A consummate storyteller

Sep 12, 2014, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

We have always known that there’s much more to Simi than what’s been seen on the silver screen or even on the idiot box

We have always known that there’s much more to Simi than what’s been seen on the silver screen or even on the idiot box. A blue stocking, a connoisseur of food and wine, a traveller of intellect, and great reader of human character, Simi is a raconteur of epic proportions.

No surprises then that an unpublished short story she shared with us last week, had us clamouring for more.

Karan Johar  Simi Garewal
Karan Johar and Simi Garewal

It was a true story she’d penned a while ago, on an enigmatic Pakistani lady, the mistress of a leading Bollywood actor that she’d befriended in the sixties, (she refused to divulge the actor’s name) who went on to acquire great fame and fortune internationally. Simi had written about the lady’s humble beginnings and her eventual rise, which saw her controlling a great luxury brand across Europe, with a storyteller’s measured style, great sensuality and vivid description.

Yash Johar Satyajit Ray
Yash Johar. and Satyajit Ray. PICS/AFP

Most interestingly, it had Karan Johar’s father, the late great Yash Johar, playing a pivotal part in the plot line.

Interesting, because many decades later Simi and Karan Johar have wrangled for the same TV mind space. “When will you pen your own memoirs?” we asked the actress, after reading the story. “From Raj Kapoor to Satyajit Ray to Conrad Rooks, who could tell it better than you?”

“Writing is something I always thought I’d do when I’m old and retired,” she said.

Point taken.

Fashion for Owls
Last week saw us attending the Vogue Fashion night out at the Palladium Mall; so busy was the mall that we only managed to check out the Vogue pop-up store, which was almost depleted by the time we managed to get in!

Rashmi Uday Singh Atul Kasbekar
Rashmi Uday Singh and Atul Kasbekar

The after party held at Serafina where the likes of Conde Nast’s Alex Kuruvilla, Arjun Mehra and Almona Bhatia held fort with the fashion frat, rocking to the beat of Lost Stories, was buzzing too.

We spotted celeb lens man Atul Kasbekar, builder Ashish Raheja and foodie Rashmi Uday Singh amongst others.

Alex Kuruvilla Ashish Raheja
Alex Kuruvilla and Ashish Raheja

We’ve always loved the idea of pop up culture and now with the Thalassa, Guppy, Vogue and Gaggan’s pop-ups, it finally seems to have taken Mumbai by storm.

The DJ next door
In his spare time, when he is not busy working in his father’s construction company in Goa, Anish Sood confesses that he is locked up in his home studio producing and creating new sets for his upcoming EDM gigs around the world. Sood, the 24-year-old DJ, who in the past year has come to be known as one of India’s biggest home-grown talents (he’s won the ‘MyFav DJ’ awards, DJ of the year title in 2013, and opened for the likes of David Guetta and Steve Aoki), is your regular boy next door.

Anish Sood
Anish Sood

We first met the teenybopper heartthrob last year at the ‘Sunburn Festival’ in Goa when he struck us as being the dancing girl’s pin-up.

Part of the group of young 20-something year olds (along with fellow Goan boy, the rising star Rishabh Joshi (DJ Joshi), who jumped on the EDM ship (thanks to Percept and Sunburn) at the right time, Sood and Co. have proved everyone wrong by being able to make a career out of being groovy.

But Sood doesn’t take his success for granted. He says that his weekends are now booked out a month in advance. And where does he see himself in the next five years? “Touring the rest of the world! It is still hard for Indian artists to get consistently booked to play at European venues due to the distances involved, but with the Indian dance scene exploding, hopefully that will change in the near future.” Signing off he says he is looking forward to attending next month’s Amsterdam Dance Event and also playing once again in Amby Valley at the ‘Enchanted Valley Carnival’.

Kickboxing and Hangovers
He’s known as the man who put Bangkok’s Lebua hotel on the international map. And with its popular restaurant Sirocco being the scene for some zany plot twists in Hollywood’s blockbuster ‘Hangover’ series, the life of Deepak Ohri, the dapper CEO, has certainly gone into high gear.

Deepak Ohri with his trainer
Deepak Ohri with his trainer

So how does this consummate hospitality professional cope with the stress of staying ahead of the curve? “By kickboxing,” he says.

”When boxers step into the ring, and great business leaders start a new business, they’re always determined, focused, and most importantly-fearless,” he says.

“Kickboxing teaches you how to take a hit and hit back your opponent without fear, to be mentally alert and clear your mind and stay calm. These are important skills in both business and sports,” said the high-flying hotelier who plans to expand further in India. But its not always a bed of roses for Ohri; “Actually, I did win one tournament but also lost one yesterday. So it is 1-1.”

Magical mystery biker
Sometimes the exigencies of a daily deadline do not allow for the luxury of full expression. Which is a lofty way of saying: oops, we goofed!

Deepak Amembal and Aditya Raj Kapoor
Deepak Amembal and Aditya Raj Kapoor

When we carried the item ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ last week on Aditya Raj Kapoor’s audacious dash across three countries and many roads, we mentioned a ‘fellow biker’ and even as we were writing, we knew we ought to have given him the credit that was his due by naming him and lauding his achievement.

But as we said, our deadline did not permit us that civility and so we would like to make amends by turning the headlamps on to the other brave and free-spirited biker riding along with Kapoor on his magical mystery tour: Mumbai’s very own Deepak Amembal, avid rocker, passionate biker and Kapoor’s comrade in arms.

And here is a picture of both riders at the flag off.

Way to go guys. Vrooom Vroom!

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