The beautiful game

Dec 16, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

For all their apparent enthusiasm over the IPL matches, and their intense involvement with the back room politics of the immensely lucrative cricket league, both Shah Rukh Khan and Lalit Modi, it seems were initially more keen to invest in a football league, according to sources.

"SRK was hell bent on footy and wanted very much to invest in a soccer team. That's what he'd spoken to Modi about, way before the IPL came into existence," said the source. So what happened?

Lalit Modi and Shah Rukh Khan
Lalit Modi and Shah Rukh Khan

"Well, when it was explained that cricket was far, far more lucrative as every sixer, every catch, every ball could be monetised by TV channels with advertisements, he saw the light of day," said the source. "In comparison footy hardly makes any money." Is that why it's believed the Indian Super League will take a long, long time to break even?

From Mumbai to Riyadh
"I was in Saudi only last year when I'd gone for Haj," said Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed, who, it was announced has been appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed
Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed

"I am thrilled with the appointment and I plan to serve my country to the best of my ability," said the dapper IPS officer, whose last few years in the police force were not without controversy. Ahmad had been pipped to the post of Commisioner by Rakesh Maria, an act that had caused considerable bitterness.

How has the family taken to the new appointment? "Shabnam is happy," he said referring to his graceful wife. "As for the children, both of them have finished their schooling, so their education, etc is not going to be affected." With this appointment Ahmad follows in the footsteps of Mumbai's former police commissioner Julio Ribeiro, who served as Indian Ambassador to Romania.

Mountains out of molehills
According to an insider the reason this long limbed, spunky young actress was miffed with her senior co-star, and consequently didn't invite him to a party to celebrate the success of their film together, was apparently because the usually impeccably mannered gentleman had only sent her one bouquet after the release of their film, whereas he'd sent two to her rival. Of such things film industry epic wars are composed. But we hear all has been forgiven and forgotten now.

The toll of politics
The thing that had struck us during the Sharad Pawar birthday celebrations was how slim, fresh faced, and youthful the all powerful Maratha chief used to be before he was swallowed up by the ebb and flow of big time politics.

Akbar (Dumpy) Ahmed then and (R) now and a young Sharad Pawar
Akbar (Dumpy) Ahmed then and (R) now and a young Sharad Pawar

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown is a truth well proven, and that affairs of state are corrosive and wearying, can be seen from the faces of many a political big wig. Look at most members of Parliament, and you will see the toll that politics has latent on them.

We were reminded of this axiom again, when we chanced upon these photographs of or Delhi-based friend Akbar (Dumpy) Ahmed. From a beatific 20 something chartered accountant in an elegant suit in London, he metamorphosed in to a crumpled kurta pajama clad member of his Dosco school mate Sanjay Gandhi's inner circle.

The two photographs once again proving just how toxic politics can be for the souls of men. Fortunately Ahmed's pretty wife, former Miss India Naina Balsaver is kinder. "I never got to see the young 22-year-old Akbar but the 40-year-old was just as handsome and the even older Akbar, I believe, is the best looking, with a face and fit body/mind that speaks volumes! Imagine what he'd be like in another 20 years," said the former Miss India.

Singers on track
You gotta admire his chutzpah. Even as Vijay Mallya fends off the long arm of regulators and creditors, his plans to celebrate his big birthday in Goa this week are on target.

Sonu Nigam and Enrique Iglesias. Pic/AFP
Sonu Nigam and Enrique Iglesias. Pic/AFP

And though no cards have been sent out and he swears it's on a smaller scale, the fact that he's engaged two big ticket entertainers indicates that it's not going to be too underplayed. Yes, on the first night of festivities, popular Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam will serenade guests.

And the next night Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias will do the honours. Incidentally, it was VJM who'd brought Iglesias down to India many years ago for his first public performance in the country.

Are you serious?
Sometimes real life comes up with situations that not even the finest comic writer can match. Apparently, when a group of the Capital's best heeled young people had gone out recently for a night on the town, there was much consternation when this Lamborghini and Ferrari owning crowd, post dinner and dancing, were standing on the steps of a five star hotel awaiting their limousines.

Robert Vadra
Robert Vadra

The reason? One of the expensively dressed baba log had barked loudly into his cell, "Robert! Gari jaldi lao" without realizing that the well buffed and equally expensively dressed Robert Vadra was part of the group, and standing within ear shot and had gone noticeably red in the face.

Fortunately, the awkward moment that could have been seen as an insult to the country's most famous son-in-law passed without incident and there was no display of muscle flexing and the menacing 'Are you serious' from the usually quick to take offence Vadra.

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