Abu Sandeep's Diwali dinner
>> Tuesday night saw us breaking bread with some of the city’s most elegant women when designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla opened the doors to their jewel box -like home in Juhu for a ‘girls only’ party.
It is a measure of the gentility of a certain crowd in Mumbai that women well into their prime refer to each other as ‘girls’ and the designer duo (well into their prime too) as ‘the boys’.
But back to the dinner: there were Bollywood’s grande dames: Jaya Bachchan, Hiroo Johar, Bubbles Behl, Kiron Kher and Amrita Singh.
Society queens Shobhaa De (with her beautiful daughter Avantika) Devieka Bhojwani, Champa Doshi, Archana Goel, Gopi Grover, Renuka Jain, Lakshmi Nair, Rani Kapoor and Mina Raheja.
And there was yours truly.
What can one say about Abu Sandeep as hosts? Suffice it is to confess that we are conflicted about what is more meticulously designed-their dinner parities or their clothes. Both products that emanate from the duo’s oeuvre seem as carefully crafted.
For starters, there’s the home itself: a paean to India Manifique if ever there was one.
Silver, art, carvings, columns, statuettes, glass, color and textures coalesce into a dream like state.
Then of course, there are the libations: pink champagnes, grand Cru whites, full bodied reds -all served in flutes with necks as long as the models who wear their clothes on runways.
The food at Abu-Sandeep’s is also as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds: a cornucopia of gourmet traditional dishes -junglee mutton, baked crab, golden fried Bombay duck, and dollops of home made chilly pickle prepared in their own kitchen served on silver thalis on a horse-shoe shaped table.
But above all at Abu Sandeep’s -more than the food, the ambience or the drinks-it is the company and the conversation: informed, sophisticated au courant and very, very spicy.
And Tuesday night was all of that and more! What else would you expect when you have some of the country’s most pow
erful women gathered under one roof?
Why is our CM giggling?
>> We like politicians who smile, laugh, look delighted or surprised. We feel one of the reasons for Obama’s popularity is that he is unafraid to emote. A politician who responds to life appears more like a human being-and God knows some of our Indian politicians could do with some loosening up.
Which is why when a former colleague Satish Nandgaonkar sent in this picture of a visibly delighted (and pleasantly surprised) CM Prithviraj Chavan we thought it newsworthy.
Nandgaokar, one of the organisers of the Media Foundation of India (MFI) -YES BANK National Press Photo Contest 2012, had invited the CM and Yes Bank Chairman Dr Rana Kapoor last week to the awards presentation ceremony at Nehru Centre.
“Before entering the main hall for the awards ceremony, we took Chavan to the photo-exhibition and looking at this image shot by Open magazine’s Raul Irani (which won the first prize in Art & Culture category), he couldn’t believe his eyes for a moment - seeing the country’s august PM Dr Manmohan Singh in a kitchen seated before an open fridge!” says Nandgaonkar.
“But of course it was not Dr Singh but his faithful lookalike the 65-year-old retired transporter and long time Congress supporter, Gurmeet Singh,” says Nandgaonkar.
Incidentally Gurmeet is also playing the PM in a forthcoming film ‘498A The Wedding Gift’, we’re told.
Amar’s Day Out
>> At one time, no high society/Bollywood gathering would be complete without his presence. Whether it was soirees at Mumbai’s reigning diva’s Spanish Hacienda or august gatherings at corporate Badshahs or even Bollywood bashes, Amar Singh was never far from the scene of action. These days, he might be missing in action from many of these events (though talk of his patch-up with the Yadavs and reinstatement in politics is rife-which means a comeback in society), but the irrepressible Singh has expanded his social footprint abroad.
Friends attending the F1 Races in Abu Dhabi this weekend bumped into an exuberant Singh followed by a straggling of chamchas at the swish Cipriani’s restaurant while he was attending the races in the desert town.
But though his political influence might have diminished some -his attitude, we are happy to report remains the same: “he was walking around the restaurant like a schoolmaster” said one jet setter.
Changes at top
>> What on earth is going on in one of India’s most prominent media groups? Ever since MJ Akbar put in his resignation as editorial director at Aroon Purie’s Living Media, media circles are buzzing with news about more changes expected at the top.
An insider who has worked with Purie says that the swashbuckling publisher who changed the rules of the media game way back in the seventies when he launched India Today is facing his biggest challenge yet.
“The thing is, though he may be brilliant, he’s not street smart, or ‘chalak’. Which explains his dependence and attraction to ‘chalak’ people,” he said.
(And to erstwhile editor Prabhu Chawla? We wondered).
Meanwhile, word is not out on Akbar’s plans. Perhaps he will devote his time to his weekly ‘The Sunday Guardian’ and make it as strong a title as the Asian Age was under his stewardship.