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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Sweet Victories

Following the historic quashing of Section 377, it was not surprising that one of the petitioners, who had moved the court to decriminalise homosexuality, Ritu Dalmia, was inundated with congratulatory messages.

mumbai Updated: Sep 07, 2018 01:25 IST
Malavika Sangghvi 
Malavika Sangghvi 
Hindustan Times
Chef Ritu Dalmia
Chef Ritu Dalmia

Following the historic quashing of Section 377 yesterday, by the Supreme Court in its landmark judgment, it was not surprising that one of the petitioners, who had moved the court to decriminalise homosexuality, celebrity chef and restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, was inundated with congratulatory messages. “Dear Ritu, congratulations and thank you for helping make society a bit more equal. Big yogi bear hugs,” went a typical one. Dalmia, an outspoken member of the LGBTQ community, who had combined an informed humane argument with truckloads of her famous personal charm to get her point across, responded with a series of emoticons denoting strength, power and celebration, and later, was depicted in a meme saying, “I feel a sense of relief and I have a smile stuck on my face that I can’t seem to get rid of.” The happiness, of course, is not restricted to her activism alone. For a 40-something, Dalmia’s professional life could not be better. After giving the Capital’s foodies more than a decade of great Italian fare, through her string of eateries (Mrs G is rumoured to be a big fan and you can’t get better endorsement for Italian fare in India than that!), she had opened her first Indian restaurant called Cittamani in Milan, last year, to good reviews. Not only this, but the affable chef from a traditional Kolkata-Marwari business clan is also said to be the go-to caterer for every top Indian destination wedding in Europe. In fact, if sources are to be believed, it is Dalmia, who has been engaged to cater for one of the most high-profile and glamorous marriage celebrations at Lake Como, not too long away. In fact, she could well have been in the midst of preparing for it, when news of the historic judgment had come in yesterday. Crack open the Grappa and Salut!

Another young couple

Suhel Seth (centre) and Lakshmi Menon (left) with Fern Mallis.
Suhel Seth (centre) and Lakshmi Menon (left) with Fern Mallis.

World traveller and marketing man Suhel Seth seems to be living his best life. Seth, the once ‘confirmed’ bachelor, who regularly had posted selfies with a slew of glamorous women across the continents, had been spotted recently in the more consistent company of statuesque international model Lakshmi Menon. The two had holidayed in Mallorca, a couple of months ago, and insiders swore the chemistry between them denoted some serious vibe. And now, word comes in that the pair, who is in New York currently, made their coupling somewhat more official, with Seth, blithely announcing on social media, “At the Tom Ford show at the New York Fashion Week with my Lakshmi Menon as the star on the runway”, along with pictures of them together. Menon had been part of the model troupe, which included supermodel Gigi Hadid amongst others at the show, where the first row had accommodated the glamour crowd made up of the likes of Tom Hanks, Adriana Lima and Vogue’s Anna Wintour. Though Seth was uncharacteristically absent from here, he was spotted in high spirits at the after-party, along with Menon and Fashion entrepreneur and India lover, Fern Mallis. As for the striking Seth-Menon combo making appearances at transcontinental hot spots: Do PC and Nick have anything to worry about?

“Well done Supreme Court. You have finally got the government out of our bedroom. Now, for the kitchen.”
-Tweeted by Ramesh Srivats

Grace Under Pressure

Boman Irani (extreme left) with Kunal Vijaykar (extreme right) at the inauguration of a restaurant in Dadar.
Boman Irani (extreme left) with Kunal Vijaykar (extreme right) at the inauguration of a restaurant in Dadar.

We had been concerned when we’d seen photographs of actor Boman Irani on a wheel chair. One of the most likeable stars of the silver screen, Irani had always struck us for his decency and grace. What could be the matter, we’d texted him. True to form, his response had been prompt, honest and self-effacing. “No biggie actually, been around five weeks,” he said, “Slip disc. Pinched nerve. So, right leg in agony. I do distance on a chair and use a walking stick otherwise. Nights are bad. Honestly, it’s no biggie MS. People go through worse. I’m on the mend for sure.” As expected, there had been a buoyant and bullish approach to what must have been a challenging personal situation. So, when we saw pictures of Irani, a few days later, undertaking what looked like one of his umpteen rounds of spreading cheer and good feeling, we were not surprised. Regardless of his bad back and the pain he must have endured, he’d dropped in to the inauguration of Raju’s Malvani Mejwani in Dadar, the culmination of a 30-year-old dream of a street food cart owner. Talk about decency and grace!

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 01:25 IST

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