Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The Godfather and the Masters of Wine
We have been following India’s only Master of Wine Sonal Holland’s magical tour in the company of the worldwide Masters of Wine, through the vineyards of California. Not only is it pastoral in its pace and breadth, but Holland’s posts on social media have taken viewers through the ins and outs of never-ending al fresco lunches under sunny skies and informed tastings of sparkling rosés and crisp sauvignon blancs from vineyards such as Bedrock and Tablas Creek, and Ridge Montebello. But, the highlight was this Monday, when 47 Masters of Wine dined at the Francis Ford Coppola winery, a resort the director of masterpieces such as The Godfather and Patton has created for families to enjoy the best things in life. “The winery has a massive pool, cabins, tasting rooms, restaurants, and a movie gallery with a vast collection of authentic memorablia, including his Academy Awards, Don Corleone’s desk from the Godfather and the original automobile from Tucker,” texted an exultant Holland, when we asked her about the evening. “Much like his movies, his wines too are iconic and legendary,” she said. And, we were delighted to see the Mumbaichi Mulgi, married to British-born financial whiz Andrew Holland, had chosen to wear a glamorous pale grey and gold bordered sari on the occasion.
If you’re one of those whose heart bleeds for those under the scanner for financial fraud, it’s time you stopped. From a source close to a clan that has been under scrutiny for a massive bank fraud, they appear to be whooping it up even as headlines report gloom and doom about them back home. “Having fled the country after their misdeeds came to light, one would imagine they would tone down their glamorous lifestyles, cut back on conspicuous consumption and lay low till the storms have passed,” says one shocked observer, adding, “But no, this is not the case. Since only their Indian assets have been seized, they continue to operate hundreds of companies overseas. The source said, not only are their apartments in Dubai and Mayfair London running smoothly, but private jets are still employed, with no thought for tomorrow. Aren’t they worried this show of wealth will aggravate accusations of swindling public money? “No. They have told friends they are scapegoats in a game of political vendetta with the aim to embarrass a party, thanks to their proximity to a powerful politician, and insist they have done no wrong, so why change their lifestyle?” he says. “A young member of the clan was at a top London nightclub last week.” Oh dear.
What They Say —
‘Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s long-time secretary, Sonia Dhawan, was arrested on Monday afternoon for trying to extort a sum of ₹20 crore from her boss after stealing data and personal information from her boss to use to blackmail him.’
--- Newspaper reports yesterday
What They Mean —
‘Paytm mat karo’
Spirited Mumbai evenings
Is it our imagination or is the city’s social whirl even more frantic these days? Not an evening seems to pass in the city that never sleeps, without at least one event, more often than not the launch of a new wine or spirit. If Mumbai appears adrift in barrels of wine, beer, whiskey and single malts, put it down to the fact that producers of these libations have discovered an enthusiastic community of patrons eager to discover and imbibe their wares. The formula is time-tested — a venerable international brand which seeks a foothold in the city, introduced by its ambassador, preferably someone from the founding family who can speak about its merits, a high-profile host, 5-star location and a sit down plated food soiree for a convivial group of people adds up to that long-standing Mumbai social institution: a spirited evening. While Mumbai’s glitterati prepare to attend one such evening hosted by celebrity architect to the stars, Ashiesh Shah, in partnership with a malt firm over the weekend, earlier this week saw head honcho of St Regis, Anuraag Bhatnagar, host a soiree for gin. “The event was at Luna, the hotel’s trendy watering hole, with Christopher Hayman, founder and fourth-generation master distiller who shared his family recipe from 1863 that created the rich, woody flavour of his gins,” informs a spokesperson. Those spotted partaking in the tasting over never-ending avocado toasts and salmon rolls were Dietmar Kielnhofer, GM, Marriott International’s Mumbai properties; Claudio Zemp, Director India of Swiss Tourism; travel bloggers Sajid and Lavina Mitha; designer and polo player Reena Shah; ad film-makers Kailash Surendranath and Prahlad Kakar.