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Shabana Azmi-Javed Akhtar's lunch with Robert de Niro

By Subhash K Jha
November 06, 2013 12:46 IST
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Shabana Azmi, Robert de Niro and Javed AkhtarOn Tuesday, Hollywood actor Robert de Niro was in Delhi, en route to Goa, for a Tehelka enclave, where he was to share opinions with intellectuals from across the country.

In Delhi, a special lunch was organised at the Chambers restaurant in the Taj Hotel, Mansingh Road.

Says a source from the venue, "It was a very exclusive lunch with de Niro. Only Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi were invited from Bollywood. De Niro was amazingly affable. There were no airs, no trying to create an I-am-one-of-the-greatest-actors aura. He was down-to-earth,warm and very curious

about the Indian film industry.

"He had a million questions for Shabana and Javed, who had a zillion questions for de Niro. Shabana and Javed were seated next to de Niro at the lunch table. They spoke about President Obama and Meryl Streep."

There were only 25 guests at the lunch. Besides Shabana and Javed, the other guests included media baron Aroon Purie, Nobel laureate litterateur V S Naipaul, entrepreneur Sunil Kant Munjal, parliamentarian Sandeep Dixit, scientist Hari Bhartia and fashion designer Suneet Varma.

"Yes, Javed and I had an amazing lunch session with Robert de Niro," says Shabana. "I was at a general assembly meeting of Actionaid discussing poverty alleviation, and then I zoomed off to have lunch with de Niro."

De Niro is in India for Tehelka's Think Festival in Goa, which begins later this week. This is the actor’s first visit to India.
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Subhash K Jha in Patna