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The 50 MOST INFLUeNTIAL YOUNG INDIANS 2016
From Slovenia to the White House Meet mrs Trump
CONTENTS COVER STAR
Turns out there’s a method to everything Aamir Khan does. By Dave Besseling ON THE COVER
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From Slovenia to the White House Meet mrs Trump
PHOTO: NUNO OLIVEIRA
SUIT BY TOMMY HILFIGER. SHIRT, TIE; BOTH BY CORNELIANI. BROOCH BY GUCCI
JUMPER BY PAUL SMITH. JEANS BY G-STAR RAW. WATCH BY VACHERON CONSTANTIN. SHOES BY HERMÉS
Sunny Side up Saqib Saleem shows you how to work the lightest, breeziest suits of the season. by Tarun Vishwa on the cover
JACKET, TROUSERS; bOTh bY MISSONI. ShOES bY BURBERRY
BLANCPAIN BOUTIQUES DELHI. JOHNSON WATCH CO. CP TEL. 41513121/10 ∙ JOHNSON WATCH CO. SOUTH EXT. TEL. 24642299/55 MUMBAI. ETHOS SUMMIT. PALLADIUM. TEL. 66151308/09 ∙ TIME AVENUE. BANDRA WEST. TEL. 26552727/2828 CHENNAI. THE HELVITICA. TEL 28464095/96/97 ∙ HYDERABAD. MEENA JEWELLERS. TEL. 23237270/7226 www.blancpain.com
Contents 22 26 30 193 194 198
Editor’s letter Contributors GQ access Where to buy GQ central Open letter
Features 71 The 50 most influential young indians take two of our round-up of the guys changing the world before they turn 40. By Megha shah on the cover
on the cover
126 You’re so money Your guide to negotiating, well, everything.
140 Lady and the Trump a slovenian ex-model could possibly become First lady of the United states. By Julia ioffe 146 Championship belts an accessory that’ll ensure you’re acing the style game. By dan Forbes 170 “Women. What do i know?” Media baron Rupert Murdoch is no stranger to heartbreak. By Michael Wolff 174 Sharp suiter it’s time to get serious about your suit. By daniel Riera on the cover
our guide to the hottest party destinations across the globe
the snazzy blue tommy hilfiger suit to rule the summer; Menswear designer ashish soni lets us in on his style mantras and faves; our line-up of the coolest shades this season; safilo CEo luisa delgado’s 10 rules of eyewear; the coolest denim jackets money can buy; the list; Monsoon style advice from the Van heusen + GQ Fashion nights runways on the cover
home-style with airbnb Cto nathan Blecharczyk. By Megha shah
Watches you’d spot on world leaders; taG heuer head Jean-Claude Biver is back with a revolutionary timepiece
tracing the success of VFX whiz namit Malhotra; the case of the ludicrous music genres; #showusyourpeanuts – why John oliver is the quirkiest campaigner ever; how to live in potterverse for just a bit longer; Behold, the Bombay art society’s new home
GQ Power Lunch
the cars these businessmen own are the stuff of daydreams; GQ test-drives the brawny Jeep Grand Cherokee sRt
151 Pop culture: a case study of the Good Bengali Boy, by a former GBB. By sandip Roy 154 Sport: olympic tennis is becoming cool again. By aditya iyer 155 Humour: how (not) to have a conversation about dying. By hugo Rifkind 156 Film: the films of 2016 you should have seen. By tanul thakur 157 Politics: decoding the panama papers. By luke harding
158 Marriage: here’s what you really need to know. By alain de Botton
anish trivedi enters a salt spa and lives to tell the tale; You could be a slave to your fitness tracker; the grooming ritual every grown-ass man must follow
photo: adil hasan
tHe Good LiFe
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SABYASACHI C A L C U T TA
Letter from the Editor
THE LEGACY ISSUE
CHE KURRIEN Editor
PHOTO: ARJUN MARK (CHE)
he American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie was born into an impoverished family – and had to start working when he turned 13 to put food on the table. Yet the boy was so precocious and motivated that he quickly rose to become the head of the Pennsylvania Railroad system. By the late 19th century, he’d created one of the world’s great fortunes. While Carnegie had the uncanny ability to sniff out opportunity before anyone else, he was ahead of the curve in another crucial way: he gave away about 90 per cent of his wealth, roughly $350 million, before he died – the first mega philanthropist if you will, a line that extends to Azim Premji, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Although he barely went to school, Carnegie was a great believer in the power of education, funding schools and universities across the country. He was also a patron of music, donating church organs to parishes around America, and in 1881 he provided a million dollars to build the great New York City institution, Carnegie Hall – one of the most prestigious venues for classical and popular music. Yet despite the lavishness of the hall, he ensured that some of the best seats remained accessible to the general public by keeping the costs low. Coming from humble roots, Carnegie understood that greatness could come from anywhere, and needed to be nurtured. This month, I’m proud to present our annual list of the Most Influential Young Indians – overachieving gentlemen under the age of 40 who are changing the way we live, work and play. They come from a wide swathe of backgrounds, regions, outlooks and industries. Yet while most of them are correctly focussed on building their businesses and refining their creative skills, over time each will likely feel Carnegie’s passion towards changing lives. The importance of legacy is underemphasized in our society – with not enough focus placed on the individual’s responsibility to create and support institutions that positively transform the human experience. As India grows, this criterion will increasingly be part of how success is defined and determined. Aamir Khan has shown how one individual can use the powers at his disposal to generate a healthier, more honest dialogue on issues our society finds difficult to confront and address. Just like Carnegie, Khan has always been ahead of the curve.
Who’s the most influential publiC figure right noW? I cannot seem to go to any event without the conversation coming back to the spectre of Donald Trump. He has upended political wisdom in the US, and the rest of the world is watching with fascination.
Angela Merkel. You may not like her, but you sure as hell sit up and take notice when she has another hare-brained idea to change the economic and political landscape as we know it.
Amy Schumer. She’s funny. She’s unabashed. And she’s become an ambassador for body positivity. Breaking the mould is what she does best.
All of the US presidential candidates. Whether we like them or not, their decisions affect us all – regardless of the country we live in.
SAnDIp roy WHo: Author of Don’t Let Him Know. Journalist. Tweets @sandipr WHAt: Shares his story of being a Good Bengali Boy (GBB), page 151 to be or not to be: “The road to recovery from being a GBB is hard, but it is possible: Sometimes you need to move away from the mothership to a place where no one knows your name or your illustrious history. And try to figure out what makes you happy rather than always worrying about what makes the family name even more illustrious. I, for one, abandoned the side parting in the hair. Maybe it’s time for a GBB Anonymous? (Except with drinks.)”
AnISH trIVeDI WHo: Author, maker of mix-tapes in bars. Tweets @anish_trivedi WHAt: Experiences his first ever salt spa, page 183 nACl HIgH: “I’d say try anything once. And if you’re going to have a fine white powder going up your nose, it really should be salt, and nothing else. Render back to nature, etc, etc.”
VIDISHA SrInIVASAn WHo: Editorial Assistant, GQ India WHAt: “The 50 Most Influential Young Indians”, page 71 not your uSuAl lIne-up: “A country with a growing youth population is bound to produce men who don’t need to be greying to be influential. Case in point: Our youngest influencer is just 22.”
nuno olIVeIrA WHo: Photographer. Instagram @nuno.pix WHAt: On set with this month’s cover star, Aamir Khan, page 108 CHeCk mAte: “The man makes everything he does look cool and extremely easy – like balancing on these giant futuristic, dangerous-looking chess pieces we had on set.”
YOUR EXCLUSIVE PASS TO THE MOST HAPPENING PARTIES AND EVENTS Kevin Negi and David Abraham
Samir and Preeti Suhag
Tikka Shatrujit Singh
Rahul Dev, Mugdha Godse, Sunil Sethi and Gaurav Gupta
A fine selection of menswear
Vijendra Bhardwaj, Shivangi Lolayekar and Ashish N Soni
Rohit Bal and Misha Soni
A CELEBRATION OF STYLE WHAT: Designer Ashish N Soni’s new store launch WHERE: Defence Colony, Delhi Menswear maven Ashish N Soni planted his flag in fashionable Def Col with a blowout party. The spacious store with striking light installations from Sans Souci was admired by some of the country’s finest designers and models over drinks and canapes. p s.
Rakesh Thakore, AD Singh and Shantanu Mehra
rt their Soni’s models sta own White Party
Rajesh Pratap Singh and Tarun Khiwal Jeh Bajaj
Mandira Wirk and Vikrum Baidyanath Aman Nath 30 —
Vesna Pericevic Jacob and Payal Pratap
PHOTO: GULSHAN SACHDEVA
ACCESS Shruti Haasan
Almona Bhatia Vellayan Subbiah, Arun Murugappan, Arun Vasu, Aditya Patel & Uttara Chockalingam Amrita Gandhi & Mukund Venkatesh
Shweta & Samir Mappillai
WHAT: GQ Gentlemen’s Club WHERE: The Leela Palace, Chennai The GQ Gentlemen’s Club, in partnership with Ermenegildo Zegna and Audi, rolled into Chennai for a convivial evening of conversation, style, fine food and drink – with some of the city’s most prominent citizens in attendance. The setting was intimate and rarefied, the vibe perfectly reflecting the searing ambition and confidence of India’s most cultured city.
Che Kurrien & Armaan Ebrahim
Sridhar Venkatesh & Deepa Madhavan Mario Felisari
Surabhi Negi & Kanika Subbiah 32 —
Sriranjani & Amit Bhargav with Rehane
A showcase by Ermenegildo Zegna
Visit www.clarks.in for latest store locations and online shopping
access Manav Goyal
Omar & Heeba Sait Chaitanya Rao
Mariam Haroom Sangani & Osman Abdul Razak Udhav Sharma & Julia Mahan
Suhail Sattar The delicious fare plated up by The Leela Palace
Ashwin Rajagopalan & Rosella Stephen
The powerful Audi Dave Besseling & Suhail Chandhok
Farah Danani KM Chengappa & Ranjith Reddy
Q7 Unaiz Ahmed The Leela Palace’s Royal Ballroom
Kshitij Saxena Atul Malhotra
Lalita Venkataraman 34 —
Vivek Karunakaran & Shreya Kamalia
OPEN GARDEN CIT Y Inspired by Bengaluru. Our Garden City is now open. Discover more at vrbengaluru.com
OPEN CENTRE The city has a new centre. VR Bengaluru now open. Discover more at vrbengaluru.com
OPEN WAVERLY Urban living and hospitality redeďŹ ned. The Waverly Hotel and Residences now open. Discover more at vrbengaluru.com
OPEN GASTRONOMY Food Box, Gourmet Kitchens and outdoor cafes now open. Discover more at vrbengaluru.com
OPEN TAP Good times get even better. The WhiteďŹ eld Arms now open. Discover more at vrbengaluru.com
O PEN H IVE Welcome to the collaborative community. Co-working spaces now open. Discover more at vrbengaluru.com
OPEN SKY DECK Soak up the view. Alt Bar & Lounge, yoga deck and rooftop pool now open. Discover more at vrbengaluru.com
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From Virtual Reality and The Mars Exploration, to the worldâ€™s best gadgets and everything you need to know about the future of technology. SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT WITH THE GQ AUGUST 2016 ISSUE
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THE WORLD'S BEST PARTY PLACES RIGHT NOW
LUNCH with NATHAN BLECHARCZYK After disrupting the hospitality market in almost 200 countries, the co-founder of Airbnb tells Megha Shah, over home-delivered fast food, why India is his focus now Photographed by Adil Hasan
t the gated crossroads, where the rest of South Delhi collides with the winding, other-worldly, micro lanes of Hauz Khas Village, cars are stopped and pedestrians let through. But the words “Nalin Jha” uttered like a code word to the guard results in the gate opening slightly to allow the car to pass through, and squeeze past boutiques displaying goods in pop-coloured cupboards placed outside on the road, JULY 2016
LUNCH WITH GQ
patisseries with French names and seating for five, shacks selling Kolkata-style egg rolls and deeper in, a row of buildings so scruffy and crumbling, you’d never believe they house some of the most expensive apartments in the city.
everal narrow flights of stairs later, I reach Nalin Jha’s apartment, where the CTO and co-founder of Airbnb, Nathan Blecharczyk, is waiting for me over lunch. You don’t expect to be wowed at $110 a night, but it’s a vibrant, multi-level apartment that evokes a pleasant feeling – once you get used to seeing the evidence of someone else’s life laid out for you to share. Nalin’s books with earmarked pages, his half-empty pens inside the stationery cup, his preferred body wash in the bathroom. But that’s the very feeling that the eight-year-old company
has based its pitch on. Collaborative consumption. Asking hosts to invite strangers into their personal space and travellers to want to stay in other people’s homes, in the hope of finding a more authentic way to experience the city. A concept that has made Blecharczyk, along with co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, one of the 1000 richest men in the world. “Nalin is one of our superhosts. Top 7 per cent globally,” Blecharczyk tells me brightly, managing to look tall and awkward, even while seated at the wooden dining table. On it is food parcelled from the nearby Social, waiting for us in heaps of aluminum foil and mud pots.
nyone, anywhere in the world can list spare space (from a room to a treehouse, castle, or even a cabin floating on the Great Barrier Reef), but then “the review system gives
“It’s a business based entirely on trust and one which can rock tumultuously with a few stray incidents gone wrong.” us feedback, whether customers are having good experiences. If we see they aren’t, we remove the property. Meanwhile, if you provide a good experience, we will put you higher up in search results. That creates an incentive system.” Airbnb also offers a professional photographer, deals with the money and provides a 24/7 customer support service (including $1 million insurance for the host – the result of a few recent cases of vandalism). It’s a business based entirely on trust and one which can rock tumultuously with a few stray incidents gone wrong. But, the San Francisco-based firm has been dealing with this from the start, building trust through design in the one aspect of the business that they fully control: the website. For example, they realized that people are more likely to open up their homes to someone they have some information about. Such as why they are travelling or where they went to school. But if they gave too much information – the issues they have with their mother, for instance – that might put them off. So they calculated the perfect amount of information and designed a text box that would prompt it. “Afterwards, guests review the host, and the host reviews them back. Neither party can see the review until they both write it. This way they accumulate reputation. When you, as a guest, do a search, you see properties with reviews. Those aren’t reviews left by their friends. They are by people who have paid. It’s very basic, but it’s responsible for much of our success.” He takes some chicken tikka and biryani onto his plate and dabs his mouth with a napkin politely. Gangly, with a cherubic face and large ears, he reminds me of a more socially-savvy Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.
LUNCH WITH GQ
irbnb was founded in 2008, when Blecharczyk’s exroommate Gebbia, got a new roommate, Chesky. In order to be able to make rent they decided to advertise three airbeds on their living room floor to people coming into San Francisco for a design conference being held that week. They found takers. The next morning, they cooked their guests a meal that they swear tasted different and amazing, somehow. AirBed and Breakfast was born. But it didn’t quite launch like the rocket they had expected. They faced rejection from several investors and found themselves wanting to give up several times, broke. Sometimes they hustled (selling Obama-inspired cereal during the election campaign) to fund their enterprise and once they came dangerously close to ending it all. They gave themselves three months, to make it work or go their separate ways. But their first major investment came through. Soon, Ashton Kutcher (who now sits on the board) became an angel investor. Today, the HQ employs 1,700 people and has conference rooms designed to look like actual Airbnb properties from around the world. “There’s a lot of room for play, and there are breakout areas, where people can step aside and have informal meetings. A lot of people stick around after work, too, because they feel comfortable. There’s beer on tap and one enterprising team – every team gets their own space to customize – built an actual bar,” he chuckles. “It’s strange, when we just started, we were all in our twenties and it was all about happy hours, but now in our early thirties, our interests have diversified. We are going through this transition together.” Spreading out to 191 countries is bound to make anyone more serious. “India is a very important market for us,” he stresses. While that may be true now (evident by the recent strategic partnership with the Times Group to help them with resources), it’s taken its time to get here, leaving a gap open for startups like OYO and Stayzilla. Along with the competition, it also has to face the problem of co-operative housing societies that 46 —
aren’t comfortable with a flat – and hence the society – being opened up to different strangers every night. Additionally, Blecharczyk is trying to wrap his head around the policies governing home rentals. “It’s really unclear,” he states simply. “That’s the problem.” When you have policies that are decades old, it’s not clear how they are intended to apply. And to top it all off, he’s been hearing that it can’t work in India because “Indians don’t trust Indians”. But he laughs all this off. “Today in India, we still have about 17,000 homes that increased by 115 per cent over the last year. Half a million Indians travel using Airbnb, and over the last year, that’s increased by 185 per cent.” He’s a veritable numbers-spitting machine, and seems more comfortable firing data at me than answering questions that don’t require a statistic every few words. (Airbnb is present in over 34,000 cities; 50 per cent of Airbnb travellers are under the age of 35, in India it’s about 60 per
cent. They have 2,000,000 listings worldwide, 17,000 of those are from India. His daughter is now two and just realized she has two ears.)
ur meal finished, we head upstairs to the whitewashed terrace and face the Hauz Khas tank glistening in the sun, and the Islamic seminary where two peacocks are enhancing the view considerably. “Hey,” he says suddenly. “you know, one of the three first customers that rented an airbed that night was an Indian,” he beams at me, seeming quite pleased to have remembered this little fact. I can understand his sentiment. Here, staring at the idyllic remnants of the 13th-century Delhi Sultanate’s rule, the need to find a connection. Because, inspite of the impressive numbers, with every new country, Blecharczyk is building a startup all over again.
In conversation with Donald “Don” Trump Jr on why the opulent Trump Towers Pune, developed by Panchshil Realty, is redefining the very premise of stylish living, even by global standards
Living room Dining room
t inspires unbridled desire. It pushes you to dream bigger. And whispers of its grandeur are heard in every corner of the country, if not the world. Trump Towers Pune presents two 23-storey glass façade towers, each offering 46 spectacular single-floor residences of 6,100sq ft. The stunning interiors, created by world-renowned designer – Matteo Nunziati – reflect a confluence of Italian elegance and Indian style. Residents here also enjoy access to Quintessentially's incomparable luxury concierge service, available 24/7, to accommodate any request. With 24-hour on-site security
Sagar Chordia, Donald Trump, Atul Chordia and Donald Trump Jr
personnel, a residents-only card access to elevators and entry-exit points, an entire level dedicated to entertainment areas, a state-of-the-art fitness centre with a spa, an outdoor pool and a children's pool, life here is exceptional and exclusive. A collaboration between Trump – creator of the world's most opulent branded residences and hotels – and Panchshil Realty, India's leading luxury real estate developer, Trump Towers
Master bedroom Children's room
Pune promises unadulterated luxury and style, discerning neighbours and a prime location in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar. Speaking about this property is Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. What was your inspiration for this project? Together with Panchshil Realty, we set out to change the Pune skyline and raise the bar in terms of luxury, quality and service. Trump Towers Pune is situated in an incredible location and we have assembled the best teams to execute our collective vision for this very special property. The attention to detail and quality is unparalleled and we couldn’t be more proud of the final product. It is an honour to have the Trump name adorn Pune’s skyline. What can prospective buyers expect from brand Trump by booking a home here? As with all Trump properties, we pride ourselves in providing the highest levels of luxury and quality. The details are so important to us and we pay meticulous attention to ensure that nothing is overlooked. Every aspect of this property has been hand-selected and carefully curated, and as a result, we now have the crown jewel of Pune. What makes your India property stand out in comparison to other properties in the world? Trump Towers Pune was our first foray into India, so it will always be very special to our family. The response to the Trump brand has been amazing and All images shot on location
Every aspect of this property has been hand-selected and carefully curated and as a result, we now have the crown jewel of Pune. - Donald Trump Jr we are incredibly proud of the success this project continues to achieve. It is so rewarding to see that each of our properties have their own unique identity while still upholding the Trump gold standard that my father has built over the course of his career. Together with Panchshil Realty’s Sagar and Atul Chordia, we have set out to change the way Pune views architecture, and the fact that we have accomplished our goal is very rewarding.
What according to you makes an ideal home? An ideal home looks different to each person and that is what makes real estate so dynamic and exciting. As developers, it is about exceeding all expectations and providing owners with the ultimate luxury lifestyle experience from the moment of arrival. Incredible views, expansive layouts, impeccable quality and unmatched service are all components of creating an ultimate experience that we strive to deliver in For more information, visit each and every Trump property. trumptowerspune.com and panchshil.com
SEX, DRUGS & FREQUENT FLYER MILES: THE 6 BEST PLACES FOR A PART Y-CATION
Go till dawn in the (real) city that doesn’t sleep Navigate clubland with help from party planner Julz Goddard
Miami means more than South Beach There are full-on neighbourhoods now that were never cool before, like the Design District and Wynwood. You can play life-sized Jenga at Wood Tavern and then, if you still wanna get the big mega club rage out of your system, you can head over to the beach and hit up LIV or STORY. Trade room service for bottle service The basement bar at the EDITION hotel is higher tier, but they let in anyone who looks the part. There’s also WALL at the W, which is a boutique lounge, but they’re always having crazy parties. And, of course, my favourite hotel venue is FDR at 50 —
Delano, where I host a Monday hip-hop party. Come for the wings, and bring a wingman The number-one argument to visit Miami: We have the most beautiful women. Also, the strip clubs here have amazing chicken wings. Very important. King of Diamonds is mentioned in many rap songs, and another good one is Tootsie’s – Drake’s spot, though he spent New Year’s at E11EVEN, our 24-hour strip club with a fancy rooftop restaurant. Tequila-ing me softly There’s a really cool Mexican joint called Coyo Taco that has a speakeasy-type lounge hidden behind it. Always ladies, always tacos and always tequila on deck. —NICHOLAS MARINO
IBIZA: Be rock ’n’ roll royalty for a night In a lot of ways, Ibiza lives up to its caricature as a tawdry Mediterranean island plagued by terrible house music and howling European binge drinkers. But there are still corners where you can glimpse what it once was: A balmy paradise where hedonists gathered to listen to music and sneak off, naked, to the tiny north-side beaches. One is the unfortunately renamed Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes Hotel, formerly just Pikes Hotel. In the Eighties, this 15th-century stone mansion was the most decadent spot on the island. Freddie Mercury ravaged it during the course of a legendarily debauched birthday party, and Wham! shot a louche video for “Club Tropicana” there. These days it’s an oasis of dignity (albeit one with regular DJ residencies and an on-premises recording studio) in an increasingly undignified place – all ancient stonework, lush greenery and blessed quiet – until nightfall, anyway. Then Idris Elba starts DJ’ing in the Freddie Mercury suite. —ZACH BARON
IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES
Sometimes a vacation is less about sightseeing and more about drinking your face off. We all need to let loose now and then – for two or three or seventeen days. So we went looking for a game plan
MACAU: Gamble like 007 (and win for a change) • Did you see Skyfall? There’s a scene where James Bond is ferried by lantern-lit gondola through a dragon’s glowing mouth and into a casino filled with the highest of high rollers. This is Macau, the “Vegas of the East”, the only place in China that permits casino gambling. And it’s yours for the taking. While nearly 90 per cent of Macau’s gambling profits come from baccarat, the city is still at the beginner’s stage with poker. To stoke interest in the game, the house will sometimes reserve a seat for a VIP whale – a moneyed newbie for card sharks to feed on. The custom is for poker players like you to lavish the rich guy with respect (showing your cards before folding, laughing at his jokes) and then clean him out. For Macau’s one-percenters, losing money this way is considered an honour. With all your earnings, you can afford to stay at the Wynn Macau (one of the few places in the world to serve the Tan cuisine of the Qing dynasty aristocracy) and blow the rest at the 30,000-squarefoot Club CUBIC, which has five VIP rooms and a pool table encrusted with diamonds. You didn’t come all this way for anything less. —DAVID HILL
N O R O C
NOT A PARTY
IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES (MACAU); ILLUSTRATION: BENJAMIN BOURS
Will your out-of-town trip be a party?
«3AM The Ace Hotel in the Warehouse District is so new you can probably still smell the paint. Flop onto the French quilt and crash until morning, then haul yourself upstairs and ride out your hangover beside the rooftop pool.
«9PM You now have a powerful craving for Gulf seafood prepared in an idiosyncratic Creole style, served by tuxedoed waiters inside a former po’boy shopturned-uptown bistro. That’s Clancy’s. Pull at a potent, fourfingered Sazerac while pondering the endless list of French Burgundies.
«1AM Grab a go-cup of LA-31 pale ale and hop in a taxi to BJ’s Lounge, which is not a brothel but a classic ramshackle New Orleans neighbourhood bar, populated at this hour by folks who, like you, possess very little judgment. This is where you chase the shot you don’t need with the Pabst you’ll almost certainly spill.
«7:30PM Do as suspendered southern gentlemen do and settle into a plush armchair inside Arnaud’s French 75. The vision of tile and dark wood is the domain of Chris Hannah, among the country’s most instinctual and intelligent barkeeps. Try his rummy Bywater cocktail.
«11:30PM The Maple Leaf is New Orleans answer to a Mississippi Delta juke joint. It’s where the city’s peerless funk and R&B musicians cause hips to quiver and convulse. Conveniently, you started fancying yourself a dancer two drinks ago.
«6PM Your liver is a marathoner, not a sprinter, so make like a local and prolong your bender. Start at d.b.a., an anchor of the Frenchmen Street music scene. The club’s jazz and soul sets start early and pair well with all the craft beers from around these parts.
“I G (R N E IT M IO IX N )”
Veteran Times-Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson paces out your nine-hour bar crawl
Drink up the ultimate drinking city
Portland, Oregon 10AM The first thing to do once you wake and bake is hit this YMCA-style gym called Friendly House – a straight-up elementary school setup from 1952, the kind of place Rocky Balboa would’ve dug. I like to shoot hoops in the morning. Stoned. You get good, can really focus. 11AM Head over to St. Honoré
The rules of party-cationing with friends
Partake of a legal weed wonderland
Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor tells you where to go after blazing up
Boulangerie. It’s better than bakeries that have been doing the same thing in Paris for 100 years. 1PM Bong-rip and road-trip (Radio Cab, please; we don’t Uber in Portland) out past the suburbs to Multnomah Falls. Maybe get a sugar rush from the stand in the parking lot – a snow cone, licorice. Then hike as far up as you can. The view from the bridge
is shocking and so beautiful. 4PM Now you’re back in the city. Toke up for a walk around downtown, starting at Pioneer Square (the plaza that locals call “Portland’s living room”). Then hoof it to the Mission Theater, which is in this cool old building in Northwest, and buy a ticket for whatever classic movie is showing. Take a glass
Invite one fewer person from your alma mater for each year you’ve been out of college.
Splitting every cheque is a nightmare. Just run a tab and use a paymentsharing app.
We’d rather attend an actual sausage festival than party with only dudes.
of Oregon Pinot Noir back to your seat. 7PM You haven’t had dinner yet, so go to this nouveau French bistro called Little Bird. I keep the lights on in that joint. Then see a band at either Rontoms or Bunk Bar. Rontoms always has the quirky shit, which I love –
MEDELLÍN: Arrive solo, leave with amigos
some gothic laptop act with two guitars and a conga player. Midnight After the bar, you have to stop at Voodoo Doughnut for a baker’s dozen. They have a rolled Maple Blazer Blunt doughnut with a red-sprinkled tip that looks like a doobie. —COREY DUBROWA
Friends don’t let friends drink Fireball.
Respect the shotgun call.
It may be halfway across the earth, but if you find yourself in that part of the world, make sure it’s on your itinerary. Even by Colombian standards, Medellín has a notorious appetite for excess: Small amounts of cocaine are decriminalized, and the best party is out in the street. At quitting time on Fridays, residential neighbourhoods like Estadio are dotted with families and friends congregating around sizzling griddles, frying up arepas de queso and taking liberal slugs of the anise liquor known as guaro. If you arrive during a local holiday – there are many – you will hear vallenato music blasting from speakers set up on the ground and wind up dancing with someone’s grandmother. The city also treats its parks like a communal backyard, which means at all hours of the night in Parque Lleras, people are drinking, smoking and eating fried things. To blend in, post up with a cardboard carafe of guaro and start handing out shots in the little plastic cups the storekeeper will give you. The locals strolling by will be beautiful, and we promise you will make friends. —BENJY HANSEN-BUNDY JULY 2016
THE LEGACY LIVES ON With a diverse presence across Mumbai, Rajesh LifeSpaces has been changing the way we live since 1962
in the real estate industry, Rajesh LifeSpaces has A stalwart contributed to building Mumbai’s skyline for the past five
decades. With over a hundred projects completed, it has carved a niche for itself that is synonymous with quality and design in the real estate industry. Currently, the group has 13.5 million sq ft of real estate under development and another 16.2 million sq ft being proposed. The business was started by Raghavjibhai Patel, the founder of the company who recognized the important role that Mumbai would play in the development of India as a business hub. This was taken forward by his two sons, Harish R. Patel, vicechairman and Rajesh R. Patel, managing director.
