Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ooooof. hate going away

ummmmm, there.... I said it! Hate going away. Blogging is addictive (even if you don't get paid to blog LIKE SOME PEOPLE WE KNOW!). It is also far better than maintaining a silly diary. Last night, at a posh dinner ( incredible pumpkin quiche! Great with chilled Pinot Grigio), the talk was about Mayawati.... she is on everybody's mind all of a sudden. I concentrated on the art ( excellent taste), not the arty people hanging around trying to sound extra-farty. New galleries, old galleries, auctions, architecture, heritage.... oh puh-leeze ...spare me the discourses. It was all wonderfully fake and self conscious - Mumbai's well bred, well read phoney brigade, sucking up to the firangs and trying hard to impress. We fled in under an hour, and listened to Gotan Project in the car. I have been promised Carla Bruni's cd by my son. If he doesn't deliver by tomorrow afternoon, I shall cancel his khichdi.
Meanwhile, the Euro Cup final on sunday is up for grabs! There are sponsored parties galore. Everybody wants a piece of the action - beer guys, hotels, socialites.... sab kuch phookat mein, boss. Why not? All that mauj majaa .... and Page 3 coverage too! What the hungry won't do for publicity and free daaru. Wokay.... on that note, I bid you adieu for now.
I want AB as my best friend. If he can 'present' Sanjay Dutt a 50 lakh AP watch (kis khushi mean?), he is definitely the sugar buddy to have.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dubai ki Chakkar

Ok. so it is 45 degrees in the shade. And I must be demented to be Dubai bound at this time of the year. But I do have a daughter and son living there... and you know the rest about ma ki mamta etc. I'll be away for a week, bonding with the best. Like Akki, I may not 'waste ' my time blogging from there. But unlike Akki, my brain just might start shrinking in that desert, forcing me to seek more fertile pastures via the blog. Keep visiting. Am keeping my fingers crossed I don't get a Mika type passenger next to me. The last time I was returning from Kolkata, guess who was seated a row away? Yup, it was Mika. Lips all puckered up to kiss the first victim, after Rakhi Sawant.

akki at it

Don't we just love the guy?? Akshay Kumar may not be a Singggggh, but he sure is a KINGGGG! Such a funny man. When asked why he doesn't have a blog so far, he replied, " Do I look like the kind of guy who'd waste his time to sit at a computer writing away?" No, honey. That you most certainly don't. One needs a basic education.... matric fail will do. You definitely cannot and should not blog.You are meant for bigger and better things - most of your lissome leading ladies will testify to that. Action Kumar must stick to his special skills, and leave blogging to cerebral colleagues. If Akki was taking pot shots at Aamir, that's fine, too. I guess Bachchan is not included in this, since Akki will soon be dancing to a different tune. But at least the guy knows his limitations and is clever enough to focus media interest on what he does best - kick ass. If the latest film does brilliantly at the box office, then we shall forgive him his grey stubble and haggard face, and concentrate on those muscles - including those in his brain!

Monday, June 23, 2008

back.... but not for long

Good to know I was missed. I was, right?? Kolkata lived upto its promise, though the chingri malai didn't. Our cook at home, the eversmiling Anil ,does a far superior job of this delicately flavoured prawn dish. But at least I got to eat it with friends and make tch tch noises about falling standards and rising prices.
I was there as a jury member for a beauty pageant that has thrown up the likes of Bipasha, Koena and Celina over the years. All seriously oomphy ladies. Naturally every contestant on the ramp had Bollywood ambitions and stated them clearly, just in case there were a couple of B-Town producers\directors in the audience. At least two of the finalists were from Assam and mercifully did not talk about saving elephants\turtles\tigers\children if they won the title - they wanted to save themselves from a life of obscurity and hit the big time in Bollywood. Thank God that nauseating era of beauty queens wanting to save the world and work for Mother T are finally over. After much singing, dancing, prancing and preening, the lovely winner was crowned. She shed a few tears on cue, kissed her rivals and posed for the cameras while her beaming parents looked on proudly. Gawd! I'd never want my daughters there. This was my post-pageant thought as we jury members sampled fragrant biryani ( Bong-style, with a sprinkling of kewra water), and discussed Bollywood prospects for those beauties we'd just seen crowned. My face gave away nothing. Good luck, ladies...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kolkata beckons

