Virat, Anushka and some sushi

Updated: Dec 09, 2016, 08:29 IST | Malavika Sangghvi |

What is it with famous cricketers and equally famous Bollywood stars – we’ve always wondered. Over the years, these two powerful groupings have always resulted in perfect couplings

Anushka and Virat
Anushka and Virat

What is it with famous cricketers and equally famous Bollywood stars – we’ve always wondered. Over the years, these two powerful groupings have always resulted in perfect couplings.

From the time of the dashing Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan (Tiger) Pataudi’s marriage to the beauteous Sharmila (Rinku) Tagore, to the more recent Azhar and Sangeeta, and Shane Warne and Liz Hurley, and of course this season’s ‘It’ couple: Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, there’s a certain glamour that comes with the territory.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila TagoreMansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore

And earlier this week, India’s Test cricket captain, and one of its most successful Bolly actresses were spotted together at a South Mumbai five-star hotel’s Japanese restaurant, just back from Goa, where they celebrated Yuvraj Singh’s nuptials. “Virat and Anushka looked quite stunning while having a quiet Japanese lunch,” says a fellow diner at the eatery.

“As is known, the Indian team is staying at the hotel for the ongoing the India vs England test series at the Wankhede stadium, and naturally Virat is staying with his teammates, but he took some time out for lunch as Anushka had come to visit. They were quite inseparable,” informs the guest who spotted the couple enjoying their sushi.

A sparkling new address
It’s finally happening: the doors of the much awaited, long under construction, JK House, Gautam and Nawaz Singhania’s dream home are finally being thrown open for what looks like a housewarming this weekend.

Gautam and Nawaz Singhania
Gautam and Nawaz Singhania

A bright and attractive card inviting friends for cocktails and dinner, (‘fine dining and joyful conversations’) has been sent out, and given the bon vivant industrialist’s reputation for living life king size, the city is looking forward to some spectacular evenings henceforth.

“Singhania, who had earned a reputation for hosting some of the city’s most memorable parties was hard put these past few years as his residence was under construction, and he’d had to move out to a rented apartment in the interim.

Now, with his all new living digs spread over an entire sea-facing building at Breach Candy, the scene is once more set for some high-octane action,” says a source. Incidentally, the structure also houses the family’s collection of vintage clocks and priceless gems.

The sisterhood
When we chanced upon not one, not two, but all three of the vivacious Devidayal sisters last weekend, we could not help requesting a portrait.

Namita, Gauri, Rachana Devidayal. Pic/Malavika Sangghvi
Namita, Gauri, Rachana Devidayal. Pic/Malavika Sangghvi

After all, how often would we be in the company of eldest sis, the writer-singer and Vedanta follower Namita Devidayal, (married to blues musician Pratish Motwane), middle sister Rachana Shah, graphic artist who divides her time between Morocco, London and Mumbai (married to travel writer Tahir Shah), and little sis Gauri Devidayal (married to entrepreneur Jay Yusuf) who started out as a chartered accountant and now runs two of Mumbai’s most successful F&B outlets.

“We are really quite different from one another,” mused Namita all the way from Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganga. “We adore one another, but also keep a safe distance,” she said yesterday on the eve of her birthday. Interestingly, sister Gauri’s janam din was yesterday! (Rachana’s is in August)

“The most fun is a weekly ‘brrakfast’ at my parents’ place where each of us takes turns bullying and being bullied,” she said, adding wryly, “You can say that Gauri has raised our social equity immensely by catering to the posh dining set.”

RIP Chotu
The first time we met industrialist Chotu Merchant (1936-2016) who passed away last week, had been way back in the late seventies, when he and his glamorous thespian wife Sabira Merchant, had launched Mumbai’s answer to the iconic New York discotheque Studio 54: the city’s own Studio 29 in a hotel on Marine Drive.

Chotu and Sabira Merchant
Chotu and Sabira Merchant

Like it’s inspiration, 29 had soon become the hottest night spot in town, attracting the who’s who each night, who’d queue up outside its doors. What had struck us about the Merchants even then was their innate grace, charm and the utter devotion they had for each other – not a common feature within the circles they moved in.

For all their international jet setting, Sabira and Chotu had a very deep and caring side, both individually and together. It was Sabira who, in between her busy schedule of running one of the most elegant homes in SoBo, right down to the freshly cut flowers in the vases and the sparkling crystal ware, would be the first to make time to take an ailing friend to a doctor; like it would be Chotu, a scion of one of the city’s wealthy and venerable old Muslim clans, who would go the last mile to fulfill every last wish his family (especially his darling wife) ever expressed.

All this had made them one of the city’s more popular couples. Which is why, the exquisite All Saints Church on Malabar Hill was bursting at the seams during Wednesday evening’s service in honour of Chotu. Amidst moving hymns and heart tugging speeches, the late industrialist’s family and friends recalled his endearingly memorable qualities.

And it struck us as we heard the hymns and psalms and saw the many familiar heads of Mumbaikars bent in sadness and prayer, that we were at a church service for a Muslim industrialist, in a primarily Gujarati part of the city, attended by people from every faith. That is the Mumbai we love so dearly, we thought, and that is the Mumbai worth fighting for. RIP Chotu, they don’t make them like you any more.

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