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Home / Mumbai News / Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Branson’s Day Out

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Branson’s Day Out

The maverick philanthropist and founder of Virgin Group is in the city to take part in a conference

mumbai Updated: Dec 11, 2019 00:37 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Richard Branson
Richard Branson ( )
         

“Richard Branson is staying with us at The St Regis Mumbai,” read a message from an excited publicist about the flamboyant billionaire British business magnate, supposed to check-in last night. “He’s flying in on his PJ (surprise) and we have a special welcome planned for him.” The maverick philanthropist and founder of The Virgin Group is in the city to take part in a conference, we are informed. But Branson’s India ties run much deeper; not many know of his Indian ancestry: “My great, great grandmother was an Indian. She was from Madras. We had four generations of Bransons living in India, one or two of them were born here,” he’d announced on a previous visit.

Of course his more au courant Indian connection is the comparison to former Indian tycoon and erstwhile King of Good Times Vijay Mallya, who many said modelled his public image on Branson. He’d even launched an airline, which ironically is said to have been the beginning of his downfall. “If you want to be a Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline,” Branson had famously said. Perhaps VJM missed that one.

TRUELIES

According to this Bollywood insider, Cupid is getting his arrows crossed and creating havoc in Bollywood recently. Take the case of this alleged latest coupling, of a leading actress who has a string of high-profile broken romances behind her, and the much-acclaimed younger actor, currently counted amongst Bollywood’s top hunks thanks to his steady stream of box-office hits.

The gap in age and hierarchy had prompted a few to speculate that the actress was ‘dating down’ “Hardly. He’s the current IT boy so she’s latched on.” Said the industry insider, a lady celebrated for her vice like grip on Bollywood as well as her speed dial to all its top stars, which made her something of a know it all . We’d run in to her at a suburban coffee shop and she was bristling with news from her neck of the wood.

“It won’t last,” she proclaimed about the hapless couple. “She’s been through one toxic relationship after another and people are saying she’s messing with his head and it’s beginning to affect his work.”

According to the grapevine queen, one of the issues of contention is that the veteran actress had not too long ago emerged from a long and well-documented relationship with one of her new beau’s closest friends, a top Bollywood actor, who he’d starred with and this was proving to be awkward all round.

Ah Cupid…

Overheard

Ordered an onion uttapam, was asked for PAN card details.

(Popular meme doing the rounds)

God’s Own Meal

Word comes in that our men in blue were spotted fuelling up on a traditional Kerala thali in Kovalam this week on the sidelines of their recent T20 cricket match with the West Indies.

Chef Suresh Pillai with Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri
Chef Suresh Pillai with Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri

“Can’t wait to cook for the Men In Blue once again. So excited to be dishing out some of our best tastes from God’s own country to these legends,” shared Chef Suresh Pillai, the corporate chef of the hotel where the team was staying. And amongst the culinary delights we hear Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and coach Ravi Shastri were treated to a lavish Travancore Maharajah Sadya, a traditional Kerala feast, which included over 14 vegetarian dishes served with rice traditionally served to royalty.

Unfortunately, Team India had lost the match to West Indies; but we aren’t blaming the food...