The ultimate power statement

By the time we got to designer Vikram Phadnis' 25th anniversary celebrations on the lawns of the Marriott hotel in Sahar, Amitabh Bachchan had already walked the ramp, and Adhvan, the sumptuous fashion tableau consisting of celebration, festivity, music and creativity presented by the talented designer, had received its last round of thunderous applause from an audience consisting of wall to wall stars.

Vikram Phadnis with Amitabh Bachchan at his show
Vikram Phadnis with Amitabh Bachchan at his show

What can one say about a fashion show that boasts an audience consisting of Jaya Bachchan, Gauri Khan, Shweta Bachchan Nanda, Shaina NC, Malaika Arora Khan, Juhi Chawla, Sushmita Sen, Dr Jamuna Pai, Tanya and Arvind Dubash, Boman Irani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Chetan and Roohi Jaikishan, Rahul Khanna, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Amrita Arora etc? It appeared as though the entire Milky Way of stars had descended to partake of the elegant sit down champagne evening in honour of the designer.

Models on the ramp display his works
Models on the ramp display his works

Phadnis, a soft-spoken and hardworking designer, had started his career as a choreographer, going on to design for the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor, John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra, Vidya Balan, Sushmita Sen, Sonakshi Sinha, Akshay Kumar, Bipasha Basu, Juhi Chawla, Anil Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan, Karishma Kapoor and the international supermodel Naomi Campbell.

And in an exquisitely choreographed beveling of stardust and starlight, his fans, friends and admirers had gathered to applaud his milestone achievement of creativity and success.

“I like the colour of this kurta and enjoyed walking the ramp today amidst the cheer and goodwill he enjoys in the industry,” said Amitabh, whose stride around the ramp in a maroon Phadnis designed ensemble, was the ultimate power statement that any designer can wish for.

Gaggan's next
You heard it here first: Kolkata boy and rockstar chef Gaggan Anand, whose eponymous restaurant in Bangkok currently holds the title of Asia's Best in the San Pelligrino list, has a new outlet in Bangkok. His new offering is called 'Meatlicious,' and is located in the Ekamai district in the Thai capital. Meatlicious describes itself as 'burnt, beer and burp' and offers meaty Latin American cuisine.

Chef Gaggan Anand
Chef Gaggan Anand

Gaggan, always one to push the boundaries, has decided that the restaurant will not use any conventional cooking methods, and there is 'no gas or electricity for cooking,' but more traditional methods like grilling, baking in a completely wood fired kitchen! But with Meatlicious taking up his time, does this mean the pony-tailed wonder's Mumbai project is further delayed? Watch this space...

Sparring Barkha-Chidambaram style
“Gosh, you've become very trenchant since we last met,” we found ourselves saying to former Fin Min P Chidambaram, when we met him at the launch of This Unquiet land, Barkha Dutt's debut book recently.

Anil Dharkar, Kangna Ranaut and P Chidambaram at the launch of Barkha Dutt’s book. Pic/PTI
Anil Dharkar, Kangna Ranaut and P Chidambaram at the launch of Barkha Dutt's book. Pic/PTI

Called upon to give Dutt a taste of her medicine, Chidambaram had been at his unquiet best, jousting with the country's ace interlocutor, settling old scores and sparring with acerbic wit. We had entered the packed rooftop event at SoBo's Trident, when the two had been speaking about marital rape, a subject that civilised adults used to be able to speak about in a perfectly civil manner, before you know who won you know what, and civil conversations went pear shaped.

The conversation had sparked when it turned to 'terror' with Chidambaram asking Dutt if she'd regretted her role in the 26/11 attacks, when her reportage is alleged to have tipped the handlers off about NSG rescue operations. Dutt conceded that she might have, but lobbed the matter straight back when she revealed how the Home Ministry had issued a notice of the attack to the media two days after it had begun.

“Why didn't someone from the government issue instructions about what we could and could not cover?” she asked exasperatedly. Chidambaram upped the ante: “What do you think of Modi?” He asked in his insidious teasing manner, “Do you like him?”

“It's not a journalist's business to like or not like a politician,” said Dutt, her famous wit as sharp as ever. “I have managed to piss off both Modi and Rahul so I'm an equal opportunity offender,” she said, during what was easily one of the most intelligent and witty conversations we've been privy to in a long long time — a reminder of times past.

North Correa, South Correa
In the world of architecture they are known as North Correa and South Correa, a sly reference to the fact that both the legendary Charles Correa, and our Delhi-based uncle, the Cambridge educated Romi Khosla, were architects, who besides sharing a somewhat similar physique, shared a somewhat similar worldview too.

Romi Khosla and Charles Correa
Romi Khosla and Charles Correa

So it was fitting that the latter had been called upon to deliver the first Charles Correa Foundation Lecture at the NGMA over the weekend. Khosla had been the architect who'd designed the NGMA, turning it into a world-class modern art museum, which Mumbai can be proud of. His lecture, delivered to a brimming auditorium in a relaxed manner, deliberately eschewing jargon, engaged the audience in deeper issues of context and history. Correa himself would have been pleased.

A tuneful affair
“It's been going on for a while, and no one believed it at first because of their age gap, but now it's pretty accepted in our circle,” said a Bolly insider about the hook up between this dishy, much married Bollywood renaissance star belonging to a successful industry family, who has fallen for a much younger actress, who also belongs to an industry family with a famous surname – a link up which has passed under the radar so far. The affair, which is still in its nascent stage, might have something to do with an upcoming movie that the two have been shooting for, apart from their shared harmonious hobbies. How soon before it comes to light?

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