Monday, 30th October 2017

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When Peter met Indrani (and told me to lay off)

I have known Peter Mukerjea for almost 15 years now. In fact, it was on one rather wet evening that I had invited Peter, Sumantra Dutta (a STAR executive) and the late Murli Deora to The Library Bar then at The President and as we were  sitting around having our drinks, in walked this rather beautiful woman Indrani, escorted to the bar by Alyque Padamsee.

By Guest Column: Suhel Seth
  • Published 27.08.15
  •  

I have known Peter Mukerjea for almost 15 years now. In fact, it was on one rather wet evening that I had invited Peter, Sumantra Dutta (a STAR executive) and the late Murli Deora to The Library Bar then at The President and as we were sitting around having our drinks, in walked this rather beautiful woman Indrani, escorted to the bar by Alyque Padamsee.

Alyque said hello to all of us and I took the initiative of asking Indrani (and not Alyque) to join us at the table. Also with us at the table was Sapna who was then Peter’s girlfriend: she was working for JWT, if I recall correctly.

There was a certain charm to Indrani and during the conversation, she reminded me how she and I had met once at the CC&FC and it was then that she mentioned her husband and her daughter Vidhie, saying she and her husband were separated. 

The evening went off swimmingly well: in fact, so smitten was Peter by her that he left his girlfriend Sapna behind for Sumantra and me to drop and went off with Indrani. The one casualty that evening was Alyque.

I came back to Delhi two days later and then called Indrani and asked her where she was. Bachelors can be very wicked. No sooner had I put the phone down, I got a call from Peter saying he was very serious about her and was considering marrying her, so I should perhaps see her in a different light. From that moment on, I did.

Peter and she then started seeing each other seriously and about three months later Peter called to say Indrani and he were getting married. The wedding was in their home at Pochkanwallah Road: a very, very small affair. I didn’t see anyone from Indrani’s family though, of course, Vidhie, her daughter, was there.

Post the wedding, they went off on their honeymoon and about a month later, they were coming to Delhi when Peter told me it would be fun for all of us to meet. So I decided to host a dinner in honour of this newly married couple at home and 
there were all of Peter’s friends.

Post Peter’s departure from STAR, he and Indrani began their media venture INX and during those years, with my travels and theirs, we didn’t remain as much in touch as we used to. We would meet very infrequently and I noticed how loving and affectionate Peter was towards Indrani’s daughter. 

Indrani, in the meanwhile, had morphed from this Calcutta girl to the Grand Dame of Bombay in her new avatar as a media tycoon. It was a few years later that both Indrani and Peter called to tell me they were selling INX and moving to the UK. They then moved to Bristol where their daughter Vidhie was also studying.

About three years ago, Indrani called me to say she and Peter were visiting Bombay and would I care to have dinner with them. I was in New York and told them I would catch up with them in London and/or Bristol. I then met the two of them some months later in London where I was delivering a speech, post which we went out for drinks and dinner. That was 
the last I saw them.

Indrani was always very driven and deeply ambitious as any person perhaps would be if married to a high achiever and Peter was the indulgent husband. In fact, I often joked about their increasing demonstration of affection in public but they were too much in love to care.

The events of the last few days have been shocking to say the least. I, for one, cannot imagine that she did have a family which we knew nothing of. Including Peter. He too must be as aghast and deeply shocked. But then we shall have to wait for the truth to emerge which I am sure will follow in due course.

This is a horrible travesty and one which Peter will have to live through. This is not the time to prey like vultures but instead to wait for the investigations to be completed. If it emerges that Indrani did kill Sheena Bora, then the consequences will be fierce as they will be devastating.