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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Oscar Harvest

mumbai Updated: Feb 27, 2019 00:38 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Producers of ‘Green Book’ Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga accept the award for Best Picture with the whole crew on stage during the Oscars on Sunday.
Producers of ‘Green Book’ Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga accept the award for Best Picture with the whole crew on stage during the Oscars on Sunday. (Photo: AFP)

Even as his business empire appears to be going pear-shaped, Anil Ambani seems to have scored big in this year’s Oscars. His Reliance Entertainment’s JV with Steven Spielberg and Participant Media (the production house founded in 2004 by Jeffrey Skoll, dedicated to entertainment and intended to spur social change), reaped a harvest of four Oscars at the Academy Awards 2019 this Sunday. “’Green Book’, produced by Participant Media, DreamWorks Pictures, Innisfree Pictures, Cinetic Media and Alibaba Pictures, and directed by Peter Farrelly, won three Oscars for Best Picture of the Year, along with Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali and Best Original Screenplay. Also, Ryan Gosling-starrer ‘First Man’ produced by Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures, Universal Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment and Phantasma won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects,” a spokesperson of Reliance Entertainment said. As is known, in 2008, DreamWorks, which had been founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, signed a $1.5 billion deal to produce films with India’s Reliance Entertainment. Later, in 2015, Ambani ratcheted up his international entertainment profile by forming Amblin Partners along with Spielberg, Skoll and Darren Throop of Entertainment One. This year’s win, we’re told, brings his company’s JV with Spielberg, a total of eight Oscars to date including the earlier critically-acclaimed films ‘The Help’, ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Bridge of Spies’. Of course, given his current corporate woes, the beleaguered tycoon maintained his no-media-interviews-at-any-cost profile, but Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, vice chairman, Reliance Entertainment, widely believed to be part of Ambani’s corporate inner circle, was quick to issue a statement. “We are incredibly proud to have partnered with Steven Spielberg and Participant Media in two of this year’s Oscar-winning movies, Green Book - a moving story of friendship, respect and empathy; and First Man, with its astonishing visual effects that recreated the history of man’s first landing on the moon,” he said.

Culturati Gathering

(From left) Rewant Sarabhai, Sunil Kothari and Mallika Sarabhai.
(From left) Rewant Sarabhai, Sunil Kothari and Mallika Sarabhai.

It was a sizeable section of Mumbai’s culturati that showed up on the lawns of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya on Friday evening to watch noted Indian classical dancer, activist and actress, the 64-year-old Mallika Sarabhai perform with her son, film and theatre actor, dancer, and choreographer (and one of the few male Bharatanatyam soloists of his generation), the 34-year-old Rewant Sarabhai. The handsome mother-son combo are said to have enthralled the audience with their duet based on the competition between Shiva and Parvati amongst other things. The progeny of two of India’s most talented people – renowned danseuse Mrinalani and her scientist-husband Vikram Sarabhai – Mallika, a graduate of IIM-Ahmedabad, had blazed onto the cultural scene in India in the 80s, with a staggering amount of avatars from films to management to theatre to books and dance performances. Her son followed in her footsteps receiving his induction into dance from his grandmother Mrinalani and made his solo dance debut at the age of eight. With a bachelors’ degree from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and a masters in Performance & Creative Research from the University of Roehampton, London, the young man, a scion of a wealthy business clan from Ahmedabad, could have easily walked into the corner office of a corporate enterprise. The fact that he chose to devote his life to the arts is testimony to the Sarabhai ethos, which has been steeped into art and culture over decades. Spotted in the audience at the fresco gathering, which, given its artsy-cultural moorings evoked the best of Kolkata or Chennai, were dance critic and former dean and professor of aesthetics, JNU, Sunil Kothari, who had once been a lecturer at Mumbai’s Sydenham college; thespian and culture vulture Dolly Thakore and Kalpana Arun Chogle, daughter of the late poet Nissim Ezekiel. “I met Arun Chogle, my student from. Sydenham college, after an interval of 40 years! Cheers!” remarked a delighted Kothari later.

Rani At The Races

Photo: Malavika Sangghvi
Photo: Malavika Sangghvi

More about Parsis and their love for canines. This Sunday’s races, besides featuring a gaggle of swan -necked and exquisitely-coiffed models along with their expensively-dressed swains, also featured an equally-graceful and poised canine, matching fur coat and elan with the best of them, in no less than the member’s enclosure! What’s more, the pooch appeared to be unfazed by the dash and glamour around, and felt very much at home in the VIP box. A Parsi lawyer-friend and erstwhile race-goer shed some light on what could have been her antecedents. “There used to be ‘Rani’, maybe 15 or 20 years ago. She used to listen to the beep when horses were being loaded into the gates. Thereupon, she would pavlovianly trot to the far end of the members’ enclosure, hear the approaching hoof-beats getting close and then race them to the finishing post. She was a beloved institution, our Lady of the Lawns,” he said. Could this have been one of Rani’s worthy descendants? She certainly looked like she knew a thing or two about the proceedings, more in fact, than many others in the VIP box. Or could this have been the same upwardly-mobile and socially-enthusiastic mutt, who had recently crashed the runway of a high-profile fashion show in Bandra? The mind boggles.
(Photo: Malavika Sangghvi)


What They Say:
“In view of the prevailing Indo-Pak situation, I am postponing my upwas for full statehood of Delhi. We all stand as one nation today,”
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal yesterday

What They Mean:
“Also, to be honest, I didn’t really want to give up on all those hot hot jalebis and pakoras and cups of masala chai with adrak in this cold weather.”

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 00:33 IST

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