Vanity Fair


Compiled by Nishita Jha

Poonam Pandey
Mind over matter Poonam Pandey

A Political Streak

Poonam Pandey is more than just a pretty face, but then you already knew that. We thought she had left nothing to our imagination. Who could have reckoned that while working out her stats she got her politics down pat. Despite Kiran Bedi’s invitation, Pandey refused to join the Anna-brigade and take advantage of the accompanying 24×7 media coverage, or in her case, exposure — though that would have made TV dinners a fun night in. And then this third-wave feminist weighed in on that other pressing national concern — Ash’s weight gain. She sided withBachchan Sr, telling the new mother to stay awesome. That’s a real big heart in those tiny clothes, honey.

Cry Baby

Rohit ShettyThe Incredible Sulk

Director Rohit Shetty has been on some winning streak. After the success ofSingham and the Golmaal franchise, he has signed an untitled project with Dharma Productions, is working on Chennai Expresswith SRK, and has Bol Bachchan withAmitabh and Abhishek Bachchan already in post-production. And what is his net take away? He is “looked down” upon by colleagues, as he recently whined to aspiring filmmakers at Whistling Woods. Forget about a message to the youth, learn to count your blessings Mr Shetty, or at least your bank notes.

Sonam KapoorStepping On Toes

Maybe it’s the lure of the Louboutins but Sonam Kapoor keeps sticking those daintily clad feet in her mouth. It wasn’t too long ago when Kapoor called Aishwarya Rai L’Oreal’s ageing ambassador and found herself uninvited from the Cannes red carpet. This year Kapoor confessed to journalists that she wishes she could be “shameless” like Katrina Kaif. If that is a jibe about Kat playing serial eyecandy, then we must have missed the slew of films on Kapoor saving Adivasis in Dantewada.


Time Stamp

Saif And Kareena are all set to tie the knot on 16 October. How do we know? Because mum Sharmila Tagore announced, it is all to be very hush hush. The last time the state secret leaked, Saif and Kareena were deploying their stellar spy skills learned on the sets of Agent Vinod. Maybe this time they’ll use a movie as a marketing ploy for their marriage instead of the other way around.

‘Fusion cuisine is like presenting an unbaked pie’

WHO Delhi-based chef Manjit Singh Gill has been in the profession for almost 30 years. A graduate of the Institute of Hotel Management, New Delhi, he is now the Convener and President – Indian Federation of Culinary Associations. He also works as Corporate Executive Chef, ITC Welcomgroup.

Manjit Singh Gill
Manjit Singh Gill, 61, Chef Photo: Tarun Sehrawat

What makes a good chef?
According to the Vedas, there are four essential qualities — a proper knowledge of ingredients; the ability to feel, touch and involve oneself completely in the process and not just in giving directions; a high level of concentration and presence of mind; good thoughts while cooking to make the diner feel happy.

Any initial setbacks?
I’ve been a vegetarian since childhood. There was no my meat in my house, so I never developed a taste for it. When asked to beat an egg, I had to tell my teacher that I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t take the smell. He replied, “Then you can’t become a chef.” Over the years I’ve made myself stronger, made all sorts of meat and realised that it isn’t a big deal. You get used to it.

Most memorable meal?
Thirty years ago I came across a fascinating book,Taste Divine on local Indian food. I tracked down the author to an ashram in Haridwar. She invited me for meditation and dinner. She made upma and beetroot soup and explained how particular she was in buying vegetables. For instance, she never bought beetroot without leaves. This was a turning point in my training, which had been western then. It encouraged me to understand and try and make Indian food.

What do you think of fusion cuisine?
I am not against creativity but what people call fusion is not the way forward for our food. People come here to understand Indian food. There is already so much diversity when it comes to Indian cuisine, with Aryan influences in the north, Dravidian in the south, Portuguese, Greek in other regions. Discovering and learning these cuisines is what I call evolved food. It makes no sense to not try and explore this storehouse of knowledge. However, cooking has become more efficient and economical with new gadgets and technology. What previously took five hours to cook now takes two. That’s modernity. Fusion is like presenting an unbaked pie.

Bhanu Priya Vyas


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