It's a story that has riveted urban India and driven it in to areas it's never gone before. Seven years ago when young Aarushi Talwar, was found murdered in her bedroom in Noida and the body of family servant, Hemraj was discovered a day later, it sent a shudder down India's collective spine as the needle of suspicion was soon pointed in the direction of her parents Nupur and Rajesh Talwar, the epitome of middle class propriety and ethics.
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar
Now, languishing in jail after they were convicted of their only daughter's murder, for many the Talwars are a symbol of justice denied. Now, a book written by senior journalist Avirook Sen, titled Aarushi, (Penguin) attempts to redress this. "I came into the story knowing very little about the case, but the Ghaziabad court, with its muck, guns (and occasional assassinations on the premises) intrigued me," said Sen when we asked him why he chose this as the subject of his second book.
Aarushi Talwar and Avirook Sen
"The possibility of a great narrative emerging dawned on me, only after I started covering the trial in June 2012. There were the hearings that turned more bizarre by the day," he recalled. "The first witness was a policeman who said 'dhyan nahin hai' to practically all questions the defence had.
There was the cop who said he couldn't smell when he was asked about whether Hemraj's body had putrefied, since it had been lying in the May heat of Delhi for nearly two days. There was stuff like this happening on a daily basis," said the author who is said to have interviewed all the key people involved with the case, from Aarushi's friends, to Hemraj's old boss, to the forensic scientists.
"Why did an 'open and shut' case raise such a circus? He said, "Between the nature of the manipulation by the CBI, and the strange proceedings in court, the story kind of wrote itself."
The Birlas sing along
SOBO finally seems to have a venue for hosting live events, concerts and special performances. The recently opened Dome at the NSCI, Worli managed by the Morani brothers of Cineyug entertainment, has been booked for the next couple of weeks with some hi-profile gigs we hear, now that the parking mess with the authorities (that led to the cancellation of the Jerry Seinfeld show) is said to have been sorted out.
Arijit Singh, Rajashree Birla and Kumar Mangalam Birla
The multipurpose venue saw comedian Russell Brand entertain guests with no hick-ups (or FIRs) last month. And last Sunday, we hear it was packed again for singer and composer Arijit Singh's live performance, where no less than top Birla group head honcho Kumar Mangalam Birla, along with his mother Rajashree Birla joined the 5,000 strong crowd, in singing along to filmy hits like 'Kabira', 'Tum Hi Ho' and 'Dilli Wali Girlfriend'.
Actress and TV anchor Koel Purie whose red hot 'Couching with Koel' on her dad Aroon Purie's TV channel India Today, is the toast of TV viewing, is leaving Delhi later this month for a stint in Tokyo.
"My husband Laurent, who works with the Airbus group has been assigned there and I am desperate for a new adventure," said the consummate media babe who had charmingly announced her departure on a social networking site with 'We are moving lock stock n' baby to a place where the food is the yummiest, people calmest, customs wackiest, seasons trippiest.'
Will her famous red couch that has hosted the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Khushwant Singh and Anoushka Sharma travel with her? "My couch is staying put, but I may end up getting a red tatami," she said indicating that her pursuits will be more Zen in the land of the rising sun.
"For a while I will "play" the expat wife, learn Japanese and the art of bonsai to calm my hectic internal rhythm," she said. "Then something new - mascot of Olympics 2020 perhaps!" Surely she will miss 'saddi dilli'?
"I'll miss gate crashing those big fat Delhi weddings. But bringing up a child in Delhi is totally not fun, - it's pollution and Nanny central," said the girl who says she still misses her life in Bandra 'so very much,' "But I'll be ever so happy to kiss goodbye to the palpable aggression that's become ubiquitous in Delhi" she said.
Kotwal on Netflix
"I play a wedding planner - a bit of a con man - for whom money dictates every thing," said Kaizaad Kotwal, about his appearances in a few of the Sense8' (sensate) series' episode 12, created for Netflix by the Wachowskis (the brother-sister duo responsible for modern classics like The Matrix series, and Cloud Atlas.)
Shot entirely on location in 8 countries, with the Indian cast including Anupam Kher, and Avantika Akerkar, "It's the stories of 8 individuals from all over the world who are all connected by mystical and metaphysical forces," said the actor. And what kind of conman wedding planner does he play we enquired. "The type who can be paid to shorten the length of a wedding ceremony," he said, "The more you pay, the shorter the rituals."
Our filmy snoop dropped in on the sets of Prakash Raj's action entertainer Gangaajal 2 in Bhopal, where Priyanka Chopra is currently shooting. "She's managing the balancing act like a pro," he said.
Priyanka Chopra with a fan
The actress, who has been shooting around the clock in Bhopal, so she can leave for her Quantico commitment abroad was also simultaneously shooting for a fashion magazine. All this while nursing a flu, and posing for countless pictures with her fan following. Attagirl!
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