GOING BEYOND BUILDING HOMES The company has always believed in serving the community ever since its inception and has gone beyond just charity and donations. Having pioneered community education, it has also provided aid to potential dropouts with financial and moral support and has assisted people coming to Mumbai for a livelihood. Medical and employment facilities are just a few examples of Rajesh LifeSpaces’ philanthropic activities. This serves as the family's contribution to the cause of community, society and national development.
Pratik H. Patel
Director of Rajesh LifeSpaces, Pratik H. Patel – part of the third generation to be involved in this business – aims to keep the group future ready by focusing on new technologies, segments and geographies.
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS AND AWARDS A total built-up area of 8 million sq ft delivered Contributed to crafting living spaces for over 12,000 families Completed more than 100 projects Over 13.5 million sq ft of real estate currently under development Over 16.2 million sq ft being proposed in the near future Landmark projects delivered: Raj Legacy, Raj Arcade and Raj Classic
Award for 'Most Admired Brands & Business Leaders' - White Page International, 2015-2016 Award for 'Best Residential Real Estate Company in Maharashtra' - Global Property Awards, 2016 Award for 'Best Family Focus Project, White City' - ET Trends Realty Awards, 2016 Award for 'Best Luxury Project, Raj Grandeur’ - ET Trends Realty Awards, 2016
From a young age, I asked a lot of questions in order to learn more and gain a deeper understanding of things. This need to learn transformed into a keen interest of acquiring real estate knowledge, more so because my family runs a business in this industry. Gradually I channelled this real estate know-how and began to ideate and execute project building and hence started working at Rajesh LifeSpaces. "Today, our leadership team is proud of the fact that we are recognized for various landmarks across the length and breadth of Mumbai. Over the last five decades, we have developed a strong foothold across the city and are well known for well-designed, high quality and innovative ‘LifeSpaces’. – Pratik H. Patel
TOWERING MAGNIFICENCE With a number of projects being developed, here are some of its landmark projects: Raj Grandeur, Powai If you’re looking for an indulgence to call home, take a look at Raj Grandeur. Nestled between the Powai and Vihar lakes, this property is away from the bustling city, but close enough should you find yourself wanting to be in the thick of things. Spread across 6.25 acres, these 30-storey twin towers have 164 residences with an option of 3 and 4BHK apartments to choose from.
White City, Kandivali (E)
Raj Tattva and Raj Torres, Thane (W) Experience the perfect blend of open spaces along with connectivity at Thane. Each wing of Raj Tattva is aligned to offer breathtaking views. What’s more, there’s the state-of-the-art clubhouse, children’s play area and open-air lounge terrace. Choose from 3, 4 and 5BHK residences and get ready to live in luxury. Radisson Blu Plaza, Powai
Raj Infinia, Malad (W) Change your life at Raj Infinia – a 36-storey residence in Malad that offers 2, 3 and 4BHK options in its three wings. Located near Link Road, here you will be close to everything you need. With an infinity pool, clubhouse, multi-purpose hall and much more, you are sure to make a statement with your new address. White City, Kandivali (E) Located near Sanjay Gandhi National Park, White City offers a rich blend of luxury and nature in its four 40-storey towers that are home to 1, 2, 3 and 4BHK homes. Add to this airconditioned homes along with a host of amenities like a pool, jogging track, badminton court and more, and you’ll never feel the need to leave your abode in the suburbs. Radisson Blu Plaza, Powai An amalgamation of leisure, comfort, celebrations and business, Rajesh LifeSpaces has partnered with the iconic Carlson Grey hotel chain to open the luxurious Radisson Blu Plaza hotel in Powai this year. It has 336 keys including regular, deluxe, presidential and Radisson Blu suites, each offering a spectacular view of the surroundings. With a 24hour coffee shop, banquet spaces, the Angsana Spa and a business centre, it is a retreat for those who prefer to be on the move in style and comfort. Raj Altezza, Mulund (W) Raj Altezza rises above to be at the centre of attention. With 2 and 3BHK apartments housed in a 28-storey structure, it has a podium garden, a fitness centre and more, giving you the ultimate in opulence.
Raj Grandeur, Powai
With five wings comprising 2, 3 and 4BHK apartments, Raj Torres' 28-storey structure rests on a 4.7 acre plot. Your home here promises stress-free living in a serene green surrounding.
Rajesh LifeSpaces also has properties in Borivali, Chembur, Bhandup and on SBLR (Sion Bandra Link Road).
E EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO DO THIS MONTH H
BOOKS S TV V TECH H FILM M ARCHITECTURE E MUSIC C
EDITED BY N NIDHI GUPTA
GRAPHIC CONTENT INTERVIEW: SHEFALI PANDEY. IMAGE: REX FEATURES (TARZAN)
Meet Namit Malhotra, the man putting the ‘super’ in your favourite mutant and monster films
amit Malhotra is a busy man. His day begins with telecons in India and ends with Skype chats with clients in LA. He lives in London so he can straddle time zones, and channel ever more business to his growing integrated media company. This month alone, Prime Focus is involved in three bigbudget Hollywood releases: The Legend Of Tarzan, Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne. When Malhotra does his job well, his company wins an Oscar. Case in point: Earlier this year, Prime Focus was
Johnny Depp in Alice Through The Looking Glass (Below) Alexander Skarsgård in The Legend Of Tarzan
an unexpected winner at the Academy Awards when it took home a trophy for Ex Machina (Yes, the one with Alicia Vikander as a cyborg). In an industry now thriving on VFX-pumped superheroes and monsters, Prime Focus is prime real estate. You don’t get Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan’s numbers in your phonebook without being a big deal. Originally from Khar, Malhotra is the quintessential Bombay hustler: One who started out animating Mickey Mouse in the Nineties and, recently, reached another milestone with a merger with London-based Double Negative. JULY 2016
“After JurAssic PArk, i wAs left wondering, ‘How did tHey even tHink of bringing dinosAurs into A PArk?’” Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina
Namit, you won your second Oscar this year [the first being for Inception in 2011]. Yeah, everybody expected the big movies like Star Wars, or maybe even The Revenant to win. Ex Machina was an unexpected, low-budget contender. That makes it special. From being just one of the VFX vendors on James Cameron’s Avatar to this – sounds like quite a journey. Avatar led to Clash Of The Titans in 2010. We did a 2D-to-3D conversion in a record six weeks, but many in Hollywood were critical. And then Gravity (2013) happened. It wasn’t just better than everything else out there, it was the best at that time. Everyone said, “We can’t believe the guys who did Clash did Gravity! And it was done in India!” That broke the glass ceiling. Why has VFX suddenly become such a big deal? Batman and Superman did just fine in the Nineties without it. Actually VFX is more like when you see creatures and watch destruction, or a big storm or a fire blazing through the forest or creatures flying in the air. Special effects are required to show things that are not visible. All that authentic intergalactic travel on Interstellar? Would have been impossible without VFX. It’s about making the physics of a visual believable. Like architecture. Take a destruction scene with a giant creature emerging from water, while a building falls into it. Someone imagines this, and then experts step in to inform this rendering: a creature specialist, a destruction specialist, a water specialist for the building and creature’s interaction with water. Basically, technology has 58 —
reached a place where whatever you imagine, you can bring to life. What first got you interested in this craft? I was young and impressionable when Jurassic Park (1993) came out. My favourite film until then had been Agneepath (1990). After watching Jurassic Park, I was left wondering, “How did they even think of bringing dinosaurs into a park?” The notion that someone could imagine something like this, let alone make it happen, was intriguing. I started with a computer graphics course, where I made Mickey Mouse walk across the screen. But I was a poor student. There, I met Merzin, Prakash and Huzefa, then my teachers, now my collaborators. We started Prime Focus in 1995: Just four guys in a garage. Now we’ve got 8,000 people worldwide, producing some of the biggest and best work the world sees. A couple years ago, you bought London-based VFX company Double Negative. And now, you are expanding your Mumbai campus. What’s next for Prime Focus? There will be about 1,500 high-end Namit Malhotra
specialists stationed in Mumbai for all crucial aspects of VFX and animation. It will be a resource pool that can be used internationally or domestically. In the world of FX, augmented reality, digital humans – like a “real” Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan – and virtual reality are the next big things. As a company, we are looking at virtual reality. But it is important to gauge how people will interact with VR. Where will this demand come from? I don’t speculate. For instance, I didn’t know 3D was going to happen. We were just there, ready for it. I accept that change happens and I keep my door open. When you start predicting the future you take away from the creativity of what is actually happening. Do you find it ironic that so much VFX happens in India, but doesn’t reflect in Bollywood? What will it take for, say, a Krrish to match an Avengers? VFX is not magic. It is a lot of smart, hardworking people working long hours, creatively collaborating and delivering. No one in Bollywood is considering this time and effort. Matching the aesthetic level and scale of the West will take time. But it’s happening. Indian film-makers are realizing all kids want to watch Star Wars and Iron Man no matter where they live. If a Disney movie provides a better experience, then Indian audiences pick that. Bajirao and maybe even Baahubali are great efforts, but visual effects are still the weakest departments on both projects. If we could solve these constraints, budgetary and otherwise, they could come closer to a more epic movie – like Gladiator.
A LEVEL ABOVE If you’re looking for swanky new digs in Kolkata, we suggest that you take a look at Urbana – a luxury township in the heart of the city
hat happens when six of India’s leading real estate developers – Emami, JB, MKJ, Nahata, Shrachi and Sureka – associate with the Govt of West Bengal? They put together a 65-acre dream called Urbana, a futureready luxury community in the city that’s transforming Kolkata’s skyline. One of the most environmentally conscious real estate projects in West Bengal, Urbana is constructed by India’s leading engineering firm, Larsen & Toubro. Located in South Kolkata, just off the EM Bypass and minutes away from ITC Sonar and the international airport, Urbana is well-connected to healthcare institutions, schools, shopping and entertainment centres. In an area that’s pegged to become the city’s most coveted neighbourhood, Urbana serves as an urban sanctuary.
When you step into the gates, you will notice wide, open spaces and organized landscaped areas, designed by Thailand’s Green Architects. Besides the spectacular views from its bungalows and 40- to 45-storey residential towers, Urbana brings you state-of-the-art amenities. From spacious lobbies and community halls, underground parking and water treatment facilities, to an approximately 80,000sq ft Residents’ Club, a luxurious infinity edge pool and a multipurpose swimming pool among others, here you will be spoilt for choice. Each of the 1,833 to 9,000sq ft eco-luxury apartments comes with environment-friendly equipment, VRF air-conditioners, modular kitchens, high ceilings, full-length windows and a worldclass layout. So if it’s luxury living that you desire, choose Urbana. Limited residences available.
`1.8 crore onwards. For more information, call +91 9836760508 or visit urbana.co.in
Being one of the tallest, most luxurious residential townships in Kolkata, owning a home in Urbana is like having a piece of the sky. It’s already the city’s most sought-after address. – Rahul Todi, Director, Urbana
M-66 Greater Kailash-1 Market New Delhi 110048 T: 41634788 29231155 JMD The Empire Square MG Road Gurgaon Next to Bristol Hotel T: 0124-2889101/02 For Appointment Call: 9873173456 W: www.sunilmehra.co.in E: email@example.com
Here’s the Big Question for 2016 (No, it’s not “Is he really going to be President?!”): What the fuck is up with music genres? What’s Happy Hardcore – a special segment on Pornhub dedicated to Pharrell? Nope. It’s actually really fast dance music, at like 160-180 BPM. Baby Metal doesn’t involve punchlines about blenders and infants; it’s cute Japanese girls raging away in tutus. And New Weird America is not what we’ll be calling the country if that other Big Question does get answered in the affirmative; it’s a lame stab at a Seventies folk and psy rock revival. You know Pretty Lights and Moby, but did you know that the music they’re making is called Dubstazz? Nothing is what it seems any more, and what it sounds like is often derivative non-music. Here, a list of strange ones, some of ’em fake. While you figure out what’s what – quick, before it’s all blurred lines on Spotify – we’re listening to our new favourite Post Modern Bovine Smut Funk band (ie, The Mad Cows). No, really.
Animal Collective make Folktronica
Ghoststep Voidgaze Greek hip-hop Gauze pop Abstract hatecore 16-Bit Blues Psy-rock reggae Drone folk Neo R&B Nu Carnatic Emo Bolly Cabaret Neo-Industrial Gospel Cyber metal YTCovercore Neo Nu Acid Americana Political hipop
The Fake Ones: Abstract hatecore; Psy-rock reggae; Neo R&B; Nu Carnatic; Emo Bolly Cabaret; Neo-Industrial Gospel; YTCovercore; Neo Nu Acid Americana; Choral rap; Aphex Twin Clone; Beyhive Buzzpop; Brutal Jazz Death Metal; Kryptonite Rock; Post-Yeezus Lowercase; Neo-Tribal Marching Band; Splittercore Bolly Rap 62 —
Choral rap Aphex Twin Clone Atmospheric Sludge Metal Doo-wop Beyhive Buzzpop Nintendocore Brutal Jazz Death Metal Kryptonite Rock Post-Yeezus Lowercase Victoriandustrial Neo-Tribal Marching Band Chap hop Clownstep Splittercore Bolly Rap Horrorcore Brostep Catholic Psychedelic Synth Folk Japanoise Deep Discofox Vintage Swoon
WORDS: NIDHI GUPTA
OPEN BRA KETS
the John oliver
last month, the british host of last week tonight did it again: he bought off almost $15 million in medical debt from about 9,000 americans. and promptly forgave it on the show. while this, the biggest giveaway in tv history, might be his best shot at activism yet, gQ investigates four other occasions on which oliver did more than just throw a punchline
Miss AMeriCA PAgeAnT
What he did: made the incredibly dull subject of american net neutrality – which would see tech companies pay for faster connections – fascinating, and saw the skit go viral. he called on his viewers to comment on the federal communications commission site: “turn on caps lock and fly my pretties. fly!” What good it did: crashed the fcc site; in total, it received more than 3.7 million comments, and an open meeting began with a mention of the show. the fcc chairman, tom wheeler, was even forced to defend himself against oliver’s comments. the fcc caved; and the internet remains a democratic place for a while longer.
sUgAr What he did: at the end of a skit about how much sugar american companies manage to cram into even the most unlikely products, oliver demanded companies display their added sugar in the form of candy “circus peanuts”, and asked viewers to tweet at the companies under #showusyourpeanuts. What good it did: tens of thousands did just that, calling out everyone from coca-cola to natural beverage company runa. only the likes of the latter responded, however, who boasted: “naturally sweet with no peanuts or sugar.” the twitterati was not impressed. “let’s not turn #showusyourpeanuts into an ad campaign for “sugar free” stuff, oK?” harsh. but fair.
What good it did: at first, it looked like it had backfired. the miss america organization saw the rant as affirmation that they were correct, commentating, “John oliver reaffirmed that the mao is the largest scholarship organization for women.” which is true. but one of the alternative groups oliver championed – the society of women engineers – experienced a “John oliver bounce”, receiving $25,000 in donations in two days, a whopping 15 per cent of its typical annual total.
sCoTTish inDePenDenCe What he did: begged. he ate haggis (“there are literally sheep lungs in my mouth!”), drank scotch (“it tastes like a delicious house fire!”), presented bagpipe players and even, um, brought on their national animal (a unicorn, naturally). What good it did: well, they stayed, didn’t they? are we really suggesting the two are directly connected? yes. yes, we are.
words: ben travis. image: getty images
What he did: setting out to dispute miss america’s dubious claim that they are the “world’s largest provider of scholarships to women” with $45 million made available annually, a trawl through the tax forms found they were counting every potential scholarship. yet they also found that, even at the actual figure of $500,000, they remained correct: they were still the largest funder of femaleonly scholarships, so oliver called on viewers to donate to the alternatives.
MISCHIEF MANAGED It’s been five years since we last spotted Harry Potter and crew, but his universe continues to expand. Defying all laws of muggle-world physics, it is stretching into the past, the future, newer continents, stages, screens and – this is meta – boring old muggle world too. Hands off, Potterheads wishing to execute some epic fanfic: Rowling’s not done with him yet
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
WORDS: NIDHI GUPTA. IMAGE: REX FEATURES (CURSED CHILD); GETTY IMAGES (FANTASTIC BEASTS)
THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD On July 31, Harry’s birthday, Rowling gifts the world the eighth book in the series. This will be preceded by a twopart play at the West End, London. It takes off from the epilogue of the Deathly Hallows: 19 years after his big victory over Voldemort, Harry is an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic and father of three children. His son, Albus Severus, is off to Hogwarts, where he discovers a dark secret. Of course. You can bet on Dumbledore and Snape not being part of the action any longer (or can you?). But who else is expecting Rita Skeeter to still be nosing around?
For those of us muggles dying to live and breathe in the Potterverse, Universal Studios’ new theme park in Hollywood is just the place to be. The latest addition on a map that includes Japan, London and Florida steps things up with a fantastic ride called Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey: You’ll fly around Hogwarts, fight off dementors and even play Quidditch, all while wearing 3D goggles. Drink the very real butterbeer, buy a wand off Ollivanders, get doused in Floo Powder by Hermione, run for your life from the Whomping Willow, cosplay your heart out. So what if a lot of it is simulated? This is the closest you’ll ever come to being an actual wizard.
In November, Newt Scamander, the author of a Hogwarts textbook, will come alive on the big screen in the first of a trilogy. Eddie Redmayne plays the magizoologist in 1929, on the trail of a bunch of fantastical beasts on the loose in New York, creatures that’d make King Kong look like a sweeter version of Aladdin’s Abu: There are grindylows and dragons, the Bloblike lethifold, monstrous manticores, and the most dreaded of them all: the niffler. Quick, Google America’s Hogwarts and start dropping the phrase “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus” at every chance – unless you want your fan-cred dented.
It’s a good year for new museums and art galleries, and new wings for old ones. Exhibit A: The Bombay Art Society and its spanking new home
MuSEu do AMAnhÃ
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s new wing, designed by renowned architect Snøhetta, stands out like a massive glacier behind the more classic main section.
Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava cuts out a spectacular space for this edgy “museum for ideas” in Rio de Janeiro, with a giant cantilevering roof that stretches over the sea.
This Herzog & de Meuron-designed addition to the London museum is an angular, sexy 10-storey structure behind the old chimney, but with the same emphasis on wood and mortar.
wordS: nIdhI gupTA. ImAgE: hEnrIk kAm, courTESy SfmomA (Sf momA), hAyES dAvIdSon And hErzon & dE mEuron (TATE)
anjay Puri dreams of building a really large museum in Rajasthan. “In an unknown spot, like Beawar, without any restrictions or mandatory approvals,” he says. “It’d be the kind of museum people visit to see the building itself.” The Mumbai-based, multiple award-winning (74 and counting) architect wants to recreate the effect the Guggenheim had on Bilbao, a nondescript industrial town in Spain: When the NY-based museum opened a wing there in 1997, an economy was reborn. “Why doesn’t anyone get it here in India?” Puri sighs. For now, art lovers will have to settle for gazing upon this odd little clay model of a structure that Puri has designed for the Bombay Arts Society in a suburb of Mumbai. The amorphous building is a study in making do with less. “The committee said yes to the first draft; even called it a Henry Moore sculpture,” he explains. “It’s on a 1,000-square-metre plot of land, on which people usually make city bungalows.” With an approach to design that is “more than just maths”, and leveraging the versatility of ferro-cement, he has created a fluid space for multiple galleries, offices and even this gorgeous, perfect-forInstagram staircase. Puri considers Hafeez Contractor his mentor, admires Zaha Hadid’s “out-of-context” aesthetic and has a particular fondness for twisted balconies. “We retain the functionality of a building, and disregard everything else. Why should a building be repeated?” Which means schools, hotels and even houses that you may not be able to copy in your Lego City set. And with a lot of trapezoid windows: Because in Puri’s world, squares are boring.
AKASH AMBANI Director, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited and Director, Reliance Retail Limited Age: 24 Born in: New Haven, Connecticut
He’s one of the youngest of OYO’s 2,000 employees, but he’s taken very seriously, and not just because he’s the CEO. Agarwal became an entrepreneur before he was legally considered an adult. And at an age when his peers are graduating from B-schools, the college dropout has expanded his initial idea into 65,000 rooms in 5,500 hotels in 191 cities across India and, recently, Malaysia. It’s a simple idea – offering predictability to budget travellers navigating the fragmented, non-branded hotel market – and one which Agarwal insists is original. Now, there are about 30 companies aping the concept. “We pioneered a tech-enabled solution for the hotel industry. For the first time you can book a room in a matter of five seconds through your phone.” How does he ensure high standards across properties? By regularly going on a purge. Recently, 171 hotels that weren’t complying “were let go from the network”. Proving that Agarwal’s as tough as he is young.
The 14th operator in the telecom history of India plans to change it forever. Reliance Industries’ ambitious, 4G-only network, Jio, will launch later this year and Akash Ambani, is sitting at the helm of the conglomerate’s exciting new project that plans to reform the country’s digital ecosystem, promising data speeds that are 40-80 per cent faster than anything we’ve experienced so far – at affordable prices. Mukesh Ambani’s eldest son graduated from Brown University in 2013 and joined the company soon after. Around the same time, the idea of Jio was born. His father’s ambition for it is ballsy; he plans to take India from its 150th spot of mobile data accessibility to one of the top 10 countries in the world. Akash's vision is more expensive. “I want to see new businesses and startups emerge, across India, enabled by Jio. That’s my dream”. The cricket fan and wildlife photographer has the idealism of a 24-year-old, the backing of one of India’s most powerful business families, and an initial investment of `150,000 crores. It’s hard not to root for him.
MItHuN SAcHetI CEO, CARATLANe Age: 38 Born in: Mumbai
When the Tata-owned behemoth Titan acquired a majority stake in 7-year-old online jewellery boutique CaratLane in May, most people expected founder Mithun Sacheti to exit with a killing. Yet the scion of Jaipur Gems has held on to a sizeable stake – north of 30 per cent at the moment – and will continue to drive the business. Harnessing the heft and trust of Titan is part of the plan, but CaratLane will continue to furiously innovate: opening up more duty-free like open format stores (the first for a jewellery brand in the country), and using a novel marketing strategy built on the reach and micro-targeting of Facebook and Google. “We’re not sure we even need TV as people are cutting the chord,” he says. What is equally contrarian is the fact that this Mumbai boy decided to set up his HQ in Chennai. “If Walmart could start in a small town, we can do amazing things from here.”
words: megha shah, che kurrien, dave besseling. image: aFP (ambani), getty images (agarwal), anushka nadia menon (thukral & tagra), Julie ZhuldyZ shalekenova (Jhaveri)
CEO and Founder, OYO Rooms Age: 22 Born in: Bissam Cuttack, Odisha
SHANAy JHAvERI Assistant Curator of South Asian Art, The MET, NYC Age: 31 Born in: Mumbai
JITEN THUKRAL & SUMIR TAGRA Age: 40 and 37
artists Born in: Jalandhar, Punjab delhi
It’s refreshing to see artists drop the whole struggling, rough-around-the-edges routine. For Delhi duo Thukral & Tagra, presentation and packaging is everything: from their creations to personal style. Their work blurs the lines between fine art and popular culture, product placement and exhibition design, artistic inspiration and media hype, and often comments on the globalization of consumer culture and its repercussions as experienced in India today. While both playful and humorous, their art asks questions about the nature of Indian identity as articulated by locals, and how it is projected on to India from outside. Having just moved into a gargantuan solar-powered studio in Gurgaon, T&T are presently obsessed with game theory from an aesthetic point of view, an idea they explored most recently at the Manchester Museum, as well as thecage.in, a portable museum project. As a result, some of India’s biggest corporations, including the Godrejs and Birlas, are fast building up their stockpiles of this colourful duo's work.
Curation is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, from putting together a dinner party to plotting out an iTunes playlist. But a Curator with a capital C does a lot more than “picks things out and puts them together good”; it’s an art in itself, and one of the hottest, youngest, hippest curators on the international art scene just happens to hail from the motherland. As assistant curator for South Asian art at the worldrenowned Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Jhaveri is busy gathering and exhibiting art from the Subcontinent, but unlike most exhibitions in the West, the focus is not on the histories written by conquerors or colonizers. His focus is contemporary South Asian work, which through his expert lens – he graduated from Brown not only in art, but semiotics – Jhaveri seeks to nurture a holistic, syncretic narrative for the future. JULY 2016
UMANG BEDI CEO, Facebook India Age: 38 Born in: Delhi
India has Facebook’s second largest catchment of users globally, with only the United States ahead. And as the new local boss, Bedi is in a position to impact the way 150 million people engage with friends, news and brands. After having cemented its place as a commercial behemoth (including acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp) in just over a decade, Facebook's focus has now pivoted gradually from growing audience to revenue. And Adobe’s exSouth Asia MD, who officially steps into the big job this month, will be leading the charge. He’ll bring nearly two decades of experience working with the biggest IT companies to Facebook, helping agencies and businesses in India get more value out of their marketing dollars. Bedi’s excitement is palpable: One-third of Facebook’s next billion users is projected to come from India.
rAhUl MIshrA Designer Age: 36 Born in: Malhausi, Kanpur For the last two years, Rahul Mishra’s conceptual, contemporary womenswear made of bandhini silks and Kerala handlooms has got all the right attention at Paris Fashion Week – a platform most established Indian designers have failed to crack. Each show in Paris costs a hefty `1.25 crore. But for Mishra, who’ll be showing for the fifth time this October, it’s been a winning investment. His afternoon slot between heavyweights Comme des Garçons and Nina Ricci pulls in fashion’s biggest league. Top editors have consistently lauded Mishra. Buyers have taken his 10-year-old label to over 20 international stores including Colette and Le Bon Marché in Paris, Harvey Nichols in London, The Papilion in Jakarta and Polar Moda in Istanbul. With every intention of becoming a worldwide brand, Mishra has a simple strategy: “If you want to play well, you have to play with the best players.”
Visit Jaipur, and you’re likely to feel a tug, perhaps not wholly unbidden, towards the princely city’s more lavish expressions. Perhaps the whole royal vibe will seduce you into contemplating a luxurious, bejeweled souvenir. For that, you’re likely to end up at the long-standing Gem Palace, where the Kasliwal family has served Maharajas and Maharanis for two centuries. The ground floor sells the ready-made, traditional stuff onto tourist buses, but if you’re of more discerning taste and looking for something modern and custom-made – and willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars – you’ll repair to the second floor, to meet Siddharth. And you’ll have already taken an appointment for the privilege. Sid will show you diamonds, emeralds, rubies; a kaleidoscope of opulence he maintains between his Jaipur studio and his private New York showroom. This guy’s family jewels could make a Fabergé egg blush. As goes for any luxury enterprise worth the bracket, all numbers are confidential, but judging by a client base that’s gone from Jacqueline Kennedy to Angelina Jolie, it’s safe to say this is where the world’s most precious shoppers get their precious stones.
Words: nidhi gupta, shivangi lolayekar, dave besseling, karina aggarWal. image: sharon radisch (kasliWal), arham khan (bose)
Ninth-generation inheritor to Jaipur’s Gem Palace Age: 32 Born in: Jaipur
ARIJIT BOSE Travelling bartender and beverage evangelist Age: 33 Born in: Delhi When life gives Arijit Bose lemons, he squeezes them, adds a shot of small batch bourbon and whips up a drink that we had, not so long ago, been accustomed to seeing only in bar menus in Manhattan. Dubbed “The Prince” in international mixology circles, he’s leading the cocktail revolution in India’s metros, putting the ignored art of mixology into focus. He’s the man behind some of the best cocktail lists – think PCO, Monkey Bar, One Street Over and most recently Bastian. He’s also whipped up concoctions at Tomorrowland. We temporarily lost Bose to Singapore for a few years, where he helmed 28 Hong Kong Street, securing it in the top ten of 2015’s World’s Best Bars since 2013, and pole position among the inaugural Asia’s 50 Best Bars this year. Now he’s back in our hood, training bartenders and running the show at The Bar-Back Collective, that intends to create better drink experiences through pop-ups and curated cocktail programmes. We’re dreaming of the day when every barman shuns the smoke and mirrors for genuine taste and skill, and it’s Bose who’s going to get us there. JULY 2015
AsHIesH sHAH Architect and Interior designer AGE: 38 BORN IN: ahmedabad He believes India is “at the cusp of a design revolution” and intends to see it through. The Mumbai-based architect and designer who parlays with terms like “asymmetry and asperity”, believes in the aesthetic philosophy of Wabi Sabi – a Japanese concept derived from Buddhist teachings. “It is the aesthetic of beauty that is imperfect and incomplete.” But his works come pretty close to perfection. Shah, who was featured in Architectural Digest’s Top 50 Architects in Asia, has created the urban Le Mill space, a concept store the city hadn’t seen before and the fantastical high-octane environ of the Bandra eatery Nido. He’s also become the go-to consultant for the rich and famous: he’s designed Katrina Kaif’s Pali Hill home and has a client list that includes Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. Next, he’s working on an innovative fine dine called Masque, a new restaurant for Jacqueline Fernandez and a meditation centre. Wildly different projects, yet it’s almost certain that they will all make a design statement that’s pointing towards a more exciting future. 76 —
When he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in NYC, he was asked what he was going to do next. While several of his contemporaries had goals leading towards snagging a green card, his reply was categorical, “change the dining scene in India”. And Manu Chandra has already made a difference. After helming the kitchen for AD Singh’s Olive brand, Chandra’s been launching concepts like Fatty Bao and Monkey Bar and the recent East Village-style Toast and Tonic that have raised the bar in the mid-segment dining arena with designoriented spaces and cross-cultural menus. He’s created excitement through innovative, modern products that don’t rely on a formula. He will open Monkey Bar in Kolkata next year and has also been scouting for international locations to extend his brands. “But none of this is really an achievement,” the painfully sincere chef insists. He wants to radically alter the way young people eat. “I want to bring to the mainstream, forgotten and ignored local produce and ingredients. Everything else is just a flash in the pan.”
