Running into Diana Penty

Jul 17, 2012, 07:28 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Confession: Around a year ago, I thought the solution to every personal crisis in my life was marathon running. Just like that.

>> Confession: Around a year ago, I thought the solution to every personal crisis in my life was marathon running. Just like that. I woke up one morning and it came to me like a guided missile: I would run. Each morning and evening. O’er hill and dale. Through city smog and doggy poo. One half Forrest Gump, the other Franka Portente of Run Lola Run, I would be unstoppable. I should have lain down and allowed the feeling to pass but no, I searched for a trainer. Someone who would take this sodden clay and fashion it into a Diana, The Nymph. And so I found Running Rustom. I couldn’t have written him better. Peter Panuesque and profound as only a South Mumbai blue-blood Parsi mulga could be. Residing on a tree-lined cul-de-sac, in a deliciously sumptuous ‘30s apartment with porcelain tiles. A room in the apartment had been converted in to a zeitgeist gym. A faithful assistant stood at alert. A few state of the art machines gleamed alluringly at me as a steady stream of posh south Mumbai memsaabs wandered through the space.


Let it be said that it began well enough. I bought a new pair of very expensive footwear. I rearranged the rest of my life to fit in with my future running vocation. And I showed up. It was downhill from there. I discovered that I’d spent my whole life, for instance, running in absolute contradiction to what every authority recommends, heel toe (me) toe heel (rest of the world). That and a few other details prevented me from being Shirely Reilly. But there was one silver lining through all those torturous mornings. Besides, me on the treadmill was a girl who unleashed starbursts whenever she turned. All faunlike and willowy she was there each time working herself to the bone. “Meet Diana Penty,” Running Rustom said to me. “She’s just signed a movie.” The girl smiled shyly. Shrugged mournfully. Did the extra three km on the elliptical. Said her name was because of her Parsi dad and Christian mum. Lived in South Mumbai. Mentioned common friends. And then I gave up the idea of marathon running. But I am happy to report that even though I gave up running it certainly has helped someone: Take a bow Diana Penty, that was an awesome debut in Cocktail. Keep on runnin’!

Vintage Dimple
>>  What could be worse than seeing your classmates play characters on stage and screen that make them look way older than their age? Being a classmate of Dimple Kapadia’s back when we attended a convent school in Bandra before Raj Kapoor had signed her, I am naturally biased towards the actor.

Dimple Kapadia and Saif Ali Khan

But I am happy to say that in Cocktail she even surpasses her finely crafted cameo in Luck By Chance. Dimple is one of the finest and most underrated of actresses. And she has come in to her own. Her leonine face untouched by scalpel has taken on a more hard-earned beauty. But playing Saif Ali Khan’s mom? Nooooooooooooo!

Mall Stories
>>  Dear Managers of malls and multiplexes. A humble plea. Please expose your staff to international service practices. At a much hyped store for electronics, the very smartly turned out salesmen make customers run up and down the floor like Alice looking for the White Rabbit.

And then they all huddle between themselves and stare on to a computer screen. Outside your cinemas chaos prevails. No exit policy, no lines, no queues, and no information. And at your ice cream parlours, the ever-smiling salesperson manages to get every order wrong (but smiles so sweetly) that we eat it up any way. Please, do this by Friday. Yours sincerely, An aspiring mall rat.

A band of my own
>>  Many moons ago, when I had succumbed to a life long dream and formed my own band (Malavika and The Boys if you must know) I had met a bunch of professional rock musicians who kindly allowed me into their company. These were men from in and around Bandra, a talented bunch of professionals, who had been on the music scene for decades playing in all the good bands and nightclubs. Each week we’d meet to jam.

Clyde Crasto (right)

It was one of the funnest times I’ve had. And musicians are the coolest nicest people to hang out with. I was reminded of this when I received an invitation from one of those musicians Clyde Crasto whose band Acronym will be performing live on Wednesday, July 18, 9 pm at Cool Chef Cafe, Worli Sea Face. An interior designer by profession, Clyde is the son of Rocky Crasto and followed his father into public life and is the media head of the NCP in Mumbai.

And what’s his take on the music scene today? “It’s looking up,” he says. “Showing great improvement over the years, with more bands doing original.” And will the NCP rein in Dhoble? Next Question.

Jackie Shroff, a YouTube star
>>  If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it now! The 1998 outtakes from Jackie Shroff’s pulse polio shoot have gone viral. In it an increasingly irritated and very dishy looking Jackie Shroff struggles with his commentary written in a needlessly pedantic script. He has no prompter, the syntax is convoluted and it’s a hot day.


The good-natured tapori expletives that stream out of the star’s mouth are hard to be believed! And yet through it all you admire the star.  Doing something pro-bono, never giving up, and laughing at his goof-ups. Jackie is well known in Bollywood to be one of the finest human beings in its firmament. Kind, unpretentious and fun. The video amply confirms this. 

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