Guys, I am going to be away over the coming weekend. Can never resist a Kolkata visit, despite the travel time and the ridiculous flight schedules. I love Kolkata, and I'd like to believe Kolkata loves me! I have relatives there from my husband's side of the family (Hello Arjun!), and I have wonderful friends ( Hello Jayabrato!). Good company and great food form the basis of this on going love affair. As good a reason as any! I mean , think about it - good food cannot be enjoyed in isolation. And good frinds cannot be met over lousy food. They can.... but what's the point? Years ago, My husband and I spent an enchanting evening at Jayabrato's home discussing the BEAUTY of Topshe maach for forty-five minutes. We got to the taste later, after it was consumed. Post-dinner conversation revolved around, what else? Maach! What we should eat the next day, and the next. I have yet to master the subtle art of relishing betki\hilsa with refined delicacy . This involves an intricate skill using a dextrous tongue to discreetly remove the fine bones of the fish INSIDE the mouth, without choking or spitting. I tried it once and nearly died gagging on the damn things. I guess I had to concede I was no Sharmila Tagore at that point. Ever watched a Bong lady sucking on a fish head? Man.... that's what I call erotic! Surprising that Rituporno has not included such a sequence in his movies so far.Well.... I'm off. Smoked Hilsa, here i come. Back on the blog on monday. Ciao Ciao till then.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In Bruges

A bright and beautiful girlfriend ( I don't have any other kind!) called to say she liked my blog because it was soooo me!! Now, that's a compliment. Since it is so me, let me recommend a movie I watched last night with my sleepy daughter and thought was very me as well . Oh God, this is turning into a nauseating me, me, me post, and I am not even Kamalhassan or Aamir Khan! Sorry. Let's get back to the film - 'In Bruges' starring Colin (Yum!) Farrel and Ralph (Yummier) Fiennes. Of course, the film is very Irish. In other words, dark, dense and depressing. But it is also most intriguing, honest and freaky. The Video guy who has become my daughter's new best friend, told her it was a love story. She believed him. And I believed her! Love story?? Not a chance. Or, one can call it a verrrry twisted love story. As a thriller with more crazy twists than the Ganga, it is unbeatable. As a brutal portrait of life on the run for hired killers, it is insightful and scarey as hell! The script features midgets, prostitutes, perverts, dope dealers, priests, pregnant ladies and.... and... more. Watch it. Oh the title refers to the medieval Belgium town called Bruges. Amazingly enough, just a couple of weeks ago, A tv producer walked in to make me an offer I refused. He was from Bruges!And I am still alive!Ha!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paradise is biryani

Biryani is to Hyderabad what foie gras is to the French - a near-orgasmic experience that can never be taken for granted. The good news for gourmets and gourmands is that the famous Paradise Biryani is now available at the spanking new airport, ready to travel long or short distances, in neat vaccum-sealed containers that keep the heat and flavours sealed in for hours! Priya, the pr girl (with the largest and most sparkling irises I've ever seen on a human), was kind enough to book the treat for me, well in time to catch my evening flight home. The new airport is seriously AMAZING. I mean, it is WOW and how!! Even as I was gasping and pinching myself while muttering, " Am I really in India?" iI spotted Kamalhassan greeting fans like a visiting emperor. Well, given the thanda response to Dashavataram, where the megalomaniac plays multiple roles ( like a schoolboy in a fancy dress contest), Kamal should have been bashful, not boastful. But that's the guy. And God help us.
I concentrated on the biryani and mirchi ka salan. The flight was late and bumpy. Had I allowed my mind to wander from the biryani, i would have been nervous. An Israeli defence consultant (spy!!), on the next seat was getting annoyingly chatty. And worse - receiving text messages in the sky! Didn't he hear the announcements asking passengers to switch off their mobile phones before take off? He breezily told me to relax - "you only die once," he added by way of reassurance. There were vile thoughts raging in my head about the varied uses of mirchi-ka-salan at that point.Then I figured, why waste the salan on this turkey? More tonite. Inshallah.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mera Baap .... worth it

