Harmeet Bajaj and Kiran Riyaaz Amlani new label Anaya finds favour with divas
A well-respected name in Delhi’s fashion and social circles, the genteel Harmeet Bajaj who took a hiatus from the fashion world for some time is back. After a brief run with her earlier label Bian, she has launched a new fashion label ANAYA with Mumbai based Kiran Choudhury Amlani (wife of Riyaaz Amlani of Impresario who own the popular restaurants like Smokehouse Deli, Social and the legendary Prithvi Café among others).
Harmeet has been a successful choreographer for some of the biggest designers, NIFT fashion professor and also an accessories designer cum textile developer! Kiran Amlani a non-practising lawyer, she says is a dear friend who shares a common heritage of Lahore and pre-Independence Punjab as well as a similar aesthetics. What resulted then was a line of chic and stylish apparel that draws inspiration from a love of old fabrics, laces, thread work, embroideries and weaves for both bridal couture as well as a luxury pret’ collection.
In spite of the low-profile existence, the clothes, high on understated chic are in demand both in Mumbai and Delhi. Among those who drop into the shop are actress Shriya Saran and Fleur Xavier from Mumbai. While Fleur picked up an outfit to wear at a friend’s wedding, Shriya picked up a three-piece ethnic suit by Kiran. Delhi’s choosy hi- fliers like Sujata Asomull and businesswoman Priya Paul too are happy shoppers at the Defence Colony studio. Harmeet says this current venture will be a much more niche and bespoke experience for discerning fashionistas who truly care about the best craftsmanship, fabrics and tailoring. For now, she will be running the show from her own place and they will rely on word of mouth publicity for the brand. Aspiring fashionistas can barely wait for the next collection to hit the stores.
Aatish Taseer's next story is Imran Khan for Vanity Fair
“I haven’t been paying much attention. I’m on deadline for an Imran Khan profile for Vanity Fair,” is what writer Aatish Taseer has to say about the vandalisation of his Wikipedia page to allege that he is a public-relations manager for the Congress party. Now it remains to be seen whether his writings on Imran Khan slated to appear very soon cause the same furore that his Time magazine cover story on PM Narendra Modi did. Taseer, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and most recently the author of The Twice Born, stirred up a storm last week by penning a cover piece in the Time magazine in which he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Divider-in-Chief.
Not only was the Time magazine story attacked, but the Wikipedia vandal also allegedly edited the comment on Taseer’s latest book about Brahmins in Varanasi to say that it “divides Hindus”. Although Aatish Taseer may have been unconcerned by the vandalism of his Wikipedia page (which is now protected and is locked for editing), his mother, veteran journalist Tavleen Singh, took to social media to deal with all the ire directed at her son. A friend of Singh, veteran actor Kabir Bedi in a tweet called Taseer a Pakistani and Singh, who had maintained a studied silence on the matter, was stirred to tweet on Mother’s Day to say that her son is not a Pakistani and that Bedi knew it well. Since that tweet, Singh has maintained silence.
Aatish Taseer’s father Salman Taseer was the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab. He was assassinated for opposing the country’s blasphemy laws in 2011. Aatish Taseer is London-based but spends time travelling extensively for his writings.
Viraj Bahri makes music his business
At a recent sundowner, Promila Jain Bahri was brimming with pride at her son’s musical achievement. Viraj, the younger scion of the well-known transport business family, has just come out with his club song Aaja Ni Aaja, a Punjabi single that is on playlists at top clubs. The song has achieved almost a million hits on YouTube since its release in March this year. “For his first single that’s a great score,” gushes the proud mother Promila adding that Viraj, currently studying music at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, has not only sung and conceptualised the video but has also lent his expertise in producing it.
It’s rare for a business family to produce a popular singer so Promila is understandably excited. She says many people in the entertainment industry who have heard the song, such as film writer and director Shashank Khaitan have got back to Viraj to say he has a soul-stirring voice that will do well. Shameer Tandon, the Bollywood composer and music director said he was a talented young boy who since he has started very early in life should go far. Satish Kaushik, actor, director and producer too said, “Viraj mein dum hai, bahut door jayeega yeh bacha.” Even Jassi the well-known Punjabi singer has said “Dhamaaka hai, total dhamaaka. Well done Viraj."
Viraj’s father Vikram is in the paper business and has interests in real estate but Viraj chose an unconventional path. Promila too is an entrepreneur who launched Lil Tomatoes, an all-boys clothing brand in 1995, a concept much ahead of its time and now is helming Bollywood's to promote celluloid inspired art, lifestyle and fashion. The mother and son duo came together and launched Vande Mataram- Restrung, a single to salute and revive respect for women which received good reviews. Viraj says he is thankful for his music and tries to give back by enabling younger talent than himself who cannot afford learning music.
