Little Miss Mafatlal

MissMalini , 10 Jun 2009
Sheetal Mafatlal
Sheetal Mafatlal

Sheetal Mafatlal, arrested by the Air Intelligence Unit of customs at Mumbai airport for ‘false declaration and smuggling’ of gold ornaments worth Rs 53 lakh (and rather ironically ratted on by someone from her own family) was granted bail by the metropolitan magistrate’s court yesterday.

photo courtesy: Mid Day
photo courtesy: Mid Day

Legal eagles, however, said that customs officials should have given Mafatlal bail there since as per Customs Act, amended in 2007, the offense only becomes non-bailable if the goods seized is worth more than Rs 1 crore and the duty exceeds Rs 30 lakh.

“In a bailable offense how can person be in custody even for a minute? I feel the magistrate was misled by the customs officials” said advocate Sujay Kantawalla, who specializes in customs cases.

A stressed out Sheetal was led to the staff washroom on four occasions.  “She wanted to splash water on her face so that she could feel relaxed,” said officials. Sheetal was provided with a woman officer at all times. She, however, mildly refused the eatables offered.

Meanwhile yesterday, according to Mid Day B-Town was abuzz with news of Madhur Bhandarkar planning to include the Sheetal Mafatlal episode in his film, Jail. Madhur, who is famous for replicating real-life incidents and personalities in his movies, was said to have cast an actress in the role of Sheetal as a last-minute addition in his film. However, Madhur denies any such development. “I am being asked all sorts of questions! But there is no truth to this. I have not included anything based on Sheetal Mafatlal in my film.” When asked about his last minute addition to the film he defiantly says, “My movie is ready and there are just two days of post production left. How can I make a last-minute addition at this stage? There is no scope for me to do any such thing.” Adding that his film is male dominated he says, “Neil is my main lead and the film revolves around him. It’s seen from a guys perspective so there is really no possibility that I will introduce a female character.”

FYI Kangna Ranaut’s character in Fashion was based on the real-life story of model Geetanjali Nagpal. Madhur stumbled upon the riches-to-rags story of Geetanjali and decided to use it in his film. Traffic Signal was based on the story of beggars and child laborers at signals. Madhur apparently spent time doing research on how these children led their lives. In Page 3, Madhur based many of the social butterfly characters on real-life socialites.

Keeping up with the Mafatlals

Sheetal Mafatlal is married to Atulya Mafatlal who promptly gave her the presidency of Mafatlal Luxury. The Mafatlal family fued has been simmering for half a decade now primarily between Madhuri Mafatlal, wife of industrialist late Yogiedra Mafatlal, and her son Atulya, who in 2005 reported jewelry worth Rs ten crore missing from safe in their house. Madhuri wrote back to Atulya that the jewellery was very much in her possession and would be handed over to Atulya and his wife Sheetal as soon as the family trust came to an end in January 2006. Meanwhile, Atulya made a statement before the Bombay High Court, which was hearing the civil suit filed by his mother, that he would not evict his mother or any other family members from the family house. He also undertook to remove the security guards from the house which he had placed in view of alleged theft of family valuables from the house. The family jewels were eventually handed over to Atulya.

Late Yogendra Mafatlal had during his life time given control of the Mafatlal companies to Atulya and had also distributed family property to Atulya and his four daughters, Kunti, Gayatri, Malvika and Aparna and their husbands, Aparna had a sex change  and is now known as Ajay Mafatlal. It gets better (or worse really.) The, 52-year-old Ajay Mafatlal categorically denied that he underwent a sex change operation to gain access to a 10,000 sq ft flat at Altamount Road. The Mafatlal family was embroiled in a bitter property dispute, with one son Atulya and his socialite wife Sheetal on the one side and the Mafatlal matriarch Madhuri (77) and the other son Ajay ranged against them. Breaking his silence on his controversial personal life for the first time, Ajay Mafatlal said: “I haven’t changed my sex for the property. I had the mannerisms of a boy since I was six years old and underwent the change for personal reasons.”

Wow. Does anybody else see total potential for a high-drama series along the lines of The Bold & The Beautiful here? I call royalty dibs for the idea. Tons of scope for costume/jewlery changes for young Miss Mafatlal too. (Sometimes television just writes itself doesn’t it?!)

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