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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Colouring his words?

mumbai Updated: Jul 23, 2018 15:08 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Rahul Akerkar
Biplap Deb and Diana Hayden.

Since then, many more bon mots have fallen from the lips of Tripura’s garrulous CM Biplap Deb (Zip-up DEB?), but we have been still marvelling over last week’s gaffe where the CM suggested, as politicians must at public affairs, that Diana Hayden had not been the ideal of Indian beauties in 1997 and thus ought not to have won her international beauty title. As ludicrous as it was for a head of state to offer his unsolicited opinion on a subject he had absolutely no business talking about, what caught our attention was Hayden’s masterful response, which had blown Deb and his silliness right out of the stadium. For reasons best known to her, Hayden had chosen to see Deb’s criticism, as one against the colour of her skin, an issue as highly emotive as it is politically charged. Why had she assumed that he was disparaging her complexion when in fact he’d said no such thing, we asked Hayden. How had she arrived at that conclusion?

“He chose to draw a comparison between Ash and myself instead of Priyanka [Chopra] who is a more recent Miss World or even the current Miss World, Manushi, both of who are, like me, brown skinned,” she responded from a location abroad. “I have no problem being compared to anyone or even found terribly short in their comparison. But the only reason I responded was because of the colour issue that arose out of it, as I’m very passionate about it as I grew up dealing with society’s attitude, and my own lack of self-confidence because of it.”

Hayden’s next remark could have lent a clue to the mystery though: “It’s one of my biggest points when I give motivational and confidence building lectures to corporates who interact with Europeans and Americans,” she said.

TRAVELLING ON ONE’S STOMACH

Kunal Vijayakar with Boman Irani and his family in France.

“I’m in France, on holiday with Boman Irani and family. I arrived a day late,” said one of our favourite funny men Kunal Vijayakar, who when he’s not lampooning the high and mighty on his weekly TV show, is an unabashed epicure. “So I landed in Nice en route to Monte Carlo and the entire Irani family decided to surprise me by showing up at the airport.” Vijayakar is a virtual member of the Irani clan and most vacations, birthdays and anniversaries will find him breaking bread with them. This summer, the group was exploring the outstanding offerings of the Riviera and after delighting Vijayakar, with a welcome song, they would drive him straight to Cannes and Antibes for lunch. Vijayakar signed off with, “We’re in Paris now. I’m putting on kilos by the minute.”

SEN AND SENSIBILITY

Actress Sushmita Sen. (IANS Photo)

When we had bumped into Sushmita Sen at a low-profile but celebrated French eatery in Nice last summer, we had known it would be the rekindling of a friendship that would not only bring joy and laughter, but also many things to agree on. We had stood outside on the curb that evening after the meal, to catch the Mediterranean sea breeze and spoken about this and that. Sen’s words come straight from her heart and keep her audience enraptured. Much the same thing occurred this weekend when she received an award from a city NGO. When asked about her journey as a woman, Sen said it had been an incredible one, but nevertheless, she had lived it “as a human being” and not in terms of gender. “I am not going to let someone else define beauty and life for me... God knows if you give that right to someone else they will define it for you...” she’d said.

You go girl.

GOODBYE INDIGO

Indigo at Colaba, and Rahul Akerkar (right).

It was billed as a ‘celebration of Indigo’s glorious journey of 19 years’ and to be sure there was many a damp eye when the iconic Colaba eatery downed its shutters with a farewell brunch this Sunday. For years, especially at its start, it had defined how a young, new and confident Mumbaiite wanted to dine. What Rahul Akerkar tantalised his clientele with was a diabolical mix of European and American comfort food, with creative Indian twists, in an atmosphere of understated style and panache. With architect Bijoy Jain’s clean lines and penchant for good wood, its walls dotted with original art and its spacious and imposing bar, boasting the city’s brightest and best, for a long time Indigo had been the hottest ticket in town, the watering hole of smart Mumbai. (Until others caught up with the concept, not to mention a landlord who saw big bucks and the saga of Akerkar’s company being acquired in what was described as a hostile takeover). All this came back to us, this Sunday when Indigo’s new owner, Anurag Katriar, CEO & executive director, deGustibus Hospitality, who had been with Akerkar in the glory days, decided to open his doors one last time for an epic cook out. We spotted restaurateurs like Gauri Devidayal, AD Singh and Riyaz Amlani at the brunch. “Rahul is expected any moment,” Katriar had said. But though the doors remained open and the last guests had left around 6pm, Akerkar had not shown up.

Goodbye Indigo and thank you for the good times.

First Published: May 01, 2018 12:12 IST