Micro-blogging Mumbai Boys

Jun 18, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Between them they straddle many decades of journalistic endeavour and so, when the man of the moment Rajdeep Sardesai took to Twitter, to vocalize his dismay at fellow Mumbai hack Minhaz Merchant, it created a bit of a story on the micro-blogging site

Between them they straddle many decades of journalistic endeavour and so, when the man of the moment Rajdeep Sardesai took to Twitter, to vocalize his dismay at fellow Mumbai hack Minhaz Merchant, it created a bit of a story on the micro-blogging site.

After all, both men, scribes of distinction, had grown up in South Mumbai attended the same school (Cathedral), and had worked at more or less the same establishments. The problem occurred when Merchant, after watching Sardesai's interview of Lalit Modi tweeted 'Last bit of @LalitKModi interview cut short because too many Cong names were being implicated.

Minhaz Merchant. Pic/TwitterRajdeep Sardesai
Minhaz Merchant. Pic/Twitter and Rajdeep Sardesai

The corrupt ecosystem strikes.' At which Sardesai fumed 'Pity senior journalists like @swapan55 and @minhazmerchant use Twitter to play cheap politics. Expect better from people of their stature' tagging both Swapan and Merchant to his protest. It took a while before the dust settled with Merchant's tweet.

'@Sardesairajdeep My 10am tweet praised interview on *second viewing* 4 hrs before your "brief outrage". Contextualizes earlier tweet. Chill.' And if they'd been in Mumbai they might even have gone for a makeup beer at the Bombay Gym!

Five star rating
Almost 20 years ago we'd had the pleasure of experiencing an extensive tour of France's wine regions together. And since then, we have been following with interest the London based Roopa Gulati's many food and wine related activities, leading amongst them her stints with the BBC and the Company of Cooks.

Roopa Gulati
Roopa Gulati

But it is in her role as restaurant reviewer for London's Time Out where she has been attracting notice for her insightful posts on eateries in what is arguably the world's best food destination. Which is why, when this week the much followed critic, chose to present Namita and Camellia Panjabi's newly relocated Chutney Mary, a whopping and unheard of five stars in her review, the repercussions were heard all over the foodie universe.

Namita Panjabi
Namita Panjabi

"My first ever five-star review in 14 years with Time Out goes to the all-new Chutney Mary," said the reviewer before going on to praise the eatery's 'dainty plate of chicken wings,' its 'soupy rendition of nihari,' its 'reworked jardaloo masala' and its 'lal maas' from Rajasthan. 'It's a place for entertaining business colleagues, for romancing over a candlelit meal, or even to keep mid-afternoon hunger pangs at bay with chilli cheese toast and a cold beer,' she wrote. Nice!

Advertising's chit of a girl
The story is something of a legend in Mumbai advertising lore: One day film maker Prahlad Kakkar, very much at the top of his game, strode in to a leading advertising agency of the day in his trademark cowboy hat and with his signature cigar in mouth - hopping mad.

Kavita Advani Prahlad Kakkar
Kavita Advani and Prahlad Kakkar

"Who the f@&% is Kavita Advani?" he thundered as all work stopped and executives peered up from their desks to witness what they surely imagined would be a massacre of one of their favourite colleagues from the film department, at the hands of the celebrated film maker.

"At which point this chit of a girl, not an inch higher than five foot three, stands up, walks up to me and says, 'I'm Kavita Advani, who the f@#$ are you?" Of course the two became instant friends from that moment on and both have carved a name for themselves in Mumbai's version of the Mad Men universe.

So it comes as no surprise that Advani is burning the midnight oil towards completing her tome on her advertising years and it will be titled Chit of a girl standing tall. 'The book is my advertising journey spanning over 35 years and having worked with stalwarts like Nargis Wadia, Sajjid Peerbhoy and Alyque Padamsee," she said. "The format and stories are in place.

I just need to put the manuscript together with photographs and the final draft." "Kavita was an important member of the Lintas team in the nineties and early 2000s. She built a professional films department, a critical function when TV advertising was becoming critical to the promotion of all brands," said Prem Mehta who headed the country's largest agency of its time after Alyque Padamsee retired.

"The purpose of the book is to encourage and explain to youngsters who wish to follow this career path, what the advantages and disadvantages of being in advertising are," said Advani. With lots of juicy stories about the craziness and creativity that often went hand in hand we hope.

Top of the heap
In a city obsessed with real estate, it comes as no surprise that those considered at the very top of the heap are people with vast property holdings in Mumbai. And of these, none are regarded with as much awe as this handful of bankers, heading rival banks and financial institutions that amongst themselves are said to own some of the most valuable real estate in the city.

"Each of them owns at least 5-7 apartments besides the ones they're residing in," said a mid level-banking executive the admiration barely concealed in his voice. "What's interesting is that many of these properties have been bought by them extending loans to property developers at competitive rates for apartments in exchange.

It's a win win situation, as realtors love displaying the names of prominent bankers on their developments, besides they get the funds to complete their projects," said the source. "And of course, everybody goes laughing all the way to the bank."

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