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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: In his grandmother’s footsteps?

mumbai Updated: Jun 18, 2018 15:49 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Mumbai,Malavika Sangghvi

Padmanabh Singh and Gayatri Devi.

He’s had his spectacular bachelor digs at Jaipur’s Rajmahal Palace, described as ‘part old-world glamour, part modern maximalism and part timeless sophistication’ by Architectural Digest, India; he’s waltzed with Ava Phillippe (Oscar-winning actor Reese Witherspoon’s daughter) at the biggest high society event for scions of the rich and famous — le Bal in Paris, last year, and, if there’s any more evidence needed that the 20-year-old polo player Padmanabh Singh, known to friends as Pacho, the scion of the erstwhile ruling family of Jaipur, is fast becoming a major player on the global celeb scene, here it is: this weekend, he was a star attraction at the Milan Fashion week when he walked the floor for designers Dolce and Gabbana.

What’s interesting is that this confident, stepping into the international spotlight, appears to be something that’s been part of his legacy. After all, until now, the only Indian royal to have captured the world’s imagination was his great grandmother, the late Gayatri Devi, later known as the Rajmata of Jaipur, who counted as her friends international rock stars, Hollywood and European royalty. Singh whose mother — the only daughter of Brig Bahavani Singh (Bubbles) and Padmni Devi was said to be estranged from the Rajmata during the family’s legendary palace wars — appears to have inherited not only his celebrated ancestor’s looks but also her international panache. Will the Mayo College, Ajmer, and Millfield, UK, alumnus succeed in his endeavour to make a mark in the international arena? His appearance on the ramp amidst international celebrity and paparazzi certainly heralds another step in that direction.

CM BAN GAYA...

(LtoR) CM Devendra Fadnavis during the trip; an earlier picture of the CM with Ratan Tata.

As is known, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is on a high-profile and ambitious visit to North America, in his bid to transform Mumbai into a prime hub for the financial technology industry — an emerging and fast-growing sector that offers tremendous employment potential. And, given his meticulous planning, it appears Fadnavis has left no stone unturned to walk the talk and look the part too. So, in keeping with his party’s ‘Make in India’ thinking, we are informed that the CM prefers his suits to be bespoke and ‘made in India’. In this earlier picture, with corporate statesman Ratan Tata, Fadnavis wears a custom-made suit made in Dormeuil fabric and finished with hand detailing, which makes him look every inch the part of the state’s CEO. The company that made the suit posted photos, along with other outfits like Nehru jackets, bandhis and bandhgalas that were all custom-made for the CM, and which he no doubt packed to take along on his all-important trip. So, if indeed he comes back with bags full of dollars and documents of JVs, one can say, “clothes not only maketh the man, but the State too.”

WTS WTM

What They Say —

“Computer Baba, nicknamed for the fact he always has a laptop on him, also owns a chopper and wants to be an MLA. Bhaiyyu Maharaj was a one-time model with a Mercedes and a following that cut across party lines. Rawatpura Sarkar runs and heads a rash of mainstream educational institutes and has multiple ashrams.”

— Article on how MP is the go-to state for babas with ambitions

What They Mean —

“Progress at last: No one needs to become a politician these days to con people anymore.”

CELEBRATING GERSON

(LtoR) Rahul da Cunha and Gerson da Cunha.

Yesterday, a slew of family friends and admirers of adman extraordinaire, actor, activist and poet Gerson da Cunha, gathered at the Yacht Club to celebrate his 89th birthday. As expected, da Cunha, who has had a long and distinguished career both in advertising and the arts, has a legion of well-wishers. “Happy Birthday to my most cherished friend Gerson da Cunha of Mumbai! A great thinker, actor, marketing specialist, writer — a man for all seasons!” exulted author and journalist Pranay Gupte from New York. “He’s 89, but with the spirit of a 29-year-old,” said his long- time friend and neighbour, publisher Padmni Mirchandani. “He has an incredible memory for names and events, even now. He’s also the kindest person I know,” she said. “He’s a truly interesting man, who’s perhaps one of the best listeners ever!” said his nephew, the celebrated advertising and theatre icon Rahul da Cunha. “I remember spending a fab 4 months with him when he generously invited me to stay with him and Uma in 1987 in Manhattan.” And, of course, given his popularity, we hear plans are already underway to bring in the great man’s ninetieth next year in the style it deserves. “Some of us must get together to plan a fab big thing from now,” says Mirchandani. “The film clips from his friends and colleagues, start shooting now, but we require more: on Byculla, Goa...”

First Published: Jun 18, 2018 15:48 IST