The wizard of Oz?

>> Word has it that the very talented Osh Bhabani (one half of the brother-sister duo behind the success of the Juice salon franchise) who along with sister Adhuna Akhtar is being featured for their maiden TV outing, titled Be Blunt on a travel channel is all set to launch his first overseas salon — in Australia.

So enamoured is Osh by Oz, we’re told that he dreams of making it his permanent residence once he can disentangle himself from his various (and fast multiplying) projects in India.

But, for now of course, it’s his salons, his TV show, various top-flight Bollywood stars and his new baby that’s keeping him occupied.

Scissor siblings: Adhuna Akhtar and (right) Osh Bhabani with Rahul Johri, Sr Vice President and GM-South Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific 

A star is born
>> Sunday night saw us at the Sophia Bhabha auditorium where we caught a show of Raell Padamsees Broadway and Beyond, a foot tapping sweet tribute to all the great hits that we have grown up with (Cats, Evita, Grease, etc) performed by a cast that includes theatre veterans like Louis Banks, Joe Alvarez and Ramona Arena. It took us back to the excitement of many years ago when we ourselves had participated in Raell’s mother, the late Pearl Padamsee’s second production of Godspell. Had the audience changed? Had the actors got more talented? Were the production values improved? Whereas the answer to that will take a longer article, what we were absolutely gob-smacked about was the talent of the 16-year-old scene-stealer Tara Sutaria (in pic)who was one of the show’s leading voices.

Sutaria, who began singing at the age of five and has been attracting attention ever since waves since, has a string of accolades and awards come her way: (The Time & Talent Inter-School Singing Competitions, prizes at the MCGB, Zonta Club of Mumbai, etc).

She has appeared on Sony Television’s Entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega. Her voice has been heard in television commercials, such as Rasna, Sanyo, UTV, Bloomberg, and she sang the background score for the film Guzaarish.

Tara’s grandmom, the very enterprising Mani Mistry who was present at the show said, “I watch every show she’s in even if goes on for months, because she never ceases to amaze me. She is the jewel in my crown.”
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Bollywood calling!
>> More news comes in about the party thrown by the loaded lady who’s trying to crash the Bollywood gal pal scene. Apparently, the party she threw last week to impress and ingratiate herself to the in-crowd was marked by two memorable features: the crowd divided itself into two groups, one led by a popular dancer and the recently launched actor son of an established producer and the other by the usual suspects. The second takeaway that guests remarked about is that the hostess remained her usual effervescent self till the wee hours of the morning even after what is described as ‘30 Tequila shots’ (while her well-mannered husband excused himself by midnight). As for the guest of honour, “She looked suitably bored,” we are told.

The Salsa guru
>> How are all of Mumbai’s pretty women such good Salsa dancers? The answer to that question was revealed on Sunday when we met Salsa’s best ambassador, practitioner and teacher Darshan Dave —doing what he does best: some mean moves on the floor. Dave’s passion for the dance form began when he was introduced to the dance in 2005 by a close friend; after nine months of intense training he began performing at competitions and won The All India Salsa Championship in 2006.

Dancing king: Darshan Dave

From there it was no looking back, with spectacular shows at the city’s various big-ticket events and the launch of his Salsa school Salsa Co from which over a 1,000 happy students have emerged. So, why are Indian women so adept at this dance over most others? “Two reasons,” the affable Dave says, “The first is that Indian women have much in common with Latin American women as far as their body structure goes, with narrow waists and big hips. The second is that Salsa itself is a dance that adapts easily to all the places it travels, be it Africa, Europe or Latin America, and so Indian flourishes and nuances are not frowned upon. In fact, Salsa is the one dance that for which there are few boundaries.” So, the next time you go to a party and see a lot of Indian women dancing the Salsa — you know who’s responsible!

Mumbai’s emerging dons
>> Move over Dawood. According to a top official whose business it is to know these things, the title of most powerful underworld don no more belongs to the mustachioed fugitive. 

Like in all other matters, there’s a whole new generation that’s edging the old out — and the amazing thing is that unlike the old dons — no one’s even heard their names. The first is the builder, father of a rather well connected and heeled couple with links to Bollywood; the second is a little known politician from a prominent party who is said to have amassed over Rs 30,000 crore and the third is someone who until recently ran a sleazy bar but is now signing JVs with international realty and hospitality groups for major projects in Mumbai. According to our source, the giveaway of their status is the number of bodyguards and convoy cars that accompany these gentlemen and members of their families wherever they go!  

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