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Malavika's Mumbaistan: Fashion Forward Stars

mumbai Updated: May 20, 2019 08:35 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
malavika's mumbaistan,deepika padukone,priyanka chopra

(From left) Rohit Gandhi, Ranveer Singh and Rahul Khanna

The marriage between Bollywood and Fashion (Follywood?) appears to be at its zenith currently, with images of glamazons Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone sashaying down international red carpets like at Cannes, most recently. In this era of photo ops and flash, stars like Priyanka and Deepika, who’ve had experience in advertising, fashion and beauty pageant circles, have a natural advantage, resulting in the seeming overshadowing of their contemporaries like Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, regardless of the positions they occupy in the industry. The other fall out of Bollywood’s series of recent outings on international red carpets is the outrage within designer circles that the stars (with the exception of Kangana Ranaut) had chosen to flaunt foreign labels on these occasions. Would Padukone have served the cause of Indian textiles and design better had she commissioned Sabyasachi to come up with at least one of the four outfits she wore at Cannes, the idealistic were overheard asking, over the weekend (realists, meanwhile, pointed to the big bucks and brands that really call the shots and take these decisions). A talented Delhi-based designer, who does not have as many Bollywood connections as her rivals, was overheard grumbling about this to her industry peers. Of course, her point was met with much agreement, but even so, her criticism was guarded. She did not want to antagonize the stars any further by voicing this opinion, she said. Apparently, according to her, she’s already done this by being regarded as aloof by them, used as they are to heap loads of more attention lavished on them by savvier rival designers. So, given how much a star’s patronage can do for a designer, the battle for the favour of top stars is being fiercely fought. Right now, fashion-forward duo, Deepika and Ranveer are said to be on every Indian designer’s wish list as their clothes horses. Until recently, the couple had prudently spread their attention over a handful of top labels, but last week, when Singh dropped in to surprise Delhi-based designer Rahul Khanna (who, with partner Rohit Gandhi, is one half of the Delhi-based label) on his birthday, it was seen as an indication of preference (he had worn their creations in the past). Meanwhile, to have a star as busy as Singh take the time and effort, and show up in another city to surprise Khanna, it would not be wrong to say, had the green-eyed monster visit many another designer this week. But will this result in instant exposure on the next international red carpet?
As they say, watch this space.

Tweet Talk
Horse trading is done to form a stable government, which explains why all PMs of all parties have to stay in Race Course Road - price of coalition!
- Popular meme shared by Sunil Alagh yesterday

What They Say:
“In the song ‘Munna Badnam Hua’ in Dabangg 3, Salman Khan will be playing a college-going boy.”
- A news report yesterday

What They Mean:
“And the producers are looking for a pretty debuting newcomer to play his mother in it.”

Mr Johnson, I Presume?

Boris Johnson chats with a guest when he and Marina Wheeler (not in pic) visited Delhi last year.

After flamboyant British politician and erstwhile Mayor of London Boris Johnson was cited as the front runner for the Tories in a post-Theresa May scenario, and thus a likely prime ministerial candidate, we were contacted by erstwhile editor and columnist Rahul Singh over the weekend. “Thought this might interest you, I took this photo when Boris and his wife Marina, and their three children were on a trip to India in March last year,” he said of a series of snaps with the British prime ministerial candidate in Delhi, along with some of the Capital’s prominent Sikh denizens. As is known, Johnson is married to barrister Marina Wheeler who is the daughter of the distinguished BBC correspondent Sir Charles Wheeler and his Sikh wife Dip Singh. “The family connection is simple. Marina’s mother Dip married my father Khuswant Singh’s youngest brother Daljit, a flamboyant character who was an India junior tennis champion and who also went into politics. They divorced without children,” said Rahul, adding, “And then Dip married Sir Charles Wheeler, who had been the BBC correspondent in Delhi, and they had two daughters, one of whom is Marina,” said Singh. What is poignant about these pictures is they were shot only a few months before Johnson and Marina announced their intention of divorcing after almost three decades of marriage. “This must have been the last visit Boris made to India, certainly with his entire family,” said Rahul, adding, “But Marina came to our Khushwant Singh Literary Festival in Kasauli last October and also the Khuswant Singh Literary Festival in London last year in May. She will also be coming to the Khuswant Singh Lit fest this June in London.” This is not the conservative MP’s (whose colourful behaviour has earned him some delightful nick names like ‘Britain’s Donald Trump’ and ‘The Blonde Bombshell’s’ only India connection. Given the shared colonial ties of the two nations, his wealthy upper class background has resulted in many engagements with his Indian equivalents. Also, his younger brother Jo Johnson, who later went on to become Minister for Transport and London in Theresa May’s cabinet, has served on the India desk of an international pink paper a few years ago. We had accompanied the younger Johnson on his first fact-finding visit to a famous Mumbai dance bar for a story he was researching during this tenure. The effect his luminous, formally-attired blondness had on the inhabitants of the shadowy bar is unforgettable. If his brother Boris Johnson does indeed become PM of Britain that will certainly be a story to dine out on!

First Published: May 19, 2019 23:33 IST