Dulquer sAlmAAn Actor Age: 29 Born in: Kochi Beyond the realm of Bollywood and Tollywood lies Mollywood, the Malayalam film industry that’s often labelled the thinking man’s cinema for its well-rounded scripts and powerful performances. Dulquer Salmaan is its hottest ticket. And he’s already got the trappings to become a bona fide superstar: critically acclaimed movies, a pan-India fan base, dapper style and lineage – he’s South Indian superstar Mammootty’s son. Salmaan broke onto the scene in 2012, with a controlled villainous performance as an ex-convict in Second Show, which won him a Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut. The audience loved him as the boyish Aditya in Mani Ratnam’s OK Kanmani (2015), a progressive romantic drama tackling livein relationships, which has Karan Johar doing a remake. But it was this year’s Kammatipaadam, an unflinchingly raw gangster movie where Salmaan essays three phases of a character, that shows off his versatility and range. Anurag Kashyap’s taken notice and Bollywood’s buzzing with his name. Will he make the switch? With 20 movies in five years, the actor’s proving there’s little he can’t conquer.
Words: megha shah, shivangi lolayekar, pauline zonunpuii, nidhi gupta, varun godinho. image: ridhiin panchmatia (bakshi), getty images (chandra)
Chef and restaurateur Born in: DELHI
The descendant of a long line of gentrified land owners, Singh has over the years been quietly putting India on the global luxury travel map. Since he set up celebrity hotspot Sher Bagh in Ranthambore in 2000 (one of the country’s first luxury tented camps), his chain of boutique hotels under the SUJÁN umbrella now include the dramatically situated The Serai and Jawai in Rajasthan, Jaipur’s refurbished Rajmahal Palace (where the priciest suite will come with a price tag of `9 lakh), and the unfenced Elephant Pepper Camp in Africa’s Masai Mara. SUJÁN’s offering of unique destination experiences, which are authentic and eco-conscious hasn’t gone unnoticed. Today, the polo enthusiast, author and wildlife activist (Singh is a part of Tiger Royalty; his uncle is renowned tiger conservationist Valmik Thapar) not only sits on the board of directors of Relais & Chateaux, a global luxury hospitality association with strict admission standards, which has over 475 boutique hotels and restaurants across the globe, he currently also serves as its vice president – the first Indian to be elected to this coveted position.
Chief Executive, SUJÁN and Vice President, Relais & Chateaux AGE: 36 BORN IN: delhi
SAHeJ BAkSHI AkA DuALISt INquIry Musician AGE: 29 BORN IN: Delhi Sahej Bakshi feels it’s time to reinvent his sound. It has, after all, been over three years since his groundbreaking debut LP Doppelganger triggered a veritable avalanche of independent electronica from India. Over this time, Bakshi has taken his guitar-monome-headbang routine everywhere, from college fests in tier-2 cities (he’s had “epic” gigs at Chandigarh and Chennai) to the biggest international festivals (last seen spinning at Ultra Korea); vibed with the next big stars of the scene (including Imaad Shah aka Madboy and Kavya Trehan of MOSKO); and is even mentoring aspiring musicians through workshops via his label Dualism Records. Basically, his brand of “weird indie” music is almost mainstream now. Which is why a “new album with a whole new vibe” is in order this September. And as always, it’ll be free to download in India. Which is how you set about global domination these days.
ANAND PIrAMAL Founder, Piramal Realty Age: 31 born in: Mumbai
Two of the world’s biggest investment firms – Goldman Sachs and Warburg Pincus – invested a consolidated amount of $434 million in Piramal Realty last year. With sound reason. The Piramal family has scored impressive realty hits over the last few decades. These include constructing Crossroads, Mumbai’s first mall, and also Peninsula Corporate Park – a blueprint for taking idle sprawling textile mill land and converting it into mega commercial hubs. Now, it’s Anand who’s squaring up plans to build far more ambitiously, with a full-fledged real estate arm that he founded four years ago. He’s got an A-list team advising him – HDFC’s Deepak Parekh, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria, McKinsey’s Subbu Narayanswamy and ex-CEO of Emaar, Robert Booth. Add to that off-the-cuff advice from family friend Mukesh Ambani. While competing Indian real estate firms are investing across the country, Anand’s betting only on Mumbai, with six mega projects coming up soon. It’s a multi-billiondollar risk he’s willing to take. But one that’s backed by those who know best.
PRASHANT KISHOR Political strategist Mentor, I-PAC Age: 39 Born In: Buxar, Bihar
ZORAWAR KALRA Founder and MD, Massive Restaurants Age: 39 Born in: Delhi Molecular gastronomy has been passé for a while and yet Zorawar Kalra’s Masala Library is booked solid for weeks. Along with Farzi Café, and his newest success Masala Bar, the fine dine brand has reignited an interest in Indian food amidst a hip demographic, turning katoris of dal on their heads by using creativity, technology and slick marketing. Recently, he’s used that same brand of seductive techniques and clever PR for Asian food, with Pa Pa Ya, a mall eatery that's blurred the distinction between "fast food" and "good food". Massive Restaurants is the fastest growing company in the history of the Indian fine-dining business. Five brands in under three years, and he’s not done yet: 10 more eateries will launch in India soon plus, after a successful launch in Dubai, a few more international openings are in the pipeline.
For a guy with as many crores as he has in his sock drawer, Rohan Murty defies the stereotypes of the brainiac heir of a super-rich business mogul. The Infosys scion eschews the ostentatious trinkets associated with most people who have, say, $5.2 million to toss around. Instead, Rohan took that amount and endowed it to the Murty Classical Library of India, to translate up to five books written in an ancient Indian language, every year, for the next century. This cultural preservation is a ballsier move than it sounds. Philanthropy in India has been slow to support art and culture, and at a time when history is being rewritten to suit a singular view of the Subcontinent, the Murty library project ensures that India will not lose the vast and variegated heritage that makes it the fascinatingly complex place it is. words: nidhi gupta, karina aggarwal, dave besseling, rochelle pinto, shivangi lolayekar, meryl d'souza. image: adil hasan (murty), manish mansinh (dhir), getty images (chhetri), reuters (kishor)
2014 was a watershed year in Indian politics, not just because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s (and the BJP’s) massive victory; but also because for the first time in independent India, there arose the figure of a political strategist who wasn’t part of the avuncular establishment. And Prashant Kishor is being seen as the goto consultant for politicians of all stripes: He helped engineer Nitish Kumar’s victory in the Bihar elections last year. He sees his job not simply as a matter of cooking up “cool” campaign gimmicks like 3D holographic appearances or image makeovers; it’s to build an “accountability narrative” for political parties, and act as a channel for their voterbase. To establish that the people of Bihar want more pipelines and toilets (all part of “Nitish Nischay”) or to get the government to implement a 35 per cent reservation for women across offices isn’t PR fluff; it’s a concerted effort at fostering effective governance. Now, the Congress is banking on his King-Midasesque touch to “take back Amethi” after 27 years; as is Captain Amarinder Singh, who hopes to come back to power in Punjab. Meanwhile Kishor, always looking for a challenge, already has his eyes set on Election 2019.
Endower of the Murty Classical Library of India AGE: 32 BORN IN: Bengaluru
VIJAY SHEKHAR SHARMA CEO, PayTM AGE: 38 BORN IN: aligarh, up
If you’re looking for a cautionary tale designed to encourage students to stay in class, Vijay Shekhar Sharma isn’t it. The founder of revolutionary mobile payment platform Paytm insists skipping lectures to hang out in the computer lab was the first step to building the $3 billion empire he’s currently sitting atop. Turning adversity into game-changing business ideas is Sharma’s specialty. He had to teach himself English to get a college degree. And not being allowed to make an online donation via his phone is what sparked the idea of Paytm, which claimed 100 million users last year. Next up: expanding his sphere of influence into banking. The Paytm Payments Bank will be launched by the end of this year, and Sharma’s set himself a goal of netting 200 million accounts within a year of operations. A miracle milestone he will celebrate by bringing down his favourite band, Coldplay, to play in India.
Footballer Age: 31 Born in: Secunderabad Experts will tell you that a footballer reaches his twilight years when he’s 30. Chhetri has simply increased his stock in Indian football as the years pile on. The country’s alltime leading goalscorer notched up 50 international goals last year and continues to carry the burden for the Blue Tigers – scoring every goal for the Indian football team in the 2018 World Cup qualifying matches. Back home, aside from picking up the AIFF Player Of The Year trophy an unprecedented four times, Chhetri can boast of four I-League wins with different clubs.
SUKET DHIR Fashion Designer Age: 36
Born in: Banga, Punjab
His name may not come to mind when you think of designers that make up the clubby world of Indian fashion. But Suket Dhir who brought home the International Woolmark Prize for menswear in January 2016 is the country’s most relevant design export to the world. The Woolmark Prize is one of the highest international honour bestowed on a designer – Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld won at the beginning of their careers. And it comes with a hefty AU$100,000 prize and the chance to retail out of stores like New York's Saks Fifth Avenue and 10 Corso Como in Milan. He’s never done a runway show. He doesn’t have multiple flagships to his name. But his menswear – a contemporary take on classic tailoring with Indian twists – has the world taking notice. In turn, Dhir’s conquering the Indian market from outside-in. JULY 2016
Last year, Ranveer was famous. This year, he is ubiquitous. You can’t flip a TV channel, pass a billboard or open up a tabloid without seeing him. Compared to the Juhu boys with famous last names, Ranveer is the one who has his safety net closest to the ground, but he still takes the biggest risks. Some say that makes him crazy. But it’s never the same Ranveer to critique. From the super macho Bajirao in a stupendous period film to the energetic human cartoon of a MakeMyTrip ad, to the dapper circus master waltzing down the closing walk for Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna at GQ Fashion Nights – he not only knows how to play to an audience, he knows how he has to play to which audience, something he makes look effortless, something that has also left him peerless. 80 —
words: dave besseling, shivangi lolayekar, nidhi gupta. image: tarun vishwa (singh)
Actor Age: 30 Born in: Mumbai
KESHAV BANSAL Owner, Gujarat Lions and Director, Intex Technologies Age: 25 Born in: Delhi In October last year, Keshav Bansal approached the BCCI to pitch Intex Technologies – his father Narendra Bansal’s `4,000 crore company of mobile handsets and IT products – as a sponsor for the Indian Premier League. His aim was to target the youth, a common audience for cricket and tech. Instead, Bansal walked away with the BCCI’s counter offer of buying a team, and became the conspicuous 24-year-old owner of the Gujarat Lions. It would’ve been easy to write Bansal off as an entitled secondgeneration industrialist. But the Lions’ hard-hitting form got them to the Semi-Final. Bansal bet on Suresh Raina as captain, even after his poor performance in the T20 World Cup. He got Brad Hodge to coach. He recruited Dwayne Bravo and Dhawal Kulkarni to lace the team and he pulled in six sponsors that had to contend with Intex on the sleeve. Bansal looks more than capable of playing hardball in cricket’s most lucrative arena. In the process, the young director, who also heads the marketing division of Intex, has already come to represent a whole new generation of successful businessmen.
Whole-time Director and Head of New Media, The Indian Express Age: 29 Born in: Mumbai In the four years since Anant Goenka joined the family business started by his greatgrandfather in 1936, he’s taken the Indian Express website from four million unique users a month to 42 million – with 140 million page views. He’s done this through a cleanrunning IE app, which he says retains the physical paper’s journalistic balance, and insists that things like advertorials “are not expected of us; they are bad for business”. This is the scion of a media empire that once ran a blank front page during the Emergency, so it’s no surprise that Goenka is sticking to its “newsman” principles while braving these tempestuous times for the trade. This notion of balance and fairness may sound idealistic, but it’s a stance that has made the Express the second-largest news website in the country nonetheless.
BLOT!(BASic LOVE Of THiNGS)AKA GAurAV MALAKEr & AViNASH KuMAr DJ/VJ: Mixed media artists Ages: 31 and 37 Born in: Delhi and Pune There’s nothing basic about BLOT! any more. Sure, the Delhi-based DJ/VJ duo, who took the electronica scene by storm about a decade ago, “continue to hate elevated booths,” dominating the underground scene with about 100 acts every year; from Magnetic Fields to playing at abandoned breweries. But their goal – “to expand the notion of electronic music culture” – has taken them further afield than their peers. It’s not every day that you find beatmakers building bioscopes on street doctors for serious nationwide art shows like Medicine Corner’s Tabiyat; launching genre-fluid festivals like the critically acclaimed UnBox (Delhi) and EyeMyth (Mumbai); creating sci-fi videogames “inspired by the dreams of the mathematician Ramanujan”; and writing graphic novels on music production. And, of course, putting out a new album this year, along with a lot more “straight-up amazing vibes. No bullshit.”
HANIF KURESHI Street artist & cofounder of St+Art Foundation and Festival Age: 33 Born in: Talaja, Gujarat
The real star at the India Art Fair this year was no Paresh Maity sculpture or Jitish Kallat installation. It was WIP, a St+Art Foundation festival held at the Inland Container Depot, right behind a massive landfill, where 25 Indian and international artists transformed over 100 Maersk shipping containers into stunning, larger-than-life canvases. In the second edition of St+Art Delhi, “the open air installation drew over 25,000 visitors over six weeks. That’s perhaps more people than the NGMA gets for a regular exhibition,” says Hanif Kureshi. Later this year, St+Art will launch festivals of public art in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, before returning to Mumbai in 2017. An alumnus of the Faculty of Fine Arts at MSU Baroda, Kureshi also runs a project to digitize and preserve traditional street painting typography, as well as Guerilla, an underground design studio that has, among other things, created the branding for the popular restaurant chain Social. If they haven’t already, Kureshi and his renegade gang will soon be transforming a crumbling facade near you.
Founder, Spice PR Age: 37 Born in: Delhi In the early Noughties when film PR was finding its feet, Spice PR launched and propelled a movement that has made marketing an integral part of the business. Over 12 years, founder Prabhat Choudhary has turned the art of connecting with audiences into a science. He is now responsible (in part) for the success of every second A-list film that releases in Bollywood, and for transforming the career trajectory of actors like Deepika Padukone, once known only as a pretty model. Last year, IIM Bangalore even included a case study of the firm in its syllabus. Spice has also inadvertently developed a specialty: It’s become a go-to helpline for those in need of a brand re-imagining. When Sanjay Dutt came out of jail and realized he needed a fresh image, he hired the firm for his “second innings”. When Hrithik Roshan found himself in an ugly public battle, he asked for help to normalize the situation. Currently, almost every up-and-coming star from Shraddha Kapoor to Tiger Shroff to Sushant Singh Rajput to Harshvardhan (Anil Kapoor’s son, who will be launched soon) is a part of Spice PR’s clientele. Somewhere, sitting in a room with his team of expert image-makers, Choudhary is helping decide the future of Bollywood. 82 —
Photographer Age: 34 Born in: Chinsurah, West Bengal Raghu Rai is arguably the most famous Indian photographer outside the Subcontinent, largely as the first Indian to be enlisted to Magnum, the worldrenowned photographer collective. Almost 40 years later, Sohrab Hura became the second. Emerging from the predatorpatient void where only the most patient lensmen survive, behind the social media and the Snapchat frenzy, Hura has become the photographer’s photographer – for sticking to subjects not for days, but for years at a time, like when he documented his mother's slow descent into schizophrenia. He is an anomaly in our current times, an antithesis to photography as an industry. The irony is that his first Magnum Book, compiled over nearly a decade, sold out before it was even released last year.
WORDS: SHIKHA SETHI, MEGHA SHAH, DAVE BESSELING, SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR. IMAGE: RUTVA TRIVEDI (KURESHI), MANISH MANSINH (DUBEY)
UJJAWAL DUBEY MUstAfA GhoUsE CEO, JSW Sports and COO, Bengaluru FC Born in: Mumbai Age: 36 When Bengaluru FC won their second I-League Football championship this year, it was in no small part thanks to the team’s COO, Mustafa Ghouse. The former tennis player, who represented India in the Davis Cup and won a bronze medal at the Asian Games, has been instrumental in setting up and moulding the team since its inception in the League in 2013. In a country of over a billion, with a growing appetite for sport, football’s undergoing a revolution that might just make it the new generation’s cricket. The FIFA U-17 World Cup is being hosted by India next year. The two national leagues are filling out stadiums: “When we played our first match four years ago, we expected 5,000 people. 18,000 showed up,” says Ghouse, who envisions national football becoming as exciting as international championships. Currently, he’s exercising his role as CEO of JSW Sports and overseeing the preparations of eight athletes going for the Rio Olympics. There’s never been a better time for local sport and Ghouse is a front runner.
Designer, Antar-Agni Age: 28 Born in: Gorakhpur, UP It takes a few years for a new designer to become an established name, usually buoyed by a strong network of celebrity stylists and heavy PR machinery. But Dubey, whose modest two-year-old workshop in Noida fits just a team of three, doesn’t self-promote the conventional way. He’s breaking new menswear ground with an anti-establishment aesthetic full of edgy drapes and asymmetry, presenting style-conscious men with an everyday wardrobe. So it doesn’t matter that his almost-400 posts on Instagram don’t capture the extent of his reach. Bollywood’s doing his marketing for him. His Antar-Agni is the buzziest menswear label right now: Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana are loyal patrons. Recently, Hrithik Roshan wore Dubey’s signature draped pants for a danceheavy IPL 2016 closing performance. JULY 2016
India’s roads are notoriously unsafe. In the eight years since Tewari set up the SaveLIFE Foundation to improve road safety as well as emergency care for accident victims, its impact has been tremendous. So far 1,50,000 people have been rushed to hospitals by a network of cops and volunteers trained under the NGO’s award-winning programme. What’s more: the Ashoka Fellow's successful lobbying helped influence a historic Supreme Court judgement – passed in March this year – that provides legal protection to Good Samaritans, bystanders who aid accident victims. In recognition of his work, Tewari was recently selected for the prestigious Edward S Mason Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he will pursue a Master in Public Administration with leaders from across the world. “Road deaths are not particular to India,” he says. “This course will give SaveLIFE the access and ability to make a global change.”
Co-founder, Atmantan Age: 39
Born in: Delhi
Wellness and motorsport have little in common, unless you’re Nikhil Kapur, the fitness-obsessed co-founder of 2016’s mecca of healthy living, three hours from Mumbai. Modelled on the award-winning Chiva-Som in Thailand, Kapur says the 40acre property set amid the hills of the Sahyadris “is a pit stop for life”. Unlike other luxury retreats, where you might spend a substantial sum of money to have your WiFi cut off and a massage or two, at Atmantan the emphasis is on “removing the fluff associated with wellness” and delivering scientific, quantifiable results. Happily for Kapur, good living makes good business sense too. The wellness industry in India was worth a cool `1 trillion last year, and only two other major players in this space pose any serious competition: Ananda in the Himalayas and Vana Retreats in Dehradun. Which means that Kapur is now racing with the big boys for a very lucrative prize.
RITESH BATRA Film-maker Age: 36 Born in: Mumbai
Ritesh Batra is really glad that his schoolteachers got him into the habit of reading. Being a bibliophile – and, of course, the BAFTA-nominated director of The Lunchbox – got him his next project: adapting British author Julian Barnes’ Booker Prizewinning novel The Sense Of An Ending for the BBC. Not only has he directed a stellar cast, including Jim Broadbent, the film will receive a global release later this year. The Bandra boy, just back from London, is already busy putting the wheels in motion for his next project, rumoured to feature Nawazuddin Siddiqui; planning more community-building sessions at Mumbai’s Irani cafes; and daydreaming about directing Colin Firth and Irrfan Khan in a film (and it may be possible too). Not too shabby for an NYU dropout.
words: megha shah, shikha sethi, nidhi gupta, varun godinho. image: adil hasan (tewari), getty images (batra)
Founder and President at SaveLIFE foundation Age: 36 Born in: Kanpur, UP
NAVROZE GODREJ Executive Director, Strategy and Innovation, Godrej & Boyce AGE: 34 BORN IN: MUMBAI
When your family business is 119 years old, there may be a need to rethink the way it does business. And that’s the fourth-gen Godrej scion’s full-time job. He’s been creating collaborative physical spaces like the Godrej Innovation Centre that he set up in 2011 and The Hubble in 2013, both located on its campus in Vikhroli, Mumbai. Each 25,000sqft complexes, where employees from across disciplines – engineering, product management, communication, etc – gather to brainstorm. Here, everything from the furniture to the floor plan is designed to inspire creative thinking – an area of expertise he picked up while completing his masters in design from Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology. Navroze is also crowdsourcing ideas from external sources – there’s a rotating group of faculty from global design institutes that regularly drop by the Vikhroli unit. And in 2017, to ensure the business remains 21st-century proof, he’ll be mentoring some of the country’s sharpest design minds in Godrej DesignLab’s third edition to create prototypes of their best interior design ideas. Very few billion-dollar-plus family businesses remain family-controlled for four generations. Navroze is making sure there’s a roadmap for the fifth.
BENNY DAYAL Age: 32
Singer Born in: Kollam, Kerala
Benny Dayal has been the reigning king of the Bollywood dance number since AR Rahman “discovered” him in 2007. But he knows that staying relevant isn’t just a matter of hitting high notes; it’s to have “performance running in your blood”. That means taking to the road, stage and studio with equal vigour. It means joining forces with all types of musicians and producers, be it Amit Trivedi, Nucleya or Papon. And it means paying it forward, by collaborating with rising talent like rappers Brodha V and Divine. Of course, it helps that Dayal can sing in over eight languages (watch out for a song in Gujarati soon) and that he’s a trained Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and ballroom dancer. And that he’s extremely hardworking: Between recording an episode of Fox Life’s Sound Trek and getting hitched, Dayal’s also found time to cut a seven-song EP, out in September.
ARuNABh KumAR AND BiswApAti sARKAR CEO AND Creative Director, TVF AGEs: 33 AND 27 BORN IN: Muzaffarpur, bihar & Rourkela, odisha The last time we spoke to Arunabh Kumar, he was talking about building the HBO of India. A year later, it looks doable: Kumar and Sarkar got a $10 million booster shot from Tiger Global for digital entertainment channel The Viral Fever, 1.5 millionplus followers on it’s YouTube platform and tiny blue tickmarks next to their own names on social media to boot. Kumar shrugs off the funding as “a side effect” of massive exposure. In reality, it has validated an “indie” outfit like TVF in the time of bigbudget web channels like Netflix/Hotstar/Voot; and its conviction that there exists a market for intelligent youth-oriented content. “If you’re the only guy playing the game, you might be in the wrong game,” Kumar says. Staying ahead of the curve means new channels (like Screen Patti), concepts (think music videos with Raftaar and Kanan Gill) and creators, like Rohan Sippy on Behind The News; and their first feature film project. Crucially, they also continue playing to their strengths: This year, Sarkar returns to Barely Speaking With Arnub which is now a series. There might even be a second season of Pitchers. With TVF, as always, this is just the beginning. JULY 2016
To flourish in a luxury property market famous for delays, lack of permissions and over-supply, given the current economic climate, is no mean feat. Heading one of the few real estate companies that isn’t surrounded by rumours of projects shutting down or funds drying up, Amit Bhosale says he is able to “deliver what is promised.” His pet project, a high-rise on Mumbai’s Hughes Road in association with Italian luxury label Versace, is a collection of 9,000 sqft duplexes complete with designer lighting and crockery, selling at around `65 crore each. His experience in hospitality has also helped him to envision a more sophisticated product than his competitors: In September he will launch India’s first W hotel in North Goa, a trendy property “that will defy all conventional norms of what a hotel should be.” Bhosale’s most recent pursuits include high-end residential projects to be announced soon in Mumbai and his home town Pune, as well as an island he recently bought in the Maldives – the site for his next glitzy milestone.
ADITYA GHOSH President & WholeTime Director, IndiGo Age: 40 Born in: Kolkata
An IPO does two things to the president of a company: overnight it gives him a war chest, but it also leaves him open to scrutiny by millions of shareholders, who monitor his every twitch. But Ghosh isn’t sweating it. Hours after India’s largest IPO in three years last October, IndiGo parent company InterGlobe Avation’s shares were oversubscribed. But Ghosh has kept up the heat: IndiGo posted its eighth consecutive year of profits (in its ten-year history), became the largest domestic airline by market share in India and has a firm order for 426 Airbus A320Neo aircraft, which will quadruple the airline’s fleet strength from the current 108 aircraft in service. IndiGo’s current profit reporting isn’t solely attributable to the knocked down (but highly volatile) oil prices. The airline has kept overheads low, reinvested to expand the business and scaled rapidly, but never recklessly. Ghosh’s ticker price is soaring – and so is the airline’s.
words: varun godinho, megha shah, shikha sethi. image: tarun vishwa (ghosh), Jimeet pawaskar (kulavoor)
Managing Director, Avinash Bhosale Group Age: 33 Born in: Pune
CEO, Cerana beverages Age: 35 Born in: Delhi
SAMEER KULAVOOR Artist and illustrator Age: 32
Born in: Mumbai
Bira 91’s success story would make an interesting case study in a marketing textbook. The beer is made with hops from Belgium, France and the Himalayas, brewed in several contractual breweries – including one in Belgium – and is bottled in Gurgaon. Since it launched last year, the brand’s gone viral, with about 30,000 cases selling every month. Founder Ankur Jain, who sold his healthcare information startup in 2007, claims he achieved this without spending a rupee on traditional marketing: Instead he launched it slowly by making it available in popular bars, priced between a Heineken and a Corona. And soon it was a prize available to those in the know. Even as its popularity grew from Delhi, then Bengaluru and now most Indian metros, lack of in-your-face advertising has ensured the product remains cool. Two new variants will launch this year, and now Silicon Valley VC firm Sequoia Capital (best known for backing Apple, Google and WhatsApp) is betting big on Jain’s idea with an investment of $6 million. After two years and lakhs of bottles sold, Bira 91’s marketing begins now.
Sameer Kulavoor has been on a hot streak of late: His design studio Bombay Duck Designs recently created an 80ft mural at Facebook’s new Mumbai headquarters, and he’s also partnering with Etihad Airways on a new social media campaign. But the JJ School of Applied Arts alumnus is more than just a talented draughtsman; he’s also one of the city’s most important visual chroniclers, a reputation he's built up through projects like The Ghoda Cycle Project (where he collaborated with Paul Smith), Xeroxwallah Zine and his book, Blued. The city was also a muse in Kulavoor’s first solo exhibition, Please Have A Seat, at a South Mumbai gallery earlier this year, which featured a series of witty black and white sketches, evoking moments from daily life, on upcycled teakwood. If you’re a young collector, with a penchant for the quirky and humorous, you’ll want to pencil in a studio visit soon.
SAMRATH BEDI CEO, Forest Essentials Age: 40 Born in: chennai
Diplomats and heads of state staying in the VIP rooms at Rashtrapati Bhavan will notice a welcome upgrade: toiletries by Forest Essentials. It’s an astute move by a government that’s been promoting “Make in India”. After all, Forest Essentials is India’s bestknown luxury beauty brand, with 44 stores. Bedi, who joined the family-owned business a year after it was founded by mother Meera Kulkarni, has played a key role in turning it into a formidable brand, in which global beauty giant Estée Lauder bought a 20 per cent stake in 2008. Bedi knows that beyond the quality of the product, the brand’s advantage lies in nimble innovation and an almost prescient anticipation of what its increasingly demanding customer will want. As a result, Forest Essentials revamps its packaging twice a year, offers seasonal products, a mother-and-child line and will soon launch a line of skincare products targeted towords the youth.
Co-founder, Doolally Taprooms Age: 39 Born in: Bhavnagar, Gujarat
ABHIMANYU ALSISAR Rajasthani noble and hotelier Age: 30 Born in: JAIPUR
Getting the first microbrewery licence in independent India’s history, by catalysing an alteration to the archaic laws of this country, must take a certain kind of doggedness. Suketu Talekar has plenty of it. Which is how he left his job “selling detergent” for Procter & Gamble in Singapore and opened a microbrewery in Pune seven years ago that became a must-do for any discerning punter visiting the city. He’s since opened outlets in Mumbai, which required some more laws to be amended, and is now in the process of setting up a brewery near Khopoli and retailing his beer – considered among the best in the country – in bottles in 10 new stores across Mumbai and Pune within 24 months. “India is now like the early years of the craft beer renaissance in America. It’s a great time to be doing what I do.”
