Boris, Jennifer and the Bollywood connection

Boris Johnson  (Andrew Parsons/Pool via REUTERS).
Boris Johnson (Andrew Parsons/Pool via REUTERS).

by Amit Roy

PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson’s American friend, Jennifer Arcuri, with whom he is alleged to have begun a sexual relationship in 2012 when he was campaigning to be re­-elected mayor of London, is cur­rently under investigation beca­use of the £126,000 of taxpayers’
money she received for her IT start­up company in London.

She has gone back home to Los Angeles, from where she issued a brief statement that her business dealings were “legitimate”.

Boris, too, has insisted “everything was done with full propriety”.

And that is where the matter rests  in the eyes of rank and file Tory party members, for whom Boris is  right even when he is wrong.

As far as Arcuri is concerned, she was certainly telling the truth in one respect. She had indeed been in a 2011 Bollywood film, [email protected] I looked it up. It was directed by one of my favourite people in the film world – Jagmohan Mundhra.

I discovered “Jag” had sent me an email on March 4, 2011, saying he missed London where
he had based himself for five years. And then there it was: “I have a film called [email protected] starring Govinda, opening all over in mid-April.

“It is a kind of product (deliberate low brow, mind-less, slapstick humour) which you will never associate with me, but I am excited at the challenges it threw at me for testing my range. Govinda helped me a great deal in getting out of my comfort zone and exploring what may appeal to an audience who want to leave their brains behind when they go to the movies to be entertained.”

On September 4 that same year came the sad news that Jag had died of a heart attack in Mumbai.

The film tells of the trials and tribulations of a Punjabi in London, Harvinder (nickname “Happy”), played by Govinda, who has to admit to one of life’s great tragedies – that he was still a virgin at 40. Arcuri plays a “girl on London streets”. Happy suffers from being a sleep-walker. On one occasion he follows Arcuri, who is startled and utters the words, “Gosh! Oh!” On another occasion, she purposefully strides down a hotel corridor.

The film also stars Anupam Kher as Happy’s father, who takes it as a personal affront that his son is still a virgin and in London of all places. He pleads with his nephews, “Sandy”
and “Mandy” (Ameet Chana), to relieve him of his heavy burden.

The dialogue is, at times, excessively witty.

Knocked off his bike when his attention is distracted by an alluring poster on a bus, Happy is helped up by a passing woman.

“Are you ok?” she asks.

The audience was probably rolling in the aisles when he replied: “No, I’m Happy.”

What is possibly a coincidence is that Happy sleepwalks into a pole dancing club where the director injects a little titillation.

According to the Sunday Times, Boris was a frequent visitor to Arcuri’s flat in Shoreditch, east London, which was kitted out for pole dancing. My theory is that Arcuri moved to London from the US in 2011 because she was promised a role in the Bollywood film.

It is possible that Jag came across her in Los Angeles where he, too, had his family home.

Her role in [email protected] may have been fleeting, but that in the much larger political
drama currently being witnessed in Britain, it is a starring one.