Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Auspicious Beginnings
“Subhash ji directed it and it’s the first time that Tiger faced the camera,” said actor Jackie Shroff about the delightful, archival video that has gone viral, featuring himself along with his superstar son.
Directed by Subhash Ghai (the man responsible for launching Shroff’s own career in Bollywood) and called Pyara Bharat Yeh Kahe, it was produced in 1993, the year India was recovering from the riots due to the Babri Masjid demolition. It features a veritable procession of stars, such as the Shroffs – both father and son – along with Bollywood stars Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Salman Khan, Govinda and southern superstars Rajinikanth, Mammootty and Chiranjeevi.
“Tiger was calm throughout the filming, and what could have been more auspicious than the fact that his first shoot was blessed by Ghai saab,” said an emotional Jackie when we spoke yesterday.
Incidentally, the video also features two other current superstars, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, in the form of toddlers, who were happily co-opted into the shooting, along with their star dads.
Mr Peter Pan
While his doting wife Sunita Kapoor chose to wish him on his 63rd birthday with this striking portrait of actor Anil Kapoor from his upcoming release Mangal, he brought in the day with his family in a colour-coordinated and Insta-friendly heaven in London. But it was his old friend Shabana Azmi‘s birthday wishes on social media which best captured Kapoor’s most outstanding quality: His Peter Pan-ish super power, the age-defying ability he was born with, which has kept him looking pretty much exactly as he did 40 years ago!
“The curious case of Anil Kapoor 60 going on 16! Happy Birthday dear friend and lots of love,” quipped the award-winning actress, adding, “Jeete raho, khush raho.”
In fact, what is almost as curious is the mutual affection and close ties between Azmi and Kapoor, who are often viewed as epitomising two opposite ends of the same industry – its commercial and new-wave genres. Traditionally, a wide gulf used to exist between the old-school makers of formula-themed box office hits and their avant-garde colleagues, who viewed their craft as an art primarily for social commentary and change, and it was believed that never the twain could meet.
The Azmi-Kapoor friendship has defied this and took root ever since the two had worked together in the 1980 Hum Panch, produced by Kapoor’s brother Boney.
Interestingly, their debut film together also brought in many such seemingly opposite talents from across the so-called ideological spectrum, such as Deepti Naval, Gulshan Grover, Sanjeev Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah, Raj Babbar and Amrish Puri!
The Once and forever Queen B?
At one time, the title Queen B could only be associated with Ramola Bachchan, wife of businessman Ajitabh (Bunty) Bachchan, who had ruled the roost in London a few decades ago, and was said to be its uncontested hostess with the most-est. Ramola is the daughter of a well-heeled Sindhi clan from Kolkata. Her sprawling home in Hampstead used to be the place where NRI magnates, visiting Indian celebrities, and of course her brother-in-law – super star Amitabh Bachchan – and his family could be spotted, and her parties were celebrated for their high style and glamour.
Then, following her return to Delhi, the enterprising lady – who even went back to school after the birth of her children and got her law degree – went somewhat under the radar, concentrating on her new career as an event organiser, designer, restaurateur and lifestyle entrepreneur. This December, however, it appears that something of her previous avatar returned, when Ramola hosted an elegant soiree at her Delhi home, where many of the capital’s beautiful people, such as ace lens man Raghu Rai, designers Rohit Bal and Neera Nath, and scenographer Sumant Jaykrishnan were spotted. And going by her attention to detail and elegant hospitality, we hear from guests who attended, that the old title might just apply again.
After months of what is said to have been a gruelling shoot across the country for his next film — which is said to be a remake of Forrest Gump — superstar Aamir Khan found himself on a much-needed break with wife Kiran Rao and son Azad in the salubrious climes of Mumbai’s next-door hill station, Panchgani. This led to a chance encounter with foodie and animal lover Farzana Contractor who happened to be on her much-needed break at her favourite destination at the same time, after hosting the 20th anniversary celebrations of her foodie magazine and the annual instalment of her food and wine show. “In chill zone with fellow Panchganiaans,” posted Contractor, about the meeting, adding, “Dog loving Azad got along fine with Tasha.”
Tasha, of course, is Contractor’s much-loved Lhasa Apso, who incidentally, was given star status at last week’s celebrations at the Blue Sea, where she had a ringside view of the cake-cutting and speeches. And now sources say that after their much-needed decompress time with their families, both two-and four-legged respectively, Contractor and Khan will return to their busy schedules – the former to her duties of editor and publisher and the latter to complete the film at hand, which will resume shooting in January in Shimla.