Karishma and Rewant Ruia at the reception on Saturday.
Karishma and Rewant Ruia at the reception on Saturday.

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Power-packed reception

It was a gathering of the country’s rich, famous and powerful, which had gathered on Saturday evening to celebrate the nuptials of Ruia heir Rewant and his bride Karishma Choraria
By Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Power-packed reception | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2020 12:56 AM IST

It was a gathering of the country’s rich, famous and powerful, which had gathered on Saturday evening to celebrate the nuptials of Ruia heir Rewant and his bride Karishma Choraria. Held at the Ruias’s sumptuous seafront mansion at Walkeshwar road, the evening had seen the presence of political heavy weights from across the spectrum, such as Sharad Pawar, Nitin Gadkari, Uddhav Thackeray, Devendra Fadnavis, Praful Patel and Kamal Nath, rub shoulders with Mukesh and Nita Ambani, Adi Godrej, Uday Kotak, and Sunil and Rajan Bharti Mittal.

The couple had met in London, where the bride’s family lives, and had dated for a year before taking the plunge. Besides the Ruia hospitality seen on full display, with both brothers Shashi and Ravi along with their wives and families playing perfect hosts, what is being remarked is the presence of many arch corporate rivals who had made it a point to mark their presence at the event. At an earlier reception last week, the United Kingdom-based steel tycoon LN Mittal, who is currently locked in a headline-grabbing battle with the Ruias to acquire their steel division, had made heads turn when he’d walked in with wife Usha and son Aditya. Sajjan Jindal, the other steel tycoon, also involved in the bruising battle, had attended both functions along with wife Sangita, and the presence of Mukesh Ambani and Sunil Mittal – both principal competitors of the hosts in the highly combative telecom space – only emphasised the fact that when it comes to social obligations and niceties, even alpha tycoons could set aside their arsenal. However, this might not be the case in political circles. According to a guest, even though both, the former Maharashtra chief minister Fadnavis and the current one Thackeray had been present for Saturday’s reception, they had managed to avoid coming face to face with each other. “I think they had timed their entrances and exits quite judiciously,” said one observer.

Gerson da Cunha, Bhaichand Patel, Sabira Merchant, Shyam Benegal and Anil Dharker at the book release.
Gerson da Cunha, Bhaichand Patel, Sabira Merchant, Shyam Benegal and Anil Dharker at the book release.

Them, Good Old Days

We like the sound of ‘unreliable memoir’, but then Bhaichand Patel, the author of the newly released ‘I am a stranger here myself: an unreliable memoir’ has a reputation to live down to, of being one of the Capital’s leading wits and gossipy bon vivants. The former Fiji-born United Nations diplomat had made Mumbai his home in the late sixties, and had with his characteristic gregariousness become a leading member of its intelligentsia; barrister Rajni Patel, editors Rahul Singh, and the late Vinod Mehta and ad guru Gerson da Cunha had belonged to this circle, when the evenings had been full of discussions of art, politics and film, punctuated frequently by Patel’s tales of salacious peccadillos and society scandals.

From Mumbai, Patel had moved to Delhi, where in a very short period he’d gathered a kindred circle, and his parties at his Sujjan Singh bachelor pad had soon become a toast of the Lutyen’s set.

In fact, the last one, Patel’s annual Valentine’s Day celebration for a crush of happy singletons, had a guest list of 160 and had made it to Page Three, with most of the senior citizens gamely arriving in stipulated Valentine Reds and dancing till late into the night, we are informed.

Unsurprisingly, Friday’s book release, attended by Bakul Patel, Saryu Doshi, Tanuja and Dina Vakil amongst others, had felt like an old Bombay evening. Patel had riveted his audience with gossipy anecdotes culled from his latest tome, like his claim that he’d been a potential husband for femme fatale actress Rekha, when a Delhi-based socialite mutual friend had recommended him as a highly eligible bachelor to the actress. “After one at me, she had decided otherwise and had gone on to marry a close friend of mine,” the consummate raconteur had narrated in his speech, adding, “And we all know how tragically that had ended.”

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Villie and Brig (rtd) Furdoon Mehta with their family at Sunday’s celebration.
Villie and Brig (rtd) Furdoon Mehta with their family at Sunday’s celebration.

The Distinguished Soldier

“It’s dad’s 100th birthday this year,” erstwhile entertainment tycoon, philanthropist and now impassioned philosophy student Zarina Mehta had texted, adding, “Would love for you to come celebrate it this Sunday, at lunch.” The effervescent Mehta, who along with husband – movie producer and entertainment mogul Ronnie Screwvala – had been responsible for some of the country’s biggest TV and movie hits, was referring to her father, Brigadier Furdoon Mehta, who had distinguished himself during the Second World War when he’d risked his life flying above enemy lines to pinpoint targets. Now long retired, the dapper handlebar moustachioed, ram rod straight dead ringer for Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, lives along with his elegant nonagenarian wife Villie in an apartment in SoBo, not too far from his daughter, and is the centre of their attention and love. The centenary birthday celebration was full of affection and admiration for the patriarch, and saw the presence of a large circle of his family and friends, including Dr Faroukh Udwadia with wife Vera, Nadir and Rati Godrej, Pheroza Godrej, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Ishan and Anjali Raina, AD and Sabena Singh, and Ricky and Laila Lamba amongst others.

How does one wish a distinguished and much decorated soldier on his 100th birthday? The hosts had forbidden gifts, but Pheroza Godrej appeared to have gotten around it with an ingenious solution. She’d sent a glorious arrangement of exactly one hundred flowers for the birthday ‘boy’.

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