Spirits are high as Chennai gears up to bid 2013 a rousing goodbye. Many of our glamorous people are already jetting their way to foreign shores—like actress Taapsee Pannu, who is heading to Europe. “I want to enjoy the winter there and have snow fights with my friends,” says the curly haired actress, who is packing “boots, trench coats and stoles” to make her fashion statement on the continent. But for many others, on New Year’s Eve, the city will be party central. Everyone from actors to sportsmen to designers to socialites are hunkering down on home turf. So we decided to hunt down the exclusive dos and bring you the scoop on who’s wearing what, where the strobe lights are flashing the most and what everyone’s doing while ringing in the new year with friends and family.
Chennai’s revellers tell us where all the action is this New Year’s Eve and how they plan to welcome 2014 differently
If the end of the year is a time to reflect and rejuvenate, where better to do it than in a new country. ‘‘I make it a point to travel somewhere new every year end. This year I am going to Japan,’’ says designer and publisher Kaveri Lalchand. She and her sister plan to visit Tokyo and Kyoto, and meander wherever the road takes them. ‘‘Last year, I rang in the New Year on the beach in Sri Lanka. There is nothing like watching the sun come up,’’ she says. ‘‘I then had the Sinhalese traditional breakfast, kiribath (milk rice) served with lunu miris, a mixture of red onions, salt and chillies.’’ This year, Lalchand has no clear idea about where she will be in Tokyo but she knows one thing: ‘‘I plan to find out what is traditionally done by the Japanese and I will do it, too.’’ Sample some osechi, perhaps?
Rehane Yavar Dhala
Park Hyatt or not? ‘‘I’m still contemplating if we should attend the Priyanka Chopra party everyone is talking about,’’ says our high-profile designer, adding that the hotel reminds her of her favourite Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. ‘‘If I do go, I’ll be in black. That said, since we are Shia Muslims and this is still a period of mourning, we may just stay home and I will be tucked in by 12 am,’’ shares Rehane. And in 2014? ‘‘There is a mother of all parties coming up early next year, when I (rather, my brand) turns 16!’’
Product designer and actress Lekha Washington needs some quiet this New Year. “I have been running around with shooting, the recent launch of my products in December and a lot of work, so this year has to be quiet.” A trip to Goa with her parents is on the cards. “I will be spending time with my family at Goa. The agenda is lots of good food and sleep. On New Year’s eve I plan to wear my new Bebe dress and meet friends for a party by the beach,” she says, adding, “I dress up so much for work. I am with make up all the time, this is the time for me to be as natural and casual as possible. This is my private time.” Last year was peaceful as well. “I stayed with a couple of friends in Alibag. The house was big with a pool, loads of good food and alcohol. It was brilliant,” she concludes.
Busy with charity efforts and her hotel’s activities, Nina Reddy still finds time to look gorgeous. ‘‘Every year end, by seven in the evening, before the guests come in, we hold hands and express our gratitude and hope for a great year ahead. Later, usually between 8.30 pm and 10 pm, I ask my friends to come over for a toast. By 11 pm, we go back to our families to bring in the New Year with them,’’ she shares.
Come the witching hour, Khushboo Sundar turns her back on parties and settles down at home for some quality time with her two daughters, Avanthika and Ananditha. The tradition for the last seven years will include a movie marathon this year. “We got a new home theatre. We will watch movies till sunrise, from 3D to animation, Tamil and English movies,” laughs the actress.
One of Lakshmipathy Balaji’s memorable new years was celebrated at the Sydney Harbour. “They burst crackers and it felt like all of Australia was there,” he reminisces. But that’s a far cry from what he has planned for this year. Currently playing for the Tamil Nadu state cricket team, Balaji has matches right until New Year’s Eve. “After that I will meet up with friends like Badrinath Subramaniam and Pradeep,” he says. Balaji, who recently got married, says he prefers lounging around in his pajamas — the perfect attire for someone who’d rather stay at home than go to clubs. “I am not going to some over-the-top party where you can’t hear the other person. I’d rather stay at home and catch up with friends,” he concludes.
