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Why Meena dissed Chetan

"I'm excited about getting on the Dylan Thomas long list. I think it a prize that is simply cool because it’s targeted at YOUNG writers from around the world," said Indian poet, author, and outspoken activist Meena Kandasamy, when we congratulated her about her Gypsy Goddess making it the prestigious list.

We wondered if this was the right to occasion to bring up her recent scrimmage with fellow writer Chetan Bhagat, against whom she’s been heard to vent recently’ ‘I just was very upset with what he said about Gaza. To simply reduce the Palestinian people into terrorists, to say that Israel’s actions are justified, all this is really repugnant.

Chetan Bhagat Meena Kandasamy
Chetan Bhagat and Meena Kandasamy

His opinion could shape the opinion of a lot of people.’ We were happy to note that Kandasamy spent more time on Gaza than on her own success. That’s sincerity! Incidentally, a Man Booker Prize winner is among the 15 books on the long list for this year’s DT Prize, which has Welsh poet and author Owen Sheers and Glasgow-based Jamaican poet Kei Miller also in the running.

Picture Abhi Baaki Hai
It’s bound to be a celebration for cinema buffs, Bollywood A-listers and all those on the fringes of both who can read without moving their lips when SOAS academic and Bollywood expert Rachel Dwyer releases her newest tome on the subject, delightfully called Picture Abhi Baaki Hai next week in Mumbai.

A still from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
A still from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

The book, published by Hachette, ‘looks at Bollywood films since 1991, the year of India’s economic liberalisation, and explains how the films have corresponded to and in some cases, birthed India’s changing dreams and hopes, fears and anxieties.’

Yash Chopra Rachel Dwyer
Yash Chopra and Rachel Dwyer

Says its publicity blurb, adding, ‘From DDLJ to Dabangg and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Kahaani, the book throws light on how escapism and entertainment function in Bollywood, revealing the ways in which Hindi films have imagined and portrayed modern India, and will continue to do so.’ Readers and students of cinema will recall that it was Dwyer’s lucid writing on Yash Chopra and his ouvre that contributed to YRF films’ international recognition.

Mumbai Daze
The grapevine has been jangling overtime with this nugget of news that involves a high-profile and elegant couple on the Sobo social scene, who have successfully made the Nobo transition. Apparently, she’s thrown him out of their mansion, following news of his recent distraction, (a sentence we find as rhyming as it is old: ‘Husband strays, wife’s temper frays, and just another daze. In Mumbaiz!’) Hope the stories aren’t true and things fall into plaze!

The KBC man
We ran into Balaji Telefilms Group CEO Sameer Nair on Tuesday evening. Nair is the man who changed the fortunes of not only Amitabh Bachchan but also Star Plus. He also helped put Peter Mukerjea’s career on a trajectory of such volition that it led to his ultimate spiralling out of the industry, but that’s another story.

Amitabh Bachchan Sameer Nair Anil Kapoor
Amitabh Bachchan, Sameer Nair, Anil Kapoor

All this, he did with three simple alphabets: KBC. Now in its 8th season and showing no signs of flagging in popularity, this monster game show’s foster father, Nair, has himself long exited the Murdoch empire and his career has seen many twists and turns, one of the most recent being as CEO of Imagine TV.

Nair is a perfect fit for Balaji. In his capacity as Star TV’s programming chief, he’s the man credited with launching several Balaji daily soaps, which became highly successful. ‘And what are you going to give us?’ We asked the man with the celebrated antennae for what audiences want.

“Where are the Indian Breaking Bads and Homelands? Why should we have to download serials from other countries?” Nair appeared to be in agreement. But, God knows what goes on in the minds of mega- brilliant TV head honchos, so we planned to meet soon to talk more. Incidentally given that Anil Kapoor’s career received a collateral jettisoning through KBC, Nair is responsible in a roundabout way for the Indian 24 too!

His Lordship of Malabar Hill?
Could things get any curiouser in the life and times of the beleaguered Ken from the blue-chip business clan? From high-profile accusations of cheating, to his name being dragged into a substance abuse case to cult muscle-selfie videos. All this while, his friends go blue in the face, insisting how innocent and sweet he really is.

The latest to emanate from what is easily India Inc’s response to Justin Bieber, judging by their shared knack of attracting controversy, has to do with Ken’s acquisition of an English title! According to a source, the pixie Schwarzenegger has recently inherited the title of Lord following his purchase of a property in England.

“Already the title has been added on to some of his communiqués,” we were told. “Bought an estate that came with a title??!” shrieked one of the businessman’s bosom buddies on our enquiry. “That’s a laugh. He’s broke! Where is he going to buy property abroad from?” That’s what we thought we said.

Taming Rahul Number Two
What happens when two masterly wordsmiths, both at the top of their game in their respective fields, collide? When Deadly Wielder of Words Number One aka copywriter, adman and playwright Rahul Dacunha found himself in the same restaurant as Wielder of Deadly Words Number Two Arnab Goswami, India’s most watched TV anchor, a collision ensued, that gave rise to the delightful incident.

Arnab Goswami Rahul Dacunha
Arnab Goswami and Rahul Dacunha

‘So this happened a few minutes ago. God promise,” recalled Dacunha. “I’m out to lunch. Arnab Goswami at the next table. I get up to say hi. As I withdraw my hand, post greeting, my elbow knocks his wife’s glass of coke straight into her lap and naan. He multitasks graciously ‘Thank you Rahul’ & ‘Waiter, one more naan please’ in the same breath. I leave hurriedly,” said a mortified Dacunha. And Rahul, you will never ever ever ever ever...

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