What went on at Farah Khan's bash for Ed Sheeran?
What's it like walking out of the loo at Farah Khan's duplex penthouse, only to find Ed Sheeran outside, accompanied by Khan, patiently waiting his turn to go in, while Khan's triplets Diva, Anya and Czar look on bemusedly?
What's it like walking out of the loo at Farah Khan's duplex penthouse, only to find Ed Sheeran outside, accompanied by Khan, patiently waiting his turn to go in, while Khan's triplets Diva, Anya and Czar look on bemusedly? Sheeran, all five foot five of him in crumpled capris and sandals, and his characteristic cuddly grin, had arrived a few minutes after us for the party in his honour and was as delightful, unassuming, casual, and approachable as he is known to be.
Akash Ambani, Anant Ambani and Aarav Kumar
And so, when we went upstairs to Farah's terrace, where some of Bollywood's best and brightest were awaiting the mega musician's arrival, unlike other such bashes, where the air is rife with the crackle of high-tension energy and ego, and the temperature rises with every new star's entry, with Sheeran's arrival, the exact opposite happened: everybody relaxed.
The columnist with Ed Sheeran
Bopping around happily on the dance floor, hugging singer and old friend Shaan excitedly and commending him on his lithe new look, fetching his own drinks from the bar, and happily posing for selfies with anyone who asked, Sheeran put everyone at ease. Around him Sonali Bendre, Aaditya Thackeray, Vishal Dadlani, Sikander Kher, Karan Johar, Malaika Arora, Sushant Singh Rajput, Sara Ali Khan and Jhanvi Kapoor and the big boys of digital and electronic media Raj Nayak and Sameer Nair, ebbed and flowed (we missed SRK, Katrina Kaif, Shahid Kapur and Abhishek Bachchan's entry though).
At some stage, while we were there, Sheeran got on the floor to shake a leg to some bhangra playing in the background. "He had specially requested that we play Bollywood and bhangra and NOT his music," informed Khan. "Your music reminds us of the all time great song writers Carole King and James Taylor. Songs that will last over time and become anthems for their generation," we said to him. "Thanks. That's a big compliment," he said with genuine delight at hearing such vintage names introduced in the assembled zeitgeist.
While going down in the elevator, we saw the special cake being carried into the building's foyer, which Khan had ordered for her singer pal (they were old pals having met through Khan's cousin, a lawyer who handled the singer's portfolio many years ago), it was in the shape of a simple acoustic guitar. The allusion to King and Taylor had not been so off the mark. And so, on the long drive back home, we listened to Sheeran's tracks, interspersed with all time classics of King and Taylor like "You've got a friend".
Heavy duty attendance
Some of the country's biggest names were in attendance for the release of Minhaz Merchant's biography 'The Nationalist' of L&T's numero uno Anil Naik this Saturday afternoon.
A M Naik, Mukesh Ambani and Devendra Fadnavis at the launch. Pic/Atul Kamble
From heavy duty industrialists Mukesh Ambani, Kumarmangalam Birla, Subhash Chandra Goel, Ashok Hinduja, and banker statesmen Uday Kotak, Chanda Kochhar, and Deepak Parekh, to government authorities, namely CM Devendra Fadnavis, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, they had all gathered to sing praises of the charismatic leader who had dedicated his over five decades to building the company into a world leader in its field.
Ambani, who in the past had crossed swords with Naik when Reliance had mounted a hostile bid for it many decades ago, described the chairman as "the original 'Make in India' man", someone who he had collaborated with closely on major projects over the last 35 years and who had never let him down, rising up to each and every challenge along the way. "After all, we are both proud banias," said Ambani affectionately, to much laughter. "But I am a Brahmin!" shot Naik back, to even more laughter.
Friday evening saw us drop in at Piramal Aranya, Anand Piramal's state-of-the-art new development of two under-construction tall and sleek towers at Byculla, overlooking Mumbai's Botanical Gardens adjacent to the wonderfully restored Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. Arriving first at the development's 'Experience Centre,' designed as an open to public space to display works of Indian art curated by the Piramal Museum of Art, Swati Piramal proudly pointed out the attention to detail that her son had displayed.
Pirojsha Godrej, Jeh Wadia and Ness Wadia
"The entire development is a paean to the spirit of Byculla," she said. "This area boasts of some of the city's most graceful structures and epitomizes a gentler, more graceful way of living," she said before taking us up to the two show flats that had been prepared as a sampler for interested parties. "We aspire to bring world-class lifestyles and set new standards for architectural design, quality and safety in the industry," said Anand, about his new venture.
Incidentally, Anand, who as head of Piramal Realty has 10 million square feet of land under development in areas such as Kurla, Thane, Worli and Byculla joins a small clutch of his contemporaries like Pirojsha Godrej and the Wadia brothers, Ness and Jeh, (though in the latter's case their father Nusli is reported to have resumed control of the realty division), Gen Next of some of the biggest names in Indian industry in realty. If Mumbai's streets are paved with gold, it is these princes who are mining it for a city whose appetite for growth never stops.
The anthropology of the alpha male
At a recent gathering of big-ticket business and financial names in the city, an observer reported on anthropological insights into the country's most rarified animals: The Alpha Male.
Firstly, attendance we are told was strictly on a late come, late show basis, which means the later you came, the bigger your market cap was. Secondly, the activity in the first two rows was a lesson in corporate skullduggery as sworn rivals, bitter enemies, and those who have crossed swords in bloody corporate battles earlier, went out of their way to hug and praise each other.
Thirdly, when it comes to fawning in front of business peers and politicians, even the best and brightest do not hold back. And lastly, in all this schmoozing, the behaviour of two men, both Mumbai born and bred billionaires who coincidentally attended the same college, one a professional who single-handedly built a world class bank, and the other who inherited one of the country's most respected business conglomerates at a young age, stood out.
Unlike their peers who darted around fawning over the high and mighty, these two sat in dignity, heads held high, watching the tamasha, their faces clearly saying 'Tch Tch'.
The call of the wild
"It's the first premium wine offering from Karnataka that Sula Vineyards has introduced," said Cecilia Oldne about its latest offering Kadu, described as India's first 'Wine for a Cause'. "Karnataka is home to the most wild tigers on the planet in its many reserves. But the majestic beast is endangered. With each bottle sold, the company will contribute towards tiger conservation within Karnataka," she said.
But that was not the only news Oldne had to give. After a month-long hectic four-city Kadu rollout, the attractive weekend football enthusiast said that she was also on the verge of a new career move.
"It's been 10 years with Sula, and though it will always be an intrinsic part of my DNA, the time has come to leave my comfort zone and branch out on my own. It will be in Mumbai," said this avid Mumbai lover, "and it will be in the sphere of wine," she added. Kadu, incidentally, we are informed, means 'wild' in Kannada. Apt.
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