WORDS: MEGHA SHAH, DAVE BESSELING, SHIKHA SETHI, ROCHELLE PINTO. IMAGE: ABHISHEK BALI (ALSISAR), PRABHAT SHETTY (BRAR), ADIL HASAN (BHUPAL)
With his family’s raison d'être erased when India abolished princely states after Independence, the Alsisar heir found himself with a lot of large, decrepit palaces. Armed with a keen sense of business and an aptitude for all things cool, he’s managed bookings for 21,000 rooms last year at his two properties: the oasis-like Alsisar Haveli in Jaipur and the 16th century Nahargarh at Ranthambore. He's also got a new one currently under construction. But what puts a glean on dimple-cheeked Abhimanyu is what he chose to do three years ago on the grounds of Alsisar Mahal, his ancestral home in Shekhawati: fill it with thousands of EDM fanatics. His friends called it insane. He called it the Magnetic Fields Festival. What seemed antithetical has since become the premier destination on India’s ever-growing music festival circuit, named one of the 50 Best worldwide by Time Out London, and is only getting bigger, attracting the hippest global artists to his part of the Indian desert each year.
TEJ BRAR Head, Artist Management Division, oml Age: 27 Born In: delhi
For starting a desi revolution within the crowded world of EDM, Udyan Sagar, better known as Nucleya, was nominated to GQ’s inaugural Influence List in 2015. But his is a story of renaissance, a musician who was brought back from the brink of irrelevance to become, arguably, India’s top DJ. Co-authoring that story is Tej Brar, the super-manager whose name is inextricably linked to many of the country’s most exciting acts: Dualist Inquiry, Nicholson, Anish Sood and the Reggae Rajahs. What makes Brar successful in the music world is his ability to leverage his many associations and help musicians make actual money. From being told his best bet was becoming a house DJ at Delhi’s Kitty Su, Nucleya today sells out concerts and has an endorsement deal with music streaming service Saavn. Dualist Inquiry became the face of fashion brand Levi’s, Monica Dogra was bankrolled by Red Bull. And last year, the artists under Brar’s watch played an impressive 555 shows across the world.
ADAR POONAWALLA CEO, Serum Institute of India Age: 35 Born in: Mumbai Few men can speak with equal passion about Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh (you’ll find works by all three in his private collection), as they can about polio, measles and influenza. Adar Poonawalla, executive director of Asia’s largest vaccines manufacturer, Pune-based Serum Insitute of India, is one of them. Since 2001, when he joined the 50-year-old company founded by his father, Cyrus Poonawalla, Adar has brought a certain sharpness to the way business is done at the privatelyowned company with an annual revenue of `4,000 crore: He’s expanded markets for its products from 35 to 142 countries, and is developing vaccines for diseases such as dengue and HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer. At the end of this year, the company will launch an oral vaccine to counter diarrhoea and vomiting among babies, potentially saving the lives of infants across the planet. “In India, the government spends too little on healthcare, but we are in regular touch with the health ministry to change things,” says Poonawalla. And he’s putting his money where his mouth is. “Hygiene is part of that endgame. Which is why we’ve committed `100 crore to clean up Pune – ward by ward.”
KRISHNA RAM BHUPAL Managing Director, GVK Born in: Hyderabad Age: 33 Clearly splattered across the exterior of Mumbai airport’s flashy white Terminal 2 are three formidable letters, GVK: The Indian conglomerate, with an annual revenue of about `3,100 crore, is also responsible for making the highway approach to Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport feel smoother than most. GVK does roads and transportation. And power. And hospitality. Biosciences? Hey, why not. And at the wise old age of 33, the grandson of founder GV Krishna Reddy sits on the boards of all concerns. For the six years since he’s returned from his education in Philadelphia, he’s handled longterm strategy, and is overseeing individual projects – two of the latest being a hydro-electric power plant in Uttarakhand, and a coal-based plant in Punjab. Keeping so many balls in the air takes a particular kind of savvy, one that could likely suit another vocation well. “If I wasn’t part of the family business,” says Bhupal, “I would be very tempted to be in politics.”
From the moment he climbed to the number one spot among ODI batsmen in 2013 – only five years after making his international debut – he’s been smashing records with the same infallible consistency that makes his opponents hate and admire him in equal measure. Fastest ODI century by an Indian. Fastest to 10 ODI centuries by an Indian. Most 50s scored in T20 Internationals. It doesn’t stop. He’s a sports club owner, a fashion entrepreneur, an angel investor and a feminist. Kohli has become a metaphor for 21st-century India: Ambitious and ballsy, brimming with talent and unencumbered by the previous generation’s tendency to play down its self-worth. Perhaps this 5’8” run-making machine’s most laudable trait is that he doesn’t really care if you’re throwing bouquets or brickbats. He knows exactly what he’s capable of with a piece of Kashmir willow in his hand and neither your praise nor protest is going to stop him. 90 —
WORDS: ROCHELLE PINTO. IMAGE: TARUN VISHWA (KOHLI)
Cricketer Age: 27 Born in: Delhi
ROOTED PROGRESSIVE HOMEGROWN
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From Palinda Kannangara’s Sri Lanka home to Loulou Van Damme’s Goa retreat, the ultimate getaways
BOATS THAT ROCK
Get an insider’s look at two opulent luxury yachts—one by designer Anouska Hempel, the other by design duo Gilles & Boissier
THE MILAN REPORT
Four Indian designers and architects share their most interesting finds at Salone del Mobile. Plus, all the trends that will dominate interiors this year
JULY-AUGUST ISSUE ON STANDS NOW www.architecturaldigest.in
STYLE EDITED BY VIJENDRA BHARDWAJ & SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR
BL ST U E EE L
TH A T TH T B HE E EA DB HE T AT S
WORDS: SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR. PHOTO: JIGNESH JHAVERI. PHOTOGRAPHER AGENCY: PHOTOLINK. STYLIST: DESIREE FERNANDES. HAIR & MAKE-UP: XAVIER D’SOUZA/FAT MU. MODEL: UDAYBIR SANDHU/TOABH TALENT
Welcome the unexpected arrival of the double-breasted suit to your summer wardrobe. Pick a cool blue shade like this one by Tommy Hilfiger – lighter and brighter than your grey winter counterpart – and you’ll make even the guys in board shorts look stuffy. Double-breasted suit, price on request, shirt, `5,000, shoes, `8,000; all by Tommy Hilfiger JULY 2016
ASHISH SONI The menswear designer has a penchant for bespoke eyewear and bold prints
Describe your personal style in three words. Comfort comes first. How do you accessorize your look? A dash of colour always adds zing to whatever you’re wearing. A bright pocket square, bold socks or colourful suede loafers do the trick for me. You’re big on bespoke eyewear. I discovered made-to-choice eyewear in London about four years ago. An eyewear tailor helps you choose a shape and takes your facial measurements. Then you select the material – horn, wood or acrylic – based on your skin and hair colour. Five weeks later, you go in for a fitting to finetune your frame and book an appointment with an optometrist. The final product is delivered a week after that. Which are some of the bespoke pairs you own? I own custom-made pairs from brands like Tom Davies and Wesley Knight. The next one on my list is a pair from Smith & Norbu. And your favourite eyewear brands? It’s a long list – Cutler and Gross, Miu Miu, Linda Farrow, Mykita, Hoffman, Masunaga and Götti.
Recent finds you can’t get enough of? Moët Ice, Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver fragrance and Fujian White Silver Needle Pekoe Tea from Fortnum & Mason. Three things every man should have in his wardrobe? A great black suit, a pair of second-skin jeans and a perfect white shirt.
INTERVIEW: SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR
What do you normally pick up from your travels? Shoes are a big weakness. Even when I don’t have too much time, I manage to buy a new pair.
THE LINE LINE-UP UP
0 6 JULY 2016
Keep the sun out of your eyes with some seriously slick sunnies PHOTOGRAPHED BY JIGNESH JHAVERI STYLED BY DESIRÉE FERNANDES
P O OG PHOTOGRAPHER AGENCY: G C PHOTOLINK O O K
2 POLAROID, 3 GIVENCHY, GUCCI, G I, `18,400. ` D, `3,400. ` Y, 4 ERMENEGILDO 5 H `17,900. E ZEGNA, A, `17,300. ` HUGO `1 , 6 7 BOSS, `20,400. P PRADA, , PRICE C ON O REQUEST. TOMMY TO OSS, `2 , 8 GIORGIO ARMANI, HILFIGER, I PRICE C ON O REQUEST. Q S G R, `7,000. ` , 9 GIVENCHY, 10 0 ESPRIT, 11 1 FRENCH G Y, `17,900. ` T, `6,400. ` H CONNECTION, `2,000. 12 LOUIS VUITTON, N, `44,000. ` CO C O , `2, 13 DOLCE & GABBANA, 14 A, `19,500. ` RAY-BAN, N, `8,000 ` 0 1
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Trending at the moment? Gender neutrality is taking over fashion, and accessories are being designed in the same way. More unisex products are being created. Male shapes are becoming softer, while women’s are becoming bolder.
Are men really experimenting with women’s shapes? I’d met a gentleman who was wearing Celine glasses, which is a womenswear brand, and they looked like they were tailor-made for him. It comes down to the shape of your face.
What’s the buzzword for 2016? Lightness. Brands are working overtime to develop high-tech materials and technology. Dior Homme’s using feather-light Japanese titanium structures, while BOSS has flexible stainless steel and rubber.
It’s now okay to borrow your girl’s sunglasses says Luisa Delgado, CEO of eyewear giant Safilo
How do men shop for eyewear today? Optical frames, not just sunglasses, are considered a fashion accessory, especially for men who want to use them as an expression of their personality. Today purchasing is no longer linked to a brand, but the experience connected to it.
Three things to remember when buying eyewear? Up-to-date technology and maximum product quality are crucial. Pay attention to the fit and comfort and choose a design you’d like to identify yourself with.
Has the demand for optical frames increased? The number of people in front of computer or other screens has doubled, and so the requirement for corrective glasses has increased. Brands focus as much on the design of optical frames as they do on sunglasses. You now have a number of shapes and styles to choose from.
Do men experiment with bold sunglasses in India? Sunglasses were initially not a regular part of their wardrobe. But now, they’re paying attention to the protective value of sunglasses (from dust, glare and UV rays), and also using them to show off their style.
Which celebrity pulls off eyewear like a pro? Jared Leto.
What are some of the new innovations to look forward to? Versatility is going to be key. Men are looking for products that are functional and appealing – easy-to-wear styles that fit every occasion. For instance, Swatch recently launched a collection of sunglasses with 210 customization options, like interchangeable snap-on fronts and temples.
Which brands are coming to India? BOSS and BOSS Orange will continue to expand. Givenchy comes in this year and Dior Homme will relaunch in 2017.
INTERVIEW: SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR
JEAN POOL Every guy needs a good denim jacket. Here’s a good place to start
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JIGNESH JHAVERI WRITTEN BY SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR STYLED BY DESIRÉE FERNANDES
Look no further for a pop of colour
Lots of gents have been swapping out their formal work shoes for the latest trend, swagged-out designer sneakers. Especially for a pair like Louis Vuitton’s sexy red leather kicks, which are as comfortable as they’re stylish. Just remember to care for them as carefully as you would your Macbook. louisvuitton.com
If you’re feeling chipper and want to stick it to the monsoon, United Colors of Benetton has the happiest polos lining its shelves at the moment. They’re also on point with the Hawaiian trend sweeping menswear. Win-win. world.benetton.com
GQ EYE TOP PICKS FROM THE STYLE DESK
Renault returned to F1 this year as a racing team (earlier, it merely supplied engines to the sport), and to mark the occasion, French-Swiss watchmaker Bell & Ross unveiled this BR-X1 RS Skeleton Chronograph Tourbillon. Limited to just 20 pieces, it’s built to withstand those nasty g forces. And when you flip the manual-winding timepiece over, you’ll also find the team’s logo on the caseback. bellross.com
We love a classic belt as much as the next guy, but every respectful gent should also own a casual one to go with his jeans and chinos. And we’re not talking about the canvas variety – that’s for college kids – but a slick leather belt like Dior Homme’s twotoned strap. dior.com 102 —
While Tommy Hilfiger has a cool selection of nautical tees and bright suits, it’s also a dab hand at bag design. This carryall is versatile enough to carry to work and for a weekend away. But what we love most is its rugged vibe that adds machismo to anything you wear. tommyhilfiger.com
WORDS: SHIVANGI LOLAYEKAR, VARUN GODINHO
NEED FOR SPEED
OFF THE RUNWAY Gene Kelly, Singin In The Rain (1952)
SUITS YOU, SIR
If you have to suit up in the rain, go neutral in colour and high on fashion in the style the Italians call sprezzatura.
Take your cues from Van Heusen + GQ Fashion Nights to stay dry this season
The trench coat used to be a mere tool, a workman-like way to fight the rain. Now it’s officially a style move.
Grey’s not just for the clouds anymore. It camouflages those wet patches and is easy to layer.
PHOTO: SAGAR AHUJA
The loose pants, the breathable cowl neck, the easy-to-movearound-in trainers – the hipster way to dress right now.
RAJESH PRATAP SINGH
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOMES IN THE WORLD
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WEIRD SCIENCE He flips out over scripts his retinue read as suicide. He greenlights roles for the feels, not future TRPs. Which in fickle Bollywood, should foretell tales of swift to middling failure. So how has Aamir Khan, this recidivist risk-taker, parlayed his unscientific method into one of the most successful film careers of all time? Yeah. He︐s not sure either WRITTEN BY DAVE BESSELING PHOTOGRAPHED BY NUNO OLIVEIRA STYLED BY VĲENDRA BHARDWAJ
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W Aamir Khan is so polite, he raps on the door of his own sea-view sitting room, peeks a set of tortoiseshell frames around the panelling and requests shyly, “Can I come in?” Hey man, it’s your house. You’ve got swarthy security mumbling into walkie-talkies by the front door, a uniformed, armed police officer puttering around the kitchen, and going by the hem strains on that figure-hugging T-shirt that follows your head into the room, you could probably bench press either one of them. Both of them at once. You don’t need to ask anyone if you can do anything around here, pal. And yet, it’s one of the most recognizable men in this country; a cultural icon who knocks his own movies off the tops of the biggestearner charts for sport; the social crusader whose TV show reached 500 million eyeballs, who’s grinning inquisitively, chuckling demurely, asking permission for things in his own house. “Do you mind if I smoke?” he asks, squatting himself into a squishy section of sectional couch, throwing left black-boot foot over right beige corduroy lap. Confirming not only that I wouldn’t mind but would endeavour to join him, Aamir graciously shares his pack of fags, a stash in which we make a respectable dent over an afternoon’s formal interview, throughout which his humility, his candour, his easy repartee, are, frankly, a little off-putting. For a Bandra-living Bollywood Khan, who’s had this high a high profile for this long, there’s no dirt, no real dirt on the guy. He’s never been banned from a cricket stadium for alleged drunken mischief (Shah Rukh), never been dragged into court for punching a loudmouth in the face (Saif), poaching endangered fauna in Rajasthan (Saif, Salman) or ploughing an SUV over homeless people (also Salman). Think about it. This most public of public figures has managed to sustain a multi-decade career, calibrating the eccentric credibility of a pre-Pirates Johnny Depp with the surefire blockbusterism of a Mission: Impossible Tom Cruise, and kept his nose clean all the while. These are factors of an equation that should not add up in his industry. In our universe. But somehow, they do. Ask him about it, Aamir’s wide eyes crease, narrow and sparkle. Because if we were not here looking back, but decades back looking forward, many of his most lucrative film choices would have seemed masochistic, suicidal. What is this process? This method? This science? “I don’t know,” he sighs. “People always used to think I was crazy. When I did Lagaan, everyone said sports films wouldn’t work in India, period films wouldn’t work in India, and there I was in a dhoti, speaking a dialect that’s not even Hindi” – plus the thing clocked in at 3 hours and 42 minutes – “and I was saying, ‘It may be a disaster, but I just love it and I want to do it.’” [Lagaan turned out to be one of the biggest hits of 2001 in India. It won a National Award for Best Popular Film, was nominated for an Oscar, and Time ranked it as one of the 25 best sports movies of all-time.] Aamir takes a cheek-puffing drag on his Classic Mild, the same way his character Arun in Dhobi Ghat hauls on a Goldflake. An impish
grin curls his lips as he exhales, pressing his fingers to his forehead to keep a fresh memory stable. “One time,” he recalls, “years ago, my sister called me up and said, ‘So have you signed any films?’ – because in my family they keep joking how I don’t do any work – and I said, ‘Yes, in fact, I have.’ And she was like, ‘Wow! Which film is it?’ And I said ‘It’s the fifth remake of Bhagat Singh and [Chandrashekar] Azad.’” Aamir aligns his pupils with mine, eyebrows up to make sure I’m connecting. “Now this was a story that had been told four times already that past year, the last of which had just released two months before, and none of them had worked. And my sister said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’” [Rang De Basanti became the highest grossing Indian film in its opening weekend for 2006, received a National Film Award, and won Best Film from IIFA and Filmfare.] No one calls him crazy anymore. “Now,” he says, stubbing his tab into a wooden ashtray, “I think people have reached a point where they say, ‘Maybe he knows what he’s doing.’” Even if it means doing a Robert De Niro Raging Bull regimen in reverse, to inhabit wrestling guru Mahavir Singh Phogat, for the upcoming Dangal. Over the course of the last year and a bit, Aamir piled on a couple dozen kilos to play middle-aged Mahavir, shot 80 per cent of the movie, then, over five months, hit an Arizona health farm and went from grey-maned porky pixie to a pehelwan in his physical prime. When De Niro famously “ate his way across Europe” to play the late stages of boxer Jake LaMotta, he was still in the metabolistic greenzone of his thirties. Our man here gained as much weight, then reverse-engineered the filming schedule to force himself into the best shape of his life at 51. And touché. It looks like he’s wearing NFL shoulder pads under his T-shirt for godsake. “I would have never got back into shape had I shot it in the real order yaar,” clucks Aamir, tongue snapping to palate for emphasis. “I would have ended the film at 97 kilos and then’ve had no reason to lose it.” And at this stage of creative success, as one of the top-paid players in the game, who could fault him for getting fat and taking it easy? But Aamir Khan’s never much gone in for easy.
ssume that four girls are born to a family. In a village in North India. What would be the biggest concern for their father? Any guesses?” The studio audience of of Satyamev Jayate responds to their host: “Marriage?” “Dowry?” The host affirms. “The biggest concern would be dowry, right?” Cut to a crowd several rows deep, joined in near-unanimous head-wobble. “…And to get them married. We all agree?” Furtive smiles spread wide across the wobbles. “Friends,” counters the host. “I’m proud to tell you that you’re wrong.” A casual Aamir Khan, dressed in faded jeans and a green Henley, welcomes two sisters from Balali village in Haryana, Geeta and Babita Phogat, onto the stage for Season 3 Episode 1 of a show he self-effaces on-air as “a modest effort towards my social responsibility”, with the obligatory caveat that “I would like to assure my viewers that I do not intend to defame anyone, hurt anyone’s sentiments, or judge anyone.” Because in India, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. Especially if you’re Aamir Khan. Especially if you’re Aamir Khan addressing 500 million people. The issue at hand is how a Haryanvi man, a dedicated athlete who never quite reached his potential, decided to train his four daughters – and
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AAMI IS NOR INSISTS T PATTE CONSCIO HERE CHOI RN TO HISUS SCIENCES, NO HOW TIFIC MET WE REEVER MUC HOD, HIS W COGNIZEH HAVINORK AS CONV G OPENE TOO ERSATIOND OFTE S LEFT C N LOSED
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‘acting is a trade, it︐s a skill that you develop, but it︐s also something you have to love. then something comes into it which is very intangible.︐ weird science. the spooky arts two nieces – in his beloved art of kushti instead of selling them off into local convention. As Geeta Phogat told writer Annie Zaidi in these GQ pages, instead, “papa sold off our cows and buffaloes and the whole family moved from Balali to Patiala,” to train at the national wrestling camp. “Training began at 6:30am [but] Papa called us out to train at 4:30am.” The Phogat girls had to work twice as hard, harder, to be considered at par with their male counterparts. To exceed? To excel? Forget about it – not many humans have that much drive. But Geeta became the first Indian woman to win wrestling gold at the Commonwealth Games, and on home soil, at New Delhi in 2010. It’s a story made for the movies. And when actor/director/ producer Aamir Khan was pitched a script in this same Carter Road sitting room we’re in today, he immediately recognized director Nitesh Tiwari’s plotline as the lives of his recent TV guests. (In fact, Nitesh is the one non-security man loping around the premises this afternoon.) “About 10 minutes into his story, I interrupted,” explains Aamir, “I said ‘One second. This is Geeta and Babita and Mahavir, isn’t it?’ And Nitesh said, ‘Yeah. How did you know?’” “From researching the show, I was very familiar with their journey, the kind of public humiliation they went through in the early stages, when people around them were saying, ‘Girls wrestling against boys in a village akhara?’” That sort of thing just wasn’t done in Haryana, “one of the most patriarchal states in India. So it was fascinating to see that a guy from there actually had the grace and the courage and the belief in his daughters to go ahead with it. Irrespective of whether they won or not. “The only doubt I had – and I’m being honest over here – is that I’d just done Dhoom 3, I’ve just done PK, I was looking my best. I was at 9 per cent body fat. I may be over 50, but I’m playing characters who are more like 30. So I’m thinking, ‘Do I want to become a fat, grey-haired 55-year-old father? Can’t I wait until I’m 60 to do this?’ “But after Nitesh left here that day,” Aamir goes on, leaning back and reading the memory off the ceiling, “I couldn’t get the script out of my head. So [a few months later] I asked him to narrate it again… Then I heard it for the third time, eight months later, or one year later. And I thought ‘Fuck it. I just want do it yaar.’” Aamir insists there is no conscious pattern to his choices, no
scientific method, however much we recognize his work as having opened conversations too often left closed. Whether it’s the outing of religious charlatanism in PK, the contested history in Rang De Basanti, the media critique in Peepli Live (which he produced), the satirical look at India’s education system in Taare Zameen Par or even 3 Idiots, we could be forgiven for presuming Aamir has something of an activist streak in him. (Dangal is already set to get the conversation about contemporary gender roles going.) He has said publicly, repeatedly, “I am not an activist”, “I don’t choose movies for ‘the message’”, “I think of myself as a storyteller.” The Satyamev Jayate founder makes it sound like he’s become an innate force for social good completely by accident. “I just have to love the story,” he says. “It just has to speak to me.” This admission does not ring flippant or anticlimactic. It is not unintelligent. It is not a diversionary idiom. It is instinct. It is the culmination, the refinement, of a process that began when he was 7.
amir Khan hates being called a method actor. Maybe even more than he hates being called an activist. “I don’t even know what method acting is,” he jokes. “I never had a formal education in acting.” No. He did not. It’s true. He had something better. “I come from a film family,” begins his story. “My father was a producer and my uncle was one of the leading film-makers of his time. So I grew up with films being made around me. My earliest memory is being 7, when I started sitting in when the writers and directors would come pitch stories to my father. I would just sit in a corner and listen to those stories, I must have heard hundreds, all these film ideas, from when I was 7 to when I was about 15.” Just the period in a child’s development when the brain is most malleable, most absorbent. “At the time I was just a kid who liked hearing stories,” he says, weaving his fingers together, resting them on the arm of the sofa. “I didn’t know it would help me later. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life until I joined college and did a bit of theatre. Which was mostly backstage, because when you start, that’s where you are.” A few weeks before today, I watched Aamir in conversation with Sir Ian McKellan at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, where even Gandalf the Grey leaned back and listened, vicariously nostalgic at having just been backstage with Aamir, where one of India’s top performers began his career as a grunt. “I spent a lot of time at the NCPA, a year and a half during college, cleaning the stage and getting it ready with props…” Aamir sucks air through his teeth and bobs his head side to side a couple of times. “It was really just me learning by watching other actors from backstage, or at their rehearsals.” Even Sir Ian had admitted he hadn’t been born an actor, it was something he worked at, a lot, for years and years. Nothing magical about it. “Do you consider acting more like a trade, then?” I ask. “As something not genetically inherent or mystically ordained, but something you work at, like a doctor, or a carpenter?” “It’s a trade, yes,” says Aamir. “It’s a skill that you develop, but it’s also something you have to love. Then something comes into it which is very intangible." Weird science. The spooky arts. “When a carpenter loves making a chair, it comes out differently from a guy who’s just doing a job. I’ve learned film-making by watching the whole process unfolding in front of me, ever since I was a child. A lot of people who aren’t from a film background or have not been to film school, they may not understand editing, for example. juLY 2016
But for me, I used to watch it happening. I mean, even now I’m learning, but a lot of my learning in the early stages came by making mistakes, by making an ass of myself. So no, I’m not a method actor. For some reason the Indian media calls me that, I don’t know why.” Well, it’s certainly not for prancing around like a hired clown in high-waisted pants back in the Nineties; a simpler, hairier time, when there was more sophistication in a Bugs Bunny cartoon than there was in, say, Mann – which is likely one of the early films Aamir’d told Sir Ian he’d rather forget. But no matter when, “I am always scared a film won’t turn out the way we want. I stress over small things, like something in the schedule going for a toss. And I always have this worry, ‘What if I die? What if I get injured really badly when the whole film is dependant on me?’ So, typically towards the end of a shoot, I write a note to people around me that says, ‘If I die, these are the things I want ideally to happen…’, whether it’s creative or connected to the release.” “So each of your movies has a last will and testament?” “Yes!” he laughs, patting his fist to his chest like a Spartan. “Anything can happen, life is unpredictable. So for Dangal, with these five months off between shoots, I told Nitesh, ‘If anything happens to me, everything is still on. You just have to cast a younger Mahavir and you’ll still have the film.’ Varun, Shahid – any actor would like to do it. Ranveer? Maybe Ranbir?” Aamir is not obsessed with death, he doesn’t come across as fatalistic, but it’s clear he’s a brooder, over the state of the world and our place in it. When we get onto the topic of books, he doesn’t bring up the latest novel he might want to conjure into a visual experience on screen. His most recent page-turner, he says, has been the 500-page study by Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind. “Have you heard of it?” he asks, leaning forward, pressing his forearms into his thighs, muscles rising like loaves of pao. “It’s beautiful. I have a copy, I’ll give it to you. It’s one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. You start to understand that there are things happening on micro levels, on macro levels, the ebbs and flows of our development as humans…” What a polite thing to do. Sapiens in hand, riding the elevator down, I ask if he’s read Guns, Germs and Steel, the three factors that, according to Jared Diamond, allowed certain agrarian societies to progress and flourish over others. Feels like something he might be into right now. “I haven’t,” he says, “but it sounds good. Remind me about it.” [There you go. Cheers. Enjoy.] Aamir shakes my hand goodbye on the ground floor amid walkie-talkie security, paunchy police, his personal assistant and Dangal director Nitesh Tiwari, who all crowd around a waxed black Benz as it dips out the gate, down the curb and into the public domain. I follow, padding out to Carter Road to hail a cab, and flipping a few pages into Sapiens my eye catches on a paragraph: “Fiction has enabled us to not merely imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers.” It’s a big idea. But one extrapolated from what we’ve been talking about. Up from our primitive survival instincts to our huntgather groupthink, right on through the collective abstractions of religion, nations and corporate entities: it is our stories that aggregate us, our mythos that shapes the Intangible, ascribes meaning to the Great Unmeaning. As another recent tome puts it, we are the Storytelling Animal. And like animals, we can be trained. Spend your life hunting stories, you’re going to develop a nose. It’s just science.
‘WHAT IF I DIE? WHAT IF I GET INJURED REALLY BADLY? TOWARDS THE END OF A SHOOT, I WRITE A NOTE THAT SAYS “IF I DIE, THESE ARE THE THINGS I WANT IDEALLY TO HAPPEN”, WHETHER IT︐S CREATIVE OR CONNECTED TO THE RELEASE︐
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Watches W c that run the world o d The tourbillon o o that’s rrevolutionizing the industry y
SPOTLIGHT Some of the world’s most powerful leaders have wristwear that are campaign statements in themselves. Here are the ones winning by a landslide
WORDS: VARUN GODINHO. IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES
COUNTRY: UNITED KINGDOM WATCH: OMEGA SEAMASTER PROFESSIONAL 300M Prince William comes from a family with a pedigreed watch collection: His grandmother recently acquired a flashy Patek Philippe with a pearl bracelet; his father’s frequent accessory to his double-breasted suits is a yellow gold Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph; his brother switches between a Breitling Aerospace and a Rolex Explorer II. Prince William keeps it simple, and sentimental: He always wears the battery-less quartz Omega Seamaster that was a gift from his late mother, Princess Diana. JULY 2016
COUNTRY: USA WATCH: SHINOLA RUNWELL SPORT CHRONO Detroit-based Shinola is pitching itself as a brand in sync with the resurrection of the American manufacturing industry: Of its 540 employees worldwide, 350 are based right in Motor City. Which might be why American politicians like it: Bill Clinton is believed to have bought 13 Shinola watches to distribute as presents, and Barack Obama not only owns one but also gifts them to other world leaders. But it turns out Shinola isn't really as all-American as Bruce Springsteen: Although assembled in Detroit, Shinola’s movements come from Thailand and Switzerland, the dials and hands from Taiwan and
China and the nylon straps from Japan. Then again, Obama is above politicking, right? «ALSO OWNS: A TAG Heuer Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver watch, a Jorg Gray chrono and a New Balance N7.
