A star is born

Updated: Nov 14, 2016, 10:08 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

It would not be wrong to say that Ananya Birla has burst upon the scene like the fully formed star that she is

Shah Rukh Khan, Ananya Birla performs on ‘Livin’ the Life’ and Hrithik Roshan at the music launch
Shah Rukh Khan, Ananya Birla performs on ‘Livin’ the Life’ and Hrithik Roshan at the music launch

It would not be wrong to say that Ananya Birla has burst upon the scene like the fully formed star that she is. The 22-year-old chess champion, microfinancer, singer, e-commerce luxury tycoon and mental health advocate, daughter of Kumarmanglam Birla, has dazzled the public with a series of high profile rapid fire enterprises recently.

This Saturday she launched her debut international single ‘Livin’ the Life’ in a star spangled high-octane rollout at a prominent city hotel. Featuring illusionists, street dancers and even a sand artist, the long-tressed and rock star looking Birla made a sensational onstage entry suspended on a giant platform, confidently belting out her single, co-written by producer Jim Beanz, who has previously worked with global superstars Nelly Furtado and Cheryl Cole.

We spotted proud father Kumarmanglam along with Dino Morea, Madhu Sapre, Ujwala Raut, Shailendra Singh and Yash Birla among others at the after party, where electro house DJ Afrojack was slated to perform.

And even as we left around midnight, the party showed no signs of winding up and so we are told that when SRK himself dropped by around 3 am it was to a full house that he sportingly shook a leg, with the most interesting Birla scion to date.

Guess who came to tea
Why on earth did MNS chief Raj Thackeray drop in to Halakei, Ratan Tata’s elegant sea facing residence on Friday evening unannounced? The controversial Maharashtra chieftain is said to have arrived in his Mercedes in the evening accompanied only with a single police detail.

Ratan Tata and Raj Thackeray
Ratan Tata and Raj Thackeray

How do we know that the visit was unannounced? Well, a neighbour who resides in a tall tower across the road swears that Thackeray’s entourage was made to wait at the gate by Tata’s security personnel until he’d cleared the entry after checking with seniors.

What’s more, the visit hadn’t lasted too long either. In less than 20 minutes, we saw Mr Tata politely walking Mr Thackeray to the door. What gives?

When PG met PeeCee
Even as Priyanka Chopra’s international franchise reaches dizzying heights, the star appears to be no slouch when it comes to hanging out with old friends from back home, like her former mentor Pradeep Guha.

Priyanka Chopra and Pradeep Guha

Priyanka Chopra and Pradeep Guha

“It was so lovely to meet Priyanka in her uber cool 5,000 sq ft New York apartment!” said the man, who has been instrumental in helping many a beauty secure her first foothold into stardom.

Chopra (along with Sushmita Sen, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan and a host of others) had won international beauty titles when Guha managed the beauty pageant. In those days, the country’s top editors, beauty queens and tycoons called the marketing whiz by his initials ‘PG’.

So it’s not hard to guess why we refer to this picture, as ‘when PG met Pee Cee’. What’s more, the conversation of the two old friends must have been more than just PC!

With a little bit of help from friends
“It all started with my friend, Prakash Thadani, who would hold singing evenings at what was ‘not just Jazz by the Bay’ but where the musicians were professional and the singers amateur,” says renowned plastic surgeon Dr Anil Tibrewala, who is one of the leading lights in what is a growing trend in the city – singing parties.

Dr Anil Tibrewala (centre) at a singing party
Dr Anil Tibrewala (centre) at a singing party

“Doctors, industrialists and bureaucrats all come together at one or the others homes for these music sessions,” a Sobo grande dame had informed, adding, “Not only are these a great stress buster but a great mixer up of people from all walks of life as well.”

Dilip Piramal
Dilip Piramal

“I decided to take a page from this book, and start organising similar sessions with my doctor singer friends and professional musicians at home,” says Tibrewala, adding, “We would have doctors, businessmen and lawyers playing the guitar, keyboard and percussion.”

And it’s not only the Beatles and the Doors who find mention here. “Here, we have 3-4 amateur singers and a host of friends who enjoy Hindi music and can sing along.”

Others who have been bitten by the sing along bug are industrialist Dilip Piramal and wife Shalini and textile revivalists Meera and Sushil Kumar. Nice!

A confluence of new and old
A sense of new and old greeted us on Saturday evening when ‘Good Earth’ unveiled its collaborative capsule collection with Rohit Bal. The carrot-topped designer has been an old friend from our days in Delhi in the nineties, when he was already beginning to command a following for his unparalleled design sensibility, along with his wild child romanticism.

Rohit Bal at the launch ceremonyRohit Bal at the launch ceremony

The ‘newness’ came from the inventive choice of the party’s setting. Eschewing the tried and tested ‘Tasting Room’ on the first floor of the lifestyle store, the launch had been arranged on the ground floor amid the merchandise, which was ablaze with Bal’s creativity.

Kim Sharma was also spotted at the launch of the collection
Kim Sharma was also spotted at the launch of the collection 

The ‘old’ was because the master couturier’s long-tailed peacocks, multi-coloured lotuses and other magical flora and fauna inspired by his love for Persian and Mughal art, appeared to be an extension of the store’s familiar and much-loved vocabulary.

Sandeep Khosla, Devita Saraf, Arjun Khanna, Payal Khandwala, Kim Sharma and Geetu Hinduja were spotted admiring the wares and commending its creators.

Tsunami of selfies
By the time we got to Yauatcha, where jewellery designer Poonam Soni was celebrating her birthday, we had already missed actress Raveena Tandon’s early attendance, songstress Penaz Masani’s crooning happy birthday, food critic Rashmi Uday Singh’s entrance carrying a large champagne bottle balloon with a photograph of the birthday girl and even the cutting of the three-tiered chocolate cake.

Poonam Soni and Rashmi Uday SinghPoonam Soni and Rashmi Uday Singh

What we did reach in time for was the small tsunami of selfies that always erupts when a group of glamorous Mumbai girls get together and which have almost become a standard birthday ritual like cutting the cake, blowing out candles etc. What’s more, selfies have even replaced old rituals like return gifts. Every one receives a slew of charming pictures of themselves at the end!

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