Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Straight from the Heart
To say that former CM of Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, stole the show with his fire and brimstone delivery last Friday at the launch of ‘Remembering Rajni’, at the Nehru Centre, would be an understatementUpdated: Sep 18, 2018 09:48 IST
To say that former CM of Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, stole the show with his fire and brimstone delivery last Friday at the launch of ‘Remembering Rajni’, at the Nehru Centre, would be an understatement. Speaking straight from the heart and mincing no words, Abdullah, who sat on the dais along with former President Pranab Mukherjee, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, former CM of Maharashtra Sushil Kumar Shinde and Bakul Patel, wife of the late barrister Rajni Patel, began by describing how while flying ‘from the mountains of Kashmir through the plains to Mumbai’, he had wondered what he would say on the occasion. “I decided that I would say, ‘I am a Muslim, does this mean I am not an Indian?’” he thundered. “Today, I visited a temple for a Ganpati puja, does that make me less of a Muslim? What difference does all this make for God’s sake! Wake up my friends, before it’s too late, and look at what is happening around you, to the country!” Interestingly, Abdullah had taken time off from his own personal celebrations, the occasion of his 50th wedding anniversary, to bring his message to the audience comprising of some of the city’s best and brightest. “My mom will murder me for this,” his son, Omar Abdullah had tweeted earlier in the day, by way of a greeting, adding “but if not today, then when! Happy fiftieth wedding anniversary to my parents. Love you both,” along with this early picture of the couple.
Catching up with Pooja
We ran into Kabir and the late Protima Bedi’s daughter, the ever-effervescent Pooja Bedi, last week, along with what appeared to be the new man in her life: the handsome Maneck Contractor, who, earlier, had been running the hugely popular Goa eatery Fiesta, along with his erstwhile partner Yellow Mehra. The one-time model and agony aunt was agog with the imminent Bollywood debut of her pretty daughter Aalia Furniturewala, who at 20, is already a social media star. It appears that Contractor, who builds boats, and Bedi, had been students of the same boarding school Sanawar, many moons ago, but had lost touch and been re-introduced to each other only recently, when cupid had obviously struck. “I spend more time in Goa now, between my various properties,” said Pooja, adding, “It’s a much healthier and more laid-back lifestyle all round.”As for Furniturewala, all she would divulge was that an announcement of her Bollywood debut was around the corner.
At a recent high-profile Ganpati Puja, one of the conversations was about the man with a receding airline. According to those who claim to be in the know, his latest recourse happens to be a wilful beating down of his company’s share price to create uncertainty in the public imagination. Why so? “He is hell bent on getting his current investor – a large Middle Eastern group – to exit, so he can bring in two new players, who he has lined up to take its place,” said the source. “The current partner, apparently, has not played ball with him and is gaining much business from the association, but not providing the benefits he had hoped for.” And, with recent news reports that he has not been able to meet salaries appearing in the media, “he is hoping that his partner will decide to cut its losses and depart, and allow the new guys to come in,” said the source.
Heaven Can Wait
Word comes in that restaurateur Rahul Akerkar’s highly anticipated new restaurant in Lower Parel has been further delayed. The chef and restaurateur, who had seen much success in his early career, when he had set up one of Mumbai’s first standalone fine dining restaurants Indigo, in Colaba, and had almost single-handedly changed the notion that only five-star hotels understood fine dining, had unceremoniously exited the group he had once started, and after waiting some years, due to a non-compete clause, was all set to open his new place in the complex of a spanking new residential tower in Lower Parel. Though, we hear, the almost 4,000 square foot space, that has been designed by Kapil Gupta, is ready and food tastings have been going on for months, a source called in to inform that Akerkar’s foodies would have to wait a little longer to taste his new Mediterranean-influenced menu. “They had hoped to open early this year and almost everything was in place, but the hold-up has been caused for no fault of his. The building complex that he is situated in has not been issued its completion certificate and there are some complications due to this, which have also affected another soon-to-open restaurant in the same location,” informs the source.