> See also: John F Kennedy wore an Omega on the day he was sworn in as 35th President of America. The most controversial watch he owned though was a solid-gold Rolex Day-Date, gifted to him by Marilyn Monroe, which he promptly consigned to his aide Kenneth O’Donnell, with instructions to “get rid of it.” Apparently O’Donnell didn’t, and it fetched $120,000 when it came up for auction in 2005.
FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE COUNTRY: FRANCE WATCH: SWATCH QUARTERMAN
In a pointed contrast to his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president wears a strictly utilitarian, barebones $150 Swatch. In Sarkozy’s defence, who has an ostentatious Patek Philippe, Rolex and Breitling collection, he had an egomaniacal multi-billionaire counterpart across the border in Silvio Berlusconi to contend with – politically and sartorially. Hollande on the other hand has the likes of David Cameron to worry about – the man who refuses to wear a watch because he believes “gentlemen don’t wear jewellery”. A wrist is a terrible thing to waste.
COUNTRY: RUSSIA WATCH: FRANCK MULLER MONTRE CINTREX 5850 Q24 Russian President Vladimir Putin’s gratuitous watch collection – which includes Blancpains, Breguets, A. Lange & Söhnes and Patek Philippes – is well documented. But few know that his deputy, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, has got a fine few horological heroes of his own. Medvedev is particularly big on one brand that’s as anti-conformist as its eponymous founder: Franck Muller. In an interview with a Parisian magazine a few years ago, Medvedev admitted to owning over 25 Mullers – which makes him as much of a hardcore fan of the Genevan watchmaker as Elton John. Looks like Elton has something to add to his agenda on his next trip to Russia. «ALSO OWNS: A Speake-Marin Skeleton Piccadilly Quantième Perpétuel.
WORDS: VARUN GODINHO. IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES
COUNTRY: TIBET WATCH: PATEK PHILIPPE REF 658 The leader of the Buddhist world is an ascetic, but that doesn’t mean he can’t also have fine taste in watches. The Ref 658 pocketwatch, along with a personal letter from Franklin D Roosevelt, was gifted to him in 1943, when he was 8, by two American intelligence agents (one of whom was the grandson of Leo Tolstoy) who were deputed to secure his permission to build a road from India to China through Tibet. He regularly services it himself (it had to be sent to Switzerland for repairs only once) and carries it even today. «ALSO OWNS: A Rolex Day-Date and a twotone Rolex Datejust with a Jubilee bracelet.
> See also: Pope Francis The Vatican and Patek Philippe’s histories have always been closely intertwined: several Popes across the last two centuries ordered and were gifted watches from the brand. Patek’s founder, Antoni Norbert Patek, was a devout Catholic, whose religious leanings likely influenced the famous Calatrava Cross logo. The current Pope, however, who shuns ultra-luxury symbols (no Gucci loafers or swanky rides), prefers plastic Casio and Swatch watches.
COUNTRY: CANADA WATCH: IWC PORTUGIESER REGULATEUR REF IW544401 Justin Trudeau’s sartorial game is beyond reproach: When was the last time you saw a head of state rocking a fitted suit and colourful socks? Those chocolate-boy looks though are offset by a badass Haida-inspired raven tattoo high up on his left arm, and an equally punchy IWC watch on his wrist. Interestingly, it was Justin’s father, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who famously coined the term: “Just watch me.”
THE BEACON ean-Claude Biver is an astute businessman: He turned around three storied brands – Blancpain, Omega and Hublot – from financial pariahs to watchmaking behemoths. Today, Biver lords over the entire watchmaking division for LVMH, which includes Zenith, Hublot and the mighty TAG Heuer. At this year’s Baselworld, Biver launched one of the industry’s most disruptive watches – the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T. To understand this timepiece, you must first understand the man. Biver has a track record of creating icons (Big Bang), nurturing fine hands (Rolex’s current boss Jean-Frédérique Dufour is a protégé) and taking hard-nosed decisions (he severed a 30-year partnership between TAG Heuer and F1 team McLaren last year). But his most resilient quality – one that’s seen him come out on top for most of the four plus decades he’s been in the biz – is his counter-intuitive, almost combative, strategy when dealing with difficult situations. When the Swiss were impaled by the quartz crisis in the Eighties and everyone from Patek down had embraced electronics in their watches, Biver insisted that Blancpain, which he’d bought for 22,000 Swiss francs in 1981, stay purely mechanical. It paid off, handsomely – he sold it in 1992 for 60 million Swiss francs. Skip to 2016, and the Swiss watch industry is staring down the wrong end of a loaded rifle again – this time, to do with a tumultuous global financial crisis. China has softened, oil prices have crashed and the deregulated Swiss franc is flexing some serious muscle. While many watchmakers are raising prices to offset reduced sales, Biver is characteristically wading upstream, and doing exactly the opposite. Case in point: this Carrera Heuer-02T. At `10.8 lakh, it is
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T is the world’s most affordable Swiss-made tourbillon chronograph
by far the cheapest Swiss-made tourbillon chronograph in the market right now, coming in at a third of the price of the next most affordable one. It ties well into Biver’s belief that the industry must create products whose perceived value is at least thrice the actual cost. Biver’s intention while developing this watch wasn’t to undercut the competition as much as to first clean up his own house, optimizing production and reducing overheads to develop a product that was as competitively priced as it possibly could be. Which is why one of the first things he did after appointing himself CEO of TAG Heuer in December 2014 – a few months after he took charge as LVMH’s watchmaking head – was to shut down ancillary businesses like TAG’s mobile phones division, and also kill projects like the watch line using the newly developed in-house CH80 movement, that was massively draining the company’s resources. By the time he pulled the plug, there were already 5,000 CH80 chronograph movements manufactured. Rather than toss them in the bin though, the consummate opportunist pulled out 1,000 movements and tasked his engineers in Chevenez with repurposing them to feature a tourbillon. Which is now in the COSC-certified timepiece, that has left nearly everyone in the Swiss watch industry, not just rivals, gobsmacked. He’s signalling to the bigger players that they needn’t indulge in price gouging when making watches with highly coveted complications. Even at this price point, TAG makes a profit on every Heuer-02T. Biver’s school of watchmaking is forward-thinking, efficient and resourceful. He’s keeping it real, and encouraging others to do so as well. This timepiece isn’t just revolutionary in itself – it’s forcing an entire industry to rethink the way they go about their business.
WORDS: VARUN GODINHO
How major domo Jean-Claude Biver is revolutionizing the Swiss watch industry with a single game-changing timepiece, again
You’re So Money How to Negotiate Everything ILLUSTRATION BY RAMI NIEMI
ALWAYS BE CLOSING
When you’re buying a new car, you try to channel what little of Sun Tzu you can remember from Ethics 101 to convince the salesman that if he doesn’t knock `10,000 off the price, you’re done. But not all negotiations are so obvious. And the first mistake you can make in a negotiation is not realizing you should be negotiating. These tips and tactics you’re about to learn, they’ll come in handy when you least expect: say, when your kid wants a later bedtime or when your cable bill skyrockets. The more you negotiate, the more you realize that everything’s negotiable.
Master the haggler’s vernacular. For instant savings in almost any scenario, deploy these magic words “WHAT IF I PAY CASH?” The wink-wink, nudgenudge way of saying, “I won’t tell the taxman if you don’t.” It might not save you a lot, but 5 per cent off a `50,000 couch is 2500 bucks. Look who just got free throw pillows!
Go Ahead, Be a Hard-Ass...
Advice from mega-agent David Falk, who negotiated pro sports’ first $100 million contract and its most iconic shoe deal – something called “Air Jordan”. Where did you learn to play hardball? “My mentor, John Thompson, called me into his office when I was in my early thirties and told me that when I asked for the kind of number that I was asking for my players, almost no one was going to like me. If that bothered me, I should get out of the business.”
People call you aggressive. Is that fair? “What is Patrick Ewing like when he’s not playing basketball? He’s one of the nicest, sweetest, most polite people. But when he puts his uniform on, he’s an incredible competitor. So is Michael Jordan. The fact that I make good deals doesn’t mean I’m aggressive. Maybe it means I’m good at what I do.”
What if I’m a supersensitive nice guy and don’t want to offend? “Your job is to be fair, but it’s not to do the other person’s job. If you spend all your time worrying about what the other person’s thinking, you’re probably not doing a good job for your clients.” –CLAY SKIPPER
“HOW CAN I LOCK IN THE PRICE?” Offer to sign a longerterm contract – for your apartment, gym membership, or mobile phone plan – to protect against rate hikes next year.
“WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET THE COST DOWN?” You like the look of your wedding caterer’s menu (woo, prime rib!), but it’s a little spendy for your budget. Have them offer ways to reach your comfort zone.
“WHAT IF I BUY TWO?” Ideally you wanted the second thing from the start. But the seller doesn’t have to know that.
“HOW ABOUT FREE SHIPPING?” Or free installation? Free Wi-Fi at the hotel? Maybe waive the goddamn “service charge”?
4 …AND BE READY TO WALK AWAY “At some point, you have to make the other person think about the consequences if they don’t move to your position,” says Ken Hall, the Teamster who negotiates on behalf of 250,000 UPS workers – America’s largest private-sector labour contract. Stepping away from the bargaining table demonstrates steely conviction in your position while giving the opposition time to reconsider theirs. “In more than half the cases,” Hall says, “the other side comes back.” And if they don’t? You didn’t want their lousy deal anyhow –JONY REHAGEN
KNOW WHAT IS (AND ISN’T) WORTH FIGHTING FOR STEP 5
Checkout time at your hotel
Checkout time at your nephew’s high school production of Macbeth
Your ability to use an expired coupon
Your ability to use an expired coupon on a date
The price of drugs from your dealer
The price of drugs from your pharmacist
Tickets from a scalper for a concert
Tickets from a cop for speeding in a school zone
Allowing a buddy to crash on your couch for a week
Allowing a buddy to crash on your couch just till he gets back on his feet, you know? –KELLY CONABOY
NEVER PUT YOUR EMOTIONS ON THE MARKET Advice from Chip Gaines, co-host of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, on why the worst thing you can do in a home negotiation (or any other) is become too emotionally attached to an outcome. • Quit daydreaming. “Home buyers start imagining their family running around in the backyard or one of the bedrooms becoming the nursery,” Gaines says. “You really want to guard against that. I tell my clients: Do not get married to this house. When you start thinking about your ‘forever house’, logic goes out the window. Nothing is forever.” • Let a pro do the dirtiest work. “Even if you negotiate by trade, if you’re a lawyer or whatever, you’re still too connected. An attorney wouldn’t represent himself in court.” If you want the sellers to install a new boiler before you move in, make your real estate agent ask. That’s his job. • Wait out the first wave of offers. If you have something valuable, bide your time until you get what it’s worth. “I’ve seen sellers take a below-market offer early in the process, then come to find out that there were multiple offers in the water. Give it two to three months – then get aggressive.” –JONY REHAGEN
STEP 6 WANT A RAISE? MAKE THEM AN OFFER
To goose your starting salary at a new job, try this trick that Beverly Hills real estate strategist Christopher Westley played before he worked for himself: “Tell them, ‘I’ll start as a consultant at your number and then, in three months, we’ll have a sit-down.’ ” Your new employer gets a 90-day, no-benefits-paid-or-questions-asked return policy if you’re a bad fit, and you get the satisfaction of walking into your boss’s office in three months after having kicked so much ass that he’s gotta meet your demands. –JONY REHAGEN
PRETEND YOU’RE TALKING TO A 10-YEAR-OLD STEP 8
Especially if you actually are. Veep actor Tony Hale frequently finds himself locked in negotiations with his daughter, Loy. Here’s how he persuades a stubborn tween to…
…Run Errands with Him. “She loves Taylor Swift, and I like Taylor Swift, too, but listening to her on
loop makes me want to kill myself. If we’re driving, I’ll say, ‘Okay, we can listen to four songs. And we can sing along.’ ” LESSON Engage your opposition on their territory, and then draw them over to your side.
…Go to Her Room. “If she’s being bratty, we’ll say, ‘You need to go up to your room. Either you can walk up to your room, or I’ll carry you up to your room.’ And she’ll say, ‘I’ll walk.’ It’s putting the choice back into her hands.” LESSON Construct options where either answer leads to a good outcome. Also, do not be afraid to physically pick someone up to demonstrate your authority.
…Then Clean That Room. “I’ll say, ‘Hey, baby, when you get a chance, I need you to clean your room.’ And she’ll go, ‘I don’t think I’m going to get a chance.’ And I’m like, ‘I give you props for your humour, but if you don’t get a chance, I’m not going to find a chance to feed you tonight.’ It’s effective.” LESSON Sometimes negotiation requires making threats that are just crazy enough to be taken seriously. –CLAY SKIPPER
STEP 9 JUST THIS
ONCE, LISTEN TO DONALD TRUMP Take any opportunity to add favourable terms and amendments
“I have an almost perverse attraction to complicated deals,” he wrote in The Art of the Deal, “partly because they tend to be more interesting, but also because it is more likely you can get a good price on a difficult deal.” –JEFF VRABEL
DON’T SCORCH THE EARTH STEP
Negotiating is a long game, and part of closing a successful deal is creating the opportunity to do even more business down the road. So go easy on the Gordon Gekko impressions. Treat the other guy’s interests as legitimate. The idea is for him to enjoy working with you, even if you secretly think he’s a dick.
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EDITED BY VARUN GODINHO
The world’s richest businessmen and their rides Jeep’s brawling SUV, the Grand Cherokee SRT, breaks cover in India
WORDS: VARUN GODINHO; IMAGE: ABHISHEK BALI
They make their next billion before you file your next tax return. And their rides are, expectedly, mighty swanky
WHAT: BENTLEY CONTINENTAL SUPERSPORTS This tech multi-billionaire has come a fair distance from the creaky Daewoo Matiz he owned back in 2000. Today, his garage includes a BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GL450 and a Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II. But the hottest of them all is this Bentley. With a ginormous W12 engine that produces 621hp stuffed under hood, it delivers crushing performance. Add in a Micromax-orange exterior (a custom paint job on a Bentley could cost up to `45 lakh) and it certainly looks like it could. Surely the world’s fastest and most expensive SUV, the recently launched Bentley Bentayga, must now be on Sharma’s lust list?
WHAT: 1967 JAGUAR E-TYPE SERIES 1
`1.6 crore: That’s isn’t the cost of this beast; just the registration paid at the Mumbai RTO office last year. The High Security is BMW’s ultimate armoured fortress, and cost Ambani a whopping `8.5 crore to purchase. Because that’s what you pay for one of the safest cars in the world. It’s bulletproof, has an automatic fire-extinguishing mechanism and even comes with an emergency fresh-air system to protect occupants in case of a gas attack.
Having a loaded football club owner like Abramovich doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Just ask Leicester City. The Chelsea owner and Russian strongman rotates through his fleet of supercars faster than team managers (although he’s generous with them too – Abramovich gifted Mourinho a rare Ferrari 612 Scaglietti). With a collection of badges in his garage that includes Porsche, Bugatti, Maserati, RollsRoyce and Maybach, Abramovich is most devoted to Ferrari. Yet there’s one that isn’t parked in his garage – the FXX. The Italian brand stores each of the 30 FXXs built at its HQ (claiming it contains secret racing technology it doesn’t want rivals getting a hold of) and only brings them out to tracks around the world when their owners want to go out and play.
WHAT: BMW 760Li HIGH SECURITY
WHAT: FERRARI FXX
WORDS: VARUN GODINHO; IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES, GIACOMO BRETZEL (ASTON MARTIN)
The Tesla bossman is a reasonable guy. While he’s on a mission to prevent us from causing more holes in the ozone, he’s still a sucker for fine fossil-fuel-chugging rides. These include a thirsty Porsche 911 and an Audi Q7 (handy when chauffering his twins and triplets around). But his favourite might just be a curvy 1967 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 – the holy grail of vintage cars – which he picked up for $35,000 back in the Nineties. That’s pocket change though compared to the $1 million he dropped on a McLaren F1 supercar in 1999 (there’s a YouTube clip of the geeky twenty-something taking possession of it), just after he sold his first company for $307 million. Cash.
WHAT: FERRARI 458 SPIDER Evan Spiegel is the ballsy wheeler-dealer who famously turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Mark Zuckerberg and lives by the mantra: “Life… It’s not about working harder, it’s about working the system.” Yet, even before he became one of the world’s youngest billionaires, the Snapchat co-founder lived a charmed life. His wealthy parents gifted him a Cadillac Escalade when he first learned how to drive in 2006, and then gave in to his whining when he asked for a “smaller” BMW 5-Series a few months later. And although his dad’s 1966 Mustang is a family heirloom, Spiegel announced his coming of age with a slick Ferrari 458. The kind that looks even hotter with supermodel girlfriend Miranda Kerr in the passenger seat.
KARL-FRIEDRICH SCHEUFELE WHAT: ASTON MARTIN ULSTER The billionaire co-president of Chopard is big on vintage cars. Not only does he participate in the annual Mille Miglia race, he also ropes in pals like former F1 star Jacky Ickx to ride shotgun, and every driver participating in the race receives a complimentary Chopard Mille Miglia timepiece. Scheufele shuffles between his choice of ride every year, either behind the wheel of a Porsche 550 Spyder RS (loaned to him by the Porsche Museum) or a 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza. Back home, he’s got more vintage gems like a 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS, a 1973 Porsche 911 RS and a 1970 MINI Cooper S.
THE YEAR OF THE BEAST The Grand Cherokee first hit the road in 1993
JEEP THRILLS T
he Jeep was one among only a handful of four-wheeldrive SUVs to report to duty in battlefields across Europe during World War II. As a special-order commission by the United States Army, the legendary Willys-owned car embodied a special kind of take-no-prisoners toughness. After the war, Jeep broke out a slightly more civilian version of the bare-knuckled original, the Wagoneer, that spawned several other models thereafter – including the latest Grand Cherokee SRT. Over the decades, Jeep has had somewhat of a tumultuous ownership pattern: Since the Forties, it has changed hands an incredible nine times, from American Motors Corporation to Chrysler to DaimlerChrysler
and on, to current bosses Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. That doesn’t include all the separate licensing agreements for the Jeep brand to automakers around the world, like Mahindra & Mahindra in India and Mitsubishi in Japan. Luckily, all that hasn’t left behind a confused identity in the minds of consumers. At its core, Jeep still makes a hardcore head-banging rock ’n’ roll SUV – the kind Lapo Elkann, Justin Timberlake and Chris Evans rumble around town in. The Grand Cherokee was first introduced back in 1993. That famous unibody construction was initially adapted during the DaimlerChrysler era. Which is why the Grand Cherokee has a little bit of Mercedes-Benz in it – it shares the same platform
WORDS: VARUN GODINHO
Feisty, big and brawny. Some like it rough
ALTHOUGH THE LAUNCH CONTROL BUTTON ON THE CENTRE CONSOLE IS INVITING, IT’S ONE STEP TOO FAR FOR ME ON A ROAD THAT ISN’T A TRACK as the Mercedes M-Class. This car right here isn’t just a Grand Cherokee, though; it’s got an SRT (Street Racing Technology) badge, which is to Jeep what the M division is to BMW and AMG is to Mercedes. With the SRT treatment, the Grand Cherokee now packs a ferocious 6.4-litre V8 capable of 475hp and 637Nm torque. At 2,315kg it isn’t light, but that meaty engine with an eightspeed automatic gearshift still shoves metal and man from 0-100kph in under 6 seconds, making it the fastest, most powerful SUV that Jeep has ever made.
ven if your spatial awareness is excellent, you’ll realize with the Grand Cherokee that you have to fall back on its audio-visual proximity sensors – the SUV is nearly five metres long and two metres wide, after all. Driving it in the city, it’s the one time I’m happy to tail a bus,
the only thing large enough to mow an unhindered path for me. I’ve always believed driving a full-sized SUV in India is not about how good a driver you are, but a matter of trusting your blind spots to look after themselves. By the time you check in for your next service, expect at least a few cosmetic scratches along the edges of this car’s bumpers and fenders. The throttle is hypersensitive, almost clairvoyant. Start moving your foot towards it and the engine is somehow primed for take off. Make contact, blink, and suddenly you’re 100 metres from where you started. While that’ll leave you pumped with adrenaline, it’ll also make for rather awkward driving in heavy traffic, needing only the most frustratingly delicate footwork to work this SUV. There are all sorts of angry grunts and snarls and growls that spew forth from the engine when you blip the throttle. And although that Launch Control button on the centre console
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE SRT ENGINE V8 6.4-LITRE PETROL, 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC HORSEPOWER 903HP TORQUE 637NM @ 4300RPM PRICE
`1.1 CRORE (EXPECTED)
is inviting (from a standstill it’ll program the car to send 70 per cent of the power to the rear wheels and 30 to the front, stiffen the chassis and prepare the engine to go batshit the moment the brake is released), it’s one step too far for me on a road that isn’t a track. There are other things that annoy a tad. The hand brake, for example, is stuffed into the footwell as a third pedal. Not only is it unintuitive, it can be downright dangerous for a novice driver. And as for the fuel consumption, Jeep has a claimed output of 8.5km to the litre – but you know you’re going to knock back far more fuel under real driving conditions. Good thing then that it’s got a 93-litre fuel tank.
ome will dismiss the Grand Cherokee SRT as a rabblerousing, excessive and impractical car to own, especially in India. And they’re right. But the thing is that Jeep has chosen a personality for the Grand Cherokee SRT, and it’s sticking by it. It won’t soften it up to make it a more commercially viable option. Like it has since it first started, Jeep will go on doing whatever the bloody hell it wants to with its fleet, expecting respect, not gushing admiration, in return. And that’s why Jeep, which will make its official entry into India later this year with the Wrangler, Grand Cherokee and this Grand Cherokee SRT, deserves our hat tip. JULY 2016
Lady L y AND THE Trump How does a shy ex-model make her way from Slovenia to, just maybe, the White House? To Melania Trump – and to the people who know her back home – her journey to marrying The Donald is like a fairy tale, or a too-crazy-to-believe rom-com. It’s a story full of naked ambition, stunning beauty, a shockingly Trump-like dad and even some family secrets. Maybe she’s made for Washington after all
WRITTEN BY JULIA IOFFE 140 —
IMAGE: DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN/TRUNK ARCHIVE
t wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, a man could marry his Slovenian sweetheart, invite Bill and Hillary Clinton to the lavish wedding and only the society pages would bother with it. “It was completely different than it is now,” Melania Trump tells me, recalling those bygone days of sanity, speaking in her now famous accent.
Back then, in 2005, it didn’t seem odd that she and Donald Trump would mark their happy occasion with the former president and First Lady, then a senator from New York. “When they went to our wedding, we were private citizens,” Melania reminds me. Just two private citizens getting hitched at the groom’s 126-room Florida palace. He in a tux; she in a $100,000 Dior dress that labourers’ hands had toiled upon for a legendary 550 hours, affixing 1,500 crystals – jewels fit for private citizens like them. A pair of ordinary people, really, uniting in matrimony in the presence of Rudy Giuliani and Kelly Ripa, as Billy Joel serenaded the couple and guests slurped caviar and Cristal in the shadow of a five-foot-tall Grand Marnier wedding cake. Those were, in some ways, simpler times. But things change quickly – which is perhaps the enduring fact of Melania Trump’s entire improbable life – and when your husband works up a plan to make America great again, the very same Clintons you once smiled with on your wedding day can now become your family’s mortal enemies. And you can think, as Melania Trump says she does, that it’s no huge deal, really. “This is it, what it is,” Melania tells me. “It’s all business now; it’s nothing personal.”
Of course, Melania had the foresight to imagine that politics would bring chaos. Donald’s first wife, Ivana, may have wanted Trump to be president, but Melania, his third, was never hot on the idea. “When we discussed about it, I said he really needs to make sure he knows he really wants to do it, because life changes,” Melania says. We’re speaking on the phone, though I have no idea where she’s calling from. Is she in her penthouse, a gilded triplex in the Trump Tower? Perhaps somewhere out on the campaign trail? While she’s a crowd-pleaser on the stump, she appears infrequently and only when she deigns to. “Nobody controls me. I travel with my husband when I can,” she says, “when I know that I can go, and I know that my son’s okay alone for a few days with the help.” While Donald often says that Melania would make a stellar First Lady, the former model offers little clue about what a move to the White House would mean for her. She once said she would be “traditional” like Jackie Kennedy, and on the question of what causes she might support, she has noted she is already involved in “many, many charities”. She elaborated: “Many different charities involving children, involving many different diseases.”
In this respect, she is just like her husband. She’s alluringly opaque. She makes meaningful eye contact and emphatically repeats affirmative, folksy banalities – she “has a thick skin”, she takes things “day by day”, she follows the news “from A to Z” – until the interviewer either is transported into a supra-verbal understanding or decides it’s pointless to press for specifics. But unlike her husband, Melania is reserved, polite and steady, say those close to her. “There is a peace in her,” one old friend from Slovenia tells me. She is a homebody. She’s rich, but not a socialite; she prefers family to the It set and retires early after events. This image of a retiring homebody, of course, is not the one that Trump’s enemies present when they conjure her in the White House. Ahead of Utah’s primary, allies of Ted Cruz posted a photo from a shoot for a 2000 issue of British GQ in which a naked Melania is lying on her stomach on a white bearskin rug. “Meet Melania Trump. Your next First Lady”, read the ad, aimed at conservative Mormon voters. “Or, you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.” Trump shot back in a cryptic, menacing message that he would “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz and then re-tweeted two photos, side by side: one, a mid-sentence Heidi, looking like a gargoyle; another, a bronzed, blue-eyed Melania, looking like a fox. “The images are worth a thousand words,” the caption read, though Trump’s tweet itself was really communicating only four: “My wife is hotter.” t’s easy to think America has changed a lot since Hillary Rodham Clinton was chastised in the early Nineties for her ambition as First Lady – refusing to sit at home and bake cookies. But our conception of a presidential spouse hasn’t evolved much. Michelle Obama, a Princeton graduate and legal hotshot who was once her husband’s law-school-era mentor, has been mainly confined to dealing with soft issues: childhood obesity, planting vegetables. Rather than Hillary or Michelle, it was Laura Bush – a teacher who supported her husband’s turning from bottle to Bible – who seemed most suited to Middle America’s idea (or at least a man’s idea) of a First Lady. Of course, the paragon of them all is still Jackie Kennedy, endlessly glamorous and endlessly tolerant of her husband’s philandering. Those who know Melania say the Jackie template isn’t a bad one for her to aspire to. “She’d be great at picking out the china patterns; she’d be a classic First Lady,” says stylist Phillip Bloch, who has worked with both of the Trumps and attended fashion shows with Melania. But unlike Jackie, who met John Kennedy when he was already a congressman, Melania wasn’t signing on to be a political spouse when she met the notorious Donald Trump in 1998. Melania had signed up for a life of conspicuous conspicuousness, one she dutifully chronicled on Instagram and Twitter up until about a year ago, when her social media accounts – unlike those of her husband – went silent with Trump’s entrance into the race. There was Melania in a white robe, working with her “glam team” of stylists, perched on a gilded throne, overlooking Central Park. Here she was, head to toe in white, posing on the Trump jet. There she was, relaxing at “#home #NYC” on a Thursday night, in a room that looked like a fevered baroque dream. In one of her last posts – right before somebody deemed it advisable to slam shut this opulent little window on her life – she snapped a parting selfie in a gold-mirrored bathroom. “Bye! I’m off to my #summer residence.” While Melania enjoys the services of a chef and an assistant, there’s no nanny raising their son, Barron. That’s the mother’s duty. “We know our roles,” Melania once told Parenting.com, referring to the division of labour with her husband. “I didn’t want him to change the diapers or put Barron to bed.” The boy she calls “little Donald” wants one day to be a “businessman and golfer” and, as she told the publication, almost
image: reuters (campaign), rex features (trumps)
always dresses in suits. “He’s not a sweatpants child,” she’s said. Melania is as fastidious a wife as she is a mother, which Donald appreciates. Things come easy with her. “I work very hard from early in the morning till late in the evening,” Donald told Larry King in 2005. “I don’t want to go home and work at a relationship.” To the twicedivorced Donald, Melania is terrific. He’s never heard her fart or make doodie, as he once told Howard Stern. (Melania has said the key to the success of her marriage is separate bathrooms.) He can trust her to take her birth control every day, he boasted to Stern; she’s just amazing that way. She has the perfect proportions – five feet eleven, 125 pounds – and great boobs, which is no trivial matter. Stern once asked Trump what he would do if Melania were in a terrible car accident, God forbid, and lost the use of her left arm, developed an oozing red splotch near her eye and mangled her left foot. Would Donald stay with her? “How do the breasts look?” Trump asked. “The breasts are okay,” Stern replied. Then, yeah, of course Trump stays. “Because that’s important.” There are other pluses. He appreciates Melania’s restraint when it comes to Shopping While Trump. “She’s never taken advantage of that situation, okay, as many women would have, frankly,” he has said. (“I prefer quality over quantity,” Melania tells me.) Donald does his part to make things work, too. “He is a very understanding husband,” Melania once told an interviewer. “If I say, ‘I need an hour, I’m going to take a bath,’ or I’m having a massage, he doesn’t have nothing against it. He’s very supportive in that way.” She lets him have his space; she’s not “needy” or “nagging”, as she tells me. As for passions beyond the familial, there are a few. Melania dabbles in design. Her line of affordable gem-spangled jewellery and watches, launched on QVC, reportedly sold out in 45 minutes during its july 2016
initial broadcast. (Melania’s caviar-infused anti-aging creams haven’t sold as well, though a federal judge ruled in her favour in a lawsuit she filed against its promoters.) When she was getting her jewellery plans off the ground, Melania sketched the designs for the collection herself, relying on a talent for drawing that her childhood friends tell me she flashed as a girl. “It’s not free; it’s precise,” Petra Sedej, one of Melania’s high school classmates, says of her art. “She has a really good feeling for this.” Another old friend whom I met in Slovenia, and who asked not to be named, sums up Melania’s talents more generally: “People say she’s smart, she’s well-educated like Jackie Kennedy, but…” The friend pauses to find the right words. “She’s smart for the things she’s interested in, like jewellery. She’s not stupid, she’s not a bimbo, but she’s not especially clever.” To Melania’s traditional way of thinking, Trump’s aspirations for the White House have little to do with her. The same can be said for his more controversial positions, like his general disdain for immigrants, even though his wife became an American only in 2006. “I chose not to go into politics and policy,” she tells me. “Those policies are my husband’s job.” She has opinions, she assures me, and shares them with Trump. “Nobody knows and nobody will ever know,” she says of the advice she provides him. “Because that’s between me and my husband.” The approach is in keeping with her view of her wifely functions. “She stays in her lane,” Bloch says. “When asked, she gives her opinion, but otherwise she stays out of it.” Vladimira Tomši , who went to the same school as Melania and is friendly with her parents, tells me that her upbringing helps explain her marriage. “The secret of why he’s with her,” she explains, “is her traditional values and the importance of family to her.” In other words, that bearskin-rug photo is a red herring: Melania is the ideal wife for the conservative base. She is, in fact, positively biblical – Trump’s perfect “help meet”, his “suitable helper” as the Bible’s description of Eve would have it. Melania Trump is as tailored to The Donald as if a divine plastic surgeon had sculpted her out of his rib. hen he first met Melania – at a party during New York Fashion Week in the fall of 1998 – Donald Trump was 52. He was brash and brassy, fabulously wealthy, the stuff of New York legend. Melania Knauss was 28, a tall, shy brunette whose face had yet to acquire the taut, plasticine squint that makes it look as if cameras are forever catching her a second before a sneeze. “I didn’t know much about Donald Trump,” she says of that introduction. “I had my life, I had my world. I didn’t follow Donald Trump and what kind of life he had.” Years earlier, while modelling in Milan and Paris, Melania had Germanized her last name from Knavs, changing the v to a u and adding an extra s. She had done very well in Europe, but not supermodel well, and hoped to advance her career in the US. Paolo Zampolli, a wealthy Italian whose business interests in New York are broad and vague, brought Melania over on a modelling contract and a work visa. Sometimes, in order to promote his models, he would send a few girls to an event and invite photographers, producers and rich playboys. That night in September 1998, Zampolli had invited Trump, who arrived with a date but was immediately taken with Melania. He sent his companion to the bathroom so he could have a few minutes to chat up the model he’d noticed. But Melania knew of Trump’s reputation – which was immediately confirmed by the fact that he had come to the party with a date and was now asking for her number. She refused, and instead asked Trump for his contact information.
