Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Fellow travellers

Hindustan Times | By Malavika Sangghvi
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2018 12:07 PM IST

Politics is said to make for strange bedfellows, but recently it resulted in some interesting ‘car fellows’ too. Sources say that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the foundation plaque for the Navi Mumbai International Airport to be undertaken jointly by Hyderabad-based infrastructure conglomerate GVKPIL along with CIDCO, this Sunday in Mumbai, the event saw the coming together of two prominent industrialists from the same region, namely GVK Reddy, founder chairman and MD of GVK, who drove along to the event in the same car as his samdhi, the industrialist, Congressman and Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subbarami Reddy, whose daughter is married to the former’s son. What makes this interesting is the fact that not only had the PM used the occasion to trumpet his government’s achievements, announcing that 900 new planes would be bought this year, but also to lash out at the Congress regime. “Projects worth 10 lakh crore were stuck when I took over the office,” the PM had said. “The previous government did only three things to infrastructure projects. They stalled it, kept it pending and then grounded it.” Wonder if the conversation on the way back was convivial? PM Narendra Modi, GVK Reddy (centre right) and Dr Subbarami Reddy were in Navi Mumbai.

Blast from the past

This picture shot on the first day of shooting for the Akshay Kumar-starrer Andaaz, featuring two debutant beauty queens Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta, captures their newbie excitement quite palpably. “It was around 2001, and big news that the two top models were making their debut opposite Akshay,” says the photographer Pradeep Chandra, adding. “When I asked the leading man for a picture, he had agreed and began touching up his makeup himself. Lara and Priyanka, who were seated next to him, sweetly began helping him, until his makeup man arrived to help.” It was Akshay who’d suggested that shooting all three gazing in to their reflections would make FOR an interesting portrait. “The buzz that day on the set was: Akshay kisko bhaav dega, kaun uspar fida hogi?” recalls Chandra. Fortunately, not only did the film fare well, but both actresses had taken long strides in their stilettos, leaving that misogyny far behind.

True lies

The collateral damage resulting from the NiMo scam is being felt across the city. From socialites, who worked for him as his early society heralders; to media outlets, which partnered with him at high-profile events; to politicians, who attended his launches; to models, who graced his advertising; everyone seems to be back-pedalling furiously, to distance themselves from the flamboyant diamantaire whose fall appears to be as meteoric as his rise. Take the case of this SoBo five-star, which is thanking its stars that the deal to lease out one of their prime lobby-level stores (currently occupied by a luxury watch brand), to the jeweller, didn’t go through. “Thank God!” they were overheard saying. “Or there would be midnight raids, lockouts and tax authorities crawling in and out of our premises, disturbing guests.” Indeed

Friendship first

Who says Valentine’s Day is the monopoly of mushy women alone? These bon mots tweeted on the occasion last week by Ronnie Screwvala, celebrated Bollywood producer and serial entrepreneur, to his long-standing wife and professional partner, Zarina Mehta, prove otherwise. “One of the most valuable gifts in life is a loyal friend,” declared his post, accompanied by a picture of a moony couple. Screwvala’s recognition of the true nature of love appears to be a result of experience. It was after he’d met Mehta and launched the game-changing UTV (along with their third partner Deven Khote) that his real success has come... Mehta’s contribution as a steady friend, colleague and partner is said to have proven invaluable, validating the ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ axiom. Make that a distracted one. In another delicious swop of stereotypes, Mehta responded to the endearing message a full four days later. “Sorry! Missed this lovely one by my husband,” tweeted the workaholic, who has currently focused all her energies into the couple’s philanthropic initiative. We like.

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