The Hat Trick Man

He’s the other Amitabh who PM Modi has co-opted to successfully carry his message to the masses, and for our money, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion and Chairman of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Amitabh Kant’s Diwali greeting card with the silhouette of his brainchild the Make in India lion strung up with festive lights, against a backdrop of vermillion stands out as a clutter buster amongst all the other missives this festive season.

Amitabh Kant
Amitabh Kant

Incidentally, Kant is now considered something of a ‘hat-trick’ man, having earlier come up with such gems as ‘God’s Own Country’ when he served as Secretary Tourism in the State and ‘Incredible India’ when he was heading Tourism at the Centre.

Amitabh Kant’s Diwali greeting card
Amitabh Kant’s Diwali greeting card

Taking a break from Diwali
When the going gets tough the tough get going. Not that Diwali in Mumbai is considered a ‘tough’ festival, considering all you have to do is wear clothes that weigh a ton, buy gifts for every one you’ve ever set eyes on including your friendly neighbourhood bootlegger, stop, wolf down truckloads of sweets and listen to all manner of loud explosions go off at all manner of hours — but a few sensible people have availed of the long weekend and the festive cheer to get away for some R&R while the rest of the city goes pop, bang, ouch!

Rahul Akerkar
Rahul Akerkar

Key amongst these are the Akerkars, Rahul and Malini, who have taken off to kick off celebrations for the latter’s big birthday with a week of diving off the coast of Bali. And if that isn’t one of the nicest ways to rekindle the festive spirit Cyrus Broacha along with artist wife Ayesha, their two kids and Kunal Vijayakar have hot-footed it off to Sri Lanka.

Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar
Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar

Imagine opting out of all that traditional dressing up, eating sweets and listening to loud explosions in Mumbai... Sheesh...

Another award for Dhanak
Congratulations are due to director Nagesh Kukunoor and producer Elahe Hiptoola whose latest offering Dhanak, a simple tale about abiding sibling love in rural Rajasthan, has been declared the Best Feature at the Kinder Film Festival in Brussels.

Nagesh Kukunoor and Elahe Hiptoola
Nagesh Kukunoor and Elahe Hiptoola

The film, like most of Kukunoor’s earlier offerings, has been no stranger to awards and recognition and had premiered at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the best feature-length film.

When we congratulated her on her latest triumph, an ecstatic Hiptoola, who as producer for the Kukunoor oeuvre has been a contributor to much of his success, said, “Dhanak, an essentially rural Indian story at heart, is appealing to such a wide cultural base.

I was at Berlin, Canada and Mumbai with the audience and it was sublime to see them connect with the film. It’s so gratifying to see that a good simple story can still engage people. More power to storytellers like Nagesh!” And then the vivacious Hyderabadi couldn’t help adding, “As we say in Hyderabad, Chalne Do!”

The plight of a woman
Our Oolong tea favouring Sobo hostess friend was besides herself when we met her in her ‘boudoir’ with what looked like last year’s winter line of some very expensive designers strewn all over her floor.

“Oof,” she sighed, “It’s just so frustrating,” she said, “Bas, we will do the rest later,” she said glaring at her hapless maid.

What on earth is going on, we asked pointing to the heaps of expensive clothes on the floor.

“I have nothing, nothing to wear,” said the OTFSH in such a pathetic little girl’s voice that we almost fell for it.

This does not look like ‘nothing’, we said, holding up a lambs wool stole studded with zircon.

“Oh stop it,” said the OTFSH. “I have nothing APPROPRIATE to wear to Tina Brown’s Women in the World New Delhi Summit next week.”

Huh, we said.

“You know how those women dress for seminars like these,” said the OTFSH. “All in hand block printed and knit and wool from Anokhi and Fab India? So how on earth can I show up wearing THIS to a programme called
‘Fanning the Fire’ featuring Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das and Deepa Mehta??”

As ‘This’ happened to be a 2-lakh double pallav sari with a Swarovski studded blouse, which our friend had bought from her favourite designer’s last collection, we said nothing.

“As for ‘Will the Violence Never End’ mediated by Barkha Dutt, if I show up wearing any of these clothes, I will never be invited back to meet Rohingya refugees or victims of domestic violence or Hollywood film stars...”

“So what are you going to do,” we asked the OTFSH, as she contemplated the debris of many years of reckless retail therapy.

“What else can I do?” she sobbed. “I will have to buy myself a whole new wardrobe asap,” she said, adding “It’s so tough being a woman in the world these days...”

Hotel chain on the block
Rumours have been rife for some time now that this sizable International hospitality chain is on the market. And now word comes in that this group that owns many of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands (including one that recently had a star-studded launch in Mumbai) is in advance talks with a prospective buyer from China.

Our well-placed source informs us, “Yes, talks are now at an escalated stage but it is being called a ‘strategic review’. Out of the three potential buyers from the far East, the chain has set its sights on one and it looks like it will go through.” One thing is for sure that this deal, which is being structured by a top New York headquartered financial services firm is sure going to create a stir in the hotel world! You heard it here first.

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