Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The Supernova Comes To TownUpdated: Dec 31, 2018 00:55 IST
She’s a super model (her nickname in fashion circles is supernova) who has graced the cover of every fashion glossy many times over, a mother of five children, an internationally renowned philanthropist, and partner to Antoine Arnault, the dashing son of Bernard Arnault, Europe’s richest man and the founder-owner of the world’s premiere luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH. And now, word comes in that the charismatic Russia-born Natalia Vodianova, who was recently in India for the Ambani wedding celebrations in Udaipur and Mumbai, and is a self-confessed fan of Bollywood, will be returning to India in 2019 to launch her unique charity app – Elbi, which aims to champion micro philanthropy and make it a part of people’s daily lives, by donating as little as USD 1 towards good causes. The super model , who was picked by Mattel as its ideal of ‘goodness’ to create their first Russian Barbie, is said to have many close friends in India (like Isha Ambani, who had hosted a dinner for her at Antilia, last year) and is being advised by London-based investment banker and close friend of the Arnault family, Anshuman Mishra, and they have teamed up with Harrods’ current owners – the Qatari Royal Family – for the latest of her philanthropic ventures, which over the years have included The Naked Heart Foundation (which champions the cause of Children with special needs), the Love Ball and the Fabulous Fun Fair amongst others. Incidentally, after she met SRK last year, Vodianova had posted that her childhood crush was even more charming in real life and had commended his philanthropic initiatives. It takes one to recognise another after all.
So you want to know about the very rich and how they really operate when the party’s over, and the cameras have stopped clicking? This anecdote was narrated by a cultured academic, who, though it occurred earlier, appeared to be still reeling from its impact.
It concerns a prestigious annual black tie charity auction held in London, one that garners much acclaim internationally for the good work it does, to raise money and resources for the disadvantaged back home, in India.
At one such black tie event, where the cream of London’s glittering NRI crowd was in attendance, one of the leading members of this set, a man, whose halo is said to be firmly secured to his head with adhesive glue, had stood up with much fanfare and pledged a substantial 50,000 pounds as his contribution towards the good cause.
Naturally, having done this, he was applauded, feted and lionised by his peers for his generosity and altruism throughout the evening, and for many days to come and as expected, his chest would swell with pride each time he was congratulated for this benevolence.
But of course, things were not as simple as they appeared. The cultured academic, who had been given the onerous task of collecting all the promised donations from the auction, says he had to put in four months of extreme hard work and constant pressure for the gent to make good his offer. Each time he approached him, he was fobbed off by one excuse or the other.
Finally, he says, his patience wore out after months of running after him and his cohorts, the cheque did arrive in the mail and it was for 50,000 for sure. But here’s the clincher: it was fifty thousand rupees, not pounds!
“I was so disgusted that I sent it back immediately,” he said to us, recently. “And of course, you can imagine how I feel when I see the same man being lauded and acclaimed and described as a great leader of the community and a man of immense commitment to good causes.”
Why are we not surprised?
“Can’t wait for when they make The Insensitive Prime Minister. So much worse than being the accidental one.”
-Tweeted by Omar Abdullah
Jet Setters’ Paradise
Move over Courchevel and Klosters, the real destination for India’s jet setters has just been declared and its St Barths in West Indies, where the likes of Ravi Ruia and family, and Lalit Modi with son Ruchir Modi have spent their Christmas hols. Known as one of the most unusual of the French West Indies islands, peopled primarily by descendants of the original French settlers and transplanted Europeans, St Barths is home to an eclectic mix of iguanas, night-blooming cactus, fabulous beaches as well as luxury yachts, designer boutiques, and celebrities. Ruia and family are said to have spent part of the holiday season docked off shore here, on their super-sleek and impressive luxury yacht Sunrays. The 280-feet boat with 18 cabins, a crew of 28, a Eurocopter EC 145 helicopter in the same colour scheme is valued at US$ 100 million and was delivered to Ruia around eight years ago. This picture was shot on Christmas Day.
As for the other high-profile Indian bon vivant, India’s Modi, it appears that though he is a first time visitor to the region, he is completely sold in the place too. “It really is paradise,” he exulted, on social media. Santa sure came early this year.
First Published: Dec 31, 2018 00:55 IST