This pic was taken in a small village between Colombo and Galle. We had stopped over for a brief halt as we had a lunch date in the village at the famous Beach House run by Geoffrey Dobbs. Our chopper pilot 'Top Gun' Ravi, landed on the edge of the sea, watched closely by these tough looking guys who softened when we requested them to pose for a photograph. This was just the beginning of an adventure that saw the Deccan Aviation chopper fly us through an electric storm with visibility levels dropping so dramatically, Ravi had to fly at a perilous 300 metres above sea level at one point and follow the headlights of cars in the far distance to get his bearings. But... we made it! And if someone were to ask whether I would do it again - the answer is a big 'yessss'. Provided Ravi ( he proudly told us he had flown two previous Presidents) is in command.
In case you want to see a pic of my current hero Ravi, raise your hands!!
“ Mein Chupp Rahoongi…..”
This is about a scoop that didn’t happen. Last week, I was slated to conduct a potentially sizzling interview with a light-eyed beauty who’d made huge waves years ago when she’d gate crashed the Bollywood party. She was a big name for a short while during that distant era when starlets were ‘discovered’ and not ‘manufactured’. After a dream launch in a big banner movie, the girl struggled to land a few roles, and soon faded from the scene. When she did resurface, it was in another avatar – a rather unappetizing one, at that. It was rumoured that Dawood had taken a fancy to her and she had decided to become one of his biwis. Heaven knows how true those rumours were, but the girl did do the vanishing act and everybody assumed she was leading a life of indolent luxury tucked away in either Dubai or Karachi. Since Bollywood really does not have time for has- beens , or ‘would-have-beens’, she was soon forgotten. There were a few unconfirmed sightings, but by then nobody was interested in her.
Well, trust Ekta Kapoor to make it her mission to track her down. Ekta’s sleuths managed to locate the elusive woman in her suburban Mumbai flat, where she lives in anonymity and oblivion. Her new life was certainly a far, far cry from the one she had known, albeit briefly, as Bollywood’s darling.She was surprised anybody could be interested in her now. Well, Ekta and I certainly were! When I received a call from Ekta to ask whether I would interview the person, I was at a remotely located boutique hotel in the heart of Galle ( Sri Lanka). The phone connection wasn’t great, but the excitement levels certainly were. I had dozens of tantalizing questions I wanted answers to, as I geared up for the chat which was scheduled for later in the day. Just our luck that when the appointed hour arrived, I was in the middle of a slushy paddy field dealing with an unexpected thunder storm that had broken out ,ruining effective communication. We decided to speak later…. I was dying to ask about her life as Dawood’s wife. And what she thought of innocent faced Prachi Desai playing a mobster’s girlfriend in the movie. I wanted to know whether Imran Hashmi was the right choice and whether she approved of his sharply styled 70’s look. Most importantly, had she ever met Hajibhai when she was with Dawood? Alas, the Rain and Communications Gods decided otherwise. Perhaps, she herself had second thoughts?
But I am a bloodhound at heart. I have not given up the chase.
Watch this space…