One of Kolkata's enduring images of grandeur besides the Victoria Memorial and the Kalighat temple is the home of publisher Aveek Sarkar in Ballygunge.
Known for their great taste and remarkable collection of Indian masters like Tagore, the Sarkars, both Aveek and his art patron wife Raakhee, run a home in the grand bhadralok tradition: exquisite flowers in their garden, impressive art on the walls and a table that boasts the best of Bengali cuisine.
Kajol and SRK were given a taste of Kolkata by Sarkar
And word comes in that the latest guests to be gob smacked with their hospitality, were none other than the Dilwale team of SRK and Kajol, who were hosted by the Sarkars for a meal.
"SRK and Aveek are old friends," said a source "and Kajol's Bengali connection through her dad made them all the more at home with the Sarkars."
The Padamsees and the Prabhakars
You can fault him for many things (including his tendency to get irascible on TV chat shows, especially when they are hosted by one Arnab Goswami) but one thing that you cannot fault him about, is ad and theatre guru Alyque Padamsee's family ties.
Not only has he managed to maintain cordial relations with three sets of his progeny (Padamsee was married to director Pearl Padamsee, actress Dolly Thakore and singer Sharon Prabhakar), but also he is often seen in the company of many of them together.
Dolly Thakore and Sharon Prabhakar
Which is why New Year's eve revellers at the Willingdon Club were not surprised that Padamsee chose to bring in the New Year with Sharon, her brother Vivek Prabhakar, and sister Pia Dastur with their families, even though the couple is said to be living apart for a while now.
Padamsee, after all, has mastered the art of live and let live and appears to share good relations with all members of his complicated life. "How very civilized," is what one fellow diner at the Club was overheard saying, when he chanced upon Padamsee and Prabhakar. "Wish there were more men who conducted themselves with such savoir faire."
"We've been lighting up the place and conducting the run for the last couple of years," said real estate tycoon Niranjan Hiranandani, who ran the 10 km marathon at Hiranandani Gardens along with residents of the area yesterday.
Niranjan Hiranandani participates in the marathon at Hiranandani Gardens
"We organize the run a week before the Stan Chart marathon so many of those participating in it can warm up at ours," said the fitness enthusiast, who works out regularly at the gym, before packing in a full day's work.
Hiranandani Gardens around New Year
"The lights and the celebrations begin around a month before New Year's and it makes the township resemble Singapore's famed Orchard road around Christmas," said the visionary builder, who way back in the mid eighties had bought 250 acres of land in Powai and changed the face of the region.
"Our whole focus is quality of life," said Hiranandani. "There's zero pollution in Powai, hundred acres of garden award winning schools and hospitals – in fact the quality of life is better than at Malabar Hill!" he said.
And how did he fare in the run? We asked the ebullient entrepreneur son of the eminent ENT specialist Dr LN Hiranandani. "Not bad at all," he said "Considering that I'd just flown back from Dubai where I brought in New Year's with my family and had attended a couple of parties the evening before."
Shatrughan Sinha, Jackie Shroff, Adnan Sami, Cyrus Poonawalla, Sangita Jindal, Tasneem and Vikram Mehta, and other worthies gathered at Sanjay House on Saturday night to celebrate the birthday of Sanjay Khan, actor and filmmaker. Amongst the many, who joined wife Zarine in wishing Khan on his special day, were Najma and Bashir Currimjee of Mauritius, who had flown down for the occasion.
Sanjay Khan's birthday dinner
Khan who has witnessed more in his life than most people — including runaway stardom, Derby successes and a near fatal accident was seen in fine form basking in the love and affection showered on him all evening, while his family, including daughters Farrah Khan Ali, Simone Arora and Sussanne, and son Zayed made sure everyone was looked after and had a good time.
Adnan Sami and Farrah Khan
Dinner was served at midnight after the speeches and cutting of cake, and when we left around 1 am the dance music was just revving up, indicating that the party would go on for a long, long time...
Who's sari now?
Designer Ana Singh was spotted at a couple of recent parties clad in resplendent silk saris replete with traditional jewellery and accessories.
Has the attractive designer famous for dressing Bollywood stars in their glam best, and for turning up at parties in drop dead western ensembles turned over a new leaf? "It's my latest phase," she said. "I'm rediscovering Indian traditional handlooms and textiles and really enjoying wearing them," she said.
As for her New Year date, Singh who brought in New Year's along with friends and husband Jaiveer, posted a picture of herself with handsome yesteryear star Dharmendra. "Ringing in New Year's with the most handsome man in the world. My beautiful Dharam uncle. What could be better?" she said.
Jangling their jingles
He's always been the one to call a spade a bloody shovel, but even so, funny man Vir Das' latest podcast where he strums a Ukulele to the tune of Jingle Bells, is by far the most delightfully provocative thing we've seen him do.
Taking on his famous trolls, Das spews contempt in perfect rhyme as he comments on all kinds of bugbears that a certain kind of pseudo secularist has to face in today's India, from intolerance, to censorship, to a ban on beef.
And with a chorus of ' if you can go to Pakistan if you don't like this song,' it's one of the classiest red flags we've seen in a fascist's face.