Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Returning the compliment

mumbai Updated: Mar 21, 2018 15:37 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Mumbai,Deoras

Mukul Deora with Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to the city.

“When I met Hillary Clinton at a conclave in Mumbai recently, the first thing I said to her was: You knew my father, Murli Deora.” “Her eyes lit up and she said, of course!” says the dapper artist, musician and businessman Mukul Deora, elder son of national bridge champion Hema Deora and the late Congress leader. “She instantly recalled how she had met both my parents at the White House Millennium Ball.”

The Deoras with the Clintons at the White House Millennium Ball.

For those in the Trump-Modi era, it is hard to recreate the glamour of the New Year bash the Clintons had hosted to usher in the new century. Attended by the likes of Muhammad Ali, Bono, Jack Nicholson, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, (the President had sat between the last two) and featuring beluga caviar, lobster, oysters and champagne on its menu, with dancing till dawn on the lawns, it was described as a once-in-a-century gathering of style and substance.

The Deoras had been invited not only because Murli had been a leading Congress MP with strong ties with the highest echelons in Washington, but also because of their innate sophistication and ease in society. But as Hema tells it, it turned out to be an obstacle race to show up at all. After having her handbag stolen at Frankfurt airport and losing their travel documents, the couple finally ended up in DC a few hours before the ball, with their luggage still in transit. “I had packed a gorgeous sari with Indian jewellery and a bandh gala for Murli,” says Hema. “But we had to buy our entire outfit, head to toe, that too completely Western attire from a store across our hotel!” she laughs. these pictures vouch for not just the splendid job Hema did, but also the fact that 18 years later, Hillary graciously returned the compliment and dressed Indian from head to toe!

TRUE LIES

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother? Word comes in of the curious case of these two brothers from a North Indian state, both tycoons heading major Indian brands, who have a strange way of showing their mutual love.

Brother A, biding time in the clinker for being a bit absent-minded when it came to returning obscene amounts of public money borrowed from banks, can become a free man if his family comes up with a suitably large amount to ease him out. So what does Brother B, for whom the sum is reportedly no more than loose change in his pocket, do? Nothing. Yes. You read that right. “Why waste good money?” he is alleged to have reasoned with his folk. “He will be out in a few years, na.” The irony is the siblings had one of the most amicable splits in corporate India ever.

WTSWTM

What They Say —

The nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri, which begins on Sunday, will witness the burning of 50,000kg of wood for a ‘mahayagya’ performed by 350 Brahmins from Varanasi to curb pollution.

— Recent report in a national daily

What They Mean —

A bit like turkeys voting for an early Christmas when you think about it.

FROM THE OUTSIDE IN

Janice Rooks with Simi Garewal and Karan Kapoor in London.

“I didn’t expect anyone to show up as there was a snowstorm! And it was St Patrick’s Day! But they all did!” says Simi Garewal, from the ongoing UK Asian Film Festival in London, about the screening last Saturday of the cult classic, Siddhartha, in which she had played a courtesan to Shashi Kapoor’s seeker.

“I paid tribute to Shashi. His son, Karan Kapoor, who attended, said it was very moving. Janice, who is in the picture with us, was director Conrad Rooks’ wife all through the making of ‘Siddhartha’. So I invited her on stage, too, and she spoke about his five-year dedication to making the film,” she recalls.

The screening was followed by a Q&A with Garewal, in which amongst other things she reminisced about her childhood spent in London, mostly hanging outside the gates of the city’s legendary Twickenham Studios, dreaming of the day when she’d be a movie star. So it was with a sense of delight that the actress shared the following anecdote. “After the Q&A, an Indian lady, Mrs Vohra, came up to the festival chairperson and said, “We were touched by Simi’s speech. In fact, we are the owners now of Twickenham Studios and we would like to invite Simi to enter the gates and visit the studio!”

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 15:36 IST