Remember Bollywood actress Rajashree? Her presence went unnoticed at an event in Mumbai

Oct 31, 2017, 17:43 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

The widely reported premiere of Salaam Noni Appa at the Royal Opera House on Saturday evening saw more than its fair share of Bollywood biggies in attendance. Yet, the presence of one legendary and enigmatic Bollywood star went unnoticed

The widely reported premiere of Salaam Noni Appa at the Royal Opera House on Saturday evening saw more than its fair share of Bollywood biggies in attendance. Yet, the presence of one legendary and enigmatic Bollywood star went unnoticed.

Rajshree in her heyday
Rajshree in her heyday

Yes, along with the likes of Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Twinkle Khanna and Dimple Kapadia, was former actress Rajshree, daughter of the acclaimed director V Shantaram, whose renunciation of Bollywood in favour of love at the height of her career had created such an uproar back in the day.

A top actress of her time, Rajshree had met her future husband, then student, Greg Chapman while shooting in America for Raj Kapoor's 'Around the World,' and had given up her career despite all pressure, resulting in considerable controversy and heart burn. (The equivalent would be if a Priyanka or a Deepika were to do the same today).

Since that time, the former star had been living happily with Chapman in LA, running a successful custom clothing business. On Saturday night, not attracting any attention to herself, she sat patiently in the auditorium's last row, awaiting the (late) entry of the industry's current crop of stars that were naturally led to the front of the auditorium. We suppose given her attitude to stardom, she hardly must have cared.

Of dads and their kids
This picture featuring three couples and six well-heeled SoBo denizens, namely Tina and Anil Ambani, Supriya and Sadanand Sule, and Rima and Manoj Jain, is more than just a snap of close friends caught at a recent event.

Manoj Jain, Anil Ambani, Supriya Sule, Rima Jain, Tina Ambani, Sadanand Sule
Manoj Jain, Anil Ambani, Supriya Sule, Rima Jain, Tina Ambani, Sadanand Sule

Friends, the six are for sure, and have been for a while. What is fascinating though, is that the photograph also recalls three of the country's most iconic personalities, namely industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, film personality Raj Kapoor, and NCP leader and politician Sharad Pawar, whose progeny are in the picture.

Dhirubhai  Ambani, Sharad Pawar and  Raj Kapoor
Dhirubhai  Ambani, Sharad Pawar and  Raj Kapoor

Each of the three men occupy prime positions in the country's contemporary history, in industry, film and politics, having carved a place for themselves in the public imagination through their achievements. That their progeny are friends is a serendipitous coincidence and a testimony to the country's power structures. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Seventy and loving it
Last week, Delhi saw the book cover launch of Shobhaa De's newest, 'Seventy and to hell with it,' and a stirring conversation moderated by TV presenter Sonia Singh between the author and actress Vidya Balan, charmingly tiled 'Zara Sa Jhoom Le'.

Shobhaa De, Milee Ashwarya and Vidya Balan
Shobhaa De, Milee Ashwarya and Vidya Balan

"They spoke about everything. Feminism, growing older, the casting couch, Internet trolls, politics," said Milee Ashwarya, whose imprint had hosted the event as part of its annual book fest. "The book will be launched later this year, this was a small taste of it," she said. As was first reported on this page, De's book is a paean to her turning 70 (like the nation) and the rip-roaring ride it's been.

De's book
De's book

After the session, we are informed, a party of 10 which included De, Balan, Ashwarya and Baroness Gail Rebuck, Chairperson Penguin Random House UK, dined at a five-star, where undoubtedly, the conversation must have been as tart as the sauce the eatery gets its name from.

Big-ticket wedding
It is being looked forward to as one of the season's big ticket occasions, when Tahira Karanjawala, the pretty daughter of leading legal eagles Manik Tarkunde Karanjawala and Raian Karanjawala marries Jatin Mongia next month.

Raian Karanjawala, Derek O Brien, the bride to be, Tahira, and advocate Sanjiv Sen
Raian Karanjawala, Derek O Brien, the bride to be, Tahira, and advocate Sanjiv Sen

The Karanjawalas are prominent members of Delhi's social and intellectual life, counting amongst their circle of friends the city's best and brightest, and the wedding is sure to attract a galaxy of names.

To kick off the celebrations, the first party was hosted this weekend by the couple's close friends Shyam and Shobhana Bhartia, and saw the likes of West Bengal politician Derek O' Brien, advocate Sanjiv Sen and maestro Amjad Ali Khan in attendance.

Planet Hollywood and its India plans
For many years now, Mumbai has been awaiting the arrival of Planet Hollywood, that monster franchise launched by the planet's biggest musclemen like Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991.

Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger

A few years ago, the tenants of a sea-facing building adjoining the Taj hotel in Colaba had been evicted on notice that the structure would house the F&B and merchandise franchise, but nothing came of it.

Now, word comes in that one of the brand's top executives, Alex Garland, (MD Worldwide Development), is travelling to India early next week to participate in what is described as 'Asia's largest Franchising & Retail event' at Pragati Maidan, where more than a 100 international brands will be housed.

"PH is actively looking for a partner for a joint venture in India" says a source, "as they are planning to enter the country market soon." Will Messrs Willis, Stallone and Schwarzenegger have a presence in India soon? Watch this space.

Their arts in the right place
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when artists are called upon to donate canvasses for good causes, they generally choose their least stunning.

Amrita Shergill
Amrita Shergill

This is because though most artists have their hearts in the right place, they too have to think of their own interests and pay their monthly bills and naturally hold on to those works, which will bring in big moolah. Which is why true blue serious collectors steer clear of charity auctions.

Vivan Sundaram
Vivan Sundaram

However, the same cannot be said for today's Saffron Art auction, organised as a fundraiser for the next Kochi Biennale. "Artists have donated their best works," says an art insider, "as this time it is for a cause for and by them."

Which explains why not one, but two canvasses, albeit of a relatively smaller size, of the iconic late Amrita Shergill will come up for sale. Her nephew, artist Vivan Sundaram is said to have parted with them in support of the biennale.
Who will snap up the canvasses of the much sought after and hardly ever on sale Shergill? We should know by the end of day.

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