The Bawa connection
One of the sweetest stories we have heard of star discoveries is the one told to me by the immensely gifted Boman Irani who attributes his Bollywood career to ace dancer-choreographer Shiamak Davar
>> “After graduating from college I worked at the Taj as a waiter for three years before joining my mother’s bakery business and doing a bit of professional photography on the side,” says the star, “When into one of my exhibitions walks Shiamak, who insists I should be an actor (here the irrepressible mimic in Boman does a drop-dead take on Shiamak’s unmistakable Bawa twang) and introduces me to Alyque Padamsee who becomes my mentor!”
Incidentally Shiamak has quite an eye for talent: Shahid Kapoor is also one of his protégés we’re told.
Flights of fancy
>> Vijay Mallya is not the only example of a high-flying aviation tycoon whose flashy over the top style ran his airline into troubled skies. In the early 90s the flamboyant poultry king Parvez Damania ‘had been there done that’ when he launched Damania Airways, to extravagant in-flight services that included serving whiskey with breakfast!
“He couldn’t resist a pretty face with a sob story,” says an admirer “and the story went that every model in town was either hired or given complimentary seats!” No surprise then that Damania Airways was suspended by IATA for non-payment of dues! Sounds familiar?
>> We like people who choose the road less taken. When former Miss India Uttara Kher and Adwait, son of the legendary Usha Kiran, quit their respective jobs in the hotel industry and decided to live in Nasik, friends wondered if they’d miss their glamorous city existence. Obviously they didn’t. Adwait took up serious trekking, Uttara became the General Secretary of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, and between them the couple ran three restaurants and raised two lovely daughters.
Now after a decade, they are returning next week with a furniture exhibition. “During his treks Adwait used to chance upon old homes being broken down to make way for commercialisation and their priceless teakwood being sold off as fuel,” says Uttara. “Realising that this could be put to better use, Adwait soon began collecting and the result is handcrafted contemporary furniture,” she says.
Separated at the Kumbh: Aamir Khan and Raj Kondur
>> One is a Bollywood star known for his intelligence, the other is a Harvard-graduate and e-tycoon also known for his gray cells, but the fact that they have such a startling resemblance to each other qualifies them for inclusion in Mirror Images. So striking is their likeness that a few excited guests at Rahul Akerkar’s anniversary Sunday brunch ran out on hearing that Aamir Khan had entered the venue.
And neither were they too disappointed on encountering Kondur, after all, besides being the man who co-founded the hugely successful ChrysCapital he also is heading Ascent Capital’s 10 million dollar funding for e-grocer BigBasket. And as Nirman Chowdhury who sent in the pics reminds us: didn’t Aamir play a biz tycoon in Gajini?
The good cop
>> Mumbaikars miss his high-profile presence and engaging personality at city events, but for those wondering what former DGP Maharashtra Police AN Roy is up to — here’s the update: after retirement he has set up an NGO that supports Mumbai slum dwellers through low interest loans, educational scholarships and job training.
Called the Vandana Foundation and ably supported by his wife Mona, the foundation also works with the widows and children of cotton farmers who have committed suicide in Vidarbha encouraging them to set up small businesses of their own like stationary shops, shops and papad-making units. “One of these women has been able to get back jewellery she had pawned. Two have now insurance policies,” Roy says.
What’s up Doc?
>> Viewers of Agent Vinod will recall the grim-faced terrorist Jimmy, played by the handsome newcomer Anshuman Singh. What they might not know is that not only is he the son of a doctorate in philosophy and one of Mumbai’s top psychiatrists, but also that he himself is a fully qualified doctor, with a six-year degree in medicine from Russia! “My parents knew of my penchant for acting but insisted that I complete my education,” he says. “But with a degree in hand when I verbalised what my inner voice was saying, my father gave me his blessings and I joined film school, landed a role in Illuminati films and here I am,” he smiles. The irony is that in his new avatar Anshuman found himself back on a plane to Eastern Europe — only this time as a terrorist with a ticking bomb!