Stick or treat? That wasn’t a trick question but a genuine query as a hockey stick-wielding cop, Vasant Dhoble turned party pooper by taking the long arm of the law to ridiculous lengths. Archaic laws were enforced in 2012 to send shivers down the spines of the movers and shakers of Maximum City. They were well and truly shaken and stirred by the grim scenario that robbed them of their freedom to party into the night --or at least till the stipulated closure time.
Nobody was in the mood to be hounded, herded into police vans, taken to the cop station and be kept waiting till the early hours of the morning. Luckily, this fear psychosis steadily shifted to a cheer factor as things calmed down. Party animals breathed easily. Still, the decision to close nightclubs in five-star hotels at 1.30 am as opposed to the earlier 3 am was not taken very kindly by both partygoers and hoteliers. Increase in the price of beer and alcohol, the cash crunch and the curtailed timings and restrictions wiped the smiles off restaurateurs and nightclub owners across town. Boom turned to doom for a long time. Much to the relief of everyone, things picked up on the party front and the mood grew upbeat once again.
City foodies rejoiced with the launch of many restaurants across Mumbai. Drinkers too were cheerful as bars, lounges and nightclubs sprang up, giving one hope that nightlife is alive in this city that never sleeps. From Bandra to Andheri, Colaba to Worli, foodies found much more on their plates as new restaurants dotted the city’s gastronomic map. The big gainers this year were the catwalk models, who were busy with a multitude of Fashion Weeks and stand alone shows by celebrated couturiers and darling designers at 5-star venues.
Fashion passion ran high with the launch of many fashion stores around town and the previews of new designer collections at existing outlets. It was a fashion-filled year at the sprawling Raymond flagship store at JK House on Warden Road, Kiehl's, Tag Heuer, Lacoste, Chamomile, Malaga, Etro, Gucci, Tumi, Clarins, Tommy Hilfiger and more at the plush Palladium, Fuel in Juhu, Atosa down a leafy lane in Khar, Aza in Juhu, Ritu Kumar at Raghuvanshi Mills, Anita Dongre at High Street Phoenix, Zoya, The Hab on Linking Road, Shaina NC at Gehna, Ghanasingh Be True, Farah Khan Ali's boutique on Turner Road, the Tara Jewellers launch of the Maya collection on Waterfield Road in Bandra, Begani Jewellers, Marc Cain, Satyani's, Gaja, Krishna Mehta's store at Chowpatty, Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewellers, Mondo Casa, Maison, Entice, Le Mill's anniversary, Popley and Omega at Grand Hyatt, The Charcoal Project, Azeem Khan's accessories store in Khar, Narendra Kumar's work wear line at his store, the swim wear launch at Creo and many other launches and events. There was also the launch of Arjun Rampal's fragrance called Alive.
There were fashion events for a cause, like the Araaish shopping festival in aid of the Save the Children Foundation at Blue Sea, with a whirl of women busy picking up clothes and accessories as they sipped coolers in between the shopping spree, the Beti show with celebrities on the catwalk and Sahchari Foundation's Design One at the World Trade Centre.
Besides the many music album releases and first look of films with cocktails and dinner thrown in for good measure, there has been a spate of art previews and book launches around town. Standing out among these were the launch of Anupam Kher's book The Best Thing About You is You at Out of the Blue and of Wendell Rodricks' book The Green Room at the Taj Lands End poolside lawn. On the art front, the iconic Jehangir Art Gallery turned 60 years old, Cymroza Art Gallery celebrated its 40th anniversary with a group art show and the Tao Art Gallery completed 12 years of existence. Meanwhile, the RPG art camp cocktail-dinner party at RPG House was memorable.
There was a spattering of National Day celebrations of different countries at various venue. Standing out was Ireland’s St. Patrick's Day party at the Trident with the gleam of glorious greenery as guests took the traditional touch of green dress code seriously.
Things got racy at the racecourse with the season speeding along with the McDowell’s Derby, Poonawalla Million, Audi Polo match, the Elle Cup and Melbourne Cup that saw gentlemen in formal suits and ladies in colourful creations and hats that made their own style statement. On the sporting front, the Cricket Club of India (CCI) celebrated its 75th anniversary with a grand affair at the Brabourne Stadium, attended by past and current Indian cricketers and also the touring English cricket squad. It was a time for felicitations, a walk down memory lane, crisp speeches, premium drinks and a lavish dinner spread on the greens and under the stars.
Some party hearty memories of 2012 was the engagement of Arjun, son of Debbie and Arjun Hitkari, to Gayatri, daughter of Geeta and Ajoy Misra. The two-day Chivas Studio at Grand Hyatt was saw celebrations over two days amidst Rohit Bal’s urban mela setting with installations of his creations in the garden. Day 1 saw Karan Johar present a short film ‘Strangers in the Night’ directed by Shakun Batra. Day 2 witnessed the rhythms and sounds of Karsh Kale and other musicians. Photographer Daboo Ratnani’s calendar event at Olive with its Mediterranean-styled whitewashed walls and the Bollywood brigade in full force was noteworthy. The venue for the year’s party menu was the newly-restored, majestic Liberty cinema which had the Swiss calendar launch with designer Narendra Kumar.
While 2012, the ‘leap’ year, had its downsides, 2013 will ride high on hope, not on hockey sticks.