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Sep 23, 2019-Monday



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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: A Confederation Of Cheekbones

mumbai Updated: Jan 10, 2019 16:55 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai’s erstwhile models at the reunion.
Mumbai’s erstwhile models at the reunion. (HT Photo)

Every now and then this column has reported on the phenomenon of Mumbai’s erstwhile models getting together in a bid to reconnect and relive their halcyon days. Mumbai’s former models are a stellar lot who ruled the roost before Bollywood and its stars usurped them, as clothes horse and the purveyors of consumer goods. Mostly in their late forties and fifties, they are wives, mothers, entrepreneurs and professionals, and live across the globe, but don’t miss an opportunity to meet when the occasion arises. Unsurprisingly, they make stunning pictures together – a confederation of stellar cheek bones and perfect smiles as it were. Well, this Tuesday saw the mother of all such reunions, when one of the largest contingents of former models met at the home of the lady, who’d started it all: Shanti Chopra, who, along with her daughter Sangeeta Chopra, had managed one of the most successful enterprises in the eighties, organising shows in India and abroad and launching many a modelling careers in the process. “It started as a stray comment by Bryan Tellis at Queenie’s birthday lunch. I was coming to town from Geneva and we thought of getting the usual suspects together,” says Arpana Sharma Mojaria, adding, “Shanti, on her part, had been telling Sangeeta that she missed us and it would be great to meet her ‘girls’. She was mother, mentor, guide, financial advisor (there were no agents in those days) and an emotional advisor to us all. The icing on the cake was when Sangeeta spoke a bit about each and every one of us. It brought back all the connections, the history, the emotions. There were some tears and three decades just vanished.”
“It was really emotional as many of the girls/boys had started their careers with Shanti. Most of us hadn’t met her in a while and since some of the NRI girls were visiting, like Madhu Sapre from Italy and Arpana Sharma from Geneva, Shanti hosted us all at her place,” said former model Beverly Soares, about the epic gathering. And so, without further ado , here’s a roster of those who made it: former models Ana Bredemeyer, Juhi Chawla, Mehr Jesia Rampal, Queenie Singh, Sheetal Mallar, Madhu Sapre, Arpana Sharma Mojaria, Gauri Parulekar Sinh, Chabbi Dhariwal, Aditi Govitrikar, Beverley Soares, Suzanne Sablok Pillai, Lascelles Symons, Salim Fatehi; makeup artists Michelle Tung and Lisa Sadanah; choreographer Lubna Adams; compere and event manager Brian Tellis and show coordinator Vahbiz Mehta, along with Shanti Chopra’s son, the photographer Sumeet Chopra and his wife Apeksha, who also dropped in for a while for the nostalgia-laden afternoon.

Swiss Delights

Manish Mehrotra
Manish Mehrotra ( HT Photo )

Manish Mehrotra, the chef behind the country’s highest-rated restaurant, Indian Accent, has had quite a start to the New Year. After spearheading the opening of the Rohit Khattar-owned group’s latest restaurant Comorin in New Delhi last week, the chef took off to Switzerland, where he will participate at the St Moritz Gourmet Festival and present two dinners over the weekend. A few days later, he will once again return to Switzerland, where he has been invited to cook at the prestigious World Economic Forum in Davos. But his tryst with Switzerland doesn’t end there: another couple of days later, he will once again return, this time to St Moritz, for the recce of a big Indian wedding set to take place next month! May be, along with Ranveer Singh, he too should be appointed brand ambassador of the country!

‘Koi Hai?’

Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar
Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar ( HT Photo )

Ever since we can recall, the symbol of utter despair and anguish for us has been a scene from a Dilip Kumar movie – most likely Ramesh Sippy’s, Mashaal. The details are hazy, but we remember how the sight of the actor going unheard while crying ‘koi hai’ for help for his injured wife on an empty and desolate road, had been so emotive that it had reduced us to tears when we saw it and has remained with us as the emblem of utter distress ever since. How ironic then, that the 96-year-old ailing thespian, considered a national treasure, appears to be in a similar situation, crying out unheard once more for assistance, except this time, not in a film, but in his real life. For years, Kumar’s problem with a Bandra builder over his home at Pali Hill has been in the news. Kumar’s devoted wife, the yesteryear actress Saira Banu, has gone from pillar to post, even approaching the PM and CM to intervene and bring some succour. But it appears, no one’s listening.
To see a man of such stature and talent suffer at this age is a tragedy beyond words. Can the film industry, which Kumar has contributed so much to, not come together for Kumar’s aid at a time when he is suffering an ill? After all, most of its leading men cite him as their ultimate hero and mentor. Surely, his well-being and peace in his last days is a matter of concern?
As we were saying, Kumar’s realistic performance as a helpless old man in a movie has haunted us ever since we saw it; how tragic that he has had to re-enact that scene in the evening of his life-except this time not for celluloid, but in real life!
Is anyone listening?

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Vivek Oberoi is all set to play Narendra Modi in his upcoming film and still haters will say that Modiji is not providing jobs to unemployed.
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First Published: Jan 09, 2019 23:18 IST