Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Ganpati Bappa
Goyal, said to be one of the city’s best ‘exports’ to Delhi, after all, is the quintessential Mumbai boy, scion of a well-heeled business family.
For years, BJP leader and minister of railways, coal and corporate affairs Piyush Goyal and his wife Seema’s Ganesh darshan parties were a landmark social event in the city. Goyal, said to be one of the city’s best ‘exports’ to Delhi, after all, is the quintessential Mumbai boy, scion of a well-heeled business family; and his annual invitation saw everyone who mattered, from Devendra Fadnavis to Kumar Mangalam Birla and Chanda Kochhar, roll up to partake in his festivity. This year, for the first time though, the couple has decided to hold the celebrations in Delhi. ‘Kindly join us for prasad, 7.30pm onwards,” read the simple card, citing their Teen Murti Marg ministerial residence as the venue. What’s more, keeping the Capital’s political correctness in mind, the invitation states, ‘Supporting a charitable cause you believe in, will be the best offering. Please do not bring ‘prasad/gifts/flowers’. Meanwhile, this week, Mumbai sees the official launch of the Ganpati season with pujas and parties held across the city, as it welcomes one of its favourite Gods into its hearts and homes.
SoHo in NoBo
(L-R) Joe Eva, Priya Sharma Ranjan and AD Singh.
We have been hearing about the imminent arrival and opening of Asia’s first Soho House in Juhu, since we met David Fischer more than six years ago in Goa. We are informed that it was Fischer (with previous stints such as setting up CNN in India), who had convinced the Nick Jones-owned private members’ only club, designed for the international creative community, to set up shop in Mumbai. This weekend, we were invited by restaurateur AD Singh for a special tour over cocktails for prospective founding members, to see the progress of the enterprise, which aims to open later this year. Along with Singh, Soho House’s Mumbai committee includes a host of city icons like Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt, Kiran Rao, Abhay Deol, Prasoon Joshi and Siddharth Roy Kapoor. An eclectic and cheerful mix of international and local staff is already in place, led by the captain of the ship Joe Eva, a veteran of the establishment, who has worked in the London houses and also the newer ones, like the one in Istanbul, which we had visited last year. Eva, along with membership manager Priya Sharma Ranjan talked about the advantages of belonging to a hip community of like-minded souls, to the gathering consisting of actors, film-makers, restaurateurs and other hipsters, who didn’t appear to require too much convincing this Friday night at the soon-to-open sea-facing Italian restaurant Cecconi’s, located on the ground floor (the only section, which will be open to non-members). Apart from Cecconi’s, the impressive tower, nestled in the heart of Juhu, with a commanding beach and sea-view, boasts of state-of-the-art facilities like gyms, bars, banquet spaces and even a roof-top plunge pool. Though we weren’t shown the guest bedrooms, we are informed they will be priced competitively during the opening phase. “Membership is open and we will initially limit the list to only 1,000 members,” said Eva. So, if things go according to plan this November, NoBo will have a new hangout space for the creative community, and we hear plans are underway for a glittering opening party.
Word comes in that at a swish gathering, which saw a slew of familiar faces, a stylish SoBo couple, famous for being famous (i.e. for attending the opening of everything, including an envelope), is said to have spent all their time and effort making it obvious that they were a cut above the rest, by staying aloof and making no attempt to fraternise with the other guests. “From chattering amongst themselves, to staring at their phones, to non-stop texting, they made it clear that they would have rather been elsewhere, like perhaps on a yacht in the Mediterranean,” said an observer, who described the female half of the equation as ‘lips like Marilyn Monroe and eyes like Caligula’. But, what had irked our source more is that he’d only recently been witness to a stratospheric charm offensive mounted by the two, when he’d chanced upon them bestowing their most fetching chatter and winning ways on the richer and more famous.
A candle for Prakash
Mumbai lost one of its much loved sons over the weekend, with the passing of Prakash A Thadani on Saturday. The businessman, foodie and impassioned musician had succumbed to the cancer he had been bravely battling for the past few years. A gentle and kind soul with a heart of gold, the news of his passing brought forth a tsunami of grief as people recalled the many ways he’d touched their lives, with his generosity of spirit and ever present laughter, even in the face of adversity. Thadani had gained prominence as a young man in the seventies when he had been the backbone of the Jazz India movement that saw the city revel in international and local acts at a stadium like the Rang Bhavan. Over the years, his jovial demeanour and famous floral shirts had made the family man and father of two adult sons, a leitmotif at music gatherings and social events. What made his passing even more poignant was the fact that the bon vivant had died a day before his birthday, which fell yesterday. “No doubt, there must be a big party up there with Prakash regaling the angels with his laughter and music,” was the general consensus about the man, who had symbolised a kinder, gentler face of Mumbai.
First Published: Sep 10, 2018 01:24:03