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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: In Praise Of Horror

mumbai Updated: Feb 10, 2019 22:52 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Aarti Gupta Surendranath with the poster of Purana Mandir.
Aarti Gupta Surendranath with the poster of Purana Mandir. (HT Photo)
         

“I don’t know how I can punish you for making me speak after Mr (Shatrughan) Sinha!” said ad-movie-producer, animal rights activist and regular on Mumbai’s social scene Aarti Gupta Surendranath, who, along with the actor, widely celebrated for his oratorical skills, was present at the release of ‘A Touch of Evil’, a new tome on the genre of horror movies in Bollywood. Surendranath narrated how, when she’d been a young 16-year-old model, she had accepted the offer made by the Ramsay bothers, leaders in the genre, to star in their upcoming film Purana Mandir, even though she ‘d turned down what had appeared to be more promising offers. “The producers had begun the meeting saying they knew I would not accept their offer, but had just wanted to see for themselves if my famous locks were ‘real’,” said Gupta, who’d become the face of a popular shampoo brand at that time. Purana Mandir had gone on not only to be the biggest hit of its year, but a cult classic too, and though Surendranath had not followed her star into movies, she spoke of how the experience of shooting for it had been one of the nicest memories. At that time, everyone had asked the young model why she’d chosen a horror film to make her Bollywood debut. “Thank you for making me feel that my decision was not wrong,” she said at the event at St Regis.” And for giving credit to a genre that has not received its due.”

Take That Dr Swamy

Ashok Row Kavi
Ashok Row Kavi ( HT Photo )

It’s being seen as an alternative to the all-pervasive left-liberal stance of the Lutyens’ Delhi crowd. And to be sure, ever since Arnab Goswami delivered his scathing attack in his address at the three-day cultural festival Arth in Delhi, over this weekend, the battle lines seem to be drawn (Goswami had thundered about the collapse of the Lutyens’ cozy crowd and the triumph of the Chaiwala). The literature, culture, society, music, traditions, history and arts festival, whose self-stated mission is to ‘celebrate Indic thought and philosophy’, saw many denizens of the right wing on the podium including Subramanian Swamy and LGTBQA activist, Mumbai’s Ashok Row Kavi. But what was not expected is when infighting broke out amongst the ranks. “I don’t know how to react to someone attacking me from the dais about being ‘abnormal’ and a ‘genetic defect’ without having recourse to a dignified retort, but Dr Subramanian Swamy did that today at the Arth event in Delhi,” Kavi had complained on social media, on day one of the festival. But of course, all was not lost. Kavi, who is equally adept at calling a spade a bloody shovel, is said to have accosted Swamy, who he says he agrees with on many other issues, when he exited the stage demanding an explanation. “He said let’s agree to disagree,” informed Kavi, when we spoke from the scene of the festival yesterday.

Sarson Da Saga

Sachin Pilot
Sachin Pilot ( HT File )

Only a few weeks ago he was seen hobnobbing with some of the city’s leading media and business folk at the dinner his party colleague Milind Deora had hosted for him in Mumbai. And now it seems that Congress leader and deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot’s charm offensive continues. Last week, the dapper politician hosted his annual Kisan lunch for the Capital’s creamy layer on the lawns of his home. Seen on the occasion were journalists, politicians and bureaucrats, enjoying the delicious bajra roti, sarson da saag, makki de roti and chaas on offer, along with some equally delicious political gossip concerning the upcoming general elections. The Kisan lunch, an annual ritual that was started by his late father, the Congress leader Rajesh Pilot, got its name not only for the rustic repast served, but also because the guest list made sure to include the country’s power elite along with a sizeable group of farmers who the Pilots’ count among their choice constituents. And as to be expected, this year’s event saw the host, known to be among Rahul Gandhi’s inner circle of young Turks, fielding questions from his guests about the magic number expected for his party as well as the role of the newly appointed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the upcoming polls.

The Making Of A Musician

Sarosh Nanavaty
Sarosh Nanavaty

With news that India’s first original musical #SingIndiaSing by Rahul Dacunha and Bugs Bhargava and composed by Clinton Cerejo is cranking up again, with three shows at the end of the month in Mumbai, before it wends its way to Delhi, we spoke to Aban Nanavaty, mother of one of its lead performers Sarosh Nanavaty, about her daughter’s blossoming musical career. In the show, Sarosh plays Shweta, A mysterious masked singer, one of the four final contestants to take part in a reality TV competition, one that can jettison her into fortune and fame. How did the young aspiring Nanavaty negotiate her dream to reach where she had? “She had always been musically inclined, ever since the age of six, when she got her first standing ovation and call for an ‘encore’,” said Aban. “Whether she was singing, acting, playing the piano or on the debate team, being on stage was like being at home.” The young musician had spent all her school and college days with the college band, the acapella group, the choir and college theatre community before she opted to do a short course at a music school in London to hone her skills and get some international exposure. But of course, it is her turn in #SingIndiaSing which afforded the young singer with her most valuable experience. “She shares the stage with some of the country’s finest talents and has the opportunity to work with an amazing cast and crew,” says Nanavaty. But this is only the beginning for the talented musician, who is currently working on an album.” It’s her first solo project with her original material,” says the proud mother.

First Published: Feb 10, 2019 22:51 IST