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Bowled out, writes Shalini Sharma | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

India’s cricket coach cannot believe what a blessed year he has just had. Ravi Shastri bagged the plum post of India’s cricket coach edging out a strong contender like Anil Kumble. The appointment comes as a relief for the cricket audience as his droll clichés in the commentator’s box had played itself out to much amusement into cricket lore. The other winning shot in his life is his relationship with Nimrat Kaur, that lovely damsel who deftly played a pining wife (Lunchbox) and a Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) officer (Homeland) with equal panache. Nimrat has always been very discreet and shy about her private life and we appreciate the two wanting to keep the relationship under wraps, which they have done successfully for two years. Even though Ravi is as single as they come post his divorce from ex-wife, Ritu. But this whole Bollywood/Cricket romance game always drives the country nuts… with joy. Virushka, step aside for a moment please. Nimrav is the new flavour.

The magician

For which man do India’s most beautiful women jostle to get his undivided attention and time? It would be no exaggeration to suggest that make-up maestro Mickey Contractor would be firmly voted into the Most Important Men list for Bollywood beauties and some powerful tycoon wives. Even though he has moved on from cosmetic giant MAC as their beauty consultant, the brand is clearly loath to let him go and threw a party in his honour. We asked Contractor who were the three biggest influences in his life. “Helen, because she brought me into the movies; late Gautam  Rajadhyaksha because we did some of the most important fashion work of that era together, (like, we did everything back then —  coordinating the star dates, physically creating the props, personally sourcing the kapda); and Karan Johar for giving me the freedom to create my most beautiful works on celluloid.” Not enough fashion space has been devoted to the man who has straddled eras and changing trends for decades.     

Rediscovering royalty

The good news in the world of art and antiquities is that no less than 15 new private museums are opening up in India in the coming year. So far, Jaipur and Baroda seem to be showing the antiquities way to the rest of India. The year ended with an evocative art showing at the Nahargarh fort in Rajasthan helmed by Peter Nagy and Aparijita Jain. This week will see the opening of the Amrapali museum of jewels in Jaipur. Amrapali scion Tarang Arora is over the moon and has waxed eloquent about their 2,500 pieces strong collection that was put together thoughtfully, so that it may serve as a learning ground for jewellery students and those aspiring to be jewellers. His only regret being that they were not able to hold on to some truly rare pieces in the founding years of the brand, as monetary exigencies required them to sell them. But with the brand firmly established, they are determined to preserve the rare pieces they have for public viewing. 

Meanwhile, royal families like Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur and Radhika Raje Gaekwad from the Baroda royals are getting archivists to pull their collection out of vaults and mothballs and document them so that the public can see for themselves the marvels these families own. Fingers crossed that maybe we are at the cusp of an exciting heritage art revival in India.

Fishing for fame

Businessman and film producer Sachiin Joshi may have bought Dr Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher villa but someone needs to explain to the gutka king that it became India’s party Xanadu because of its host’s legendary hospitality and munificent style. The villa has been renamed by Joshi as King’s Villa (how utterly original!) and the press that were invited for the renaming were made to stand outside the villa for the announcement and not invited in. You just know that whatever Joshi & Co may try, it’s going to be downhill from here onwards. Keep those gates sealed. We don’t want the memories defiled.  

Society insider Shalini Sharma has two decades experience observing and reporting on the commerce and confessions of people who are generously described as celebrities.

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