The low-key Godrej side

Jun 20, 2014, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

In the whole breathless, headline-grabbing, breaking news acquisition of Bhabha house that has staggered the country by the figures involved, the irony has been that the people who have been revealed to be the house’s new owners happen to be pathologically low-profile and media-shy.

Art impresario Pheroza and husband Jamshyd Godrej, managing director and chairman of Godrej & Boyce, along with his sister Smita Crishna, wife of thespian and trekker Vijay Crishna, director of Godrej Agrovet, have spent most of their lives playing down their celebrated surname and doing all they could to distance themselves from being associated with their riches.

Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej
Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej

In fact, unlike their flamboyant cousin Parmeshwar (wife of Godrej Chairman Adi), who is celebrated as much for her flamboyant style as for her Xanadu-like famous beach house, these Godrejs are known to seek anonymity and simplicity.

Pheroza Godrej Jamshyd Godrej
Pheroza Godrej and Jamshyd Godrej. Pic/AFP

That they have been now thrust into the media glare must afford them a considerable amount of discomfort. “Imagine if Parmesh had been the bungalow’s new owner,” as one SoBo socialite remarked, adding, “There would have definitely been a complete makeover of the bungalow: stucco exteriors, cascading fountains, mammoth stone sculptures and wall-to-wall Husains...”

Arnab’s irresistible rise
With his domination over the collective mind space of urban India, many have wondered how Arnab Goswami has managed to enjoy such an indomitable perch within the Times Group.

Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami

After all, its shareholders have gone on record to say that that they believe journalists should never be bigger than the brands they belong to. The exception’s been Goswami, whose unprecedented personal equity in the public arena does not seem to have affected his career at the media powerhouse.

Now, an insider appears to have solved the puzzle: apparently, Goswami’s few daily prime time hours on the channel bring in enough advertising revenue to pay for the group’s entire electronic operation! There are profits and prophets, and media groups require both obviously!

In her own right
The pride parents take in the achievements of their children cannot be underestimated, as this comment posted on a social networking site by noted producer Subhash Ghai amply demonstrates. “It was nice to hear the paparazzi calling Meghna by name and not as my daughter,” wrote Ghai, about their evening at the Chudasama birthday celebration.

Subhash Ghai with daughter Meghna
Subhash Ghai with daughter Meghna

“Not because she’s my daughter, but because of her own astonishing success with Whistling Woods,” he said. And as someone who has spent a week at the premiere film school, we second that. With its excellent facilities, atmosphere and commitment to the cause of good cinema, Puri deserves all her media glory.

With mum by my side
If our sources are to be believed, by the time you read this, Preity Zinta will already have reached Mumbai from LA, and will be on her way to record her statement. “I am just waiting to hear which flight she’ll be on,” said her colleague to us last evening.

Preity Zinta
Preity Zinta. Pic/AFP

How did she sound? “Well, she says she was appalled to hear about the underworld connection that is being attributed to her. She heard about it through many of her Mumbai friends,” said our source. Is she travelling alone? “Yes, but her mother is in Mumbai staying with her.”

Delhi over Mumbai
Word comes in that Gaggan Anand, who runs the eponymous restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok, famous for its molecular progressive Indian cuisine, will not be opening in Mumbai at least not any time soon.

Gaggan Anand
Gaggan Anand

The long-haired, charismatic Kolkata wunderchef, who has made it to most international lists of the world’s best restaurants (rated no. 17 in the world and no. 3 in Asia on one recently), was much in demand by a host of Indian restaurateurs and hoteliers to open a branch in Mumbai or Delhi.

F&B insiders will recall how the air was rife with stories that Arjun Rampal of LAP was in talks to bring Gaggan to Mumbai, to open at the Sofitel Hotel; now, we learn that though the two parties had begun negotiations, there was a parting of ways, as it was found that they could not see eye-to-eye on many issues.

Arjun Rampal
Arjun Rampal

‘Worlds apart’ is how an insider described it. According to sources close to the celebrated chef, he is now planning to focus on expanding his current space in Bangkok, and making it even more spectacular as a dining experience.

Towards this end, one of the world’s top mixologists has been hired to design a new bar area, which will open at the end of the year.

Most upsetting for Mumbai’s foodies though, is the news that when he does eventually bring his restaurant to India, the uber-foodie and chef is convinced that Delhi will be the appropriate city for him to open in! Take that, Mumbai’s food snobs!

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