Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Big Boys, Big Toys
Last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited the world’s tycoons and their yachts to witness the progress made on the Amaala project.Updated: Nov 10, 2019 23:45 IST
It is being described as the convergence of some of the planet’s richest people. Last week, when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited the world’s tycoons and their yachts to witness the progress made on the Amaala project, a new luxury development on the coast of the Red Sea, known to be close to his heart and a major development to create luxury tourism on the kingdom’s north-western region, all manner of billionaires showed up on their super luxury boats.
And expectedly, among this assemblage of high rollers and the super rich, India was not unrepresented. “Leading the pack was the London-based steel tycoon LN Mittal, whose personal motor yacht, Amevi, is believed to be the 34th-largest in the world,” says a source. “Also, in the same waters was Mumbai-based infrastructure tycoon, Ravi Ruia, who had docked his super luxury yacht Sunrays in the marina,” said the source, adding, “It was an afternoon of high glamor and excitement as the assembled tycoons, along with their guests, waited while the Crown Prince MBS dropped in for a few minutes to their yachts to talk up his pet project.”
Said to be a luxury resort destination located across 50 untouched islands within a lagoon along the western coast of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the project will be home to environmentally protected coral reefs, mangroves, and several endangered marine species.
His Third Innings
Last week saw legendary cricketer and icon Sunil Gavaskar receive the ‘Citizen of Mumbai Award’, conferred by the Rotary Club of Bombay, to the delight of a packed house of Rotarians and admirers.
“I am actually now fortunate to be playing my third innings; the first one was as a dedicated cricketer, the second being partly a businessman and partly being with the media, and the third, where I am the chairman of the Heart to Heart Foundation, which offers free services to children with congenital heart defects,” the 70-year-old, still fondly referred to as the Little Master, said in his address.
Speaking about his cricket career, Gavaskar recalled his early Test matches in the Caribbean with greats like Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Viv Richards. He also mentioned that the amount of stress cricket players face these days is unprecedented. “Technology is there to capture every mood, moment and a mistake in the moment,” he said.
Former Taj honcho Farhat Jamal, chairman of the program committee of the club, meanwhile, recalled the former Indian skipper’s outstanding batting skills in his career spanning 16 years and 125 Test matches.
But for Gavaskar, all that appeared to be a thing of the past. “This is going to be the best innings of my life,” he said, adding, “The satisfaction and feeling of joy on faces of parents whose children we have helped is much more than a double hundred.”
TRUELIES: Desperate Housewives Meets Bigg Boss?
It’s been a hugely popular reality series, one that documents the lives of real-life affluent housewives residing in varying regions across USA, with the first version, The Real Housewives of Orange County launching in March 2006. Since then, there have been spin-off series located in other US cities which have resulted in spin-offs of their own. And now, sources say that the popular series, which brings to viewers the highs, lows and many cat fights of upper-class women, who lead unimaginably glamorous lives while flaunting designer labels and beautiful homes, will be replicated in India by none other than the producer-director who almost single-handedly introduced fashion, lifestyle, designer-wear, bubble gum and girl gangs to Bollywood. This leading light and his team are said to have already begun work on the project and have zeroed in on the women who will be featured. They include an erstwhile actress, yummy mummy and jewellery designer.
And with women who have featured so far going on to become huge household names and mega influencers who run huge businesses in their own right, and the franchise being successfully replicated in countries like Greece, Turkey and Hungary, it appears to be an idea whose time has come for India.
Think about it: After launching a show on real housewives of Mumbai, which affords viewers a vicarious entry into the lives of a clutch of some of the city’s most glamorous socialites and celebrities, they can seamlessly have spin-offs of it in Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Jabalpur, etc.
So far though, there have been no confirmations on whether the alleged project is an official franchise of the original US series or just inspired by it, but word on the block is that it might just be a game-changer for web viewing.
“It’s Big Boss meets Desperate Housewives” as the source says.
A Candle for Sheela Singh Masani
She’d spent her childhood and youth on a farm in East Africa where her father had relocated from Punjab to start a farming, dairy farming and ship-chandling business there.
The eldest girl of seven children, she’d come to India for her education and then stayed on in Bombay, where, after taking care of her family’s affairs and shepherding her siblings following her father’s death, she’d gone on, among other things, to publish the literary and political journal Quest, edited by India’s towering English language poet Nissim Ezekiel, which had been followed by a glittering presence in the city’s arts and intellectual scene. And last week, Sheela Singh Masani, described as “cool, intelligent, fashionable”, “always well-dressed and coiffured” and “everyone’s favourite aunt”, passed away at 93, and was laid to rest by her family of doting relatives and friends.
An alumnus of the city’s Elphinstone College, Sheela had been one the city’s brightest sparks, a popular and social young woman who loved parties and is said to have had friends from all walks of life, including Bollywood.
She had gone on to marry the Parsi freedom fighter, politician and intellectual, Minoo Masani, and manage the Leslie Sawhney Program, a non-profit organisation founded by him, which had held annual seminars attended by the era’s scientists, intellectuals, politicians and artists, said to be the precursors of today’s lit and think fests.
Sheela is survived by her step son Zareer Masani, and her sisters Kiki Watsa, Ambe Olympio and Leela Steiner and their families.
Her cremation had seen a gathering of writers, filmmakers, restaurateurs and theatre artists across generations. As a fond niece said, “She was an older person many of us enjoyed spending time with.”