and has performed for the US President at the White House and also special performances for other well-known people like Ban-Ki-Moon and Mukesh Ambani. And further news comes in, that the demand for tickets has resulted in a second show in Mumbai at the Shanmukhananda auditorium!

In praise of Shashi
Unlike kids of our generation, we were not weaned on a diet of religious gods and goddesses. Growing up in Juhu, the lap of the film industry, meant that our gods and goddesses were the film stars of our generation.

Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor from a picture in the book
Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor from a picture in the book

And like all gods and goddesses, they were attributed distinct characteristics. Heroic, noble, powerful, wise, crafty or hedonistic. And in that scenario if you had asked most little girls who in the industry ‘s pantheon stood for goodness, decency and unimaginable good looks is, it would be Shashi Kapoor. The rosary of our love for Shashi Kapoor could never end.

So, it was with particular delight that we received Aseem Chhabra’s biography of the star: Shashi Kapoor. The Householder, the Star’. Unabashedly, we tried to tease out corresponding fandom from Chhabra.

Why a book on Shashi and why not, say, Amitabh Bachchan or SRK? We enquired almost rhetorically. Chhabra, festival director of the New York Indian Film Festival, said “In recent years, I sensed the current generation had forgotten Shashi Kapoor’s contribution to cinema. People are well aware of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and other current actors because they continue to act in films. If people remember Shashi Kapoor, it is largely because of his “Mere Pass Maa Hai” dialogue in Deewar.” The author, who has lived in the US for 35 years, said, “In writing about Shashi, I wanted to tell the story of a man – a movie star, an actor, his commitment to good cinema as he produced films and acted in indie projects, the first Indian international crossover star, his love for theatre.”

And on our part, we have no embarrassment in admitting that the fact that such a book has been written about Shashi Kapoor, The Man Who Could Do No Wrong for many of us, tilted the balance between all that’s good and worthy and all that’s wrong with the industry, just a bit in the right direction.

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