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Gourmet glory for Malaika
celebrity circus

Now that Malaika Arora’s sizzling item number in Housefull 2 is official news (a hint of it was given here two weeks ago), it signals the end of yet another unfounded story that had gone around a few weeks ago. After one unrelenting bout of rumours that Arbaaz and Malaika were splitting, when the couple calmly continued to stay by each other’s side, the next whisper was that she would not do item numbers anymore except for her own husband’s movies.

“Where did that come from,” wondered Malaika as she spoke of the sizzler she was soon to shoot for with Farah Khan for Housefull 2. “I’ve always worked with friends, in films where I feel comfortable,” she pointed out. “Sajid Khan told me that I’d been a part of Heyy Baby and Housefull, and I had to be in his next film too. That was really sweet of him; he told me I was some sort of lucky charm for him.” The brief from Sajid Khan is that his sis Farah and Malaika must outdo their Munni badnaam hui sauciness for Housefull 2 and they are working on it.

One would think that someone so closely associated with glamour would go shopping for clothes and cosmetics and party hard when she travels so frequently to London and New York. But Malaika has one rather un-glamorous obsession: she loves food and cooking. Going by her petite frame, you wouldn’t think she’d be a foodie but she loves it enough to want to open a restaurant of her own. “I have everything ready for it,” she disclosed. The only constraint is space, impossible to find in Bandra, the suburb where Malla stays. This is where she’d ideally like to locate her dream restaurant too. “Give me the space today and I have everything else in place to start work today. From menus and interiors to the chefs and the staff, I have them all ready.” Considering how the large Salman Khan family has benefited from the bumper returns of Dabangg, Ready and Bodyguard, and has been wisely investing in property, it shouldn’t be long before Malla starts her dream restaurant.

Meanwhile, pursuing this un-glamorous activity, when she goes off for a long spell to New York (one of her favourite holiday destinations), you’ll find Malaika enrolling herself for a cookery course or a pottery class. It’s not all about shopping and hitting the night spots. Even back home, she whips ups desserts, sushi and lots of exotic food in her kitchen. And cookery programmes from all over the world figure high on her must-watch list. So don’t be surprised if she soon starts hosting a steamy, sizzling cookery show.

It turns out that Malaika is not the only one so passionately interested in cooking. Arshad Warsi’s very glamorous wife, Maria Goretti is also a food enthusiast, blogs about food and keeps doing endless bakery and cookery classes. “Drop by any day, I’ll bake you some nice scones,” she promised.

From cooking to clothes, Malaika’s husband Arbaaz, who is a casual dresser most times, came back intrigued from the National Awards this year. He himself opted to wear one of his regular suits (nothing specially tailored for the occasion) when he went to Vigyan Bhavan to get his first National Award from the President of India but he was surprised to find that such a prestigious occasion had no dress code at all. “Come in the national dress or in your regional dress,” he later remarked, “but come dressed appropriately.”

He was astonished to find some of the award winners turning up in casuals with a shirt hanging out of the trouser, some of them wearing sandals and chappals too. As he observed, even an industrialist or a socialite’s party or a night club enforces some restrictions on the way you dress. So when you are in the hallowed precincts of Vigyan Bhavan where a formal, sober function is being held by the President of India, surely you must be told how to dress up for it? “Come on, even at the Oscars there is a dress code,” said Arbaaz Khan. Wonder if the ministry in charge will take note of Arbaaz Khan’s remarks and turn the National Awards into a nattier function.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is editor, The Film Street Journal

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