The open-eyed dreamer

"Ranbir Kapoor represents youth he is turning entrepreneur in sports and for his own company... and I think he dreams with his eyes open," said first-generation entrepreneur and UTV-founder Ronnie Screwvala, one of modern India's most extraordinary success stories, when we enquired why he chose the Bollywood heartthrob to do the honours of launching his book cover last week.

Ranbir Kapoor and Ronnie Screwvala at the book cover launch
Ranbir Kapoor and Ronnie Screwvala at the book cover launch

After all, his book has drawn encomiums from a galaxy of stars from across the board like Mukesh Ambani, Anand Mahindra, Ratan Tata, Andy Bird, Chairman of Walt Disney and James Murdoch, COO of 20th Century Fox. To be launched at the beginning of next month 'Dream With Your Eyes Open, an Entrepreneurial Journey' traces Screwvala's vast experiences and the myriad lessons learnt from more than two decades of building some successful (and some not-so-successful) businesses, while making an impassioned case for the role of entrepreneurship in India's future.

Anand Mahindra
Anand Mahindra

"I've called the first chapter 'From Grant Road to Breach Candy'," says Screwvala, a dead ringer for a young Elliot Gould, alluding to his meteoric rise from a fairly modest but genteel Parsi background on the other side of the of the tracks — to a coveted penthouse over looking the ocean at Warden Road. "It's written in first person — very conversational and casual," says the man who has been at the crest of every media wave — be it cable TV, in-flight entertainment, content production and movie making from his early twenties.

Indeed captains of industry and other thought leaders are tripping over themselves to herald Screwvala's tome. 'Ronnie is a 1st generation entrepreneur who I have admired for his energy, drive, passion and risk-taking ability. This book will be a guide for the next generation entrepreneurs to learn from and be inspired by,' says Mukesh Ambani about the book.

But if all this makes Screwvala out to be too grand with a too-heavy a halo, we'd like to leave you with this thought: here was a man called Rohinton Screwvala, who when given the choice of changing his name, changed the Rohinton to Ronnie, allowing the Screwvala to remain! See? No one's perfect.

Meeting Sanjay
We never thought that we'd greet a complete stranger (albeit a very distinguished looking one) with the words, "Either you're very brave, or very foolish," but this is what we found ourselves saying to ubiquitous Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha when we met him over the weekend at a soiree.

Sanjay Jha
Sanjay Jha

To his credit, Jha saw the genuine query couched in the humour, as we were alluding to the all out drubbing he appears to receive with enviable equanimity on news shows, especially those anchored by one Mr Arnab Goswami. "Why do you and others like you subject yourself to his browbeating," we asked.

It was then that Jha, looked us straight in the eye and said with admirable candour, "I go on his show because of its TRPs. Nothing else gets that much viewership." He's brave.

The case against VIP culture
"It's sad that a show for such a good cause turned out to cause disruptions for others. 10,000 people, all rooting and supporting CPAA.

Aamir Khan and Shaina NC walking the ramp with blood cancer survivors
Aamir Khan and Shaina NC walking the ramp with blood cancer survivors

The best part was the finale with 17-year-old Sakshi Kadam and 23-year-old Neha Ram from Dombivli, both blood cancer survivors, walking the track to the song 'Jee le zara' with Aamir and me at the end to an audience clapping away," said Shaina NC, politician who faced the brunt of much of Arnab Goswami's wrath over the inconvenience caused to Mumbaikars due to the arrangements made to welcome VIPs at her 'Caring with Style' fashion show to support The Cancer Patients Aid Association at the NSCI on Sunday night.

"We were inside the stadium and totally unaware of situation outside as prgm was on. Apologies and I support @TimesNow #EndVVIPRaj," tweeted the politician, in possession of one of the best cases of emotional intelligence amongst her ilk, who had stayed up that entire night engaged in damage control even as Arnab tilted his sword at entitlement and thundered on about the beginning of the end of 'the cosy club'.

"Why are you stereotyping me to suit your campaign against VVIP culture, which I have always been against?" Shaina had asked, "Arnab, I have travelled with you many times to Delhi sitting in economy quite happily," she reminded the anchor, adding, "But it doesn't suit you to remember that now..." she said.

See what we mean by emotional intelligence?

Ed Sheeran comes to town
It says something about our social reclusivity that on Sunday night, when we saw dozens of PYT in LBDs pierce the pavements in SoBo with their stilettos, it didn't occur to us that it was a special night.

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran

Venturing out so rarely, we thought this must be regular phenomena. But of course, it was a very special evening: when Ed Sheeran, the celebrated singer-songwriter and multiple Grammy nominee was performing at Mumbai's race course.

Kunal Kapoor and Naina Bachchan
Kunal Kapoor and Naina Bachchan

"After doing so many live events in my life, for the first time, I saw a reaction of young, vibrant teenagers like the kind the Beatles used to get," said Percept's Shailendra Singh, the show's organiser. "The backstage meet and greet moments were surreal - we had Boney Kapoor's daughter Khushi Kapoor and Sachin Tendulkar's daughter Sara all standing in a queue to meet Ed," said Singh, who'd braved the rain gods to go ahead with the historic show.

Meanwhile we hear Sheeran continued his triumphal reign later at the party hosted by Abhishek and Shweta Bachchan for newlyweds Naina Bachchan and actor Kunal Kapoor, with Hrithik Roshan and Aamir Khan. Nice!

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