The yacht he lives in

>> Being die-hard Pedro Almodovar fans we naturally loved the master’s latest offering ‘The Skin I live In’ when we saw it a few months ago in London. Darker and even more bizarre than his earlier fare, the film featured a dapper Antonio Banderas as a brilliant but obsessive surgeon who comes up with a novel way of avenging his daughter’s rape.

Involving gender-bending sexually explicit scenes and striking visuals we were surprised to hear that the film didn’t go down too well with audiences this year in Cannes.

A section of the audience in the Lumiere that comprised a group of sweepstakes winners flown specially to Cannes by a beer manufacturer were so horrified by the experience that they did not come back to the theatre ‘following a particularly violent rape scene in the middle of the film.’

This less than approving reception does not appear to have dampened Banderas’ spirits, as we learn that he found the time to attend one of Vijay Mallya’s extravagant parties on his luxury yacht ‘The Indian Empress’ docked nearby.

And to prove that it was indeed the Spanish Hollywood heartthrob we post a picture of him at said party with our very own Raja Dodhy who happened to be a guest at the same event.

Playing Villain
>> After a long time we caught up with the immensely talented actor and philanthropist Rahul Bose who has two very exciting releases lined up this year: Deepa Mehta’s much awaited Midnight’s Children and a bi-lingual film Vishwaroop alongside Kamal Hasan in which he plays the bad guy to Kamal Hasan’s good. “ I’m playing the villain after 13 years when I played the villain in Govind Nihalani’s Thakshak opposite Ajay Devgan in 1999.” He told us, “The evil side of me rears its head every 13 years, so children, watch out in 2025. But seriously, it was a complex, shaded role with a lot of physical (prosthetic, physical deformities) and emotional challenges. The best villains are deeply insecure, conflicted characters, and Omar (the name of my character) is no different. Of course, given how hideous I look in the film, my chances of pulling women have just receded from ‘once in a blue moon’ to ‘never, absolutely never’.”

And what’s next for Bose who manages to bring each role alive with his sensitive performances? “I’m about to leave for Shillong for a month of filming a Bengali film based on Bengal’s most iconic love novel, Shesher kobita (the last poem), by Tagore. Konkana plays opposite me. It’s being directed by Suman Mukhopadhyaya, one of the forerunners of young, talented directors who’ve changed the face of contemporary Bengali cinema. And I am looking forward to catching a performance of the Shillong Chamber Choir while I am there,” he said.

Delicious Cocktail at Kjos
>> Being Amongst the love fest that was Kjos 40th birthday hi-jinx, a couple dancing together on the floor elicited more interest than most: and no it wasn’t your usual hero-heroine getting jiggy with it but our very own Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone whose sudden bonhomie attracted notice.

And why is that you may ask, why can't two top Bollywood actresses be warm and friendly towards each other? Well, how about if both have been involved with a certain Ranbir (Casanova) Kapoor recently?

What Priyanka too? Yes, gentle reader, according to Some One Who Knows It All -our very own PC and Ranbir shared more than a few good vibes not so very long ago when they shot together for a film. Which is why the recent soul-sister act between the two women had many shaking their heads in wonder

Mumbai’s Salon Savants
>> Reading about the horrific crashes on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway we were reminded of Armaity Merchant our dear friend and hair stylist who died tragically in a car crash along with her husband while returning to Mumbai from Pune last August on the expressway.

We had been friends with Armaity for two decades or more, and were great fans of not only her professional skills but of her wonderfully crazy sartorial style and overall personality.

If you lived in Sobo you must have at some time or the other seen an attractive young woman in hats, boots, billowing scarves beads and baubles zipping down its roads on her motorbike. That was Armaity, always a cut apart, always original and striking - as passionate about her work as she was about motorbikes and with a kind word for every one.

Incidentally, how under acknowledged are the lives of Mumbai’s unsung heroes — its hairstylists and beauticians. They toil hard so that Mumbaikars can put their best faces forward, and in the process become our friends, confidantes, and support systems.

And when they depart they leave us with a lot more than just a bad hair day. So long Armaity-- hope you’re having fun zipping across the skies on a celestial bike.

And for every one else driving on the Mumbai-Pune Express way: safe travels!

Pedestrian Purgatory
>> Last week when we met Mumbai’s suave new Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte at a posh dinner, amongst other things he said that his two main priorities in his new role would be “housing and transport’.

Since then we are happy to hear about the urbane Kunte’s surprise morning checks on Mumbai’s streets to catch napping staff and engage with ordinary Mumbaikars. It’s been a while since civic authorities stepped out of their ivory towers and experienced life as we know it in Mumbai.

And since we are on the topic we’d like to bring to Mr Kunte’s notice the latest hazard to the lives of pedestrians in Mumbai : those ubiquitous Stratos hoardings which dot the roads and eat in to whatever little space we used to have to walk on pavements.

Who is responsible for allowing this latest abomination and what were they thinking?

Mr Kunte? Doesn’t transport also include the well being of pedestrians? 

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