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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The PC machine

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2018 17:01 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Priyanka Chopra.

Priyanka Chopra.

“How about writing about the fiercely competitive PR machinery between India’s top actresses?” It was our Bolly insider, as usual, informed and insidious. “Like the Priyanka Chopra-Deepika Padukone publicity machinery at work after their Met Gala appearances. Or the race for flashbulbs between Kangana Ranaut and Aishwarya Rai at Cannes,” he said. Our source had been a long-time observer of actresses and their alleged cat fights. “PC has confessed several times to being extremely competitive,” he said. “It’s almost as if she’s got something to prove, like a chip on her shoulder; she plays much harder and believes the US is her territory and will not allow any encroachment,” he continued, revealing a grudging respect for the star’s ambition. “As for her sense of PR, it is fantastic! Even as the confetti had not been dusted off after the Royal wedding, almost the first photographs to emerge were posted by Team Priyanka’s Twitter handle, which declared her the event’s ‘showstopper’. Soon, social media was flooded with pictures of the star’s attire, her Vivienne Westwood bespoke lavender suit and Philippe Treacy fascinator, such inspired choices…” he said. But then, he got completely distracted: photographs of Chopra descending in a full-length chiffon gold Dior gown at the Royal reception were now circumnavigating the globe, breaking the internet…

THEY SAID WOT?!

Sarah Todd.

“Hi, Just called you on the behalf of PVR. This is to inform you that PVR recently collaborated with Master Chef Sahara Todd, wherein a specially curated menu will be offered at Select PVR properties with a Gold Class format across India. I have sent you a press release regarding the same. It wil be amazing if you carry this.”

— Text received over the weekend from a PRO with spellcheck on steroids syndrome

HIS SOCKS APPEAL?

You would expect Canada’s young and dynamic Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be as media savvy as India Inc’s equally dynamic and young-at-heart Anand Mahindra. As is known, the two had met in Mumbai during the former’s

(LtoR) Anand Mahindra and Justin Trudeau.

sartorially infamous India tour recently, and Mahindra had tweeted at the time saying, “My daughters would be dismayed I hadn’t chosen appropriately colourful socks for the occasion. I decided to admit & have my dismal wardrobe failure photographically recorded!” — along with this photo of the two. This weekend, the two took to social media, this time to set up a meeting in Canada! Anand, who has 6.7 million followers, tweeted to the PM who has 4.1 million, “Greetings Justin Trudeau Believe we’ll be in the same neighbourhood tomorrow… The Mahindra group has its annual Industrial Liason meeting at MIT tomorrow & word has it you will be looking over Kendall Square... Have a successful visit.” Within hours, the PM replied to invite the Indian industrialist to Canada for another meeting. We wonder what socks Anand will be wearing this time around. Perhaps, we’ll see them on social media soon?

HUMILITY AND RECTITUDE

BV Doshi with Ratan Tata.

It is unsurprising that many who reported on Ahmedabad-based architect BV Doshi’s winning of this year’s prestigious Pritzker Prize, widely acknowledged as the Nobel Prize of architecture, this Friday, made special mention of his humility. As is known, the celebrated nonagenarian, the first Indian to win the award since its inception in 1979, is an early associate of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, and has long been noted for his modesty and rectitude, in a profession crowded with starchitects with prodigious egos. In a glittering ceremony held at the Aga Khan museum in Toronto in the company of Frank Gehry (an earlier recipient of the award), Ratan Tata, the Aga Khan and Lord Palumbo, amongst others, Doshi celebrated for his low-cost and worker’s housing projects including Aranya in Indore, is said to have been his characteristic, humane and people-oriented self. “What is architecture? It is not an object,” he’s reported to have said in his acceptance address. “Architecture cannot only be about the container, but it must always be about the content.” We have firsthand knowledge of this.

Over three decades ago, as an enthusiastic culture vulture interning with an architecture summit held in Mumbai which featured some of the profession’s biggest names, it had fallen to us to accommodate the great maestro himself, at our home at Warden road, for the duration of the summit. Such had been the idealism surrounding the event, all available resources had been poured into its intellectual quotient, with little left for frills, such as five-star hotel accommodation. It had only been a tiny guest room, modestly decorated, with not even an attached bath, hardly the kind of place appropriate to host an internationally-celebrated professional at the top of his game, but we recall Doshi accepting it with grace and fortitude. “All my buildings are connected to people,” he’d said in his lecture in Toronto this Friday.

Indeed.