You have to hand it to Aamir. As much as he's numero uno in Bollywood he has no qualms about moving out of his comfort zone, and enduring a brutal hammering, when it comes to his favourite sports.
Last December for instance Khan who was state level tennis champion during his school days, took part in a celebrity match in Delhi, against (gulp) 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. As if that were not enough, this week Khan took on chess grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand, in a game in Mumbai that lasted for about half an hour.
Aamir Khan plays with Vishwanathan Anand
Which sport does he enjoy more we asked his wife Kiran Rao. "Aamir has always loved chess and tennis. He's played both since he was quite young, and he's really good at both," says Rao, adding, "But at this point, when he's 95 kilos, he definitely enjoys chess more than tennis!" The star had to put on weight to essay the role of a wrestling coach for his next film.
Aamir Khan plays with Roger Federer
"When he's back in shape I'm sure the first thing he'll want to play is tennis," she says affectionately about the die-hard sports enthusiast at home.
Mary's love for India
Renowned American photographer and humanist Mary Ellen Mark, who died this Monday, had a long and profound connection with India. After all, three amongst the 17 of her highly awarded books of photography were shot in India.
Mary Ellen Mark
Falkland Road, her work on Mumbai's notorious red-light area, was a seminal work on the subject and defined how the world regarded it. Mark's Mother Teresa's Mission of Charity in Calcutta (Friends of Photography, 1985) was another one that underlined her love for India and finally, Indian Circus (Chronicle Books, 1993) once again won her much acclaim and respect.
A picture of Sanjana and Jennifer Kapoor shot by Mark
During her long and illustrious career Mark received many awards, including three Robert F Kennedy Journalism Awards, and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts etc. But more than these is the fact that even today when a journalist photographer visits Falkland Road for a professional assignment, she is afforded trust and cooperation thanks to Mark, who forged many a deep and abiding friendship with its inhabitants.
Splitting hair over DDD
"Dil Dhadakne Do is a Zoya Akhtar film, who is my best friend, so it was hard to say No!" says celebrity stylist and creative director, BBLUNT Avan Contractor, the lady responsible for styling the hair of Dil Dhadakne Do's principal characters.
Usually hair styling is not given much importance in the run up to a big Bolly film, but this is Excel entertainment remember the production house that is credited to have changed the course of Bollywood films with its 2001 release Dil Chahta Hai, much of it predicated on the hair styling of its stars by Contractor.
The different looks in Dil Dhadakne Do given by Contractor
"It's like a family working together since we share a brilliant rapport," said Contractor. "But putting together the looks for Dil Dhadakne Do was quite a big challenge and the styling for each character was quite elaborate," she says. "For instance, for Priyanka Chopra as Ayesha, the brief was to give her a fresh and soft look.
So we decided to take her length just below her shoulder, and create a soft wave texture that would be her signature style. Typical of a hip and trendy career woman. Inspiration was drawn from high street fashion," says Contractor. "Ranveer Singh as Kabir Mehra needed to look like a rich, young urban boy.
He's a very warm and sensitive character but also bit of a goof ball that wears his heart on his sleeve. Meanwhile Anushka Sharma plays Farah Ali a performer and free-spirited girl who lives life on her own terms. Boho chic was the inspiration behind her look. Very natural, unless she's performing," says Contractor.
"Lastly the film's producer and its star Farhan Akhtar, who plays Sunny Gill, is an outdoorsy kind of guy and it demanded a rugged, but not unkempt look. Dishevelled but not messy. His look in the title track, however, is inspired by Mad Men." What about the film's patriarch Anil Kapoor, whose newly styled salt-and-pepper locks have been said to give women of a certain age a few more hot flushes, we asked Contractor.
"Styling Anil Kapoor's hair was extremely challenging," admits the ace stylist. "He's worn his trademark hairstyle for a long time, so to undo that was quite a challenge," she says. Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Move over George Clooney Bollywood's answer to you is 'hair' to stay!
India Calling Anand
Fans of Anand Giridharadas, The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune columnist, will be happy to know that the former Mumbai resident has been awarded the prestigious Bernstein Award for journalism from the New York Public Library, for his book The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas (2014)
(l) Anand Giridharadas with friends
Giridharadas, the son of Indian NRIs, was raised in America but chose to move to Mumbai after graduation in 2003 where he worked as a consultant for a global management consulting firm before becoming a journalist, covering India for the IHT. His first book, India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking (2011) is still regarded as one of the most insightful and engaging books on the country.
Word comes in that next week will witness the launch of the week-long 'Holland meets Mumbai' festival, an initiative by the Dutch consulate to coincide with the official visit of the Dutch Prime minister, Mark Rutte and his trade delegation.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte and DJ Armin Van Buuren
And some of the activities that caught our interest are the launch of a celebration of Dutch cinema at NCPA, an Amsterdam street-art showcase, and a concert with ace electronic DJ Armin Van Buuren within the week. Wonder if they have something planned around the legendary Amsterdam coffee shops?