Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Not eating out of the palm of her hand

Lawson was in India on the invitation of a credit card company, which we are informed had shelled out almost 1 crore as an appearance fee for her to “curate” dinners for the company’s premium clients, with a small selection of seats open to the public at 25,000 each.
Hindustan Times | By Malavika Sangghvi
UPDATED ON SEP 17, 2019 12:13 AM IST

As is known, the attractive celebrity TV chef Nigella Lawson was in India over the past weekend. The Oxford-educated daughter of a pedigreed British clan, who started her career as a restaurant critic and then went on to become a bestselling cook-book author, years before her many TV appearances, was in India on the invitation of a credit card company, which we are informed had shelled out almost 1 crore as an appearance fee for her to “curate” dinners for the company’s premium clients, with a small selection of seats open to the public at 25,000 each. And though most guests in Mumbai and Delhi were charmed by her personality and plummy accent (one terribly posh media maven had flown into the town just for the occasion) and were pleased to get their books signed and pose for photographs with her, most guests were left disappointed by the food on offer. “The food she cooked for us was ordinary, if I may be generous,” shared industrialist and foodie Harsh Goenka on social media. Others were not as generous about the menu, which consisted of dishes such as salmon and pumpkin salad, Turkish eggs and ‘butterfied’ leg of lamb, “Frankly, an insult to the diner. It showed a complete lack of understanding of flavors, textures, presentation and the thought behind the meal,” shared restaurateur and owner of Colaba’s The Table Gauri Devidayal, in a popular post, in which other restaurateurs like Faroukh Khambatta, Priyank Sukhija and AD Singh weighed in with their grouses. Others like photographer Aneesh Bhasin went a little further, “The salmon was overcooked to an extent one cannot imagine, the lamb had to be sent back.” That’s what you get when you invite a curator and not a chef to prepare your meal.

TWEETTALK

Never forget ...Raj Kapoor did the first joker movie. In your face Batman!

—Tweeted by stand-up comedian Vir Das

TRUELIES

The mother of a Bollywood wannabe actress was ruing the day her pretty daughter, a head-turner with a degree from an American university to boot, had set her sights on stardom. The well-heeled SoBo lady was aghast at the treatment meted out to her princess, who’d managed to bag a major film, introducing a star son. Apparently, even before shooting began, she alleges that her daughter received a lewd proposition from the film’s hero, asking in no uncertain terms for a roll in the hay.

So traumatised with the incident was the girl that she’s put many oceans between her and the industry and is looking to break in to the theatre scene in NYC now. And last heard, the star son is said to be hard-pressed to get roles, leave aside pretty young things as bedmates.

Going, Going, Gaitonde

Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja
Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja

While the two recent back-to-back Saffron Art auctions in Delhi have captured the public imagination and media headlines for the Gaitonde canvas (Untitled 1982) which sold for a staggering 26.9 crore, making it one of the top three most expensive works by the artist to have sold in India, what is not known is that actress Sonam Kapoor’s father-in-law, the Delhi-based Sunil Ahuja, said to be a serious art collector, is alleged to have also bought a Gaitonde in the same week for 19 crore, according to sources.

Anand Ahuja’s dad, whose family heads one of the country’s largest apparel manufacturing firms, is said to have been initiated into collecting art by his friend Naresh Gujral, son of former PM Inder Kumar Gujral and a collector himself. Incidentally, this is not the only time the Ahujas have made news for their acquisitions. A few years ago, Anand’s grandfather Harish Ahuja is reported to have bought a bungalow worth 173 crore on Prithviraj Road, one of the Capital’s most pricey residential destinations. Interestingly, the actress’ aunt, interior decorator Kavita Singh, is a well-known collector herself and is said to have been a major influence on her niece’s sense of aesthetics and style (Sonam and Anand’s reception was held at her mansion on Bandra Bandstand’s sea face). Will her family’s recent alleged acquisition of a major Gaitonde inspire the lissome actress to become an art collector herself? Bollywood so far has not been known to patronise arts, besides a few individuals like Dimple Kapadia and the late Jenifer Kapoor. Will the industry’s younger generation step forward to champion the arts in a substantial manner with Kapoor heralding the way?

Time will tell.

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