The hell with film critics and their snobby reviews ( come on fellas,Sarkar Raj sucks!), 'Mera Baap , Pehle Aap' was just the most perfect film to watch on Father's Day - yup, i fell right into the trap..... went to a fancy lunch at Frangipani (divine filtered light, superb whole wheat pizzas), and felt like we were all auditioning for KJo's next - it's all about loving your family , and all that mush. The lunch went on till 5pm ( fuelled by virgin Mojitos, if you please ), making it the perfect moment to go giggle - what better than through an unpretentious Priya- darshan film with an idiotic title. Loved it!Laughed my head off. Ate too much popcorn (yes, even after that whole wheat pizza) and generally felt good about life. If a movie can make anyone feel like that, it can't be all that bad, right? As for that new wench called Genelia ( honey, take my advice and change your name, it sounds too much like a female sexual organ), she is utterly delightful. I'm hoping and praying she doesn't turn all filmy and sexy. She is refreshingly young , innocent and unspoilt at present. Akshay Khanna was adorable... but the most amazing performance came from Archana Puran Singh. I suspect her inspiration was Mayawati.

I am off to Hyderabad at dawn. May or may not post for the next two days. I love the city. And plan to come back with a handi of biryani and mirchi ka salan. Till then, miss me!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lady in red

There's something about women in red. Yes. Something red hot. And daring. Which is why I was a little surprised to see Bollywood's demure bahu no. 1, dressed in the colour associated with danger, at the recent IIFA AWARDS. She looked incredible. It was a 'new', 'improved' Ash. Critics might label her makeover as vampish, but what the hell. Rather a fire engine red pout than the anaemic pale pink she prefers. The make up was top class, as was the swept up , gelled hair. She looked like a mega star, which she is. Now, if only she'd got her hubby to wear something slightly more imaginative than that butler-style tux!
Here i am on another rainy, drippy saturday evening, looking forward to a dinner of chicken jalfrezi (after years!). The only hot news in the mornin's papers has been about the Brothers Ambani, who are back in action. Muks seems to be on the warpath. First, he shuts up a pesky share holder at his AGM ( now now Muks.... calm down. What would daddy think?), and next comes a salvo against RCOM. Journos are khush. At least there's something to plaster on the front page besides pot holes and manholes. Though, the need of the hour is definitely pothole journalism as compared to peephole!
Tanuja Chandra's latest movie 'Hope and a little sugar," disappeared without a trace some time ago, which is a real shame. I rather liked it. At least it was trying to say something contemporary ( the setting and story involve New York, post 9\11 ), in a sensitive not sensationalistic way. Perhaps the distributors chickened out and other factors hampered a wider release. But her protege, Amit put in a far more watchable performance than all those dud starsons hogging the limelight of late. Mahima was not too bad either, if you could forgive that Dolly Parton wig!Here's a weekend idea. After a 'Mrs. India' contest, how about a " Ms.Divorced India" one? some of the hottest ladies floating around are divorcees! Maureen Wadia, go for it. Success guaranteed.'

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not 'Happenening'

There's something about this dude Night Shyamalan that puts me off. For one, I think he grossly overrates himself, for another, he takes us desis for granted and talks down constantly! This is seriously annoying. We ask for it, of course. Whoever thought him worthy of a Padma Shri in the first place? The guy shows up to receive the national award like he is doing INDIA A FAVOUR! He claims he had never heard of the honour in the first place .... but what the hell, he deigned to accept it. Oh the timing wasn't too bad, either. He could plug his new movie, hire a publicist to give all those lofty interviews, and generally behave in an obnoxious way. We, of course, took it! Nobody gave him tight. Not even when he asked who Amitabh Bachchan was, and pretended never to have heard Shah Rukh Khan's name! Oh puh leeze. Go away!
Now that his film has tanked, maybe Night will come down from his high horse. We are sick and tired of being patronised by him. He has got the worst reviews and even Hollywood is beginning to tire of all his boasting. Sure. I see dead people. I see him!!
Lalu the Blogger! I adore Lalu, and I hope his blog is as sexy as he is! Haven't checked it out so far. But love the idea of Lalu letting the world know what's going on under that thatch of hair. If Rabri also starts her blog, they'll really rock the world, those two.
Meanwhile, there are cribs galore. The lovely Tasneem Mehta was complaining about the Mayor of Mumbai asking her to change the name of the Bombay School of Art to the Mumbai School of Art. Vexed and visibly upset, Tasneem wanted to know how a generic name could be changed to suit a narrow political agenda. " Can the Impressionists be called by any other name all of a sudden?" she demanded. Yes, honey. If they were Maharashtrians.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mauja hi Mauja

