The brilliant Mr Bhabha

Jan 15, 2014, 10:38 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

He's part of that sexy circle of alpha male intellectual giants bequeathed by SoBo to the rest of the world, you know the one that we are referring to-comprising thinking women's pin-ups like Salman Rushdie, Zubin Mehta and Anish Kapoor

>> He’s part of that sexy circle of alpha male intellectual giants bequeathed by SoBo to the rest of the world, you know the one that we are referring to-comprising thinking women’s pin-ups like Salman Rushdie, Zubin Mehta and Anish Kapoor.

Homi K Bhabha

And this Thursday, when Homi K Bhabha, the Anne F Rothenberg professor of the humanities at Harvard University delivers the 16th Vasant J Sheth Memorial Lecture at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, you can be sure that along with some of the city’s leading lights, the hall will be packed with a sizeable number of female fans whose interest will not be restricted to the purely academic.

Zubin Mehta

The memorial lectures curated with great passion by the late pioneering shipping tycoon’s wife Asha and daughter Ketu, aim to stimulate public awareness on various issues.

Previous speakers have included a diplomat, a policy maker, an economist, a historian, a legal expert, the world’s greatest cold-water long-distance swimmer, a distinguished Harvard professor of oceanic history and last year featured an erudite Harvard professor who couldn’t stop singing Robindra sangeet!

Salman Rushdie

What will Bhabha do, to up the ante? According to Ketu, Bhabha’s talk ‘Treading water: reflections on an intemperate medium’ is basically about great art and the sea.’ “He read the opening lines to me,” she said, “Brilliant and funny!” We shall be there.

Get well soon, Valerie
>> A day after we wrote about French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler’s visit to Mumbai and the lunch in her honour organised by Chhaya Momaya for her to meet with a few of Mumbai’s women she was admitted to hospital.

And whereas we can safely rule out the connection between the two (an afternoon with the city’s ladies who lunch cannot be that daunting) neither are we so sure that her hospitalisation was necessitated due to reports in the media of President Francois Hollande’s alleged affair with another woman.

Chhaya Momaya and Valerie Trierweiler

The French are known to be partial to matters of the heart but they are also legendary for their savoir-faire.

We prefer to eschew dramatic extrapolations of this nature and go by her office’s explanation that her hospital stint was required “for rest and some tests”.
What’s more Momaya says that Trierweiler’s visit is still on the cards, as far as she’s concerned.

“I haven't heard anything to the contrary from the Élysée Palace,” said the Mumbai image consultant. “There will be a lunch and the same evening a gala dinner to raise awareness for the Hunger Project which the First Lady is very committed to.”

Viva Valerie!

Smiling chinars
>> Three tangentially Kashmir related bits of media news: the first is that Booker prize winning novelist Arundhati Roy’s much awaited second novel on Kashmir should be out soon, perhaps, this year and given her views on the subject, will be sure to create a stir.

Arundhati Roy and Basharat Peer

The second concerns the Kashmiri author and journalist Basharat Peer and his hush trip to Mumbai to work on a film script (which may or may not be about the Valley); and the third that eminent Indian journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who headed the group of three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, is on the editorial board of leading international news portal, The Huffington Post’s soon to be launched new online publication THEWORLDPOST.

At last, the chinar trees might smile.

Rocking the vote?
>> The things that can transpire over dinner. Saturday night saw us speaking to a young enthusiastic supporter of the Aam Admi Party, someone actively involved in the campaign for the 2014 elections. Who would they field in South Mumbai against Milind Deora?

“Well,” said the young man, “The obvious choice would be Meera Sanyal who had contested as an independent candidate in the 2009 and lost and who has now joined the Aam Admi Party, but there is a feeling that though she has great support amongst the middle classes — she will not be able to swing the slum and young vote,” said the young man.

Milind Deora and Vishal Dadlani

“For that we need some one young, dynamic, out of the box, someone who can galvanise people.”

And that’s when a stately lady, sipping a very fine Bordeaux came up with the name of activist rocker, Bollywood musician and avowed Aam Admi supporter Vishal Dadlani.

So that evening when we got home we lobbed the idea to Dadlani himself. “I've thought about it, quite seriously,” said the charismatic Pentagrammer.

“Honestly, though, I couldn’t suggest a worse candidate! I’m a rock and roller, with a rock and roller’s past and present. You know what I mean? Never thought I’d even consider it, but with these guys? Perhaps,” he said.

But in the event of a great stand-off between rockers Deora and Dadlani that electrifies the electorate gentle reader, remember it can all be traced back to a genteel after dinner conversation one Saturday evening.

The things that transpire over good Bordeaux!

Old money, new woes
>> He’s low key and private and hails from one of Mumbai’s old money clans. She’s high-profile and a media maven. They’ve been living together for a while now, regardless of the fact that they are married to other people.

“That’s not the point of the story though,” says our source, “The point is that ever since he signed over all his assets and companies to his son, he finds that he’s been rendered almost a pauper — and can hardly make ends meet. It’s a scene out of Baghban,” says our source referring to the BR Chopra film about senior citizens mistreated by their progeny.

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