It was by all accounts quite a gathering of talents this Friday, when the internationally-celebrated chef Gaggan Anand, the Kolkata-born Punjab da puttar, who’s taken the foodie world by storm, went to break bread with noted thespian, voice artist, photographer and recently-announced movie producer Boman Irani. The dinner saw Irani’s wife Zenobia prepare a traditional Parsi meal, and other guests included award-winning director Ram Madhvani; singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan and funny man Kunal Vijayakar. “Alex Dinelaris, who is an Oscar-winning writer was flown down to conduct a workshop for screenwriters as part of the first order of business of my firm Irani Movietone,” said Irani, about the evening. “So we had this little party in his honour. And just as my mom finished blessing everyone, like always, Shankar got a call saying he’s getting the Padma Shri and the party changed gear. We sang a duet, his son played the piano and we celebrated the launch of Irani Movietone.” Of course, food is not the only interest that Anand and Irani share. Irani is also an accomplished singer, as those who have witnessed his stage performances will tell you, and Anand is a self-confessed rock music junkie. And with Mahadevan, the consummate musician, celebrating his newly-announced civilian honour, is there any surprise that the night ended with Shankar, Gaggan and Boman jamming away till the wee hours?Look Who’s TalkingPTI(From left) Amit Shah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rahul Gandhi and Nitin Gadkari.As the buzz in political circles for Nitin Gadkari as the possible consensus candidate for PM, ahead of the upcoming general elections, gathers momentum, could those who did the seating at Saturday’s Republic Day parade really imagine that putting the Union Minister for Road Transport beside Congress President Rahul Gandhi not attract comment? The two men seated cheek by jowl (come to think of it, RaGa did appear to lean in and initiate the banter) and chatting pleasantly, has set off another round of speculation about Gadkari’s position. Over the past few weeks, much has been read into the BJP leader’s public comments remarks, especially, when in August he appeared to question his own government’s job creation, and earlier this month praised RaGa’s grandmother Indira Gandhi as a model of “women empowerment”. But according to Capital sources, it’s much ado about nothing. “Last year, as you know, there had been a bit of an uproar when the Congress leader had been afforded a seat in the fourth row next to Ghulam Nabi Azad,” said a Delhi political insider. “This year, what really happened was that in the absence of Union Minister Arun Jaitley, both the Congress and BJP president Amit Shah ended up in the same row. RaGa, who showed up without a companion, was thus placed between Amit Shah’s granddaughter and Gadkari, who happened to be accompanied by his wife and grandkid too. Nothing should be made of their friendliness. Even Rajnathji sat with Manmohan Singh and his wife, and were civil,” said the source, adding, “But it is true that Gadkari is among the few BJP leaders who enjoys good equations with all parties, including Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar.” So, was this just some afternoon PC between the two leaders or Kissa Kursi Ka? Time will tell.Overheard “Police would like to issue a warning to members of the public about the exploits of a group touring the country at the moment. Witnesses report seeing this group badly assault an innocent-looking bunch of New Zealanders in both Napier and Mount Maunganui in the last week. Extra care should be taken if you are carrying anything that looks like a cricket bat or ball.”-Hilarious tongue-in-cheek warning by Australia’s Eastern District Police on the performance of the Indian cricket teamSome Polo Cheer HT PhotoArvind Singh Mewar (left) with Eduardo Novillo AstradaHe may be a man of many passions, from cricket (he represented his school, university and Rajasthan State in cricket tournaments) to aviation, to collecting antique cars and fine crystal, and of course, his role in making Udaipur, where he is chairman of the HRH Group of Hotels, a world-class tourist destination is well-acknowledged, but friends of Arvind Singh Mewar, custodian of the erstwhile House of Mewar, will tell you that their pal is not much for smiling for the camera. Day after day, as he goes about his duties as titular head of his people, Singh posts dour photographs of himself with the innumerable visitors he meets at his palace, and in not a single one does the fiercely-whiskered and exquisitely-dressed business- man so much as crack a smile. Belying his personal warmth and modern day outlook, Singh’s portraits make him come across as an unsmiling and remote figure from another era. Which is why, when we chanced upon some relatively animated impressions of him at a recent meeting at his palace, we were curious. “It was a pleasure meeting Mr Eduardo Novillo Astrada, President of Polo Association of Argentina and his team, for cocktails at Shambhu Niwas,” he said in response to our query. “Mr Astrada has won the Argentine triple crown, playing with his brothers in their family team. All four brothers have been +10 goals.” Unlike fellow members of erstwhile royalty from houses of Jodhpur and Jaipur, though Singh has not been seen as a polo player himself, nonetheless, his role in encouraging the sport in India is strong. “The Mewar Polo team has been instrumental in transforming polo in India, from a time when it was predominantly played by the armed forces, to when we initiated bringing in foreign players to team up with local civilian players,” says Singh, who went on to establish the Ramgarh Resort and Polo Complex, India’s first privately-owned and managed polo establishment. “This facility has provided the required infrastructure and training opportunities to many players and polo enthusiasts and continues to do so. We remain committed to our polo pony breeding programme, started 35 years ago, the focus being on improving the stock with every passing generation,” he said. A cause for some unprecedented animation and cheer for sure.