Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Gone But Not Forgotten
It’s been 5 months since the untimely passing of late politician Arun Jaitley, and as to be expected, his death has left a palpable void in the lives of his legion of friends and admirers in the capitalUpdated: Jan 17, 2020 00:49 IST
It’s been five months since the untimely passing of late politician and legal luminary Arun Jaitley, and as to be expected, his death has left a palpable void in the lives of his legion of friends and admirers in the capital. So when they received an invitation for the wedding reception of his son Rohan for this weekend, it brought a poignant smile to their lips. The reason is that the card was addressed jointly from ‘Sangeeta and Arun Jaitley’, with no mention of the latter’s passing, as though he were still very much around. “It’s been a very, very difficult time for his near and dear ones,” says a member of his inner circle. “He was a real people’s person and his ready wit, all-encompassing consideration and warmth, and his brilliant anecdotes related to his favourite foods, are hard to replace. Despite his busy schedule and health considerations, we would meet almost three-four times a week, and he would regale us with stories from his incredible memory and experiences. So when we received the card with his name very much at the top and with no attachment of ‘late’ before his name or any reference to his passing, it reflected what we have been experiencing:that he is very much alive in the hearts and minds of his family and friends,” the member said. The wedding reception of Rohan and Meher, daughter of Alka and Jaideep Anand, will take place this Saturday at the Jaitley residence, and in keeping with the departed statesmen’s wishes, will be understated and low key. We wish the couple every happiness.
So the city’s overheated grapevine has been working overtime, ever since the case of the beleaguered banker – once the toast of India Inc before her embroilment in alleged financial impropriety – has resurfaced. “For many months, the scandal appeared to have died down, and the assumption was that the person at the centre of the matter had powerful friends in high places, who had ensured their survival,” says one Dalal Street insider. “But recently, with the resumption of scrutiny and media interest, it appears that there has been a rethink by the authorities, and the gloves are off, as far as the state’s going after them,” the insider added.
According to the source, what might account for this renewed scrutiny, are the new political configurations and alliances. “Everyone knows that the banker’s alleged conspirators had close links to a political party, which had an alliance with the Centre. But once this party’s ties with the ruling regime came apart, Delhi did not see any reason to pull its punches any more, or treat the accused as a Holy Cow. Hence, this renewed vigour in holding the banker and their alleged collaborators to account.”
I want to expunge the word “narrative” from the discourse. Then I want to expunge the word “discourse” and get back to how normal people used to talk once.
— Posted by social commentator, film maker, and artist Gautam Benegal
Portraits of the Writer
Word comes in that Javed Akhtar arrived much before the schedule to look at ‘The World of Javed Akhtar’, curated by Pradeep Chandra and SMM Ausaja at the Nehru Centre on Wednesday evening. His family, including son Farhan accompanied by Shibani Dandekar and daughter Zoya, were there. But the evening’s host, Shabana Azmi, was yet to come, and they couldn’t cut the ribbon without her. At exactly 5.30pm, we’re informed, Azmi’s car arrived at the entrance, and the actress stepped out saying, “I was informed that it was starting at 5.30pm and here I am!” Then the diyas were lit and it was time to cut the ribbon, to let the assembled crowds in. When he was handed the scissor, Javed saab is said to have stared at it for a good 30 seconds before thoughtfully handing it over to his progeny to do the honours.
Chandra and Ausaja had put together the exhibition as a gift to the noted lyricist for his birthday, which falls today. The 114 images include vintage pictures, posters and other memorabilia, starting with documents of his great great grandfather, and each come with a descriptive story or explanation written by Nasreen Munni Kabir. Apart from this, the exhibition also featured a portrait of the birthday boy, made entirely with nails and threads!
Akhtar is said to have been happy to explain the significance of each image in his life to the likes of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule, who is said to have taken a huge interest in his anecdotes.
Unsurprisingly, the gallery was full of Akhtar’s admirers, such as Parvez Damania and Kamal Morarka; the latter was overheard saying that the exhibition should be preserved in a book. Others such as Dr Mukesh Batra, Riteish Deshmukh, Kanwaljeet Singh, Poonam Dhillon and Akhtar’s old acquaintances from his struggling days, were also seen at the gathering. The exhibition will continue till the 20th of this month, and then travel to Bhopal, Indore, Delhi and Chandigarh.