Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The eminent foodie
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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The eminent foodie

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2018 16:01 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Mumbai,Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata.

He may be the country’s leading corporate statesman and chairman emeritus of India’s leading congl- omerate, but make no mistake about it; Ratan Tata is also a Parsi, which means he’s also a leading foodie. This Wednesday night, he was spotted in San Francisco at the Taj Campton hotel’s Michelin -starred restaurant, enjoying dinner with a colleague. As is known, the restaurant, run by Chef Srijith Gopinath, was awarded two Michelin stars in 2016, making him the first Indian to achieve the rating (now Gaggan Anand is the only Indian to have this honour, as Srijith lost a star, subsequently). Apparently, when Tata stays at the hotel, which is often, he visits the restaurant frequently, almost twice a month, and is usually spotted with business associates or alone; and more often than not, orders the tasting menu at the modern Indian restaurant. This is not the only place he frequents of course; as Mumbaiites know, he has a weekly standing reservation at another of his favourites: the Thai Pavilion at the President hotel in Mumbai. Incidentally, just a week ago, Tata was spotted at London’s popular fine-dining restaurant ‘Cut at 45 Park Lane’ helmed by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, enjoying the establishment’s famous medium rare steak from its grill.


Word comes in that there’s trouble in paradise: it appears that the fastest set in the country has hit an air pocket. Time was when this young and good-looking billionaire couple were the toast of the Mumbai jet set, with their frequent invitations to holiday in their PJ or their yacht. Their friends included the glam wife of a reigning superstar and the daughter of another one; and the daughter of a reputed business clan and her husband, who were often seen in their company on their transcontinental holidays. But that charmed circle may be a thing of the past now, says a source. Apparently, the couple’s introduction to the two ladies (and most of Bollywood) had been through a powerful Mumbai society Queen Bee, who had been responsible for the couple’s initiation into the Bolly ‘scene’. But alas, things are said to have considerably cooled down between the Queen Bee and the billionaire couple, leaving insiders to wonder how long before her high-profile Bollywood friends will disengage themselves from the couple due to their old loyalties to her. Not that this seems to worry the billionaire couple, according to sources. “Of late, they have been seen in the company of two younger actresses, one whose recent wedding celebrations were the cynosure of all eyes and the other, from another top film family, married to an aristocratic actor, who is currently enjoying motherhood to the hilt,” says a source, “proving that there’s always more fish to fry – even within the gold fish bowl.”


Amrita Sher-Gil.

Like her contemporary Amrita Sher-Gil, the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo holds sway on her admirers not only for her art, but also for her personality. Both women had much in common: not only were they ethereally beautiful, bisexual and defined by a haunting angst, but they both took great pleasure in sartorial exuberance, creating distinct styles for themselves. Kahlo, with her colourful head flowers and Sher-Gil with her deep maroon lipstick and chiffon saris, have almost become universal symbols of the suffering, beautiful, female artist. This picture, interestingly, comes close to merging the two.

Frida Kahlo (centre) with Nayantara Sahgal (right) and Rita Dhar.

Taken in 1947, it features Kahlo at her childhood home in La Casa Azul, Mexico, with renowned writer Nayantara Sahgal (coincidentally, a niece of Pandit Nehru, who was a great friend and admirer of Sher-Gil) and Rita Dhar. Sahgal had just graduated from Wellesley College in America and gone to Mexico for a visit. Their host, who knew Kahlo, took them to visit her. “She suffered terribly from spinal problems, and usually wore corsets to help stabilise her back,” says Sahgal, of the visit, where they presented the artist with a sari and persuaded her to wear it for the picture. “She loved it,” recalled Sahgal, “and gave me two beautiful photos of herself inscribed by her.” The resemblance to Sher-Gil is striking. Wonder if the two had ever met, and if a picture of that encounter exists anywhere.


(LtoR) Pavan Verma with Gulzar and Anil Dharker at the book launch.

We could not make it to the launch of bureaucrat-turned-politician Pavan Verma’s book on Adi Shankaracharya by poet and lyricist Gulzar, on Tuesday, at the NCPA, but this comment from Verma delighted us. “After launching my book Adi Shankaracharya and after my conversation with Anil Dharker finished, Gulzar Saheb insisted on standing in line to get his copy of the book signed, ignoring my protests,” he posted online, adding, “Amazing, the humility and grace of this man!”


First Published: Jul 20, 2018 15:59 IST