Unimpressed with merely catching the eye of the famous billionaire, Melania was studying the situation as if testing a coin with her teeth. “If I give him my number, I’m just one of the women he calls,” she remembers. Melania was curious to see if he’d proffer a business number. “I wanted to see what his intention is,” she explains. “It tells you a lot from the man what kind of number he gives you. He gave me all of his numbers.” Perhaps Trump saw something worth admiring in Melania’s willingness to walk away from the deal. Indeed, she waited a week before calling him. “I’m not starstruck,” she explains. “We had a great connection, we had great chemistry, but I was not starstruck. And maybe he noticed that.” Soon after Melania and Donald started dating, she apparently broke it off. “She had some trust issues with him at the beginning,” says Matthew Atanian, a photographer who had been Melania’s roommate at Zeckendorf Towers in Union Square when she first moved to New York. “She was telling me that she wouldn’t have it, he was back to his old ways. She kept her apartment to have her own space because of this.” Within six months, Atanian says, they were back together. Either she set Donald straight – he has insisted that his fidelity to Melania is absolute – or she made her peace with the immutable character of The Donald, telling every interviewer who asks that she doesn’t seek to change him. What she has found in Trump – despite the age difference and behaviour that would make most women run – is apparently what she was always looking for. “It’s about all that power and protection,” one of Melania’s old friends from Ljubljana tells me. “I think she needed a strong man, a father figure.” n Slovenia these days, there is a certain sense of resentment that Melania has forgotten her roots; there is talk that she refuses to speak Slovenian, that Donald visited the country only once and only long enough to have dinner. There’s a sneaking suspicion that she thinks Slovenia is not good enough for her, and that she might be right. But in interviews, Melania doesn’t shy away from her Slovenian life; she’s not embarrassed by it. “I love my childhood,” she tells me. “It was a beautiful childhood.” Her son speaks Slovenian fluently – he uses it to speak with his grandparents, who have immigrated to New York and live near them in Trump Tower – but for Melania, Slovenia represents a relatively short and distant period of her past that she quickly outgrew. Sevnica, the small railroad town where she was born Melanija Knavs in 1970, is about an hour’s drive from the Slovenian capital. In contrast to the privations that so many suffered in Communist times, the Knavses lived well. Melania’s mother, Amalija Ul nik, worked developing patterns at a factory that manufactured children’s clothing. She had met Viktor Knavs in 1966 while he was the chauffeur for a nearby town’s mayor. Even in those days, when Slovenia was part of Communist Yugoslavia and times were lean, Amalija was always impeccably dressed and perfectly coiffed. “She was very pretty,” says Tomši , who now runs a local hospital to which Melania donated $25,000 after marrying Donald. “She was always very fancy.” Amalija spent evenings after work sewing clothing for herself and her two daughters, Ines and Melania. Once she learned to draw, Melania sketched her own designs, and her mother or sister sewed them. Melania also made her own jewellery. “Melania never wore anything from the store,” recalls one friend. The family struck a worldly image, too, vacationing in France, Italy and Germany. Every room of their apartment in Sevnica was painted a deep, lush colour – blue in the living room, red in the kitchen, yellow in Melania’s room. Amalija, who got to travel to France and Germany for work, returned with colourful paints for the home, a rarity in
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image: marc hom/trunk archive
CH A MPIONSHIP
BELT, SHIRT; BOTH BY GUCCI. JEANS BY RON HERMAN DENIM
OppOSITE pAgE: BELT, JACKET; BOTH BY LOUIS VUITTON. JEANS BY LEVI’S
The big honkin' belt buckle is now less rodeo and more Rodeo Drive, with every major fashion house vying for space around your waist PhotograPhed by Dan FoRbes
The logo is back, and with a twist: You want just one, and you want to wear it front and centre on your waist. The secret is going minimal and Seventies-groovy by swapping bling for patina’d-out brass. We’ve never been so excited to tuck in our shirts.
BELT BY SALVATORE FERRAGAMO. SHIRT BY SATURDAYS NYC. JEANS BY FABRIC-BRAND & CO. BRACELETS (FROM LEFT) BY DEGS & SAL, CHAMULA, DEGS & SAL, MIANSAI, GEORGE FROST. WATCH BY CARTIER. RING BY DAVID YURMAN
1 BELT, SHIRT, JEANS; ALL BY RALPH LAUREN. WOVEN BRACELETS BY BURKMAN BROS. SILVER BRACELETS BY TIFFANY & CO. (LEFT), GEORGE FROST (TOp). WATCH BY GEORGE JENSEN. RINGS (FROM TOp) BY DEGS & SAL, DAVID YURMAN
2 BELT, SHIRT, JEANS; ALL BY TOM FORD. BRACELET BY BURKMAN BROS. WATCH BY CARTIER. RING BY DEGS & SAL
3 BELT BY BALLY. T-SHIRT BY SPLENDID MILLS. JEANS BY CITIZENS OF HUMANITY
4 BELT BY HERMèS. VEST, JEANS; BOTH BY DOLCE & GABBANA. RINGS BY DAVID YURMAN GROOMING: JACOB HYzER/LIMELIGHT BY ALCONE MANICURE: GERALdINE HOLFORd/dIOR VERNIS
EDITED BY SHIKHA SETHI
Pop Culture: Sandip Roy Sport: Aditya Iyer NEW Humour: Hugo Rifkind Film: Tanul Thakur NEW Politics: The Panama Papers NEW Marriage: Alain de Botton NEW
151 BY SANDIP ROY
THE UNMAKING OF A GOOD BENGALI BOY
ILLUSTRATED BY SAMEER KULAVOOR
was nine or ten years old when I won a Good Conduct medal at school. I was proud but little did I know it would become a permanent albatross around my neck. Because I was now a certified Good Bengali Boy. More medals came along as I trudged my way through school. At some point, my mother decided to keep them in the bank locker. They were not worth much at all, but what if some burglar didn’t know the difference and stole them anyway? The education of a Good Bengali Boy or GBB begins early. We were told my late JULY 2016
grandfather’s name was written in golden letters in his school. We never checked, but we never questioned it either. I showed promise. I was polite and obedient. I listened to my teachers. I wore my hair in a neat side part. I never left the house without a pocket handkerchief. In time, I acquired severe blackframed glasses. “It looks intellectual,” my mother said approvingly. They also functioned as a chastity belt. Bona fide GBBs are required to have some kind of extra-curricular activity. It allows parents to say, “Oh, my child has a knack for Rabindra sangeet/ kathak/painting/(if all else failed) elocution.” I was tone deaf, and thus sarod lessons were out. Luckily I liked to draw. I was enrolled in art classes and drew “Day At The Zoo” in endless sit-and-draw competitions. My development as a GBB was on track – except for a potentially fatal flaw that lurked inside me. I did not like fish. In Bengali households, that was close to sacrilege. No one knew what genetic malfunction had resulted in this antipathy. My parents liked fish. My grandparents liked fish. Even the bachelor uncle who drank, smoked, read racy Nick Carter novels and was hardly a model GBB loved his fish. I, on the other hand, hated fish curry with a passion. Fish for dinner provoked stormy tantrums. In those days, weddings meant sit-down dinners. Sooner or later, a bucketload of fish kalia would arrive. I would be the only one feebly shielding my empty plate against a threatening oily piece of rohu fish. Incredulity would abound. “What? No fish?” A friend’s mother stared at me aghast and said, “If you don’t eat fish, how will your brain grow?” I just sat there, miserably contemplating my fish-less, brain-less future. Perhaps to make up for this grievous shortcoming, I over-compensated on the good conduct side. In Kolkata, we knew there were two kinds of boys: Good boys and rokbaajes. Rokbaajes hung out on the front porch, drinking tea, smoking cigarettes, cracking dirty jokes. Rokbaajes were doomed to come to no good, but they had all the fun. As GBBs, we just 152 —
memorized our 13 times table for fun and got a haircut every six weeks as we were frogmarched into goodness. Being a GBB meant other mothers held you up as an example to their more wayward sons. “Why can’t you be more like…?” It did not make you particularly beloved among your peers. The more other mothers sent their sons around for your notes (because GBBs diligently took notes in class), the happier your own mother became. The more your mother swelled with pride, the more you felt the pressure to be a GBB. It was a vicious circle. The irony was that the hallowed
I WOULD BE THE ONLY ONE FEEBLY SHIELDING MY EMPTY PLATE AGAINST A THREATENING OILY PIECE OF ROHU FISH. INCREDULITY WOULD ABOUND. “WHAT? NO FISH?” A FRIEND’S MOTHER STARED AT ME AGHAST AND SAID, “IF YOU DON’T EAT FISH, HOW WILL YOUR BRAIN GROW?” I JUST SAT THERE, MISERABLY CONTEMPLATING MY FISH-LESS, BRAIN-LESS FUTURE
exemplars of Bengali greatness had never been textbook GBBs. Rabindranath Tagore went to Presidency College for all of one day. Subhas Chandra Bose got into dangerous adventures no right-thinking Bengali mother would ever permit. Satyajit Ray pawned his wife’s jewellery to make a film. The inevitable destination of the GBB trajectory was something known as a “good job”, something neither Tagore nor Ray nor Bose possessed. In my case it was computer science. I went willingly because I reasoned at least I would work in airconditioned rooms. Computer science also allowed me to finally leave home. I went to America, ostensibly to get a Master’s degree. But I was really trying to put as much distance as I could between me and that Good Conduct medal. In America, I rediscovered my love of writing, I learned about children who switched majors, even careers, and lived to tell the tale, and one day I quit my job in Silicon Valley and became a journalist. I didn’t tell my parents back in India until my sister told me my mother was getting suspicious. She had asked her if I was still in computers and my sister, an English professor, had carefully parsed the truth and replied, “He still works with computers.” When I finally came out about the career switch, my mother sighed and said, “Well, you are grown up now, you know best.” She scolded me for junking my spectacles for contact lenses. “I wish you had kept your glasses. You would at least look intellectual.” But I realized she made peace with it in her own way. Months later, when some aunt mentioned she had read a piece of mine somewhere, my mother said with fond pride, “Even as a little boy, he loved writing. He always had a knack for it. Do you know he once won a Best Essay competition in school?” No matter how many oceans I’d tried to put between us, it turns out that damn medal had never left my side. Le GBB est mort, vive le GBB! Sandip Roy is the author of Don’t Let Him Know
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ALL THAT’S GOLD DOES NOT GLITTER
WHAT THE TOP PRIZE IN TENNIS AT THE OLYMPICS IS REALLY WORTH
act: In the Open era of men’s tennis, there has been only one occasion when two Grand Slam winners have met in an Olympic final. Atlanta, 1996, Andre Agassi (USA) vs Sergi Bruguera (Spain). Not fiction. As thunderstorms delayed the start of the gold medal match, Agassi stepped out of the arena in search of junk food. Halfway through his second spicy chicken sandwich, the sun poked through the thick clouds and the thin film of rain water below cleared. “Now I have a spicy chicken sandwich sitting on my gut, it’s ninety degrees, and the air is as thick as gravy,” he wrote in his tell-all memoir, Open. “I can’t move – and I have to play for a gold medal? I’m in extreme gastric discomfort.” Two questions here. What do you suppose happened to a squeamish Agassi when he took to the court just moments later? Did Bruguera mop the floor with him and clinch gold? Nope. He triumphed easy – 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 – to bring his decorated nation its first gold in this particular sport. What? And more importantly, how? To answer simply: Tennis at the Olympics is an event once played in a bubble of mediocrity. At the same time, in the real world, Agassi’s ranking was 3 to Bruguera’s 53 – a match-up more fitting of an early, inconsequential round of a major. This is also most likely to be the reason why Leander Paes, ranked 127th in singles at this point, finished with a bronze disk around his neck – India’s first individual Olympic medal in 44 years. “It has nothing to do with tennis, or me,” Agassi wrote of his gold, “and thus it exceeds all my expectations.” “Nothing to do with tennis.” So much so that seven of the top 10 players in the world, including three Americans, gave Atlanta a skip. **** Tennis stars summon two watertight reasons for not taking the Olympics seriously. One, it breaks the rhythm of a tennis calendar, and two, in tennis, a Slam trophy carries substantially more mass than an Olympic medal. So, when the sport was reintroduced by the International Olympic Committee at Seoul, 1988, following a 64-year hiatus, only
three of the men’s top 10 showed up (Miloslav Mecír won gold, Tim Mayotte silver). That, though, wasn’t the case in the women’s section. Having incredibly won each of the four Slams that year, Germany’s Steffi Graf was on a mission to give one final polish of glitter to her sensational season. When she did, by winning gold, a term was coined: Golden Slam. Only two men have achieved this feat over their careers – her husband Agassi, and Rafael Nadal. Graf, to reiterate, knocked it off in the span of nine months. Graf did perhaps inspire a few more topranked men to take Barcelona 1992 seriously. As many as seven of the top ten showed up. But none of them managed to carve a niche on the clay courts of Spain. Switzerland’s Marc Rosset knocked out defending French Open
champ and world number one Jim Courier in the third round, and clinched the gold eventually. He was ranked 37th in the world. Andrei Cherkasov, representing Unified Team, lived out the highlights of his career in Barcelona. He put Sampras away in five draining sets (never before or after did he take a set off the star American) and then rounded out the podium with bronze. It was Sampras’ first and last showing at the Games. “For me the Olympics was always track and field or boxing,” Sampras later said. “In my time, it was sort of on the fence as to whether you were going to play or not. I did and it was fun. I got to see a little gymnastics for an hour.” Sampras is the first to acknowledge that the generation that succeeded his gave tennis the respect it always deserved at the Games. “In the last few Olympics, tennis has gotten more prestigious,” the man with 14 Grand Slam titles said. “Last time (London 2012), it was held at Wimbledon. It’s something I would have done if I had the opportunity.” And why wouldn’t he? The immortal who had made Sampras’ achievements seem human in nature was competing for his Golden Slam. All Roger Federer needed to do at the London Olympics was repeat his act from a fortnight ago – win again at SW19. But Federer and the Olympics seldom see eye-to-eye. His previous three stints at the Games were best known for meeting his future wife (Sydney, 2000), losing to an unknown teen called Tomáš Berdych (Athens, 2004) and settling for a doubles gold while his nemesis Nadal won the singles event and in turn stole his number one ranking after 237 weeks (Beijing, 2008). The record books will tell you that Federer registered his best singles performance yet at the London Olympics with a silver. But you never “win” a silver; you only “lose” out on a gold – in this case to Britain’s Andy Murray. Gold is an inert metal. But the gold around Murray’s neck reacted like it never had for any of its previous recipients. Within a year he had wrapped his hands around his first Slam (US Open) and his holy grail (Wimbledon). Federer, meanwhile, has gone Slamless through the four-year period between London and Rio 2016. Come August, the legend will have one final go at the elusive honour. If he wins it, he too shall complete the Golden Slam. But if he doesn’t? It would niggle, but wouldn’t matter terribly in the long run. Because for the hardcore tennis fan, Federer has at least 17 titles that mean so much more. He is, and always will be, the undeniable GOAT. Aditya Iyer writes on tennis, football and cricket
IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES (OLYMPICS)
BY ADITYA IYER
TALK She SayS, “a bit? you’d probably be Single for a bit?” “and obviouSly,” he SayS, very quickly, “i’d alSo be very Sad.” She SayS, “even with your new girlfriend?” “don’t be like that,” he SayS. “i bet you’d meet her online,” She SayS, “on Some Sleazy cheaterS’ webSite like that aShley madiSon.” “no need if you’re dead,” he SayS. “i can juSt go on tinder”
he said, she said
By Hugo Rifkind
illustRation: Ryan mcamis
how (not) to talk about dying
he says, “What would you do if I died?” He says, “I’d probably be single for a bit.” She says, “A bit? You’d probably be single for a bit?” “And obviously,” he says, very quickly, “I’d also be very sad.” She says, “Even with your new girlfriend?” “Don’t be like that,” he says. “I bet you’d meet her online,” she says, “on some sleazy cheaters’ website like that Ashley Madison.” “No need if you’re dead,” he says. “I can just go on Tinder.” But she does not smile. “Or it would be
somebody you know already,” she says, “like that Clara, from your office.” “Clara?” he says, quite surprised. She says, “Thank God we don’t have kids. Growing up with a mother like that. The clothes she’d make them wear. Slutty clothes. And they’d grow up like her. Slutty. Like her.” “And what sort of mother would you prefer,” he says, “for our half-orphaned future imaginary children?” “Somebody like my sister,” she says, immediately. “Fine,” he says, in the manner of somebody who thinks the conversation is now over. “Oh,” she says. “Oh, wow.” “What?” he says, warily. She says he must fancy her sister. He says, “Hang on.” She says it all makes sense. She’s been a fool. The way they got drunk together at Christmas. Giggling together. Waiting for her to die. He says, “But she’s only 19.” She says exactly. She’s been dead five minutes, and he’s already shacked up with her teenage sister. Then he doesn’t say anything for a while, and nor does she. On balance, he thinks, she probably is joking. Only maybe she isn’t. Or maybe, he thinks, she’s doing that thing
where it seems like she’s half joking and half not joking, and hasn’t really decided yet. “So anyway,” he says, “what would you do if I died?” “Marry Martin,” she says, promptly. That seemed awfully quick, he says. “But it’s just obvious,” she says. “But you dumped him,” he says. “For me.” She says Martin is a good man. He’s kind. It would be a difficult time. And he’s totally got dad bod. He says, “But Martin is going out with Emma. They just bought a flat.” “Yeah,” she says, “but he’d dump her for me. I mean, seriously? “Emma?” She says her sister thought she was mad to dump him. He says, “But I thought your sister liked me?” “I bet you did,” she says. He says he thinks he’s getting a bit angry now, actually. “But why?” she says, and she sounds genuinely curious. “Because if I told you I’d get back together with my ex after you’d died,” he says, “you’d be furious. In fact, you’d go totally apeshit.” She says, “Which ex? The blonde one?” He says, “Oh, God.” Go on, then, she says. Get back together with the blonde one. See how that works out. She was mental. That’s what he wants, is it? Serves him right. “No,” he says. “No it doesn’t. Because it’s not what I want. Not her. Nor Clara. Where is this whole Clara thing even from? Yes, she has breasts like Emily Ratajkowski. But she’s got a face like Ed Sheeran. And your sister...” She says, “What’s wrong with my...” “Shut up,” he says. “The point is, it’d be awful. I’d go to pieces. I’d have the rest of my life stretching ahead of me, all empty and bleak. I couldn’t even cope with the funeral. I’d have to speak to Martin. Who, by the way, is a dick. And he doesn’t have dad bod, either. He’s just fat.” She says, “Well, I’d better not die, then.” And he says, “Please don’t.” And she says that’s sweet, and she loves him, and they both say good night. Hugo Rifkind is a regular contributor to GQ
TALK head around the very notion of ambition, and why it remains denied to people from a particular social standing. She wants her daughter Apu (Ria Shukla) to get a white-collar job, which would ensure financial freedom and social respectability. Bollywood Diaries tells the story of a call centre employee, a prostitute and a retired government servant, all chasing that most desired and elusive Indian dream: wanting to act in movies. These films are important and memorable because they’re filled with moments seldom seen in Hindi films. In Nil Battey Sannata, for instance, Apu and Chanda (who begins attending her daughter’s school in hopes of teaching and inspiring her) start seeing each other as peers. On the night following a mid-term maths exam, both seem reluctant to talk about how tough the exam was, acting like competitive classmates, reluctant to reveal, eager to know. It’s a revelatory scene, because we see two females in a Bollywood film not as someone’s daughter, love interest or someone oppressed, but as ordinary people edging towards their aspirations. Jugni begins with questioning the meaning of ambition and ends with questioning the meaning of relationships, suspended between spoken fondness and muted disappointments, friendship and By Tanul Thakur love, hurtful pasts and hopeful futures. Bollywood Diaries too asks us something uncomfortable – unbeknownst to us, are we acting all our lives? Rohit (Salim Diwan) is acting as a dutiful son and employer, Imli (Raima Sen) as a prostitute, and Vishnu (Ashish Vidyarthi) as a selfless family man and friendly co-worker, one who is expected to participate in office gossip and silly banter. They’ve played these parts for others, for years, and have gotten tired Waiting, nil Battey of it. Bollywood Diaries is particularly impressive, Sannata, jugni and skillfully showing how, for Bollywood hopefuls, t one point in Anu Menon’s Waiting, BollyWood diarieS... theSe filmS ambition becomes desperation, desire becomes the film’s two central characters Shiv are important and memoraBle delusion and hope becomes despair. (Naseeruddin Shah) and Tara (Kalki BecauSe they’re filled With What’s more remarkable is that none of these Koechlin) are lying in a big field, smoking films follow a conventional narrative track. Nil weed. Both of them are laughing and, later, momentS Seldom Seen Battey Sannata doesn’t even have a hero; Waiting’s during the same conversation, wondering in hindi filmS leads are so different from each other, both in terms about the meaning of love. It’s a wonderful little scene, of age and outlook, that it’s endearing to see them click for multiple reasons. Shiv and Tara aren’t conventional together in isolated conversations. In Jugni, the professional Bollywood leads. We don’t usually see a young woman and and social differences between an urbanite Vibs and the hinterland an old man bonding with each other over everyday things. And we singer Mastana (Siddhant Behl) are so huge that they squash all definitely don’t see people battling grief in movies – like Shiv and Tara, prospects of love. Here, love isn’t presented as a panacea, something whose spouses are on ventilators, unable to speak and listen – trying to that will conquer all odds, but as an extension of people’s own selves feel happy and normal, as if one incident, no matter how sad, doesn’t and problems. Bollywood Diaries too implies a budding romance have the capacity to forever alter one’s life. between an assistant director (Vineet Singh) and Imli, but it ultimately Waiting is one of four films this year that tells heartfelt stories gets undone by the practicalities of real life. Most Bollywood filmof ordinary people. However, ironically, it’s those very people – the makers, unlike their counterparts around the world, have long been ordinary movie-watching audiences – who haven’t been as enthused straitjacketed by love stories and felt compelled to include them in about those stories onscreen. In fact, Waiting, thanks to Shah and their films. But this new crop are much more confident; they don’t Koechlin, two well-known actors, was at least talked about a fair bit. need the crutch of a romantic angle, or a crowd-pleasing element, to The second film on this list, Nil Battey Sannata, found a few admirers make their films enjoyable or meaningful. online, but earned nearly nothing at the box office; the other two, Jugni The second half of 2016 seems promising, and Bollywood Diaries, vanished without with Aditya Chopra’s return to direction a trace. Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin in Waiting after nearly a decade with Befikre; Vishal If Waiting is centred on the slippery Bhardwaj’s world war drama Rangoon; slope between holding on and letting go, Ashutosh Gowariker’s epic Mohenjo Daro; Jugni, Bollywood Diaries and Nil Battey and Aamir Khan’s sports biopic Dangal. Sannata, are about ambitions and the These films will undoubtedly generate anxieties their relentless pursuit spawn. curiosity and conversations. But will the Jugni’s heroine Vibs (Sugandha Garg), a year’s second half also give us films big on music composer, has hit the equivalent of artistic merit, even if they don’t have massive writer’s block. She heads off to Punjab to marketing budgets or haven’t done find a folk singer whose voice, she hopes, the foreign festival circuit? And will they get will lend vitality to her music. On the other the audience they deserve? hand, Nil Battey Sannata’s Chanda (Swara Bhaskar), a maid, is trying to wrap her Tanul Thakur is an engineer-turned-film writer Swara Bhaskar in Nil Battey Sannata
The besT films of 2016 you never saw
Hidden in plain sigHt
By Luke Harding
The Panama PaPers, or how To hide a billion dollars
image: shutterstock (paNama papers)
here are moments in history when a big truth is suddenly revealed. In 2010, leaked US diplomatic cables showed the White House’s private thinking about its friends and enemies. Three years later, a contractor working for the National Security Agency exposed how the US and the UK are secretly spying on their own citizens. His name was Edward Snowden. Snowden’s revelations caused outrage and started a global conversation about the boundaries of privacy in a digital age. Except in Britain, land of James Bond, where many met his revelations with a complacent shrug. In April 2016, something else hidden in plain sight was exposed. Namely that the secret offshore industry – centred in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands – was not, as had been previously thought, a minor part of our economic system. Rather it was the system. Those who dutifully paid their taxes were, in fact, dupes. The rich, it turned out, had exited from the messy business of tax long ago. The journalists who unearthed this bitter truth were Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier of Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung. The paper, based in Munich, has an excellent track record of working on difficult and important investigations. As Obermayer recounts, in early 2015, late one evening, he received an anonymous message. It said: “Hello. This is John doe. Interested in data?” Obermayer replied: “We’re very interested, of course.” The data turned out to be bigger than anyone might have imagined. The source – his or her identity remains unknown – had got hold of the entire internal database of a major Panamanian law firm. The firm’s name was Mossack Fonseca. It specialized in setting up anonymous offshore shell companies. The motivation here was simple. Like Snowden, the source wanted to expose criminal wrongdoing among the firm’s shadowy clients. The leak was an act of bravery. It eventually amounted to 11.5 million documents, delivered in real-time instalments. It was the biggest leak ever, and far larger than the top-secret Snowden Files or US State Department cables. It included the records of 214,000 offshore companies, names of real or “beneficial” owners, and passport scans.
