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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: A Bite of Mumbai’s Glam Cake

St Regis hotel has become the go-to for a myriad of the city’s social activities.

mumbai Updated: Aug 27, 2018 14:04 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Queenie Singh (left) with Rhea Pillai.
Queenie Singh (left) with Rhea Pillai.

A Bite of Mumbai’s Glam Cake
There is no doubt that even though it is a relatively new entrant in the Mumbai five-star hotel universe, and despite its teething troubles, the Anuraag Bhatnagar-led St Regis hotel has taken a sizeable bite of the city’s glamour cake. From glam gals Pria Kataria Puri and Nisha Jamvwal, who regularly present events at one or the other of its many venues; to its hosting of fashion weeks, high-profile book launches and international food events, the hotel has become the go-to for a myriad of the city’s social activities. Some of it, of course, has to do with its location. Situated dead-centre on the new outline of Mumbai, that too, in one of its more popular of malls and cheek-by-jowl with its food hub at Kamala Mills, St Regis has its advantages over the competition for sure, but a lot of its success, at becoming part of Mumbai’s social and night life, is thanks to Bhatnagar, one of the most social and high-profile of hotel bosses in town. The dead ringer for Arnab Goswami has invested much of his time in making friends and influencing people while at his job. No surprises that early next month, the hotel, which had been the venue for Queenie Singh’s birthday lunch a few months ago, will host an exhibition featuring her new collection of fine jewellery. Called Red Carpet Collection, Singh’s designs will be seen along with friend Rhea Pillai’s collection of saris and ensembles sourced from across the country, and aimed at the coming festive season. Save the date emails have already been sent out by the duo. “It’s a lot of fun, as well as glamorous,” said Singh, who was recently in Africa with her family on an idyllic safari, by way of a text. “We’re doing it at the presidential suite.”
“Are you back?” We enquired of the peripatetic society diva, also by text. “In St Tropez,” came her prompt response. We don’t know why we even ask…

True Lies
London was host to a gathering of a few top Indian politicians from Mumbai, this week, and what’s interesting is that they represented different political parties, albeit from the Opposition. Sources say that they spotted a senior political strongman from Maharashtra, in the company of his party colleague, a suave industrialist, who once served as a Minister in the Union cabinet; and what was curious is that they were joined by another political bigwig from Mumbai, who owed allegiance to the strongman’s erstwhile party, one he had left to form his own outfit, in what had been a very high-profile exit, a few years ago. What’s cooking? All three men are believed to command huge resources and are celebrated for their wiliness and political and business savvy. Could there be some kind of understanding being cobbled out for the all-important upcoming 2019 general elections?
And more pertinently, why is London the preferred location for such discussions?


Murzban Shroff (left) with Harsha Bhogle.
Murzban Shroff (left) with Harsha Bhogle.

Our interest in human nature was piqued yesterday, when we saw an outraged post from our author-friend Murzban Shroff, bemoaning the grasping, penny-pinching nature of people on social media, masquerading as friends. “Aghast at the cheapskate who sends me a friend request and a day later, asks me for a complimentary copy of my book,” he said, adding good-humouredly, “Good people of Facebook: What should be done with this Kanjoos?” Murzban’s response to the social media scrooge, however, was not as congenial. “In the interest of supporting literature and writers, who struggle for 4/5 years on their books (in this case, it was six), you might want to reach out and buy it. I don’t think ₹300 would hurt your pocket,” he’d said. This unseemly attempt to grab a free copy of a book by friending its author, a day before the demand was made, is made more unseemly, by the fact that the same author had only recently pledged the full sum of his earnings, from another of his titles, till the end of this year, to Kerela’s flood relief funds! Meanwhile, many suggestions were offered on how to deal with the brazen book-snatcher by Murzban’s online pals. From “Send the teaser a pic of your book!” to “Name and shame him.”
Our advice? Unfriend and Block.

A Candle for Krishna Reddy

The portrait of Krishna Reddy (left) and his wife Judy, shot by Ram Rahman two months ago.
The portrait of Krishna Reddy (left) and his wife Judy, shot by Ram Rahman two months ago.

Yesterday, when we heard of the passing of the celebrated printmaker, sculptor and teacher, New York-based Krishna Reddy, we at once thought of the Delhi-based photographer and curator Ram Rahman, who’d been a friend of Reddy and his wife Judy, from his NYC student days. “I was with them a few days ago in New York,” said Rahman. “A gentle soul with sharp political beliefs, his roots combined Tagore and Gandhi with a good dose of the French-left,” he said. Reddy, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, had studied under Santiniketan’s Nandlal Bose. Jiddu Krishnamurthy helped him go to England to apprentice with Henry Moore, who sent him to Paris. “Initially a sculptor, he apprenticed under Ossip Zadkine and then helped found the legendary print Atelier 17 with Stanley William Hayter, where he pioneered the ground-breaking viscosity printing technique by which, he could make complex multi-coloured prints in one printing,” said Rahman, before offering insight into Reddy’s genius. “His unique vision was the startling combination of his pastoral nature studies from Santiniketan, with the darker cosmic view of French Surrealism.”
This portrait of Judy and Krishna was shot by Rahman, two months ago.

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 00:59 IST