Welcoming Welcome Back

malavika"I remember hating the first Welcome film I’d seen in 2007," said our friend Rajeev Masand film critic for CNN-IBN, the man whose opposable thumbs, which indicate his likes and dislikes of Friday releases are as closely watched by industry, as the Khan ab count. "I recall giving it a one star review and adding a caveat that I would pay the psychiatrist fees of any one who said they liked it," said Masand, whose interview with two of Welcome Back’s stars (the franchise sequel) Anil Kapoor and John Abraham, we happened to catch last week. We had called Masand because we’d been struck by how he’d managed to couch his earlier dislike of the Anees Bazmee’s schlock comedy action release with a good natured ribbing of Kapoor and Abraham, during the interview we saw. "I had recorded that before I saw the film," said Masand. "And yes, I could feel John squirming when I asked them whether they didn’t think the film’s trope was a bit outdated," said the impassioned film buff. "But then, to my great surprise when I actually saw the film, I quite liked it and ended up giving it two stars," said Masand. He said, "And I found it very funny. Especially the chemistry between Kapoor and Nana Patekar. Yes it’s pedestrian but it’s not pretending to be any thing else."

Anil Kapoor and John Abraham
Anil Kapoor and John Abraham

Women chefs at the Library
Last Wednesday BKC’s gastronomical haunt Masala Library, the brainchild of Zoravar Kalra (son of Indian food legend Jiggs Kalra) along with wife Dildeep, hosted an Indian molecular culinary experience for hard to please customers in the form of three Michelin starred international chefs, who were in the city as part of the ‘40 girls to 40 chefs,’ an initiative to empower girls through education and training. We were informed that the initiative aims to ‘provide underprivileged girls with education opportunities through formal training at a culinary school in India followed by job placements’ and that ‘the best of the Indian girls will be offered an opportunity to work in a Michelin starred chef’s kitchen abroad’.

Chefs Anita Lo, Frances Elizabeth Atkins and Lisa Ellen
Chefs Anita Lo, Frances Elizabeth Atkins and Lisa Ellen

The chefs who attended the meal were Anita Lo (executive chef of Annisa, in New York’s Greenwich village), Lisa Allen (British chef of the Northcote Manor) and Frances Elizabeth Atkins (Co–owner
and chef of The Yorke Arms).

Along with the chefs the table also consisted of members of the opera group Divine (who brought a new meaning to singing for their supper as they impromptu performed a rendition of Amazing Grace post the meal).

The multiple course meal consisted of King crab bhurjee pav, bacon wrapped tandoori morels, scallops in peanut butter, Kashmiri chilli duck, and if that wasn’t enough, jalebi caviar and pan flavoured candyfloss made the evening sweeter.

Mad Men Summit
By all accounts the IAA Silver Jubilee summit held last week in Kochi was a sparkling affair. Befitting of the country’s leading advertising organizations, the Indian version of Mad Men, led by Pradeep Guha, chairman of the Jubilee celebrations managed to rope in no less than Sachin Tendulkar, SRK, Mammootty and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev to attend the celebrations.

Pradeep Guha with Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar
Pradeep Guha with Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar

"It was one of the best events I have been involved in, in terms of content quality of speakers and events planned," said Guha, a veteran of many a summit. And yes, he got to fly down in the private jet with SRK!

Chandler comes to town
It’s going to be something of a homecoming celebration later this week when actor, stand up artist and motor cycle enthusiast, Ash Chandler performs at Olive along with his band the Ash Trays. Chandler had met with a serious accident last year and his courage and resilience in recovering from its debilitating effects have been much heralded. "A seemingly innocuous moment decided to leave her mark and the events that followed have once more succinctly illustrated the blessings, growth, pain, revelations, pleasures and victories so typical of this adventure that is life," he said, adding, "I’m grateful for it all and eternally thankful to my love Junelia, my family and countless friends who stood with me through this time."

Ash Chandler and wife Junelia
Ash Chandler and wife Junelia

"My boy’s spirit is stronger than ever shaken, but not broken, ever hopeful, filled with laughter & a zest for life," seconded his wife Junelia Aguiar Chandler, adding, "That’s the Ash I fell in love with."

Social gaffe ruffles feathers
Word comes in that a few high profile feathers have been ruffled recently over a social gaffe. Apparently when an over zealous event organizer sent out invitations to a forthcoming glamorous party, she had also included a list of some of the big names guests who were attending - in a press release sent out to newspapers. Finding that their names had been included a few of these big name guests, are said to have called up the paper, and demanded to know how on earth they’d been mentioned when they were not at all sure if they would attend. "How can they use our names in a press release when we don’t know ourselves if we are attending?" said the offended lady. "It’s shocking!"

Bonanza for bibliophiles
For those who wonder why it’s called the city that never sleeps, here’s a fine example : next Wednesday there will be not one, or two, but three evening events jostling for the attention of Mumbai bibliophiles on the same day: to begin with there will be a discussion with best selling author Amish Tripathi, hosted by First Post, in its popular salon series at a mid-town restaurant. After this Mumbai’s book lovers will get their fill of what makes the author of the Shiva trilogy tick; then, those who’ve been invited can attend the release of leading advocate Harish Salve’s daughter Sakshi Salve, at a mid town hotel, following which, those who have the energy, can go on to Anil Dharker’s Literature Live! with discussion on Avirook Sen’s much discussed book on the Aarushi murder in the presence of the author.

Avirook Sen and Amish Tripathi
Avirook Sen and Amish Tripathi

So there you have it. Three book events on the same day and in a radius of not over four miles of each other! Now if only Mumbaikars could have a time travel device that would beam them up…

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