There were bank statements. And email chains. What followed was a thrilling and secret year-long journalistic collaboration in more than 80 countries. Süddeutsche Zeitung shared its material with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the ICIJ, which is based in Washington DC. The ICIJ in turn gave access to the data to 100 media organizations across the planet. In Britain that was my newspaper, the Guardian, and the BBC. The journalists gave the leaked files a name. They were the Panama Papers. The name was a conscious echo of the Pentagon Papers: volumes of secret documents leaked in 1971 by Daniel Ellsberg that lifted the lid on the US war in Vietnam. I found myself back in the Guardian’s investigations “bunker”. Actually, it had a bucolic view of Regent’s Canal in London: houseboats, joggers, coots. In 2013 I’d been part of a small group that had studied the Snowden files here. This project was different. Via a secure platform, called the iHub, journalists were encouraged not to compete with each other but to share information actively and to swap leads and tips. We did, also in a flurry of encrypted emails. For some time the global media industry has been in a state of gloom. Newsrooms are downsizing; the ad market has collapsed. Suddenly, though, this counter-intuitive model of cooperation looked like the way to go at a time when media organizations are broke. Paradoxically, it felt to us like a golden age for investigative journalism. The leaks kept coming. And grew bigger: in this case, an astonishing 2.6 terabytes. But would anyone care? By 2016, almost 400 journalists were working secretly on the story, with an agreed publication date of 3 April. Clandestine group meetings had taken
What folloWed Was a thrilling and secret year-long journalistic collaboration in more than 80 countries. süddeutsche Zeitung shared its material With the international consortium of investigative journalists, Which in turn gave access to the data to 100 media organiZations across the planet
place in Washington, Munich and London. There were two concerns. One, that the leak might itself leak – that someone would accidentally bust the embargo. The other was that the public would respond to the Panama Papers with an indifferent yawn. We needn’t have worried. In Iceland the prime minister resigned. In Argentina there were demonstrations. In Azerbaijan a small war initiated – so some believed – to distract from revelations featuring the president and his daughters. In China censors blocked the words “Panama Papers” and jammed the website of the Guardian. In Russia aides to Vladimir Putin fumed about a Western “spy” conspiracy. In Britain, meanwhile, David Cameron experienced the worst week of his premiership. The Panama Papers revealed that the offshore fund run by Cameron’s late father Ian had paid no British tax. For three decades. The fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc, had gone to absurd lengths to pretend it was based in the Bahamas. It hired a small army of Bahamas residents to sign paperwork, including a part-time bishop. Eventually Cameron came clean: he’d owned shares in Dad’s tax haven fund. He sold them for £31,500 just before becoming prime minister in 2010. Cameron was reluctant to acknowledge what was obvious: that his family’s fortune – legally of course – came from privileged offshore wealth. It’s too early to say whether the Panama Papers will usher in a new era of transparency. The G20 has promised to act. Cameron, George Osborne and Jeremy Corbyn all published their tax returns – a start. But as US president Barack Obama noted, tax avoidance is a huge global problem. It’s made worse, Obama said correctly, by the fact that using offshore structures is perfectly legal. Still, the past few months have seen a victory of sorts for those of us, the little people, who do pay our taxes. From now on, the super-rich and other characters who use exotic offshore structures will be a nervous bunch. How long, they must be wondering, before the next leak? Luke Harding London, May 2016 excerpted with permission from pan macmillan india. the book, the panama papers, is out now
TALK had a home to your name, a trousseau full of linen, a set of qualifications on the mantlepiece, or a few cows and a parcel of land in your possession. Then, under the influence of Romantic ideology, such practicalities grew to seem altogether too mercenary and calculating, and the focus shifted to emotional qualities. It came to be thought important to have the right feelings; among these, a sense of having hit upon a soulmate, a faith in being perfectly understood, a certainty of never wanting to sleep with anyone else again. The Romantic ideas are, he knows now, a recipe for disaster. His readiness for marriage is based on a quite different set of criteria. He is ready for marriage because – to begin the list – he has given up on perfection.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
PERFECT DOESN’T EXIST
hey have been married for 16 years and yet only now, a little late, does Rabih feel ready for marriage. It’s not the paradox it seems. Given that marriage yields its important lessons only to those who have signed up for its curriculum, it’s normal that readiness should tend to follow rather than precede the ceremony itself – perhaps by a decade or two. Rabih recognizes that it’s a mere sleight of language that allows him to maintain that he has been married only once. What has conveniently looked like a single relationship in fact sits across so many evolutions, disconnections, renegotiations, intervals of distance and emotional homecomings that he has in truth gone through at least a dozen divorces and remarriages – just to the same person. He is on a long drive down to Manchester for a client meeting. This is where he can think best, very early in the morning, in the car, with the roads almost entirely clear and no one to talk to but himself. Once, you were deemed ready for matrimony when you’d reached certain financial and social milestones: when you
WHOEVER WE COULD MEET WOULD BE RADICALLY IMPERFECT: THE STRANGER ON THE TRAIN, THE OLD SCHOOL ACQUAINTANCE, THE NEW FRIEND ONLINE … EACH OF THESE, TOO, WOULD BE GUARANTEED TO LET US DOWN. THE FACTS OF LIFE HAVE DEFORMED ALL OF OUR NATURES
Rabih feels ready for marriage because he has despaired of being fully understood.
Love begins with the experience of being understood in highly supportive and uncommon ways. They grasp the lonely parts of us; we don’t have to explain why we find a particular joke so funny; we hate the same people; we both want to try that rather specialized sexual scenario. It cannot continue.
IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES (GRAFITTI)
BY ALAIN DE BOTTON
Pronouncing a lover “perfect” can only be a sign that we have failed to understand them. We can claim to have begun to know someone only when they have substantially disappointed us. However, the problems aren’t theirs alone. Whoever we could meet would be radically imperfect: the stranger on the train, the old school acquaintance, the new friend online … Each of these, too, would be guaranteed to let us down. The facts of life have deformed all of our natures. No one among us has come through unscathed. We were all (necessarily) less than ideally parented. We fight rather than explain, we nag rather than teach, we fret instead of analyzing our worries, we lie and scatter blame where it doesn’t belong. The chances of a perfect human emerging from the perilous gauntlet are non-existent. We don’t have to know a stranger very well before knowing this about them. Their particular way of being maddening won’t be immediately apparent (it could take as long as a couple of years), but its existence can be theoretically assumed from the start. Choosing a person to marry is hence just a matter of deciding exactly what kind of suffering we want to endure, rather than of imagining we have found a way to skirt round the rules of emotional existence. We will all, by definition, end up with that stock character of our nightmares, “the wrong person”. This needn’t be a disaster, however. Enlightened Romantic pessimism simply assumes that one person can’t be everything to another. We should look for ways to accommodate ourselves as gently and as kindly as we can to the awkward realities of living alongside another fallen creature. There can only ever be a “good enough” marriage. For this realization to sink in, it helps to have had a few lovers before settling down, not in order to have had a chance to locate “the right person”, but in order to have had an ample opportunity to discover at first hand, and in many different contexts, the truth that there isn’t any such person; and that everyone really is a bit wrong when considered from close up.
When we run up against the reasonable limits of our lovers’ capacities for understanding, we mustn’t blame them for dereliction. They were not tragically inept. They couldn’t fully fathom who we were – and we could do no better. Which is normal. No one properly gets, or can fully sympathize with, anyone else. Rabih feels ready for marriage because he realizes he is crazy. It’s profoundly counter-intuitive for us to think of ourselves as mad. We seem so normal and mostly so good – to ourselves. It’s everyone else who is out of step… And yet maturity begins with the capacity to sense and, in good time and without defensiveness, admit to our own craziness. If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun. Rabih is ready for marriage because he has understood that it isn’t Kirsten who is difficult. They seem “difficult”, of course, within the cage of marriage; when they lose their tempers over such petty things: logistics, inlaws, cleaning rotas, parties, the groceries… But it’s not the other person’s fault, it’s what we’re trying to do with them. It’s the institution of marriage that is principally impossible, not the individuals involved. Rabih is ready for marriage because he is prepared to love rather than be loved. We speak of “love” as if it were a single, undifferentiated thing, but it comprises two very different modes: being loved and loving. We should marry when we are ready to do the latter and have become aware of our unnatural and dangerous fixation on the former. We start out knowing only about “being loved”. It comes to seem – quite wrongly – the norm. To the child, it feels as if the parent were just spontaneously on hand to comfort, guide, entertain, feed and clear up, while remaining almost constantly warm and cheerful. We take this idea of love with us into adulthood. Grown up, we hope for a recreation of what it felt like to be ministered to and indulged. In a secret corner of our mind, we picture a lover who will anticipate our needs, read our hearts, act selflessly and make everything better. It sounds “romantic”; yet it is a blueprint for disaster. Rabih is ready for marriage because he understands that sex will always cohabit uneasily with love. The Romantic view expects that love and sex will be aligned. We are properly ready for marriage when we are strong enough to embrace a life of frustration. We must concede that adultery cannot be a workable answer, for no one can be its victim and not feel forever cut to the core. A single meaningless adventure truly does have a recurring habit of ending everything. It’s impossible for the victims of adultery to appreciate what might actually have been going through a partner’s mind during the
“betrayal”, when they lay entwined with a stranger for a few hours. We can hear their defence as often as we like, but we’ll be sure of one thing in our hearts: that they were hell-bent on humiliating us and that every ounce of their love has evaporated, along with their status as trustworthy humans. To insist on any other conclusion is like arguing against the tide. He is ready for marriage because (on a good day) he is happy to be taught and calm about teaching. We are ready for marriage when we accept that in a number of significant areas our partner will be wiser, more reasonable and more mature than we are. We should want to learn from them. We should bear having things pointed out to us. And at other moments we should be ready to model ourselves on the best pedagogues and deliver our suggestions without shouting or expecting the other simply to know. Only if we were already perfect could the idea of mutual education be dismissed as unloving. Rabih and Kirsten are ready to be married because they are aware, deep down, that they are not compatible. The Romantic vision of marriage stresses the importance of finding the “right” person, which is taken to mean someone in sympathy with the raft of our interests and values. There is no such person over the long term. We are too varied and peculiar. There cannot be lasting congruence. The partner truly best suited to us is not the one who miraculously happens to share every taste, but the one who can negotiate differences in taste with intelligence and good grace. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate dissimilarity that is the true marker of the “right˝ person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition. Rabih is ready for marriage because he is fed up with most love stories; and because the versions of love presented in films and novels so seldom match what he now knows from lived experience. By the standards of most love stories, our own, real relationships are almost all damaged and unsatisfactory. No wonder separation and divorce so often appear inevitable. But we should be careful not to judge our relationships by the expectations imposed on us by a frequently misleading aesthetic medium. The fault lies with art, not life. Rather than split up, we may need to tell ourselves more accurate stories – stories that don’t dwell so much on the beginning, that don’t promise us complete understanding, that strive to normalize our troubles and show us a melancholy yet hopeful path through the course of love. An excerpt from The Course of Love by Alain de Botton, an award-winning philosopher and founder of The School Of Life. Out now with Penguin Random House JULY 2016
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W men. What do
ImagE: gETTY ImagEs
Rupert Murdoch may be the fearsome great white shark of business, but his fractured love life betrays a vulnerable man torn between fusty values and a burning desire for beauty
WRITTEN BY MICHAEL WOLFF
t a particularly dicey moment in my own love life, when I was interviewing Rupert Murdoch a number of years ago, I tried to get some advice from him about, well, about anything a man with three wives, the latest the age of his children, might offer. This is what he said: “Women. What do I know? Women.” Then he lifted up the end of his tie, quite a fashionforward one, and studied it closely. “My wife,” he said, “gave this to me. So I wear it.” I can’t make out what else is on the recording, just mumbles and sighs. Among the many unexpected aspects of the epochal Murdoch
saga, from Adelaide to global conquest, is his emergence as a lover and connoisseur of beautiful and charismatic women, with Jerry Hall, that most famous of rock chicks (ex Mick Jagger, ex Bryan Ferry), his latest consort. His increasingly public relationship with Hall has been largely treated as either an affront to rock ’n’ roll or as one of those sexual heehaws that happen in the lives of old billionaires. But, in fact, it is better seen as another revealing and quite consistent part of the Murdoch persona: his pursuit of beautiful women has shaped him and, therefore, in some sense, our time. His search for sex, glamour and companionship – he has very much sought all three together – has always been in plain sight, and yet, given his more famously hard-hearted, bottom-
At 60, Jerry Hall is almost age appropriate, or, at least, not going to have any more Murdoch children
And then, beginning in 1985, there is Hollywood. His purchase of 20th Century Fox was in part motivated by what motivates every outsider to overpay for a movie studio: “Girls, what else?” said John Evans, a close Murdoch lieutenant and confidant at the time. There was even a secret facelift in the late Eighties (which will dramatically fall into deep crevasses). Still, at the same time, there was Anna Murdoch’s iron will that Murdoch, in one sense less international playboy and more Dagwood Bumstead, bends to and cowers from. His daughter Elisabeth much later recalled how her father is easily dominated by women, describing him essentially as a conventionally henpecked husband. Indeed, Murdoch is conflict averse within his family and ever placating. Many of his most conservative views are in fact Anna’s, a serious Roman Catholic. At several points he considered converting to appease his wife. Their social life was entirely run by Anna – a kind of Nancy Reagan, benefit-affair, dinner-jacket social life, which he submitted to and bitterly complains about. Murdoch appeared to be the model of the conventional husband – and too appeared to be the kind of conventional husband in the deepest hell of repressed desire. Many of his closest lieutenants recall Murdoch on the 20th Century Fox lot, where he was based in the early Nineties, as an unhappy, lonely figure who did not want to go home at night. Then, in 1997, on a visit to Hong Kong, Wendi Deng, an employee at his office there, struck. His sudden metamorphosis, almost superhero like, into an international Don Juan, and apparent immediate willingness to compromise his fortune, family and reputation, perhaps only made sense as the product of some truer nature. Or, the wiles of a savvier player: Wendi, opinionated and domineering.
ut was it love or obsession? Defy-the-world stuff. His mother barred Wendi from her door. His children stopped speaking to him. His associates tried to undercut her. He was putting billions at risk – really his entire business. But Rupert and Wendi were locked together, physically holding each other. Moony hand-holding stuff. Stroking. Snogging. Him rushing into her arms as he leaves the stage after an annual meeting. Rupert is one of Earth’s most compartmentalized men, and here he was in the love compartment. Indeed, he so turned over his life that he would never see his former wife Anna again. His life became Wendi’s life. Where they lived, how he dressed, who they saw. A rebirth for him. Or a weird, and for every one around him, eyerolling, body snatch. Wendi talked to a friend about Rupert and Viagra. There was also, in the cost born by every great lover, deep pain. The Los Angeles Times threatened to run a story that Wendi was in a relationship with Chris DeWolfe, then the head of MySpace, which Murdoch acquired, in part at Wendi’s urging, in 2005. Company lawyers and communication people debriefed them both. It was a humiliating inquisition (designed to produce consistent stories) that quickly filtered throughout the company. And yet admitting defeat in his marriage would be worse for him still. It became a terrible struggle, if not a war, between each party in
image: getty images
line, grumpy lack of sexiness, this has seemed so uncharacteristic as to be entirely discounted in the Murdoch story. When he abruptly announced the dissolution of his 30-year marriage to his second wife Anna in 1997, nobody speculated that there might be another woman involved – however much another woman is pretty much the only reason a post-middle-aged man leaves a long marriage (particularly a billionaire, particularly in California, a community property state). Shortly after the marriage dissolved, his oldest daughter Prudence took her seemingly bereft father on a sailing trip without it crossing her mind that his frequent apologies about having to take private phone calls might have any connection to his marital woes. When, not long after, he called her at home in Sydney and mentioned, by the by, that he had met “a nice Chinese woman”, Prue got off the phone, whooped and ran upstairs shouting to her husband Alasdair, “You won’t believe it!” As it happens, his first marriage to Prue’s mother had hardly been less of a shock for the Murdoch family. Rupert then, at age 25, was the scion of one of the most important families in Australia. While he was making a reputation as a boy publisher, it was his mother and two sisters who represented the Murdoch’s social standing and the good name of patriarch Keith Murdoch who died a few years before, and who now formed a protective cocoon around the family’s only male heir. Imagine the horror when Rupert ran off with an airline stewardess. “It was,” his mother said to me, dryly, in an interview 50 years later, “unexpected.” In the face of withering, if not implacable opposition, from his mother and sisters, he married Patricia Booker anyway, displaying his essential dual nature: While seeing himself as a model son whose first loyalty is to his family, he would do what he wanted to do anyway. His eleven-year marriage to Patricia, which produced Prudence in 1958, and which was compromised by his unceasing travel as he built the Australian leg of his empire, came to an end in 1967 when he spied Anna Tory, a trainee or “cadet” at his Sydney paper, the Daily Telegraph. Once again, he defied his mother, Elizabeth, becoming the first of a long line of solid Presbyterian Murdochs to be divorced. Both Patricia and Anna were particularly comely figures – “my son is susceptible to attractive women,” noted his mother acidly – with Anna being the more comely. Indeed, Rupert’s next three children, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James, as young wealthies growing up in New York, all had a near-model look that did not come from their father. Murdoch in the Seventies and Eighties, full of ambition and entitlement, bore an awfully close resemblance to a jet-setting, international-empire-builder playboy. But this was also in another sense his guilty fantasy. That is, he would have liked to be much more of a rogue then he was. There are his Page 3 girls at the Sun, partly born out of his admiration for or envy of Sixties girlie publishers, Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione. He had a serious extra-marital flirtation in the Eighties – the only one I uncovered in my research for his biography – but post-haste he introduced the woman to one of his business associates, whom she married. Petronella Wyatt, the daughter of his friend Woodrow Wyatt, and a friend of Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth, would, years later, recall his ogling attention to her as a teenage girl.
of feel-good real-estate deals. He bought a house and winery, and the largest piece of land, in Bel Air, California. He bought the penthouse triplex in a new cool modernist billionaire development in the unenticing Madison Square neighbourhood in Manhattan – and then sold it before moving in. Then he bought a romantic townhouse with bohemian and arty airs in the West Village. But it has five storeys of steps for an 85-year-old man, and opening on to the street, offers virtually no security – and he put it back on the market almost straightaway. Meanwhile, the wife of every man of clout and wealth in Manhattan of a certain age is trying to fix Rupert up. He tells people he’s lonely and depressed. His children tell people he’s lonely and depressed. A worry among his children and various of his close executives is the young woman, Natalie Ravitz, who was installed as his chief of staff during the hacking crisis (his secretary of more than 40 years, Dot Wyndoe, was forced into retirement) by Joel Klein. Ravitz curates a Tumblr account – “Murdoch Here” after his phone greeting – that seems, even for a Murdoch employee, alarmingly adoring. She left the job last spring, reportedly at the urging of his son, James.
his and her designated camp. Several times, during the period I was interviewing Murdoch, he would seem to have shown up at his house just minutes before I got there, clutching his overnight bag. Wendi, eager to be well represented in Murdoch’s story, was adamant that I interview her close confidant Tony Blair, who, for the better part of a day in his London office, described for me Wendi’s vital position in the Murdoch family drama. If the media was surprised by the dissolution of the Murdoch marriage in 2013, insiders were surprised only by the Murdoch wrath and resolve. The Wendi situation – the various people with whom she was linked and her geographical distance from her husband (her pieblocking appearance at the parliamentary hearing in London during the hacking investigation was carefully negotiated) – became an “I-seenothing-I-hear-nothing” theme of executive life at News Corp. His break from Wendi came a few months after reports of a new relationship. More eye-rolling, but events were in motion. He dispatched Wendi in a sudden divorce filing, catching her entirely unaware. For good measure, and closing the Murdoch iron door, his side leaked reports of her affair with Blair. He had once again blown up his family life – his two young daughters learned of the divorce when paparazzi showed up in front of Brearley, the school they attend on East 83rd Street in New York – and at 82 he was single, with his older children competing to influence his life’s new turn, and, as it happens, nixing the new relationship. It was quite a restless wilderness, marked by a succession
upert Agonistes is a figure who shuttles between action, method, calculation, control and yearning, fantasy and passion. Perhaps that is the secret chemistry for successfully gambling and winning. Likewise when it comes to women, he is awkward, buttoned-down, baffled (during the nine months I interviewed Murdoch on a weekly basis, I was often accompanied by my research assistant, Leela de Kretser, a young and attractive Australian, who had previously worked for the New York Post and for Murdoch’s paper in Melbourne, with Murdoch never acknowledging her presence) and aggressively retro (I once asked him why he had no women on his board, he replied, “They talk too much”). And yet, he develops obvious crushes (Rebekah Brooks being one of the most flagrant and long-term), is a goner when it comes to female attention and flattery, and has taken some of his biggest risks, in a life of risks, when it comes to women. All reports put him over the top when it comes to Jerry Hall, who he apparently met in Australia over the summer, introduced by his sister Janet Calvert-Jones at a benefit. And she is on board with him. Visiting the set of a movie in London, she was overheard explaining her new shorter hairstyle as something Rupert wanted, and that she likes “a man with strong opinions”. At 60, Hall is almost age appropriate, or, at least, not going to have more Murdoch children, which makes her an ideal companion from the point of view of his sons and daughters. What’s more, if Wendi Deng, a Yale management school graduate, often intruded in Murdoch business affairs, Hall, a former model, seems to be a much safer business bet. Indeed, each of Murdoch’s sons has married a former model. For Hall, quite a collector of cultural icons, Murdoch may be one of the few men with enough standing to rival Jagger’s. If your romantic inclinations tend to take you to the centre of attention and immediacy, the 85-year-old Murdoch, still striding the earth with full purpose and faculties, might yet be quite a satisfying date. For Murdoch, it is another worthy chapter in his unlikely quest for love and beauty. july 2016
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COAT, SUIT; BOTH BY EMPORIO ARMANI. SHIRT, TIE; BOTH BY GIORGIO ARMANI. dRIvE dE CARTIER WATCH BY CARTIER GROOMING: BEn JOnES AssIsTANT sTylIsTs: SOpHIE ClARk, GEORGIA MEdlEY, EMIlY TIGHE CAsTING: pAUl ISAAC MOdEl: AndRéS vElEnCOSO/SElECT dIGITAl OPERATOR: pEdRO BERAldO lIGhTING AssIsTANT: SCOTT ARCHIBAld
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Groomng EDITED BY SH IKH A SETH I
+ THaT fiTness BanD On YOUR WRisT MaY Be YOUR WORsT eneMY + THe BesT MOisTURiZeRs fOR YOUR MUG
ME THE DETAILS WrITTEn BY Anish Trivedi
PhoTo: nIrmal jaIn
t’s one of those things that should make no sense. There is an order to things, dictated by Mother Nature. Fish swim, birds fly, that sort of thing. Yet along comes man and feels the need to upset, in no small way, the delicate balance of air, earth and water. Regular readers of this magazine will recall my spine-chilling tale of surviving surgery. Well, surviving hospital food. One of the after-effects of the
SPA ME THE DETAILS
nasal surgery that prompted that culinary experience has been finding ways of keeping my nasal passages clear. While the average man on the street is content with a finger vigorously rotated in said passages, I have searched for a more scientific approach. “Try a salt spa,” I’m told. This absurd suggestion comes from someone who knows full well I don’t do spas. Yet a few days later, I find myself being propelled through the doors of Salt Escape, Mumbai’s first such establishment. A quick peek through the door shows no one there and I am about to bolt when a hand reaches out in welcome. Lyla Mehta, the owner, has been warned that I will try and weasel my way out, so she waves me in and walks me around the place. There is no excuse in these days of Google for not having done my homework. But where I thought I was going to float in a Dead Sea sort of tank, sunk up to my nostrils in seawater, it turns out that Salt Escape takes a rather different approach to salt therapy. You breathe in the stuff. I am led into a pristine white room. The floor, the walls, are covered in a thick layer of salt. But that’s just cosmetic covering, says Lyla. The real stuff is going to be gently wafted into the room in microparticles. This is medicinal grade salt that they import, regulated by a machine that can control the amount you inhale. I’m asked what ails me. I recite the woes of the world, starting with pestilence and famine, working my way up to a Trump White House. A gentle cough stops me. I am about to point out that a cough, no matter how gentle, has no business being in a place that claims to cure it, but perhaps that is just me being petulant. Did I mention I hate spas? The panel on the machine in front of me offers a number of settings, ranging from respiratory ailments to skin conditions, from stress busting to sports therapy. I’m here to be able to breathe better so that’s the way we go. The reasoning is that the anti-bacterial salt particles I breathe in are going to help clean out my nasal and lung passages of smoke, 184 —
DEAD SEA SALT SCRUB, THE BODY SHOP The big-ass crystals slough off dead cells and stimulate circulation, while the plant oils moisturize dry skin, leaving it softer and smoother. Just buy two tubs – your SO is definitely going to want in on this.
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dust and allergens. They’re also going to reduce inflammation and help dry out and get rid of the gook that’s accumulated inside. Bottom line? You breathe easier. Does it work? Pretty much everyone who’s tried it seems to think so. Back in the room, in a bright red chair, I am offered water, magazines, a mask. I’m also offered the Wi-Fi password should I wish to work on emails. So much for stress busting. I keep the water, decline the magazines, ditch the mask and pull up a trashy novel on my iPad. Hey. That’s what people do at the beach. How is this different? The lights gently dim. The soft sound of waves, a seagull or two, wafts through the speakers. Just breathe normally, I’ve been told. So instead I take deep, lung-filling gasps, expecting to get great globs of salt on my tongue. Those microparticles must be really tiny because there’s not a hint of any in the air. I stop trying to spot them and get down to reading. Somewhere after the second paragraph, the lights come back on. That was quick, I say when I come back out. Surely there’s more to this spa stuff than 60 seconds of salt. A glance at my watch says different. I’ve been in there for an hour. It’s seems I fell asleep, my finger poised mid-air, just before it could swipe to the next page. I ask if I snored. I’m told to come back. They can help with that too. Would I go back? A medical condition like mine probably needs a couple of sessions a week, spread over a month or two, to make a difference. That’s a couple of times a week taken out of a work schedule, to lie down in a chair, listen to the sound of the waves. It beats surgery, that’s for damned sure. But let’s face it. If I’m going to do this regularly, it’s going to take something more. I wonder if someone can make me a decent daiquiri? Saltescape.in
WORDS: SHIKHA SETHI IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK
The lights gently dim. The soft sound of waves, a seagull or two, wafts through the speakers. Just breathe normally, I’ve been told. So instead I take deep, lung-filling gasps, expecting to get great globs of salt on my tongue
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AM I WORKING OUT? OR JUST GEEKING OUT? Like iPhones, fitness trackers have come a long way since we first became helplessly addicted to them. Now there’s a new wave — smaller, smarter, capable of telling us more. But Amy Wallace is starting to wonder: Do the gadgets need the upgrade, or do we?
and how fast my heart was beating at any given moment. On the days I hit 10,000 steps (especially impressive in LA, where it can seem impossible to walk anywhere), it went berserk with joy. I felt appreciated, doted upon, known. Flash forward 8,945,612 steps to today, and the fitness-tracker market is more crowded than a Mumbai local on a Monday morning. There’s the straightforward Microsoft Band 2, the minimalist Misfit Ray (it looks like a piece of high-end jewellery) and an entire family of Fitbits: the Zip, the Surge, the Alta and the Blaze, which has a large colour touchscreen that resembles an Apple Watch. It displays texts, has built-in FitStar workouts, and is proudly fashionforward. (Complete with interchangeable leather and steel-link wristbands, it is designed, Fitbit says, to go “from workout to a night out.”) I still love the simplicity of
ILLUSTRATION: DAN WOODGER
he Quantified Self movement is the only tech breakthrough I’ve ever adopted early. It’s been years since a doctor urged me to get a Nike+ FuelBand like the prototype that adorned his wrist. While the oval plastic bracelet looked like something that might beam my location back to my parole officer, I knew my list-making, goal-setting brain would dig the data, and it did, at least until I discovered the flaws. That device was mostly triggered by moving your arm, which meant that anything south of the waist (spin classes, yoga) often registered with a big fat zero. Soon my FuelBand was in the back of a drawer with the soy-sauce packets and Cinnamon Altoids. Like a bad breakup, though, my falling-out with the FuelBand only made me more determined – after a brief period of abstinence – to find something better. Enter the Fitbit Charge HR, which told me not only how many steps I’d walked and calories I’d burned but also how I’d slept
my black plastic Charge HR, but most trackers are getting more and more complex. Fitbit’s latest big competitor, Under Armour, has just released its UA HealthBox, a “connected fitness system” that includes a wristband, a bathroom scale and a heart-rate strap. What’s next, a DIY stool sampler? (Probably.) All of which makes me wonder: What psychic price am I paying for the data storm inside my head? What price are we all paying, given how much more info these new devices deliver? Yes, we can spur ourselves to higher heights by competing with ourselves and others. (Fitbit encourages this by e-mailing me a weekly “progress report” that aggregates my activity and compares it with my fiancé’s.) But is all this obsessive analysis, you know, healthy? Do I really need to be notified that I was restless 16 times last night? What am I supposed to do with that information, other than worry? One day a friend and I were comparing our resting heart rates. Mine is low, in the 50s; she idles at nearly 100. As soon as she learned this, her Fitbit showed her heart rate going up: Her heart was pounding because she was worried that her heart wasn’t pounding right. She immediately made an appointment with a cardiologist. I know a guy who attaches his fitness tracker to his dog’s collar and then plays fetch, racking up far more steps (and burned calories) than he could ever muster on his own two legs. This makes him laugh, which is supposed to be good for one’s health. Maybe he’s on to something.
