Modi comes to town!

Oct 27, 2014, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Can there be any thing more high-powered than a scenario which has Aamir Khan, SRK, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mukesh and Nita Ambani, and Narendra Modi seated a few feet away from each other in the same room?

Can there be any thing more high-powered than a scenario which has Aamir Khan, SRK, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mukesh and Nita Ambani, and Narendra Modi seated a few feet away from each other in the same room?

After a series of events featuring megastars, (the Kabaddi league matches, ISL, the HNY launch, Aamir Khan and Abhishek Bachchan’s Diwali party) Narendra Modi’s inauguration of the Reliance Hospital in Girgaon kinda outdid them all. It doesn’t get bigger than this unless, next time you throw in a couple of IT superstars like Bill and Mark, and Jeff and Satya...

Narendra Modi with Mukesh and Nita Ambani at the inauguration. PIC/PTI
Narendra Modi with Mukesh and Nita Ambani at the inauguration. PIC/PTI

But seriously, folks, the collective star power on Saturday night when PM Modi inaugurated the revamped 345-bed, multi-specialty tertiary care hospital has rarely been witnessed.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

(Incidentally clever readers had picked up the reference to Modi’s attendance as Chief Guest in our October 15 column in which we’d written: ‘And now word comes in that the hospital will be inaugurated at the end of the month by one who is in the top echelons of the government’ -more or less breaking the story)

Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan

But no sooner had the event concluded than the city occupied itself reading the tealeaves. Comments went from, ‘Didn’t know he knew Poonam Sinha and Aveek Sarkar that well,’ to ‘But where was Uddhav Thackeray?’ to ‘Is Anu Malik angling for a political career?’ But as we said before: it doesn’t get bigger than this!

Miss Indias forever
Feast your eyes on this epic pic of Naina Balsaver Ahmad and Nafisa Ali Sodhi, Miss India Femina and Miss India Eve’s Weekly in the year 1976. In those days of arch rivalry, Femina used to send their Miss India winners to compete in the Miss Universe pageant and Eve’s Weekly would send theirs to the Miss World.

Naina Balsaver and Nafisa Ali
Naina Balsaver and Nafisa Ali

These two Delhi-based scrumptious ladies met last week at Bina Ramani’s dinner for power gals for visiting Jacqueline Lundquist. “The 2 Miss INDIAS of the same year - one Femina, one Eve’s Weekly together after a few years! Now grandma Indias!” quipped Balsaver a Mumbai girl until she married Congressman Akbar (Dumpy) Ahmed.

Incidentally, in 1976, Naina as Femina Miss India had turned down going to the Miss Universe pageant. So, in what must have been the result of some pretty fraught back room confabulation and much oestrogen expending - Nafisa, the Eve’s Weekly winner went instead!

SoBo savoir-faire
Poor Renee Zellweger, ever since her striking and enigmatic appearance at the ELLE Women in Hollywood Awards on October in Beverly Hills last week, she has become the subject of much viral and media speculation.

Renee Zellweger at 2010 Berlin Film Festival. Pic/Getty Images Renee Zellweger at the recent ELLE Awards
Renee Zellweger at 2010 Berlin Film Festival and Renee Zellweger at the recent ELLE Awards. Pics/Getty Images

No sooner had the first wave of ‘before and after’ and ‘spot the difference’ responses had died down, another more pious and therefore more offensive wave of ‘Leave her alone guys, she has a right to her own face’ swept through the global chatterati.

We haven’t checked last, but it seemed like last there was a ‘leave her alone guys, but spot the difference while you do it’ wave threatening to break.

Of course, SoBokers will tell you that what Ms Zellweger is experiencing is only a replay of what happened around a year ago in Mumbai, when a very pretty banker’s wife, became not only prettier but looked completely like someone else.

While most who realised what had happened were delighted by this wonder, the lady in question, along with her significant other, displayed admirable sophistication by not being offended by the pleasant blank stares she was met with. “Meet my wife,” the suave gent would say, reintroducing her to people they’d known for Yonkers!

Forgive us for pointing out, but the international furore around Zellweger appears to lack certain savoir-faire in comparison to Mumbai shoshaitys Na?

With friends like these
Oh dear. The pretty lady, on whose behalf we had reported that enough unasked worthies on the Mumbai grapevine were mounting an alimony battle by satellite, appears to have found herself a far more constructive option. It appears that the graceful and well-regarded wife of a leading industrialist has been given the task of playing mediator between the husband and wife.

Meanwhile, from stories emanating from their circles it appears that this is not the only battle waged by the pretty lady, and another more alarming one is brewing, one that insiders say is history repeating itself.

Cruise liner of a screening
It’s been one of SoBo’s most loved institutions-when leading builders Meena and Suresh Raheja throw open the doors of their hospitability and host a screening of a big commercial hit film.

Ashish Raheja Meena Raheja
Ashish Raheja and Meena Raheja

With white-gloved waiters serving non-stop food and drinks, personalised attention by all members of the Raheja family including the dapper Ashish, and a SoBo crowd of A-listers, these events tick all the boxes as far as R&R go.

Devieka Bhojwani Arun Nanda
Devieka Bhojwani and Arun Nanda

And this Friday, when the Rahejas chose to take every screen at the Metro for a red carpet screening of HNY on the day of its commercial release, naturally it was a big-ticket attendance. We spotted KKR head honcho, the dashing Sanjay Nayar, with his equally celebrated wife Falguni, founder of, exec director of Mahindra, Arun Nanda with wife Neeru, our very own sister Devieka Bhojwani soon to return to theatre with the musical, Alyque Padamsee’s magnificent, Jesus Christ Superstar (you heard it here first!) big bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and design doyenne Kavita Singh amongst many of the assembled movers and shakers.

With great popcorn, SRK’s peerless gritty eight-pack abs on display and a Diwali phataka of a film, it was just another day in Paradise aka SoBo!

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