His name has two Ks, the rest-o-kababs we’re connecting at in Khar has one K. That makes helluva lot of Ks. We could make a movie titled Kunal Kapoor Khar ke Khyber mein Kabab Khaana Chahta Hai.
Numerological chances are that we’d make a killing at the kash kounters. But far more urgent culinary matters are on the menu. I’ve supped and burped through my infancy and more at the Kala Ghoda Khyber; this is the Khar branch we’ve targeted for lunch. Aur khaana to milne ka bahana hota hai. I’ve got that line from lyricist Sameer. Gulzar would have probably said geeli geeli mitti, chalo chappa chappa chutney ki dhoop.
Thinking of Gul-e-Gulzar, I check in at the reception desk. Oddly I’m mistaken for G, must be my weekend stubble, kadak white kurta, dreamy visage and my habit of quizzing, “Janaab to aaj special kya hai?” to restaurant stewards. I reveal my identity. “But you look so much like Gulzar saab,” the steward weeps as if he’d expected Aishwarya Rai and got Rakhi Sawant.
Two flights up a glass lift, then, and I’m seated in a huge cinemascope space by the bay window, looking upon a street out of silent cinema. The ambience is relaxed, the colour schemes of the drapes are trendily uncoordinated, citrus orange clashing with military olive.
The service is attentive, I’m left with a drink menu which I ignore (can’t be woozy schwoozy on duty) and then, like a municipal inspector I peruse the food menu which is certainly thicker than a Dan Brown novel.
Not a foodie
All the Mughlai tongue ticklers are here: a rann of lamb (to burp for), tandoori fish cubes, dopiaza and josh. That’s when my fellow-luncher, the Rogan de Basanti, arrives, fresher than bakery bread, his face highlighted by dimples you could roll marbles in. He’s vegetarian although he comes from a pukka Punjabi family, and he’s not a foodie.
We might as well go on a daylong fast. For alternate nutrition, we talk of his career curry. He’s selective, insists he doesn’t want to make hay while the Sooraj Barjatyas shine, and is as chilled out as a happy penguin. Tell me how to destress, I beg. He smiles benignly, saying there’s nothing to it, it’s all in your mind. Enlightening.
I learn that Kunal Kapoor loves to write. He reveals that he’s been penning a script with a friend. More details, taboo. Talking about taboos, he asks me how Tabu is, his heroine from Meenaxi:Tale of Three Cities. I say fine, fine, fine, not quite sure if she is fine fine fine.
Then I attack the pomfret tandoor (must-try), black daal (doesn’t get better than this) and butter naans (crrrrrunch). Meanwhile, he’s into a daal shorba, a paneer mixed with capsicum, and mineral water while I guzzle straight-off-the-tree pineapple juice.
I’ll remember this ride from town to Khar, recommend it to all the Bandrakars, including Gulzar saab, who I hope to high heaven is not ever mistaken for me.We’re done in an hour, it’s been as pleasant as the eatery’s kishmish kheer. As I rinse my hands in lemon flavoured water, Kunal goes out to dial a meeting with a Bandra friend.
The couple at the next table, stops me in my tracks and asks, “Aren’t you the chap from Rang de Basanti.” I laugh madly, “I wish I was.” When Kunal returns they ask him, “Aren’t you the one who’s a journalist?” He shudders, he’s disgusted with this case of mistaken identities.
Immediately, he sprints into the elevator and flies off faster than Krrish. I’ve been mistaken for a lyricist and an actor on the same day. See, I told you K is lucky.