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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Blast From The Past

About Vajpayee, Khan says, “He was a simple, charismatic and lovable man. A man with great leadership quality and vision. India has lost a great son.”

mumbai Updated: Aug 21, 2018 10:05 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Sanjay Abbas Khan
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (left) with Sanjay (Abbas) Khan at Samodhe Palace. (HT Photo)

Blast From The Past
This is truly a ‘blast’ (or a 21 gun salute) from the past. Actor, producer, director Sanjay (Abbas) Khan recollected some heart-warming memories spent with the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, over the weekend, which succinctly capture the kind of man Vajpayee was. “It was the occasion of his 71st birthday and Atalji, who I used to affectionately call Baapji, along with his adopted daughter Namita; his granddaughter Neha; her father Ranjan; and close friends Sunil and Maya Alagh, had come for three days as my guests to Samodhe Palace near Jaipur, to partake in the celebrations I had planned for the occasion, in 1995.” He recalled, “Neha, his granddaughter, was to cut the birthday cake on his behalf and I had organised 21 cannons for a ‘salaami’ to fire at the same time. As the cannons started roaring, one after the other, in rhythm, I saw Baapji’s eyes turn slightly moist.

Holding my arm tightly, he said, “Khan sahib, when I was born, my mother told me that a canon was fired from the rampart of the Gwalior fort; it was mere coincidence.”

“I smiled and told him that perhaps these cannons were heralding that he would be Prime Minister of India one day,” says Khan, recreating the scene vividly, as a filmmaker is apt to do. His other recollection of the day is even more telling. For the eve of his birthday, Khan had organised a distinguished line-up of leading poets to regale the former PM with a mushayra.

“Baapji was at his best and insisted that I sit on his right. I remember asking him a question, ‘what is the way forward for India?’”

“He replied promptly and said, “The only way forward for India is the secular way.”

“I looked at him intently with a smile.”

“He replied once again in Hindi: “Secularism...Ek hi raasta hai, aur koi doosra vikalp nahi.”

These, and other timely insights will be part of Khan’s forthcoming book, his autobiography, ‘The Best Mistakes of My Life’, published by Penguin India, to be launched at a glittering ceremony at the Taj, Mumbai, in late October. About the recently departed leader, he says, “He was a simple, charismatic and lovable man. A man with great leadership quality and vision. India has lost a great son.”

True Lies
The detaining of the billionaire bank defrauder, in Dubai recently, wanted in a ₹5,000-crore bank fraud, brings the curtains down (albeit temporarily) on one of the most colourful phases in Bollywood. How so? Well, the Missus of the bank defrauder had made herself, more or less, a fixture at some of the choicest Bollywood homes until recently, by her acts of flamboyant generosity when it came to making friends and influencing people. From sending dabbas packed with sushi from Wasabi, to ferreting stars to and fro between Mumbai and international hot spots in her PJ, the lady had become something of a queen bee, as far as the glamour crowd went. Not that this hiccup in the life of the Gujarat-based industrialist and his wife has slowed them down much. Prudently, the entire family had moved abroad when it was obvious that the Indian authorities were on their heels. Reports from the USA and the West Asia have them leading their lives of conspicuous consumption and OTT lifestyle with nary a change. “They are partying as hard abroad,” said a Bollywood insider. “In fact, their filmy friends are even happier they moved, as now there is even more hospitality when they are abroad, with limos, restaurant bookings, residences and PJs on call 24X7.” As for the detainment and possible arrest, the Bolly insider is unfazed. “Everyone knows that they are being targeted because of their alleged links with a powerful Congress boss, and that their trials will be over, once the political status quo is reversed, post the 2019 elections.” That’s when the real partying will start back home.

Overheard
“What is the preferred portmanteau for the latest celebrity couple? Nicka or P***k?’
- Post seen on a friend’s Facebook timeline, yesterday.

Love all

Maheka Mirpuri (left), Laila Khan Furniturewallah (centre) and Madhoo Shah at Manisha Koiral’s party.

Fittingly, Manisha Koirala’s big birthday bash at the Taj Lands End, like the star herself, was ‘zara hatke’. Hailing from one of Nepal’s most-celebrated political clans, (her grandfather had been PM), Koirala has been one Bollywood star, who, though enjoying mainstream success, has always lived life on her own terms. No surprises that her birthday party, although it boasted of mega stars like SRK and Rekha in attendance, unlike other fillum parties, was distinguished by its elegance and attention to detail with flowers, candles and mood lighting that reflected her sensibilities. “It was a lovely, intimate evening at the Chambers, Taj Lands End,” said a source, who’d attended. Her parents and family were there in full support, along with Shah Rukh Khan, Rekha, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Subhash Ghai, Jackie Shroff, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and many others. Also, there was a strong representation of SoBo and the likes of Maheka Mirpuri, Madhoo Shah, Kailash and Aarti Surendranath were seen on the occasion. Expectedly, the actress, who has been through many challenges and triumphed over them, was feeling the love in the days to follow; her social media posts reflected this: “It was an evening of all heart. Feel blessed,” read one of her posts. “There is nothing on this planet that is more precious than true friends,” went another, and the third simply said, “Love pours”.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 02:19 IST