Now, it can be told: at the celebrated auction for Bhabha house recently, which was won by Smita Crishna of the Godrej family, whereas the person who stopped just short of the Rs 372-crore winning bid was leading city industrialist Ajay Piramal (with plans of building a residential high-rise on the property, he’d stopped at Rs 371 crore!), the name of the other gentleman (equally high-profile) is known to only a handful of people.

And yes, though we know who it is, that story is best told another day, preferably after dinner.

More on the Preity-Ness mess
Given that not much of consequence takes place over the weekend, we are inclined to believe our source, a lady with impeccable credentials and a hotline to the men in khaki, who says that an out-of-court settlement is expected in the Preity-Ness mess on Tuesday.

Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia

“What is particularly alarming,” she said, as she waited patiently for the ash on her cigarette to coalesce before flicking it into her silver ashtray, “is that the cops are treating it as no more than a ‘lover’s tiff’ that could be brushed away lightly.” If this is indeed true and an out-of-court settlement does take place, then this episode will undoubtedly go down in history as ‘the case that never happened’ aka ‘the storm in Mumbai’s champagne flute.’

Love me, love my Punjab
On the looks of it, they come across as a cosmopolitan, urban couple, comfortable in any of the world’s hotspots. So, who would have imagined that hunky star Kabir Bedi and his attractive partner Parveen Dusanj have a relationship that’s predicated on their shared and deep roots with the Punjab?

Parveen Dusanj
Parveen Dusanj

Kabir, as is well known, traces his lineage to a clan of renowned Sikh spiritualists. And now we learn that Dussanj is something of a daughter of the same soil. “My family and I have land and property in the depths of rural Punjab in the Doaba region,” she says about a recent trip, where these pictures were taken. “My Nana and Nani were both land owners.

Kabir Bedi
Kabir Bedi

This time of the year, the fields are ploughed, the seeds are planted and the fields are watered,” says Dussanj, who incidentally met Kabir in London where she grew up. “I go back as often as I can. And yes, I can drive a tractor. But, I’m not great at ploughing a field,” she laughs, “Give me some time and I’ll master that, too.” Who woulda thunk?

Clowning around seriously
“Photographer Abner Fernandes was trying to make me laugh and to break away from the self conscious, trying-hard-to-be-seductive poses that fashion shoots typically demand,” says the lovely actor and cultural warrior Leeza Mangaldas about these recent pictures.

 Leeza Mangaldas. Pic/Abner Fernandes
Leeza Mangaldas. Pic/Abner Fernandes

“So, he said, make a funny face, and I thought I’d try and look like a clown for a second,” says the leggy alumnus of Columbia, from where she graduated in Visual Arts. And what’s on her mind besides clowning? “Lately, alongside modelling, I’ve been painting and drawing, exploring ideas of love, sexuality and consumption.” she says. Nice!

Saving the bulls of Spain
Even though it’s a bit distant geographically, we can’t help but commend Kavita Khanna, wife of sitting BJP MP from Gurdaspur, Vinod Khanna, for her concerted efforts to save the bulls of Spain from imminent suffering. “PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION,” she’d written to friends recently.

Kavita KhannaKavita Khanna

“The purpose of this petition is to protest against the annual Fire Bull festival in Spain, specifically in the Soria province. Before being released, the bull is forcibly tied down, and balls of flammable material are attached to his horns, which are lit, and can burn the horns, body and eyes, causing terrible suffering,” said the lady, known for her commitment to vegetarianism and spirituality.

‘PLEASE GO TO THIS WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN SIGN. Several times, the bull may try to kill himself against the walls, due to his terrible pain. This happens annually, at the end of the second week of November.’ And yes, we take a dim view of punsters on the subject.

Naughty juxtaposition
The art world is abuzz with talk of the soon-to-be-held auction by an Indian house in the Capital. “There are bets going around about how many fake Husains are going on sale,” said an aficionado.

M F Husain
M F Husain

What’s got all in a tizzy is the bid brochure, which, in a jab at credibility, has cleverly alluded to the late artist’s proximity to a Hyderabadi family whom he would stay with while in the city, and who have a collection of over 500 Husain canvasses.

“By publishing pictures of the patriarch of the family, they have subtly tried to establish the provenance of the fakes,” we were informed, “But, when contacted, the gentleman in the picture said he’s suing the auction house over his picture being used.” Naughty!

Daughter by Court Order
According to our source, more than the chatterati in Delhi are talking about Nalini Singh’s daughter’s book ‘Daughter by Court Order’, which was released this week by Kiran Bedi in Delhi.

Kiran Bedi Nalini Singh
Kiran Bedi and Nalini Singh

And that’s because its author, Ratna Vira, who holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a masters in English Literature from St Stephen’s College, has written a novel about a daughter’s fight against her family’s hypocrisy, power, money, deceit, and treachery and her right to be recognised as an equal, which is closer to the bone than people imagine.

“Besides the important issues it brings up, it also is a devastating insight into one of India’s most powerful media clans,” says a source.