Considering her love for speed, one might think that racer Alisha Abdullah would like a racy New Year’s Eve. On the contrary, this 23-year-old spends her New Year’s at home with family and friends. “I am not the partying kind,” smiles Abdullah, who will be coming up with her own line of Pakistani clothing in January. She shares her plans for the first day of 2014. “I like spending time around kids and this year I will be spending New Year with the children at Shishu Bhavan in Royapuram.”
Her younger sister’s wedding has got in the way of Kajal Agarwal’s new year plans, but she isn’t complaining. In fact, she went on Facebook to share that her sister’s wedding will be the most emotional day for her. “Nisha is getting married so it has been hectic. I have been running around a lot for it,” says the actress, who completed work a week in advance for the Vijay-starrer Jilla, so she could spend time with her family in Mumbai. She admits that last new year, in Bali, was the best ever.
Osman Abdul Razak
Recently blessed with a baby, Osman Abdul Razak tells us that he is looking forward to a quiet New Year. “This year is going to be discreet for me and my wife, Mariam Haroon. We will be checking into the ITC Grand Chola and are looking forward to some quiet time and their speciality restaurants and spa too,” says the director of Gabanna Life. The best place to head to in Chennai? “The Madras Club. They usually have a dance, a good dinner, and an elite group who never miss the bash.”
Tina and Atul Malhotra’s daughter will be proving her design chops in a few months, but at the moment it’s a homecoming with friends that’s highly anticipated. The pretty student from London reveals that New Year’s Eve is all about a house party, with commercial and minimal music, exotic finger food (given the family’s gourmet leanings) and gallons of Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut on ice. While friends are organising the bubbly, Ananya is clear about her look—”sequins, dark and glamorous.” At the moment, it’s either an All Saints skirt or a Cue dress, smoky eyes and a nude lip. Armed with a bachelor’7s from Central Saint Martins and with her course at GIA completing in March, 2014 is all about learning the ropes at a leading Parisian jewellery house. ‘‘But I do want to start my own company in a year, something international,’’ says Ananya, 22, a fan of Balenciaga’s clean lines and Alexander Wang’s sporty luxe.
Every year, Anandan Sivamani, or Drums Mani, starts his New Year by touching his mother’s feet. But that could be the only quiet moment he’s going to get, what with back-to-back performances on New Year’s Eve. “I will first perform in Chennai, which is my city, and then I will catch a chartered plane and go to Pune. Every year, my friends Venky and Balaji Rao throw a big party, where artistes perform. This year, my turn to play is between 5 am and 6 am,” he says. His new year performance is special, because his guru, Noel Grant, passed away on January 1.
Travel is on the cards for Karthik Kumar this New Year’s Eve—just 340 km away, to Bangalore. “Evam is going to be performing there. Since the entire team will be there, we are throwing a big party,” says Karthik. “I am going to stay back, party hard and spend quality time with my team.” This year, there will be no designer duds for this actor; instead he plans to be a “walking Christmas tree” in an outfit that’s red and green. Karthik is also keeping his fingers crossed that the party will not be a repeat of a 10-year-old nightmare. “We had decided to throw a party for friends. And by friends I mean 40 people. But 800 people turned up—it was like an urban legend.”
It’s Bangkok for Gibran Osman. After numerous new years at friends’ parties and beach houses, the actor-entrepreneur, wife and gang of friends are going to bring in 2014 with a bang. “At midnight, we’ll either be at the Lebua, which is on the 64th floor with a view of the whole of Bangkok or on a river cruise,” he says. And the day after—it’s going to be food and shopping.
Preetha Ramaswamy, the marketing manager of SPI Cinemas, will be spending New Year in the hills. “I’m heading to Kodaikanal to celebrate with a bunch of friends. Though we don’t have anything particular planned, we’re looking forward to a good time catching up,’’ she says. But if not Kodaikanal, where would she rather be? “Of all the places I’ve been to, my favourite is New York city and I would recommend it any time of the year,” says Ramaswamy, who feels that the city that never sleeps is “fun no matter when!”
— Mrinalini Sundar, Ryan Peppin, Sumitra Nair and Surya Praphulla Kumar