From Srinagar to Cape Town

Updated: Dec 08, 2016, 14:35 IST | Malavika Sangghvi |

On the tail wind of her writing success, Twinkle Khanna appears to have taken time off and flown off to Cape Town with husband Akshay Kumar and their two kids

Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna
Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna

On the tail wind of her writing success, Twinkle Khanna appears to have taken time off and flown off to Cape Town with husband Akshay Kumar and their two kids.

The house they are staying at is said to be a stunning six-bedroom villa and is perhaps just what the doctor has ordered for this hyperactive couple, who manages to make it all look so easy to their audiences.

Which reminds us, Cape Town lies many latitudes away from Srinagar, but could it occupy the same slot as Srinagar, London and more recently Dubai as the place where India’s rich and famous like to hang out? Jus’ Sayin’

Art and money
It’s a mix that never fails to work. The wealthy, and the company of creative types, who give their lives a certain frisson. From the drawing rooms of New York to the salons of Paris, the rich and famous have always sought the company of artists, poets, authors and other savants, to add color and zest to their otherwise drab lives.

Chaggan Bhujbal
Chaggan Bhujbal

In Mumbai, the ball was set rolling with the likes of Sunita Pitamber and later who loved to fraternise with the bright and beautiful, though the more public launch of the phenomena was at the annual jamborees hosted by a bright and sparkling city magazine in the eighties and then its successor – a bright and sparkling daily city supplement’s annual bashes. At these, the great showman Raj Kapoor would rub shoulders with Oddissi danseur Protima Bedi, Chaggan Bhujbal and Faredoon (Dodo) Bhujwala.

Subodh Gupta and Faredoon (Dodo) Bhujwala
Subodh Gupta and Faredoon (Dodo) Bhujwala

Now, the action appears to have shifted back to more private soirees again. Following on the heels of the soiree hosted in honour of designer Bibhu Mohapatra, word comes in that Ajay and Swati Piramal are hosting an evening for artist Subodh Gupta on the opening of his new exhibition Unstruck, with a premier contemporary art gallery, this weekend at the Famous Studios.

This confluence of art and money can give rise to piquant situations like when a banker’s wife, who hadn’t had time to read her EA’s briefing notes before her dinner, introduced the bewildered highly decorated old architect on her left at her sit down dinner as ‘the legendary Booker prize winning author’.

Will Sobo go pear-shaped?
Is BKC going to be the new Sobo? When the Oolong tea serving Sobo hostess friend popped the question recently over the phone, we were intrigued. “A whole lot of Sobo captains of industry have bought themselves sumptuous apartments there,” she said, adding, “Many of them were born and bred in South Mumbai. Could it be the city’s latest El Dorado?”

Don’t know what on earth you’re talking about, we said, distracted by a looming deadline. “Off !” she said, adding, “Don’t you know how it all started when this sharply dressed Sobo couple, who appears to be on the permanent high-speed hoverboards up the social ladder, have built their private penthouse castle and are displaying alarming manor-born airs and graces,” she said. So? “So that brings me to my question: Will there be other wannabes on an exodus to the distant suburbs?”

What do you think? we asked, knowing this was the cue she expected. “It might be that the flashier lot, or even a few others who like spacious residences could move there,” she said, adding, “But as they say a new area can be built by realtors but a neighbourhood takes decades to cultivate – the iconic old restaurants that hold a universe of memories, the crumbling bookshops where captains of industry were taken by their parents as school boys, the famous sea-facing promenades on whose benches legends have spent a night...”

We wondered if she had been sipping something more potent that morning than the decoction of her favourite leaf (like that of her favourite grape), and her next sentence more or less confirmed our suspicion. “It will take at least half a century for these new places to catch up with the granularity of Sobo,” she said, adding, “After all a river runs through it.” And then she hung up. Grapes of wrath?

You can’t make this up
The off screen lives of India’s funny men are not necessarily hilarious, but in our friend Kunal Vijayakar’s case, it appears to be serendipitously so. The bug-eyed Mumbaiker, who also doubles up as a travelling TV gourmand, seems to attract unabashed hilarity in his every day life, almost as humorous as his cameos on a weekly news show, where he sends up India’s holy cows with impunity.

Kunal Vijayakar (R) Kumar Ketkar
Kunal Vijayakar (R) Kumar Ketkar

This week the tables appear to have been turned on the comedian. In the panelist brochure of a recent city event, there is a description of Vijayakar as – ‘an Indian journalist and chief editor of Dainik Divya Marathi. He has also been the editor of Marathi newspaper Loksatta. He has worked for the Economic Times and the Maharashtra Times,’ – accompanied by the famous florid face, looking too cheerful to have ever been a journalist.

What gives? The Printer’s Devil! Vijayakar’s description is an error and has been reproduced from the erudite Kumar Ketkar’s bio, a notch above on the same page, which indeed answers to all of the above.

Now all that remains to be seen is whether Vijayakar, who has impersonated Lata Mangeshkar and Peter Mukerjee with equal elan in the past, bites the bait and appears as a renowned Marathi political commentator and editor on a future show!

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