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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Brothers In Arms

If you want to know what bromance looks like, this picture is it

mumbai Updated: Aug 30, 2018 12:35 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Malavika's Mumbaistan,Sanjay Dutt,Ambanis

If you want to know what bromance looks like, this picture of brothers-in-law (and brothers in arms), actors Sanjay Dutt, Kumar (Bunty) Gaurav (married to Dutt’s sister Namrata) and music and event impresario Owen Roncon (married to Dutt’s sister Priya) is it. Accompanied with the words, “No chasma, half chasma, full chasma... full mess, Saturday night”, Roncon had posted it over the weekend. The boys, we’re informed, were listening to music at Dutt’s home. “Old favourites: some Bob Seeger, the Doobie Brothers, CCR; all old-school, cool music,” says Roncon. Any sing-alongs, we enquired of the avid music buff, who is producing #SingIndiaSing next month. “Always,” he responded, tongue-in-cheek. “In our loudest voices, and mostly with our own lyrics too.”


Women to the Fore

(From left) Nina Kothari, Anand Jain, Tina Ambani, Kokilaben Ambani, Sushma Jain, Dipti Salgaoncar , in front of one of Jain’s canvasses.

The focus seemed to be decidedly on women this Sunday afternoon, when a strong representation of the Ambani family dropped by to view Sushma Jain’s exhibition of wildlife and nature portraits at a Sobo gallery. Family matriarch Kokilaben Ambani, looking charming in signature pink, accompanied by daughter-in-law Tina Ambani and daughters Nina Kothari from Chennai, and Dipti Salgaoncar from Goa, who had come after tying rakhis for their famous brothers that morning, to catch the last day of the show. “Over the years, we’ve been aware and familiar with Sushma’s talent,” said Kothari, adding, “And we would always treasure the art works she’d come up with, for family celebrations like dad’s birthdays. I have kept all of them.” Given the traditional family gathering, the group was high-spirited and cheerful, as they chatted with their old family friends, the Jains. Tina Ambani, an art collector and patron, appeared delighted by the canvasses and took time to pen a congratulatory tribute in the visitor’s book. Meanwhile, the artist’s husband, industrialist Anand Jain, a college friend of Mukesh Ambani’s, was seen beaming with pride as his wife was the centre of attention, receiving compliments for her strikingly realistic portraits of wild life.

Bridging the Gap

Hema Deora partners with HDFC’s Deepak Parekh in a corporate bridge tournament/

When we spoke to ace bridge player Hema Deora on Saturday night, on the eve of her team’s spectacular win of a bronze medal in Jakarta at the Asian Games 2018, we were conscious that we ought to have been giving her time to rest her grey cells before her tournament. But, Deora was her cool, composed self, and in the mood to chat. So, we asked her something which we’d always wanted to know: how on earth did an artistic Maharashtrian housewife take to the sport, and eventually become a national champ at it? Deora chuckled. “It was because of Murli,” she said of her husband, the late Congress leader and MP. “I came from a background that did not allow card games to be played at home,” she said. “But, once I realised that Murli was passionate about the game, and it was a great stress reliever for him, I taught myself to like it.” And, how did Murli Deora, the scion of an industrious Marwari clan in Mumbai, begin his tryst with bridge? “At that time, it was the done thing. All the Marwari households played bridge. I think it was an influence from their Kolkata days,” she said. “In fact, there was a time when you had the country’s leading newspaper barons seated across from each other — engrossed in a game of bridge!” she said, adding, “It’s really such a beautiful, cerebral sport, like chess; it is a gymnasium for the mind.” Ever conscious of not taxing those grey cells, we asked Deora what she made of being part of her eclectic squad. The papers had described the bridge contingent as made up of “IITians, industrialists, a math teacher, railway employees and an art collector”. Certainly, her own and art collector and billionaire Kiran Nadar’s presence had ratcheted up the glam quotient? “Oh, not at all,” said Deora. “Most of the team is composed of academicians and ordinary folk, and we are staying together at the sports village in small cottages, three each to a home.” We wanted to ask her more, but were conscious of the ticking of the clock and the approaching match, so wished her best of luck and a good night’s sleep. Which is why, when we heard the next day that her team had won in the prestigious international tournament, we knew that we too, in some small way, had contributed to India’s great medal roll in Jakarta!

Cooking for the Stars

Chef Francesco Francavilla with Bruce Willis

Not many know Italian Chef Francesco Francavilla, who has been a Mumbai resident for a couple of years. The chef, who grew up in Rome and cooked in the famous kitchen of 3-star Michelin Chef Heinz Beck at La Pergola, now cooks his fare at the Oberoi Hotel at Nariman Point. Over the years, since he’s been in India, he’s developed a serious foodie clientele that includes many Bollywood stars. But, glamour isn’t new to the Italian, who was the personal chef for Hollywood star Bruce Willis before moving to India. “The story is that Francesco would travel around the world on the Willis’ PJ, cooking up gastronomic delights for the star. This picture was taken during the shoot of ‘Die Hard’. As for Willis’ favourite dish, we’re told it was “Spaghetti Amatricianna, a classic Roman pasta cooked in a tomato-based sauce and sometimes topped with bacon”.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 01:41 IST