I really, really like people with 'dum'. Which is why I went to Rahul Bajaj's 70th Birthday Party, which in keeping with his spirits was packed with a show ( an injured Shiamak Daver, soldiering on bravely), which saw a lot of unlikely people shaking a leg energetically with the dancers. Rock and Roll Soniye, can and does get the party going. Of course, there were the usual murmurs about how 'inappropriate' it was to mark a 70th birthday with such naach gaana and band bajaana. But what the hell, a man's got to do what a man's got to do! Why have Amjad Ali or a Bhimsen Joshi when there are sexy dancers grooving to Bollywood hits??

Hamara Bajaj did not miss te opportunity to indulge in some smart promotion for the brand he has created, when he got the troupe to wheel in Bajaj bikes and scooters for the rousing finale. Nothing like a well timed plug, given the calibre of the guests... and a captive audience! Smart move, Rahul!

But the person who captivated me totally was someone I wanted to meet for a long time - Sapna Bhavnani - a woman after my own heart. Gorgeous, talented, fearless - and herself! She's the one who transforms Dhoni each time he's having a bad hair day! Her salon Mad -O- Wot? in Bandra, attracts celebs from every field. But that don't impress her much. She grabbed my attention when I started reading her feisty, cheerful columns. Here's someone writing in an original voice, I said to myself, and promptly alerted my own publishers. Well, the good news is that Penguin has signed her on. I am so looking forward to what she has to say. At 37, thrice divorced and completely covered with colourful tatoos, Sapna gets my vote all the way!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bereft... sans Internet

Oh God! This means i am really really hooked, and cooked and whatever else. No internet access for six long hours left me feeling strangely stranded, marooned, even abandoned. I blamed it on water logging , and i don't even live in Juhu, where the rich and famous are busy moving to higher ground to escape rising nullah waters. Sarkar Raj has a great tag line which goes : Power cannot be given , it has to be taken. Hmmm. Similarly, praise cannot be given , it has to be earned! I have been reading Ramu's interviews where he talks about the great opening , and how he really doesn't care what critics think etc. Calm down, Ramu. It isn't such a terrible film , either. Just boring. What was all that with the tighter- than-tight close ups.?Thank God Ash doesn't have enlarged pores or blackheads. Can you imagine if Kangana had played her role? And wasn't Shankar Nagre a bit too spiffily dressed, in rumpled linen ? We know Raj dresses nattily. Even so...
I really like Rane's gumption! The guy is off on an 11-day European junket with his rag tag army of local mla's. The rain in Spain is obviously better than the deluge back home, kyon Narayanji?
If Saif is really upset with Bebo for wearing revealing outfits while performing her 'Item' medley at the IIFA Awards, i guess the guy will just have to get used to it. What's the point of working hard on a great new bod, if it can't be flaunted?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Don't touch it, please!

