The celebrity book launch

Sep 17, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Following on the heels of Aparna Piramal’s packed to the rafters book launch on Tuesday at the Four Seasons, and last month’s Twinkle Khanna’s star-studded release, the Sakshi Salve wall-to-wall celeb-packed and made up as a wedding hall event last evening has confirmed what we’ve always believed: the big ticket, star-studded book launch has come into its own

Following on the heels of Aparna Piramal's packed to the rafters book launch on Tuesday at the Four Seasons, and last month's Twinkle Khanna's star-studded release, the Sakshi Salve wall-to-wall celeb-packed and made up as a wedding hall event last evening has confirmed what we've always believed: the big ticket, star-studded book launch has come into its own.

Amitabh Bachchan launches Sakshi Salve’s book. Pic/twitter@thesakshisalve
Amitabh Bachchan launches Sakshi Salve's book. Pic/twitter@thesakshisalve

Consider who we spotted guffawing away to Suhel Seth's ribaldry with Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijayakar: Mukesh and Nita Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Adi Godrej, Praful Patel, Naresh Goyal and Raj Salgaonkar amongst others.

As for Salve herself, Bachchan described her as a banker, management consultant, fashionista and culinary expert. "You should be married," he teased, "You have all the qualifications to make a great wife!" Indeed.

Making Amish blush
Amongst the embarrassment of riches that comprised last evening's cornucopia of literary and chatterati events, the First Post Salon discussion between Sandip Roy and author Amish (he prefers not to use his surname Tripathi because of its caste implications), afforded enough material for thought to last many evenings.

Amish and Sandip Roy. Pic/Twitter
Amish and Sandip Roy. Pic/Twitter

Amish, who is articulate and speaks with a starling fluency, held forth on myth, history tradition and the freedom of expression, treating each question with thought and consideration. And though it was easy to lose oneself in his scholastic and detailed replies to Roy's questions, what came through was his ardent belief that we need to take pride and acquaint ourselves with our own traditions more.

"We are a severely insecure and unconfident people after British rule and we know more about Shakespeare than our own great writers" he said in his measured unruffled manner. But for all its earnestness, Roy who has insidiousness impishness managed to get the author to break in to laughter, and even on one occasion blush.

This occurred when Roy ribbed Amish about his fantasies of women warriors and how he'd cast several of his female protagonists in warrior roles, and enquired if that's how he'd met his own wife, Preety, who happened to be seated in the audience. That's when the best selling author turned a lighter shade of pink.

To her credit the feisty lady had a question of her own when the session was thrown open. "What was your initial impression of Amish?" she asked Roy, "and has it changed after the session?" And of course, Roy who was not expecting such an incisive query, for the first time in the evening –changed the subject.

A statesman and a patriarch
He's considered a statesman in the business community, a man who set an example for others, living a life of discipline and austerity, even as he was the patriarch of one of the country's top business groups, which is why news that nonagenarian BK Birla, father of the late Aditya and grandfather of Kumar Mangalam had been hospitalized at the Breach Candy for age related ailments, had been received with sadness.

B K Birla
B K Birla

Not any more. Word comes in that the Kolkata-based Birla has been discharged and his family and friends are heaving a sigh of relief. We wish him many years of good health.

Guinness World Record attempt
Robbert van de Corput, better known in the young and restless circles as DJ Hardwell, the young Dutch electronic and house music producer, who was voted the world's no.1 in 2013 on the annual DJ magazine's ranking list, is all set to perform in Mumbai this December.

DJ Hardwell. Pic/AFP
DJ Hardwell. Pic/AFP

The artist who has performed in India before, as part of the Sunburn festival, is returning to India this time as part of a charity initiate by his 'United We Are' Foundation, and in partnership with Sunburn inceptor Shalinder Singh's 'United Welfare Trust'. A source informs us that teen heartthrob artist will perform live, and will take no appearance fee for the show, and instead all earnings will be passed on to the two charities that will utilize the funds to help children's education in India.

Also we hear the show will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the 'World's Biggest Guest List', which means Hardwell will open his personal list for fans that can sign up online for a limited period and attend for free. The list is set to close on 30th September after which tickets will be charged, and on last count, over 50,000 fans had signed up. So if loud thumping head banging music floats your boat, this is one for a good cause!

Sarson ka saga no more?
Ever since her fans have been lapping up every word of Twinkle Khanna's book, the spotlight has also turned on her in-laws who she writes about with affectionate candor.

Surendra Hiranandani and Alka Hiranandani
Surendra Hiranandani and Alka Hiranandani

Khanna, who resides in the same building as Akshay's mother, his sister Alka and her husband, the builder Surendra Hiranandani, and other relatives has often used their presence to build up some of her pithy observations and humorous tropes.

Akshay and Twinkle Khanna
Akshay and Twinkle Khanna

So when news came in that Hiranandani has allegedly taken up NRI status in Singapore, we wondered if this would result in one less character for the author to write. We hope not. The antics of that big fat Punjabi family and their penchant for Makki di roti, is a Sarson da saga we can't get enough of.

International chefs on way out?
Our restaurant spy informs us that two separate Mumbai outposts of two equally acclaimed international celebrity chefs that had opened in the city a few years ago, with high-profile parties and a lot of hype, have failed to strike a chord with Mumbai's elite diners and could soon be on their way out.

Both restaurants located at five star properties opened with promise and the celebrity chefs even spent time in the city, training their apprentices and staff, during the kickoff period. But whispers are doing the rounds that both have failed to bring in the desired footfall, and the hotels are already looking for replacements.

The first, an Asian fine dining in SoBo, which has already closed its doors for 'renovation,' and the other, a Juhu located, European serving resto-bar which will soon be pulling down its shutters. We guess big names and Michelin stars don't count for much in Maximum City. Sad.

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