>> Steve Jobs in JRD Tata's bathtub? Huh? Its an apocryphal story but two people with a lot of credibility swear it's true. Apparently in the days when he was staying at the Taj, the legendary JRD Tata, who established one of India’s most admired business houses and distinguished himself with his philanthropic zeal was fascinated by the hippie movement and the free spirits who floated in and out of India in search of gurus and enigmatic substances.
One of the things he would do is gather a bunch of them from the seedy hotels behind the Taj in order to gentrify them, give them a decent meal and understand their way of life. This exchange also included an aspect of Tata’s kindness: any of them requiring a bath would be allowed the facilities of his sumptuous bathroom to wash up in.
So this is where the plot thickens: two close friends who were part of these soirees swear that on three occasions one particularly scruffy American hippie who availed of Tata’s bath tub was a chap called Steve Jobs. No, it’s not in Isaacson’s biography but every one knows that Jobs spent time in a hotel behind the Taj in his hippie days. And was always in need of a bath! Steve Jobs in JRD’s bathtub? Who would have thunk?
The table’s turned
>> Even when he was considered a second tier hero and a serial kisser we have always liked Emraan Hashmi. Those long edgy stares in to nowhere, that simmering intensity, those clenched jaws have always conveyed a sense of zeitgeist angst that sat well on some, one the Big Guys of Bollywood never paid attention to.
So it is with a particular sense of delight that we have seen this underdog come in to his own, with his hat trick of recent hits, his signing of a Dharma Production film and the trailer of Shanghai releasing Friday that seems exceptionally good.
Jitesh Pillai, editor, Filmfare and one of the most astute writers on the film industry says it best: “Hashmi’s elevation to the big league was because of his ability to intrinsically connect with the multiplex audiences and yet stay ‘massy’. He has a hint of danger and yet he’s comforting. His sexuality simmers to the be bop beats.” We like!
Upper Crust’s toasty anniversary
>> Farzana Contractor, the indefatigable editor of Upper Crust, India’s, premier magazine for food wine and fine dining is celebrating the magazine’s 50th-anniversary issue. “There are many milestones in each of our lives. Indicators of progress made, goals achieved, success acquired. In the life of UpperCrust, 50 issues, is the new milestone,” she says.
“We are pleased as punch, coming as we do from where we do. With no Big Daddy with deep pockets, we have achieved our success on pure merit. With sheer hard work, determination, passion for food, travel, the good life and no doubt, support and appreciation that you, our dear and loyal reader has shown us.
” Reading about Contractor’s 50th anniversary issue, we are reminded of two very different but appropriate memories. The first, of course, is the glittering launch of UpperCrust, at the Oberoi Poolside when Sanjeev Malhotra organised a hologram of the logo on the hotel façade. And the other is an evening spent many years ago with the late great Behram (Busybee) Contractor and his young bride Farzana at their home opposite the Oval, when she had cooked a meal of a dal soup the likes of which we had never tasted before or will ever again! Happy 50th anniversary issue Farzana; this daily dish wishes you many tasty years ahead!
>> A friend who’s been invited to the Allana wedding in Istanbul says it’s going to be a once in a lifetime affair. “They’re putting up the guests at the Four Seasons Hotel and have made all arrangements to look after their every comfort and fancy,” he said. But why Istanbul? we asked? “Well, they’re expecting a lot of guests from Europe and Dubai — and it’s a convenient destination for both places,” he said. We wonder if a visit to Orhan Pamuk’s stunning Museum of Innocence will be a part of the itinerary!
The literary terrorist
>> For our money, writer, editor and literary impresario Anil Dharker is one of the best people to draw a writer out at a book launch. Year in and year out, we have watched Dharker engage with authors of every hue, manage to elicit the best responses from them and keep the conversation going with the right mix of humour and erudition.
So tomorrow, we are looking forward to hearing Dharker, the director of Literature Live! engage with author Juggy Bhasin at the launch of the latter’s book The Terrorist (Penguin) at Crossroads bookstore.
Incidentally, Dharker pointed out a there is a sweet literary twist to the evening: “My daughter the actress Ayesha once acted in a much-acclaimed movie called The Terrorist. By sheer coincidence I am now releasing a book by the same name a few years later. The two are very different, but the book is pretty exciting too,” he said.