It had to happen. It did. The bloody book pirates are at it again - 'SUPERSTAR INDIA' fakes are at every traffic light in the city, selling briskly. This is not fun. It is hugely annoying. Besides being a crime. How did I find out? Well, there I was enjoying lunch at 'Tiffin' ( great aapams, by the way ), when a lovely lissome blond walked up to me holding a really shabby looking copy of the book in her hand. She wanted me to sign it. I was flattered (but, natch ), when she told me how she had read every book of mine etc etc but when i looked at this awful edition , I nearly yelped in pain. " It's a pirated book," I said as calmly as I could. " Where did you pick it up?" Her Italian accent was as lovely as her slim frame. She went into a lengthy description, while apologising profusely. I told her I couldn't possibly sign a crappy, illegal, disgusting job like the one she was hanging on to. She looked crest fallen and embarrassed. Her local friend sorted out the issue by pointing to the bookstore in the lobby. Off went the stylish duo and came back in a jiffy with a clean, gorgeous, legit copy of 'Superstar..." just the way I like it! Signing over, we got chatting. The blond laughed and said, " You know something funny? I paid more for the pirated copy!" Oh no....
I called my publishers who told me to inform the cops. Well. That created a problem. The only cops I know well enough to call with such a complaint are the top dogs. They have far more important issues to deal with. I called nevertheless. Help has been promised. I know the story. It has happened with all my previous books.The cops catch the kids peddling pirated books at traffic signals. The wretches cry and feign total ignorance. The cops let them off.... and it's back to business as usual.
This is just not fair, as I'm sure you guys will agree. Piracy is a serious crime. I have worked really hard to write the book. And someone shadowy makes money from it?This is a fervent appeal to all you book lovers reading this : please do not touch those copies. By buying pirated books you are participating in a crime. This is nothing short of theft. Say 'no' to piracy at all levels - books, cd's,dvd's. Love me, love my book. The real one. I'll sign it for you. Anytime. That's a deal. Time to sign off.... and go mope. Grazia, signorina, for alerting me.

Sarkar Raj

Sorry. The movie made zero sense to me. Poor Ash. I know it's all about loving her new family, and standing by her man etc etc. But that's all Ramu makes her do - stand. In her skinny jeans and suede boots. If it's Rebecca Mark of the Enron scandal who inspired Ramu, Ash is no Rebecca. And the Enron story was far more powerful than this amateurish mess, with men pulling faces, twitching noses, gritting teeth and trying hard to look menacing. The opening sequence was particularly awful. Even a B-Grade filmmaker would have known that. And junked it instantly.What is the matter with Ramu? Has he totally lost it? There were three very bored ladies sitting next to me. One took a nap. Another spoke non-stop to her mother-in-law over her mobile (she must have been truly desperate), while the third with her teenage son over popcorn. My own daughter begged me to leave, so she could go home and chat online! I was determined to sit through till the bitter end. And glad I did. The movie picked up a little, post-interval. Shankar (Abhishek B) Nagre's main relationship remained with his cell phone. Even the death of his lovely wife ( Tanishaa should stick to similar desi looks and quit showing her thighs in an unsuccessful attempt to look young, hot and zegsssy), did not get the guy to quit taking calls obsessively. That left Pa Bachchan to scowl and glower all by himself. This was baby stuff, compared to the real thing (Enron). Power suits and cold eyes do not a power woman make. Such an embarrassing script does not deserve the attention the film has received. I am certain 'Phoonk' will make up for this turkey. The promos look promising. And the crow acts really well!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Salman's show

Watched the most expensive show on air right now, and thought to myself, " They are paying this cutie 90 crores for this?? What are they thinking?" It is not even 9 C's. Monotonous, boring and lacking in sizzle. Plus, the guy gets to keep his shirt on! Come on.... do you really want to see Bad Boy Sallu in a strange velvet jacket that only croupiers in Las Vegas wear in public?
He needs many things if the show has to work - and those include a stylist, script writer and a brand new idea. Salman may have the best vanity van in the business. Maybe they should shoot a very different sort of show in it??
Am off to meet an Aussie lady whose idea of fun is to trek in the Himalayas. I envy her stamina and spirit. I love the idea of trekking. If only there were modern loos en route?? Oh.... I notice the reviews for 'Sex..." are pretty mixed. Love and Labels are what women want, right? I'll let you know after the show. Have advised my husband to take a sleeping pill. He loathes chick flicks. And his idea of sexy footwear for the ladies does not include CHOOS!

