>> Saturday night saw us at a small dinner at the Oberoi where some of the city’s leading lights had gathered for some exquisite vegetarian food and high-powered schmoozing. A relaxed Mukesh and Nita Ambani were the centre of attraction as they circulated around the room talking to friends. Nita looking slim and international in slacks and an emerald green tunic spoke about her recent attendance at the Olympic opening ceremony in London. “I have been present at the last three opening ceremonies,” she said, “And whereas Beijing was very impressive for its grand spectacle, the one in London was full of the subtle sophisticated British humour that Mukesh and I so appreciate.” There’s a lot on Nita’s plate. Not only has she begun attending board meetings of the Oberoi hotel group, but her forays into education and healthcare are also taking fruit with some big-ticket announcements to be made soon. Besides all this there are the lady’s demanding social commitments.
Next week will see her host India Fantastique, a spectacularly conceived and excited evening to launch Abu-Sandeep’s book recollecting their 25 years in fashion. And, of course, there’s the constant demand from the national and international media for interviews and features and exclusives, including an invitation from one of the world’s leading fashion magazines to feature on its international cover which she has turned down! “That’s all a small part of my life,” says Nita. “What keeps me engaged and occupied 24x7 is nation building. I guess when you live with Mukesh it’s natural to pick up his work ethic.” We like!
>> Sad news. Prabuddha Dasgupta, the shy and self-effacing Goa-based highly regarded photographer passed away suddenly over the weekend. Dasgupta whose career blossomed simultaneously with that of India’s fashion genesis will be sorely missed. We recall how highly aesthetes like Tarun Tahiliani regarded his work especially his books like Women (Viking Books), an aesthetically superb collection of portraits and nudes of urban Indian women, Ladakh (Viking Books),) India Now — New Photographic Visions (Textuel, Paris) and Edge of Faith (Seagull Books).
“He had a heart attack in a taxi en route to the airport from Alibaug while catching a fight to Bangalore,” scenographer Sumant Jaikrishnan informs us. What is particularly tragic is that Prabhudo was alone in the taxi with Laxmi, the international model who is his partner and muse. The trauma they must have experienced is unimaginable.
The news has left the fashion frat reeling. Rohit Bal who was a friend and collaborator of the talented photographer says, “This terrible tragedy has left is all in deep shock and disbelief.” RIP Prabhudo, and thank you for all the startlingly beautiful images you gave
Anil’s beauty secret!
>> Anil Kapoor who we met at the MiD DAY party was overheard talking about 24, his exciting new project. “I have to make sure it does justice to the original in every way,” he said.
“Its a great series, and I’m putting in my all into the Indian version,” said the evergreen actor who astonishingly looks a year younger each time we meet. How does he do it ? Those in the know say that unlike his contemporaries, Kapoor, who is one of the few genuinely decent guys in Bollywood maintains his youthful appearance by leading an uncomplicated and stress free life. “He holds very few grudges, gets involved in minimal politics and goes out of his way to encourage a positive and healthy atmosphere around himself,” we were informed. Now, that’s a beauty tip worth embracing!
>> Whereas there are enough people in the city curious about the rapprochement between the warring Mafatlals and all kinds of motives and allusions are being cast on why it came about, there are those that swear that it was nothing but divine intervention that got Sheetal Mafatlal her apologies and reinstatement as bahu in the Mafatlal household. Huh? Divine Intervention? Yes, according to someone who frequents the Babulnath Mandir every Monday, the glam Sheetal has been a regular and very devoted visitor at the mandir for the last many months. Who said prayer doesn’t work?
Shaina’s saying sari
>> She’s one of the BJP’s leading lights, a designer of repute, the daughter of one of the city’s much loved couples and now — hold your breath — Shaina NC has embarked on one more career even while acquitting herself admirably in all the others. From next Sunday, she will be writing a column in the Lokmat newspaper as a tribute to the Sari. “It’s not a new passion,” says the lady about this avatar.
“I have been championing the sari for many years now in all my designs, I feel that besides just being our national costume, it has so much to offer that has still been unexplored.” The column will feature iconic women from Maharashtra in Shaina’s drapes.
“Sonali Kulkarni, Mrinal Kulkarni, Grace Pinto and Sharmila Thackeray are some of the cross-section of women we will be writing about,” says Shaina. “It’s high time we put the spotlight back on this national treasure of ours!”