Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Talk of the town

Hindustan Times | By Malavika Sangghvi, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2018 11:31 AM IST

It is universally acknowledged that the most spectacular sea-facing penthouse apartment in town belongs to none other than NCP leader and former Union minister Praful Patel. With its wide terrace, wrapped snugly around the plush apartment, Patel’s Worli residence, where he lives with wife, Varsha, and their kids, has been venue to many sparkling soirees. After all, the suave son of India’s beedi tycoon has been a leading figure on the country’s political landscape, of whom it is often said that regardless of his political affiliations, he has friends across the board. This ability to make friends and influence people was seen in strong evidence this weekend, when the Patel’s threw open their doors to a sampling of India’s best and brightest. From industrialists Mukesh Ambani, Adar Poonawalla and Ajay Piramal to banker Deepak Parekh to SoBo grande dames like Tasneem Mehta, Swati Piramal and Meena Raheja, among others, were all there on Saturday and expectedly, the topic on every one’s minds was just one: Nirav Modi. “Everyone was milling around this top diamond tycoon, someone with a lot of credibility and stature from the same circle and line as Nirav Modi to ask for his insights,” said a lady, who’d been present on the occasion. “But much to their surprise, he appeared to be soft pedalling the entire matter, until it was discovered that he was related through his wife’s family to the beleaguered Modi,” she said, adding. “I guess he was put in quite an awkward position that evening.” Indeed.

True lies

An awkward, but expected skirmish appears to have broken out between two media mavens, erstwhile friends and neighbours, who until recently appeared to have been cut from the same cloth. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum occupied more or less the same sliver of the professional cake, and appeared to share a similar left leaning, liberal urbane world view too. However, recently with Dum emerging as something of a modern-day vigilante and the unfettered voice of the Opposition, sources say, Dee has been expressing his dismay at what he sees as his colleague’s ‘pretentious posturing and self-aggrandizement’. “Not only is he using his media outlet as a platform to promote himself as some kind of intellectual heavyweight,” he has been heard to say, “But in his eagerness to emerge as a leading anti-establishment voice, he has abandoned all semblance of objectivity and become a craven spokesperson for a party while flaunting the high moral ground too.” He has been heard to express. Oh dear. Could this carping just be a case of sour grapes or the fact that many of the carper’s ideas have been ‘borrowed, unacknowledged’ by his more opportunistic colleague?

Tweet nothings

The only banks I trust these days are Louiz, Gino and Neil Banks #jazzsaying

-Narendra Kusnur, music writer.

Women on top

It was a women-centric sisterhood of strong females, who took to the podium at Barkha Dutt’s latest town hall last Thursday, held for the first time at SoBo’s Taj Vivanta (although following reports that the latest incumbent of the hotel chain’s top seat Puneet Chaddha is planning to tinker with the chain’s branding, it may well be the Taj President once again). Featuring the irrepressible Ektaa Kapoor and the vastly more subdued Nimrat Kaur, it had the seasoned Dutt extracting some gems from her panel both responsible for a recently launched net series called Test Case, with the audience being afforded Kapoor’s usual mix of brash charm and street smarts to the accompaniment of her sparkling gem studded rings, bracelets. When asked to name the desi Harvey Weinsteins and if the #MeToo campaign would extend to Indian shores, Kapoor made it a point to note that predators existed on both sides and that “you have to see some of the messages my film colleagues receive from wannabe actors and actresses, blatantly propositioning them”. Kaur, the daughter of a martyred defence forces officer, struck a more stoic note when she recalled how she had dealt with the tragic death of her father at the tender age of 11 and her pride in essaying the role of the Army’s first test case female in a combat role. “The uniform that I wore for the shoot is the only costume I requested to take home in my career,” she said.

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