A fitting tribute to Bandra

Jul 18, 2017, 06:00 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

It is a measure of how important Bandra is in Mumbai's scheme of things, that when one of the world's most famous food brands wants to make its presence felt, it reinvents itself by projecting it as The Bandra Project by Pizza Express

Deepinder Baath and Ramit Mittal
Deepinder Baath, Ramit Mittal and  Priyanka Chopra

It is a measure of how important Bandra is in Mumbai's scheme of things, that when one of the world's most famous food brands wants to make its presence felt, it reinvents itself by projecting it as The Bandra Project by Pizza Express.

Described by its spokesperson as an ever-evolving curation of experiences, and a welcoming hub for the community surrounding it, the newly-renovated restaurant aims to become the nerve centre of Mumbai's happening suburb. And this week, the opening of this ambitious project saw the likes of Priyanka Chopra attending the eatery promoted by Ramit Mittal, (Sunil Mittal's nephew).

The star, fresh from her Hollywood darshan, had come as a guest of her manager Mrunal, who was celebrating her birthday in one section of the bar and restaurant. Others who dropped by were leading restaurateurs like Zorawar Kalra, Riyaz Amlani and Rishad Nathani, along with well-known Mumbai personalities like Nikki Nayar, Sumeet Chopra and Gaurav Bhatia. And if it's Bandra, can Bollywood be far behind? Ranbir Kapoor, Zayed Khan and Vir Das also dropped in during the week, no doubt to smell the coffee.

Award-winning play
"It's about a highly dysfunctional family," says Lillette Dubey, of the staging of her acclaimed directorial venture, August: Osage County, this Sunday.

Lillette Dubey in August: Osage County
Lillette Dubey in August: Osage County

The recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama, it won seven Tony Awards, and made its Indian debut with due permissions from its writer in 2011 in Delhi.

"It's really a brilliantly scripted play," says Dubey, who essays the role of the enigmatic but difficult mother, played by Meryl Streep in the screen version of the play. "It has completed over 60 shows and travelled to Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata where it had full houses and a terrific response."

This is not the only riveting project up Dubey's sleeve. At the end of this month, her highly acclaimed play, Gauhar, on the life and times of India's first recording star, starring Rajeshwari Sachdev and Zila Khan will be staged at the newly-restored Royal Opera House. "It's going to be really special to stage it in that beautiful surrounding, which so evokes exactly the ambience which Gauhar inhabited herself," she says.

Premier watering hole
The Taj's Harbour Bar is easily one of the city's most iconic watering holes, a repository of many stories and secrets, and so when a leading men's magazine teamed up with it to host a bar night, it saw over 150 guests beat a path to its familiar environs.

Roohi, Chetan Jaikishen and Sapna PabbiRoohi, Chetan Jaikishen and Sapna Pabbi

Seen on the occasion were the likes of actors Harshvardhan Kapoor and Rahul Khanna, model Sheetal Malhar, SoBo denizens Roohi and Chetan Jaikishan, and Nikhil and Natasha Chib among others. GM Taljinder Singh and Che Kurien played gracious hosts and DJ Arsh spun his magic. And going by the sartorial style, it was a cool and colourful evening.

Of tacos and 'ooey-gooey' pies
Bandra-based interior decorator Meenu Juneja's prowess as the maker of scrumptious desserts is well known, and her client list boasts many a discerning suburban hostess.

Vidyun Juneja and Neha Gundecha
Vidyun Juneja and Neha Gundecha

Now, Juneja's newly relocated to India daughter-in-law, Vidyun Juneja, an alumnus of NYC's Institute of Culinary Education, will take the family legacy further by hosting her first ever Mexican food pop-up at a Juhu hotel.

It happened because her dear friend and Carter Road neighbour, Neha Gundecha, who owns the hotel, suggested it would be a good idea. Apparently, the two women are next-door neighbours and while their toddlers spend time on play dates, the mommies have decided to collaborate on work.

As for her take on Mumbai's Mexican cuisine offerings, Juneja says, "The city lacks authentic Mexican food. Just getting a decent guacamole or freshly tossed salsa is a Herculean task." She adds, "I'm guessing legitimacy of ingredients is the barrier."

For her pop-up, she says she's sticking to the basics: ocean-fresh ceviche, smoking fresh roadside mango salad, delicately-flavoured chipotle chicken tacos, buttery black beans, and lip-smacking barbecued pork tacos with her signature ooey-gooey chocolate salted caramel pie as a finale.

Baby talk
A interesting exchange transpired at the launch of Rujuta Diwekar's book on pregnancy this Saturday. Interesting, because it occurred between the dietician's most famous client, new mom Kareena Kapoor Khan, and a member of the audience.

Kareena Kapoor Khan
Kareena Kapoor Khan

"After your pregnancy what was the pressure on you to lose weight and appear in front of the same media who'd probably written 'oh my god she has gained a lot of weight?'" asked the interlocutor.

"I think every woman puts on a few kilos," responded Kareena. "I never felt any pressure, whether it was working out or going to the gym. If I am going to gym, its not about being size zero," said the lady who'd in fact introduced the term to the Indian populace not so long ago. "So many girls say how they cant leave their baby and go to the gym. I think that's the most stupid thing ever. Even the brain has hormones and if you feel right, then that's the most right thing there is!"

On her part, the dietician maintained that the real reason for her newly-launched book was in fact Kareena's newborn, Taimur.
Apparently, Diwekar had earlier set out to write a book for kids on nutrition, but the news of his arrival resulted in some change of plans.

Living the dream
We caught up with young actor Saiyami Kher, who is currently away in London and living every tennis fan's dream. The Mirzya actor, who is also a tennis player, is on top of the world having attended Wimbledon over the past couple of weeks, and the cherry on the top was meeting her idol, the 8 times Wimbledon winner, Roger Federer! "Moral of the story.

Saiyami Kher with Roger Federer
Saiyami Kher with Roger Federer

When you really want something, you get it! I met Federer and watched him win! Witnessed history. Watched centre court Federer 4th round, QFs and the Finals! Talk about living the dream!" She posted on social media, along with this photo of the two taken during the finals on Sunday night. Some girls have all the fun!

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