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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: A different kind of music

mumbai Updated: Mar 26, 2018 11:56 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Ravi Ruia with son Rewant.

Ravi Ruia with son Rewant.

Even as his family’s prime asset, Essar Steel, has been put on the auctioneer’s block by creditors to recover unserviced debts to the tune of Rs45,000 crore to a consortium of 22 creditors, led by the State Bank of India, word comes in that Rewant Ruia, son of Ravi Ruia, celebrated his birthday this week by flying a group of his close friends in his private jet to Miami to attend the Ultra Music Festival, known as the world’s biggest annual outdoor electronic music festival.

Incidentally, even as he kicked up his heels in another part of the planet, the birthday boy’s name was making headlines back home, as Makram Abboud, VC of VTB Capital, one of the main bidders, declared that although the young man was a good addition to their bid for the beleaguered steel company, if it stood in the way of their acquisition, they would not think twice before buying him out.

That’s called facing different kind of music.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Chandra Swami and Raj Babbar. (Photo: Pradeep Chandra)

His resignation as president of the UP Congress committee last week is still a bit of a mystery, following as it was with his statement that his tweet alluding to it had been ‘misinterpreted’. But then mystery has always been a part of three-time Lok Sabha member and two-time Rajya Sabha member Raj Babbar’s persona. From his controversial marriage to one of the film industry’s most admired actresses, the late Smita Patil, to his reverence for the dodgy, self-confessed ‘Godman’ Chandra Swami, to his success in the ebb and thrust of UP politics, he’s always been an enigma.

This picture, shot by lensman Pradeep Chandra in 1985 at the Sea Rock hotel, in the presence of Swami (also said to be guru to former PM Narasimha Rao, acting legend Elizabeth Taylor and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim), captures the delight they took in each other’s company. Chandra had been asked to shoot Swami by Rajat Sharma, his editor at Onlooker. “Almost a dozen people were in the room, among whom was actor Raj Babbar, accompanied by Smita Patil,” he said of the shoot to which he was escorted by Swami’s right-hand man, Mamaji. “We shot 50 frames, which was a lot for those times and he was most cooperative,” recalls Chandra. “On being informed by Mamaji that there were many devotees awaiting his darshan outside, he asked for their names.When he heard Babbar was among them, he instructed he be brought in (Patil was made to wait outside) so their picture could be shot together. Swamy died last year, a shadow of his former self, with his name being linked to the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. His former disciple, Babbar, meanwhile, notched up a career of giddy success in the Congress. Until last week that is, when he may or may not have resigned.

Perhaps it’s time he found another guru now.

WTSWTM

What They Say —

“By the time the scam was discovered, the FIR lodged and the bank complained, he had already left the country.”

What They Mean

By the time the scam was discovered, the FIR lodged and the bank complained, all his stars had aligned and he exited the country as easily as a knife through butter.

LADIES WHO LUNCH IN STYLE

The glamorous guest list at Alka Chaturvedi’s birthday lunch.

This picture, featuring a pride of glamorous ladies, was shot recently at the Gauri Khan-designed Arth restaurant at Bandra’s Linking Road, during the long, happy birthday celebrations of Alka Chaturvedi. Featuring sisters-in-law Sundari and Zarine Khan with their daughters, artist Laila Furniturewala and jewellery designer Farrah Khan Ali, along with their friends Neelu Merchant, Leena Singh and Paulomi Sanghvi, among others, it captures the easy bonhomie and high style of Mumbai’s prime ladies who lunch. “There was tambola with the birthday girl’s favourite items, her husband, who was the only male present, delivered a moving speech and everyone was relaxed and happy,” says a guest.

As for the collection of designer handbags in the foreground of the picture? We do not know who they belong to, but rest assured Bulgari, Chanel and Hermes are laughing all the way to the bank!