Friday, June 6, 2008

sex or the city

Yup. It has indeed come to that. One has to pick. Can't have both! If you live in the city, especially Mumbai, there is no time for sex. Simple! Especially during the monsoons. The weather outside is seriously wretched.... but I love it! It's one of those hard to explain Mumbai quirks ( if you love Mumbai, you must love the monsoon). THE movie to see in desperately awful weather like this is 'Sex and the City' , which should be retitled 'Sex in the City', since there is no way sex can happen in the suburbs, given the present commute time, and that's before the flooding of tracks starts and all our worthy Municipal stalwarts act like they have no previous knowledge or experience of heavy rains disrupting life in our metropolis! 'What?? Have the trains been cancelled?? What? What? There is knee deep water everywhere? Oh... better to declare a holiday and stay home for a week. What to do? We are not knowing when rain is coming or going jor jor se.... how it is our fault? We are not bhagwan. You peoples are unnecessarily blaming... take umbrella and go. Don't trouble again with all this faltu talk." Get the picture?
I'm definitely getting the picture. Two pictures, actually. Watching 'Sex...." tomorrow and 'Sarkar Raj' on sunday. Three Bachchans for the price of one ticket. Let's hope Big Mouth Ramu is more in control this time. Or else, it will be 'chhutti buddy", and then where will the man go?
Strange thing about Ramu. He manages to hook amazing girls. Ramu!!! You know what I mean? Urmilla was but one of them. Now here's a thoroughly modern Millie, who knows her onions and chops them into her batata poha . What was she doing with Ramu?? Let's not ask. I shudder to think. On the other hand,look what happened when she waltzed away - she is still waltzing, but solo and minus any great roles. I guess being Ramu's woman has its advantages - but really, would any talented, beautiful girl want them that bad?
I am about to light a really special aroma candle ( bought from Paradise Studio, one of the world's most aesthetic lifestyle stores. And it is in Colombo). Why? The rains have that effect on me. Others eat bhajiyas and bhuttas, and talk rubbish about enjoying cups of steaming ginger tea (note: their tea is always steaming). I like listening to opera and sipping Chablis (just made that up. For effect). Seriously, I am concerned about the rain. It is way too early and way too heavy. And we definitely don't want a repeat of the old nightmare. If the city fathers remain indifferent this year, let's drag them out of their dry and comfy offices for a taste of the real thing. Hands up, if you want to join me...

Hi!! - Felicitations, High Tea,High fashion and Hi!! -brow…

Some Colombo pics . . . .

An Article in Daily Mirror

With Anandita and Real Women Minoli and Anitra

With First lady, Madam Sheranthi Rajapakse

At the finale of the fashion show, with Ms India and Ms Sri Lanka

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pune.... i love you

Imagine the rather dubious joys of driving on the treacherous Mumbai-Pune highway during a downpour at night! Thunder showers are fun, when you are safely indoors and romanticising foolishly about the beastly weather. But hello! I was on a mission (near-impossible!), to make it back home on time to attend my son Aditya's launch . It is not everyday that Dom Perignon opens a posh, dedicated lounge in a club. Well, they picked Prive, the members only club my son runs with his partner Vickrant Chougule in Mumbai. I believe this is the third DP lounge in the world, the other two being in Miami and London.
After four really intense and hectic days in Colombo (a ghost city, with grenade attacks and roadblocks at every corner), and two equally crazy ones in Pune, it must have been mommy love and nothing else that made me risk my life getting back to party at Prive. Not that I partied. But Dom was flowing like the Ganga, and the atmosphere was intoxicating enough! I thought about my time in Pune, talking to well-informed book lovers and enthusiastic readers at Croosword, and how the transformation of this cerebral university town was disorienting those who have lived in Pune for generations. Dr. Mohan Agashe, who was kind enough to be 'In Conversation' with me at the book launch hosted by The Taj Blue Diamond Hotel, had discussed the phenomenon of alienation with me, just a few hours earlier. He should know, being a practising and highly respected psychiatrist! I could sense the same at the lively interactive question-and-answer session with young Pune readers. But that's life , in these global times, where we rarely know the time of day, since we forget to eat, sleep or dream! Why waste a precious minute on such mundanities when there are more important issues to deal with...? Like? Oh..... does one hold a champagne flute by the slender stem, or hang on to the tulip? I guess you know the answer! Ciao Ciao. Keep visiting. I am back. But not for long