Raveena Tandon reveals brave secrets at Revathi Roy's book launch
Actor Raveena Tandon showed up looking bright and breezy in a red polka dot, long gipsy skirt and ruffled white blouse, at Crosswords, Kemps corner Mumbai for an interesting discussion on the book, ‘Who is Revathi Roy?’ by Dr Swati Lodha.
Raveena who said she was lucky to have got an advance copy of the book, says she was struck by the stark honesty of the book, a biography of serial entrepreneur Revathi Roy, the founder of the first ever all-woman taxi service Forshe. A much-feted lady, Revathi has raised three businesses and three sons. A TDS (Time Distance Speed) rally driver by passion, she turned her passion into a mission of driving change for women.
Raveena who herself is a vocal champion of women’s empowerment candidly admitted, “I find it extraordinary to see how women fight against the lowest low of their life and pick themselves up and find success. That makes it marvellous. I actually identified with Revathi’s story a lot because I myself went through a phase where both personally and professionally in my life I was a complete zero, I can’t say it was life inflicted, it was more self -inflicted. My dad used to say when a child learns how to walk, he falls many times but he has to pick himself up and walk again. That stuck with me and I realised no one can keep me lying down. That is the spirit that really touched me through the book, Revathi’s very bubbly effervescent persona is something I completely love. People would tell me you are always smiling through everything, you are never without a smile on your face, don’t you ever feel sad? I used to say to them that I laugh the loudest when I am the saddest. That is another thing that shines about Revathi’s personality, so this is a book completely after my heart.”
Samina Vaziralli, Executive Vice Chairperson, CIPLA agreed that the book told a tale of resilience against all odds, Sourav Majumdar, Editor, Fortune Magazine, author Dr Swati Lodha were also part of the lively which discussion which had the audience deeply interested in what the panellists had to say.
Dr Swati Lodha pointed out that Roy’s story is a masterclass in ‘how to use grit and glee to galvanise your life. Revathi Roy is semi-famous, entrepreneurially famous, not celebrity famous. Hence, the book is titled ‘Who is Revathi Roy?’, a google search question - popping in the heads of people while picking this book, and answered - on reading it. But wait, it is breath-taking. This is the journey of an Indian woman who traversed from being a privileged child to a protected partner to a penalised prisoner to an exponential entrepreneur. In other words, a riches to rags to revolution story (as the book’s tagline says).”
An emotionally and visibly moved Revathi says she decided to share her story to motivate all the women who wish to change their lives.
Gallerist Nidhi Jain exhibition celebrates the glory of Lutyens' Delhi
Nidhi Jain, a much respected Delhi gallerist is celebrating the glory of Lutyens’ Delhi and raising a toast to its 100 plus years of legacy, history and landscape by associating with the Capital’s iconic landmark hotel, The Ambassador (SeleQtions). The hotel constructed in the year 1945 by popular British Architect, Walter George. Designed with a seamless blending of British and Indian architectural patterns, it was built to provide a room and banquet facility to important colonial guests of Great Britain in the town of New Delhi.
Says Nidhi, “So it is only fitting that when we planned this exhibition, we do it here. Also, the Pershad family that owns the hotel’s building are long-time family friends. This will be our major annual show and it will showcase the culture of Delhi through artworks, photographs and sculptures.”
A lavish dinner that served some of the hotel's best-loved dishes like the Chote Miyan Biryani, Bulls Eye through the years accompanied by a musical evening was held at the preview exhibition marking the official launch of Ambassador SeleQtions in its new avatar. Guests included culture doyens such as Vani Tripathy, Joy Mitra, Pratima Pandey, Aruna Vasudev, Shobha Jolly, Prathibha Prahlad.
With Lutyens’s Delhi as central theme, the artists whose works were chosen for the exhibition include Akbar Padamsee, F N Souza, K G Subramanyan, M F Husain, S H Raza , Amit Bhar, Dhawat Singh, Karan Singh, Gigi Scaria, Pooja Iranna, Rajnish Chhanesh, Raghu Neware, Ravinder Dutt, Rohit Sharma, Sanjay Das, Shampa Sircar Das, Shoba Jolly, Suchit Sahni, and T V Santhosh. Artists like Shoba Jolly, Sanjay Das, Rajnish Chhanesh and Rohit Sharma have specially created works on the Lutyens theme for display at this exhibition.
The guests were treated to a delightful walk through the heritage property with its walls showcasing art by modern masters and contemporary artists. Nidhi Jain concludes, “The show intends to discover art as it grew in the past century in the context of Delhi taking centre stage of the modern art movement in the country, all of it emerging in the heart of Delhi.” A suitable salutation, we agree, to the Hotel’s and the city’s rich legacy.