Groomng TL GEN
Finding the right moisturizer can be intensely confusing. Should you get a lotion? A cream? (Wait, is crème different from cream?) Master these five rules and all shall be revealed
An adult man’s guide to having a baby-smooth face
E ST YLE
EVER STOLEN ANY GROOMING PRODUCTS FROM A GIRLFRIEND?
START WITH THE SKIN IN THE MIRROR
READ MORE THAN JUST THE PRICE TAG
MOISTURIZE LIKE YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH
THEN APPLY, APPLY, APPLY AGAIN
DON’T BELIEVE THE SPF LIES
Even if your skin is oilier than Salman Khan’s hair in Tere Naam, you need moisturizer. “Yes, men tend to be a little more oily and sweaty than women,” says dermatologist Terrence Keaney, MD. “But it’s a myth that men don’t need to moisturize.” Get a bead on what you do have: Is your skin oily, Sahara-dry, or somewhere in between? If in doubt, ask your dermatologist. (Get one of those first.)
“You can break moisturizer down by ingredient,” says Dr Keaney. Ointments and creams use oil and water; the more oil, the thicker they are. Use them for drier skin. Many alcoholinfused moisturizers (words to look for: gel, mattifying) are lighter options. Alcohol sounds like a bad idea, but if you’re greasy or sweaty, it’ll help dry you out – the opposite of booze’s regular purpose.
Twice a day, at least. First, right after you shave. “Shaving is fairly traumatic,” says Dr Keaney. “That blade strips away some oil and the dead skin that protects the skin.” Use something on the lighter side. But when you re-up before bed, try a heavier cream that will last you all night.
Just showered after a midday workout? Moisturize. Been strolling around in the cold or in Spiti Valley temps? Do it again. Shaved midday? You know the drill. You can’t really overdo it on the moisturizer front. (Well, you can: If you’re breaking out, ease up to once a day, or less.)
Sunblock is to dermatologists what floss is to dentists. But lotions bragging about built-in SPF 15 aren’t the answer. “They give a false sense of security,” says Dr. Keaney. You need a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or better to keep skincooking UV rays at bay, which means a separate sunblock specifically formulated for your grill.
Once. A friend left her coconut oil at my house after a Bible-study session. (My mom reads this column.) One day I put a little in my hair. The thought: She has incredible hair – and I’d like incredible hair. And then I did. My hair was soft and moisturized but not greasy, and smelled great. Not nearly as sweet as you’d think. Study friend, I owe you a replacement jar. Mom, if you’re reading, bless you. —mark antony green
THE SUN SCREENER
THE EVERYDAY GO-TO
THE GYM BUD
THE OVERNIGHT GUEST
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Clinique for Men Oil Control Mattifying Moisturizer is both lightweight and mattifying – moisture-ese for “won’t make your face look oil-slick shiny.”
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For the dry-skinned, look no further than The Body Shop’s Oils of Life Sleeping Cream. Its exotic mix of anti-oxidant rich black cumin oil from Egypt and reparative rosehip oil from Chile, is just the ticket to suppler, more nourished skin.
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WORDS: SAM SCHUBE. ILLUSTRATION: JEAN-MICHEL TIXIER
YOUR MUG’S FOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS
Continued from page 145
How does a shy ex-model make her way from Slovenia to, just maybe, the White House? To Melania Trump – and to the people who know her back home – her journey to marrying The Donald is like a fairy tale, or a too-crazy-to-believe rom-com. It’s a story full of naked ambition, stunning beauty, a shockingly Trump-like dad and even some family secrets. Maybe she’s made for Washington after all
WRITTEN BY JULIA IOFFE 140 —
IMAGE: DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN/TRUNK ARCHIVE
Lady AND THE Trump JULY 2016
Yugoslavia. She also came back from business trips with Western fashion magazines, which Melania’s friends watched her flip through constantly. “They had more than the others,” remembers Melania’s childhood friend Mirjana Jelan i . (She is now the principal of the school she attended with Melania, where there is talk of installing a permanent exhibit on Mrs Trump, the school’s most famous graduate.) Jelan i remembers Melania’s father, Viktor, spending every Saturday lovingly washing his antique Mercedes, another rarity. “It was like a ritual,” Jelan i tells me. After leaving his job working for the mayor of Hrastnik, Viktor, then a member of the Slovenian Communist Party, became a salesman at a state-owned car company. Police files from the time indicate Viktor aroused suspicion for illicit trade and tax evasion in 1976. (He was charged with a tax offence, though his record was later cleared on account of Slovenia’s statute of limitations, a process the courts described to me as “legal rehabilitations”.) Melania blocked my efforts to speak to Viktor, and she denies that any such investigation took place. “He was never under any investigation, he was never in trouble,” she snaps. “We have a clean past. I don’t have nothing to hide.” While working for the car company in Ljubljana, Viktor had an apartment there, in one of the city’s first residential high-rises. It was a prestigious address and provided the girls a place to stay in the capital so that they could attend design school – another luxury. Meanwhile, in Sevnica, a place where most people still lived in drab apartments doled out to them by their factories, Viktor managed to build a house situated in what was considered the toniest part of town. “Trump reminds me of Viktor,” Viktor’s friend and neighbor Tomaž Jeraj tells me. “He’s a salesman. He has business in his veins.” It’s a sentiment unanimous in Sevnica, where Viktor and Amalija still own their house and visit two or three times a year. Indeed, if you look at photos of Viktor Knavs and Donald Trump side by side, you wouldn’t be surprised at the comparison. Donald is just five years younger than his father-in-law. Both are tall, portly men with blond hair and sharp suits; they’re brash men who like the finer things in life. “He likes quality,” says Melania. “Viki” – as Viktor is known to his friends here – “likes good food,” Jeraj tells me. “He loves cars.” He was one of the many people who would tell me about Viktor’s extensive collection of Mercedes. “You’ll never see him in another car.” Those who know the Knavses say that Viktor is boisterous and strong-willed. “Jokes come naturally to him,” Ana Jelan i , a neighbour and friend of the Knavses’, tells me. “If he goes into a bar, people pay attention.” Viktor sucks the air out of a room, she says. “He is the strong one in the relationship. Amalija supports him. She is a wonderful mother and wife.” Plenty of acquaintances hold the Knavses in high esteem. “They are the typical Slovenian family,” says Tomši , the hospital director. “They are traditional, their family ties are very strong.” And friends of Viktor’s speak admiringly of his reputed business acumen. Another friend of Viktor’s tells me, “He’s a salesman. He follows the market.” Far from objecting to the comparison that’s made between her husband and her father, Melania agrees they’re a lot alike. “They’re both hardworking,” she says. “They’re both very smart and very capable. They grew up in totally different environments, but they have the same values, they have the same tradition. I myself am similar to my husband. Do you understand what I mean? So is my dad; he is a family man, he has tradition, he was hardworking. So is my husband.” Like Donald Trump, Viktor Knavs is not just a hard-charging 190 —
businessman with a penchant for real estate; he is also viciously litigious when it comes to the women in his life. Back when Viktor was a driver, before he married Melania’s mother, he met a young woman in town named Marija Cigelnjak. They dated for a while, and in September 1964, she told Viktor she was pregnant. According to Cigelnjak’s testimony in a lengthy court record, Viktor offered to marry her, but quickly changed his mind, demanding that she have an abortion. This, Viktor said, was because the child was not his. A son was born in May 1965, and three months later, Marija sued Viktor for child support. Viktor continued to deny paternity – going into detail for the court about when he had sex with Marija and the rhythms of her menstrual cycle – prompting the court to order a blood test. Based on its results, the court determined that Viktor was, in fact, the boy’s biological father. Viktor fought the order to pay child support all the way to Slovenia’s highest appellate court. The courts always ruled in Cigelnjak’s favour. (The court record indicates that Viktor filed his appeal late – and lied brazenly and unconvincingly about the nature of the delay.) Viktor has never acknowledged his son, Denis Cigelnjak, who is now 50. The existence of Melania’s half brother has never been reported, and although he had never spoken to the media, he told me his story and then gave me permission to retrieve the relevant court documents from the Slovenian archives. He lives in a tiny apartment in Hrastnik, the town where his mother, who passed away several years ago, once worked at the glass factory. She never married or had more children, and Denis says he has no memory of ever meeting his father. Viktor paid child support until the boy was 18 but never reached out. “I missed being able to say, ‘Hey, Dad, let’s go for a coffee,’” Denis told me as we sat in his living room this spring. Periodically, Denis would hear stories about his father, but he said he was afraid to initiate contact and disturb the Knavs family. Now he feels it’s too late. He didn’t seek attention and says he wants nothing from his father or the Trumps. He wouldn’t mind meeting his half sisters, Ines and Melania, who, he’s fairly certain, don’t even know he exists. (When I asked Melania about this over the phone, she denied that it was true. Later, after I’d sent her documents from the Slovenian court, she wrote to me claiming she hadn’t understood what I’d asked, explaining, “I’ve known about this for years.” She added: “My father is a private individual. Please respect his privacy.”) veryone who remembers Melania from her youth in Slovenia recalls how striking she was. “She was a special kind of beauty, not the classic type,” a friend from Ljubljana told me. “She had eyes that were kind of psychedelic. You look in those eyes and it was like looking in the eyes of an animal.” Stane Jerko, the photographer credited with spotting Melania and producing her first real photo shoot back in 1987, saw something similar. He had glimpsed her waiting for her friend after a fashion show in Ljubljana. She was lanky and shy, with long hair and sparkling eyes. Jerko, who preferred to find his models in public places rather than through casting calls, had suggested she come by his studio. She wasn’t interested, he recalls. “School was the most important thing for her.” But a week later, she arrived, hair in a teenybopper ponytail, with a bushel of her own clothes: leggings, leotards, high-waisted acid-washed jeans and a sleeveless sweater that looked like a wicker basket. She was reserved and tense but followed Jerko’s instructions and quickly figured out how to pose. He could see she had a future in front of the camera. A couple of weeks later, she returned, and Jerko snapped a series of black-andwhite photos of a 16-year-old Melania Knavs in some catalogue clothes, barefoot in each image. It wasn’t a stylistic choice. “I didn’t have shoes for her because she had very big feet,” Jerko says of Melania, who wore a size 9 shoe. “The other models had smaller feet.”
(You know what they say in Slovenia about people with big feet? Jerko asks, chuckling. “When you live on big feet, you live big.”) In those days, Melania wasn’t thinking about a career as a model. Like her sister, Ines, her goal was to become a designer, and she applied to the school of architecture at the local university, successfully passing the notoriously difficult entrance exams. In those years in Ljubljana, she was focused on school. She didn’t drink, didn’t party, didn’t smoke. Even after she met Jerko and began dabbling in modelling, she preferred to go home after work, to be with her equally quiet and reserved sister. “She kept to herself, she was a loner. After a shoot or a catwalk, she went home, not out. She didn’t want to waste time partying,” Jerko remembers. “Boys at that time liked more party girls, and we were not this,” Petra Sedej, Melania’s classmate in those days, tells me. Instead, they would gather in Melania’s or Petra’s apartment, “drink juice and talk.” Another old friend from Ljubljana recalls that Melania “was a bit special that way. She was really happy with those two, three, four people she was with. She didn’t need more.” Those who remember Melania also say she seemed somehow on a plane above her peers, her gaze always focused on a point above and beyond them. At an age when her classmates were pimply, casual high schoolers, Melania was always perfectly made up, recalls Sedej. Foundation, mascara, blush, lip gloss, all in just the right, subtle amount. “Even in summertime,” she says, “she was always perfect, every day.” In college, Melania dated a fellow model, a sought-after guy studying physical education. But she was unsatisfied with his lack of seriousness. He was a good-looking, sporty 20-year-old; she was a beautiful young woman who wanted something more than a hummingbird college romance. That this boy couldn’t provide what she sought disappointed Melania, Sedej says. “She was very sensitive. She wanted more.” Recalls another friend from those days, “We were all 20, but she was much more mature.” By 1992 – the year Melania won second place in a Slovenian Look of the Year modelling contest – she seemed to have outgrown not just Ljubljana but all of newly independent Slovenia. The large media market of Yugoslavia – with some 24 million people – had been chopped up. Staying in her tiny new country of 2 million would mean the end of her modelling career. To have a shot at something bigger, at a real future in modelling, she had to move. “She was sure that there was nothing for her in Slovenia,” says the friend from Ljubljana. “She wanted to leave.” Melania decamped to Milan after her first year of college, effectively dropping out. Her connections to home grew faint. Sedej saw her for the occasional coffee on the rare occasions she visited Ljubljana, but has lost track of her since. She and her classmates wrote to Melania about their 20th high school reunion a few years ago. They e-mailed Melania’s representatives, they wrote to her on Facebook. There was no response. “She cut the line behind her,” says the friend from Ljubljana. “She started to live another life, and all this is behind her.” Melania thrived in Milan and Paris, and in 1996, having fallen in with Zampolli, the agent who brokered her visa and American modelling contract, she moved to New York with visions of truly making it big. But Melania, still only 26, would confront the perils of growing older as a model. “It was a frustrating age for models, the late 20s. It’s not a friendly industry to models of that age,” says Atanian, the former roommate. Zampolli’s agency paid Melania’s share of the rent as part of their contract. “She aired frustration over the work issue,” Atanian recalls. She wondered often why this or that photographer picked someone else over her, often someone younger. “She wasn’t working every day,” he added. “She was going to castings every day and not succeeding every day. She said things were very different in Europe, that she had been more successful.” Melania was having a hard time supporting herself, worried that her best years were behind
her. (“Pictures tell for itself,” Melania says firmly when I ask her about Atanian’s characterization of this supposed tough patch. “My portfolio says what I did,” including “the best catalogues.”) In an increasingly unfriendly market, Melania looked for advantages. She went on casting calls for alcohol and tobacco ads, which her under-age competitors couldn’t be hired for. Once, she landed a Camel ad, a billboard in Times Square. She sought an edge in other ways. “She went away for a two-week vacation, then came back, and was more… buxom,” Atanian says, groping for the right but least offensive word. “She admitted it to me. She just said it needed to be done to get more lingerie jobs.” Again, Melania scoffs when I ask if she had had a breast augmentation. “I didn’t make any changes,” she says. “A lot of people say I am using all the procedures for my face. I didn’t do anything. I live a healthy life, I take care of my skin and my body. I’m against Botox, I’m against injections; I think it’s damaging your face, damaging your nerves. It’s all me. I will age gracefully, as my mom does.” In New York, Melania lived a quiet, homebound life, taking assiduous care of her body: walks with ankle weights, seven pieces of fruit every day, diligently moisturizing her skin. She rarely partied, never brought anyone back to the apartment and was always home early. “She didn’t go out to dance clubs; she’d go to Cipriani for dinner at ten and be home by one,” Atanian recalls. “Men she would go out with tended to be wealthier, the industrious, European type. They were Italians, playboys. But they’d go out for dinner and she’d be home before I was.” It was Zampolli, again, who rescued her in 1998 – with that invitation to the party at the Kit Kat Club, unwittingly putting her on a charmed trajectory towards a certain playboy’s phone number and, who knows, maybe even the White House. hough she had appeared wordlessly behind her husband on plenty of stages throughout the long, weird winter of Trump’s primary march, Melania’s debut as a campaigner came on a snowy April night in Wisconsin. I was there for the unveiling and watched as her husband warmly ushered her to the podium. “She’s an incredible mother, she loves her son, Barron, so much,” he said. “And I have to say, she will make an unbelievable First Lady.” The crowd went wild. “I’d like to introduce my wife. Melania,” he said. “Come.” Obediently, she teetered out onto the stage on vertiginous Louboutins, a long-legged doll in a summery dress the colour of sea foam. She was unseasonably tan, clearly comfortable in this role: being admired as a specimen of physical beauty. She began by reading from the remarks waiting for her at the podium, a list she’d compiled of her husband’s attributes. “He’s a hard worker. He’s kind. He has a great heart. He’s tough. He’s smart. He’s a great communicator. He’s a great negotiator. He’s telling the truth. He’s a great leader. He’s fair.” The speech – all short, declarative sentences – sounded like it had been written by her son as a homework assignment but quickly got to what sounded like recess talk. “As you may know by now, when you attack him, he will punch back ten times harder,” she said loudly, firmly and to wild applause. “No matter who you are, a man or a woman. He treats everyone equal.” To Melania’s right, the presidential aspirant, the equal-opportunity puncher, nodded approvingly. Maybe Melania hadn’t wanted any of this a year ago – hadn’t wanted her husband to run, hadn’t wanted all the prying scrutiny, hadn’t wanted to become a politician’s wife. But here she was, taking the strangeness of life in her long, tan stride. She smiled, tautly, like a sphinx and beheld the throng before her. She was proud of her husband. He had a great heart.
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Bottega Veneta mumbai, 022-3027 7090; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4609 8262; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8932
Blazer, t-shirt; Both By john varvatos. trousers By salvatore ferragamo. shoes By gucci
022-6631 1303/4; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4604 0722; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8170
plein.com Pickett pickett.co.uk
emporio, 011-4102 7122 Givenchy givenchy.com Gucci mumbai, palladium, 022-6749 9493; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4647 1111
polaroideyewear.com Porsche mumbai, 84520 00911, delhi, 88000 00911; Bengaluru, 88840 00911 Prada prada.com
mumbai, 022-2285 7000; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4606 0999; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8805 Esprit esprit.com Etro available at the collective
dlf emporio, 011-4052 3915
Diesel mumbai, 022-2661
8282; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4052 3915; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8004 Dior Homme delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4600 5900
mumbai, 022-2648 2143; delhi, select citywalk, 011-4053 4545; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4092 5821
Degs & Sal degsandsal.com
mumbai, palladium, 022-6639 1467; delhi, 011-4108 9582; Bengaluru, 080-4098 6229 Cartier mumbai, art of time, 022-7950 5003; delhi, kapoor watch co, 011-4134 5688; Bengaluru, rodeo drive, 080-4124 8471
Dhruv Kapoor drvv.in Diesel Black Gold delhi,
Dolce & Gabbana
mumbai, 022-4347 1787; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4101 7111
dolcegabbana.com Dunhill delhi, shangri-la hotel, 011-2336 6777; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8990
citizensofhumanity.com Corneliani mumbai,
palladium, 022-4347 3211; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4604 0783; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4146 9333
rodengray.com Ferrari mumbai, 022-6171 6171; delhi, 99113 32203 Franck Muller mumbai, timekeepers, 022-2264 0000; delhi, kapoor watch co, 011-4134 5697
Calvin Klein Jeans
Citizens Of Humanity
Fabric Brand & Co
Emporio Armani mumbai,
G-Star RAW mumbai, palladium, 022-4266 0013 GAP mumbai, 022-4244 0000; delhi, select citywalk, 011-4105 3160; Bengaluru,
Giorgio Armani delhi, dlf
Raghavendra Rathore H
Hackett London mumbai, palladium, 022-4347 2888; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4108 7388; Bengaluru, uB city, 97316 00994 Hardy Amies
mumbai, 022-6749 9481; delhi, dlf emporio, 93111 12844
Rajesh Pratap Singh mumbai, 022-6638 5480; delhi, 011-2463 8788
ralphlauren.com Ray-Ban ray-ban.com
Heel & Buckle
mumbai, palladium, 022-4022 3354; delhi, ambience, 011-4087 0599 HermĂ¨s mumbai, 022-2271 7400; delhi, the oberoi hotel, 011-4360 7780 Hugo Boss mumbai, palladium, 022-2491 2210; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4604 0773; Bengaluru, leela galleria, 080-2520 7200
Ron Herman Denim ronherman.com
Salvatore Ferragamo mumbai, the trident, 022-3062 1018; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4660 9084; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-3004 1854
Saturdays NYC I IWC mumbai, time avenue, 022-2651 5757; delhi, Johnson watch co, 011-4151 3121; Bengaluru, ethos summit, 080-4099 9621
Jaguar mumbai, 022-6747 8080; delhi, 011-4692 2222; Bengaluru, 080-4309 9999 Jeep jeep-india.com Jimmy Choo mumbai, 022-3027 7070; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4660 9069; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8404
John Varvatos available at the collective
Leviâ€™s mumbai, palladium, 022-6615 5005; delhi, connaught place, 011-4567 4046; Bengaluru, phoenix marketcity, 080-6726 6240 Louis Vuitton mumbai, 022-6664 4134; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4669 0000; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4246 0000
saturdaysnyc.com Shingora shingora.net Shinola shinola.com SS Homme mumbai, 022-2651 1738 Swatch mumbai, 022-2481 3523; delhi, 011-4058 8744; Bengaluru, 080-2206 7921
TAG Heuer mumbai, 022-3060 2001; delhi, 98711 98885; Bengaluru, 080-4098 2109
The Collective mumbai, palladium, 022-4343 8888; delhi, ambience, 011-4087 8888; Bengaluru, 080-4936 8888 The Tie Hub thetiehub.com Tiffany & Co tiffany.com Tom Ford delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4103 3059 Tommy Hilfiger mumbai, palladium, 022-3072 8807; delhi, ambience mall, 011-4087 0041; Bengaluru, Brigade orion mall, 080-2268 2091
United Colors of Benetton M
Mainsai mainsai.com Marks & Spencer mumbai, phoenix marketcity, 022-6180 1667; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4607 5443; Bengaluru, 080-2208 6525
photo: tarun vishwa
Omega mumbai, 022-6655 0351; delhi, 011-4151 3255; Bengaluru, 080-4098 2106 P
Patek Philippe patek.com Paul Smith mumbai, palladium, 022-6658 9960; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4604 0744; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8882/3
mumbai, phoenix, 022-6637 3970; delhi, select citywalk, 011-4057 5085; Bengaluru, 080-4112 2368
Van Heusen mumbai, palladium, 022-6615 2898; delhi, 011-4265 8322; Bengaluru, 080-4162 7077
Z Zegna mumbai, 022-2285 7000; delhi, dlf emporio, 011-4606 0999; Bengaluru, uB city, 080-4173 8805 Zara mumbai, palladium, 022-4347 3850; delhi, dlf promenade, 011-4513 7124; Bengaluru, phoenix marketcity, 080-6726 6121
When you come across a hotel as stunning as the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, there’s only one thing to do: a GQ shoot with actor Saqib Saleem
s the sun dips behind Abu Dhabi’s iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, we’re floating back towards our rooms on the winding waterways of the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri. We’re almost at the end of our two-day shoot with actor Saqib Saleem, who’s as taken with the uberluxurious hotel as we are. The Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, with its grand architecture that’s a mix of modern and traditional, oozes sophistication, luxury and comfort. Very little is impossible thanks to the incredibly polite, attentive staff. It’s also got its own souk, and a massive, never-want-to-leave-it infinity pool and private beach. After fitting Saleem in summery suits, we’re set for a session (or three) at CHI, The Spa. Much recommended: any of the deep-
VERY LITTLE IS IMPOSSIBLE THANKS TO THE INCREDIBLY POLITE, ATTENTIVE STAFF
Twilight at the bay side hotel
Room with a view
tissue massages, which integrate ancient healing philosophies and were very soothing. Then, a meal at any of the five restaurants and bars, including two-Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola’s first Middle Eastern venture, P&C by Sergi Arola, and award-winning fine dine Hoi An. In fact, Saleem tried to break the record of how many desserts could be consumed during a GQ shoot. (We lost count after a bit.) You can be 100 per cent certain we’re coming back. There’s a dessert record at stake, after all.
For m ore, see
SUNN Y SID E UP
Saqib, the Sugar Daddy
The GQ team
embarks up on a gondol a ride
TRAVEL, LUXURY LIVING AND FASHION IN STANDOUT STYLE
Samsonite introduces Divine, a new business collection created for discerning professionals on-the-go. It features dual-tones in an eyecatching contrast that’s easy to spot, even in a crowd. Embodying the brand’s philosophy of versatility, functionality and premium craftsmanship, these laptop bags and backpacks perfectly accessorize your workwear style. `9,600. Available at leading Samsonite Black Label,
A luxury three-acre residential project in Kolkata’s upcoming urban centre, Atmosphere by Forum comprises two 500ft towers with 80 beautiful homes. But what truly sets it apart is Deya, a 40,000sq ft sky club – a floating sculpture, which has been airlifted and suspended between the two towers at a height of 400ft. It serves as the project’s community space, complete with amenities including a gym, spa, pool, banquet hall, movie theatre and putting green, while offering a stunning 360° city-view. For more information, visit forumatmosphere.com
Samsonite Exclusive and Samsonite airport outlets across India
Royal Enfield, in collaboration with Rev’it, presents the Royal Enfield Darcha – a 4-season touring jacket that allows you to push your limits, no matter what the terrain or climate. Whether you’re an explorer, a tourist, an off-roader or someone who prefers weekend trips, this versatile, all-weather jacket will see you through. `21,999. Available across all Royal Enfield stores. To shop online, visit store.royalenfield.com
Turtle trend Shocking denim
Denim is continuing its reign over fashion, and it’s not just in clothes. Cashing in on the craze is Casio, a renowned watch brand, which introduces a range of fabulous denimpatterned watches to its G-Shock collection. Varied washes of black, blue and light blue have been reworked into the iconic brand’s sporty timepieces. `8,995. Available at all exclusive Casio stores, select watch retailers across India and casioindiashop.com
Straight from the runway to your wardrobe, the Turtle Spring/Summer 2016 collection is styled on the hottest trends in the world of fashion. Play with prints at their graphic best. Stay effortless with breezy linen. Indulge in versatile indigo. Go boho with seven earthy shades of Khaki. And champion freedom with hand-spun Khadi. Men’s fashion never looked trendier or felt more comfortable. `2,295 (Linen Shirt) and Rs 2,495 (Linen Trousers). Available exclusively at all Turtle outlets across India
Inspired by the brand’s watches made for rail services in the 1960s, the Longines RailRoad mirrors the elegant aesthetics and solid technical characteristics of its historical prototype. The 40mm diameter steel case houses a reliable L888.2 automatic winding calibre, produced exclusively for Longines. Ensuring excellent readability, the off-white polished dome dial displays an hour and minute circle composed of large black Arabic numerals, subtly enhanced by black shiny hands. With a classy black alligator strap, it makes for the perfect wrist accessory. `1,10,500. For further information, visit longines.com
C’est la vie
Bringing Parisian luxury to the Maximum City, Kanakia Paris @ BKC, Mumbai is an opulent residential project with seven wings and approximately 460 two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments. What’s more, it has roped in football superstar Zinedine Zidane as its brand ambassador, who will be setting up the iconic Z Wellness Holistic programme. Add to that amenities like a designer clubhouse, 24/7 concierge, swimming pool, French café, spa and more, and residents are sure to be thoroughly spoilt.
Missoni’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection marries western functionality with eastern craft. Relaxed silhouettes and India’s traditional weaving techniques are showcased through the brand’s signature light knits, Delavé linen and cotton crepes. Bursts of evocative colour from indigo, emerald to jasper, vermillion, amethyst and marigold conjure up visions of India’s sacred rituals, bustling markets and amber deserts.
For more information, visit paris.kanakia.com
Prices on request. For more information, visit missoni.com/gb/fashion
Sprinkled with a touch of flamboyance, Summer Élan — the summer 2016 collection by bespoke luxury fashion label Sunil Mehra — presents suits, tuxedos and sherwanis, meticulously crafted from silk, linen, cotton and Italian jacquard in bright colours and vibrant summer motifs. Each piece from this collection is handmade by skilled craftsmen to ensure that these wearable works of art are tailored to your personality. Price on Request. Available in Delhi at 66, Greater Kailash, call 011-41634788 and in Gurgaon at JMD Empire Square, M.G Road, call 0124-2889102
Rajesh LifeSpaces, a renowned real-estate developer, introduces Raj Tattva – a 3.8 acre luxury living complex with four-to-five BHK homes across five 29-storey towers. Apart from the four-level parking, residents can access the club house, swimming pools, children’s play area, barbeque pavilion, event pavilions, open air lounge terrace, half basketball court, tennis court, cricket practice enclosure and a host of other amenities. Priced between `1.8 crore and `3.10 crore (for three and four BHKs). Bookings Open
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WORDS: DAVE BESSELING. IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES