Designers Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna dedicate a book to Delhi’s beautiful people
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna hosted quite a gig at their Defence Colony fashion studio as the duo dressed and photographed nearly 40 celebrity friends and clients in clothes designed by them over the last 20 years. The photographs will be used in a commemorative book slated to be out by the end of this year. Some of those featured are the city's best dressed such as Sanam Bakshi, Archana Vijaya, Prerna Subba, Harathi Reddy, Kalyani Saha, Shalini Passi, Tanisha Mohan and Lalit Tehlan. The book is a work in progress and the capital’s chatterati can’t wait to find out who makes it to the cover!
But there’s more. Just a few days earlier, Rohit Gandhi’s beautiful bungalow in Golf Links, as well as his studio in Defence Colony, were buzzing with activity. The affable designer, who divides his time equally between the art and fashion industry, hosted a well-attended art party that went on till the wee hours. The art and fashion industry showed up in big numbers for his Palette Art Gallery exhibition titled Songs of Soil which presented six artists KP Pradeep Kumar, Prasad KP, R Magesh, Sumesh Kumballur, Sanam Narayanan, Umesh PK who explore contemporary landscape.
Endorsing their work, Rohit said, “These artists give us a canvas of surrealism that celebrates the southern terrain of India; these paintings are about creating new vistas and explore the individual’s relationship to the earth through the evocative use of landscape elements that are rustic and rural.” Joining him in this celebration of new talent in art were Sanjeev Bijli of PVR Cinemas, FDCI Chief Sunil Sethi, Leena Singh, Aman Nath & Manish Pushkale and Tanisha Mohan, who looked uber chic in a classy white pantsuit that she said she picked up in one of the vintage boutiques in Paris.
Beauty and art make for a heady cocktail indeed!
Sania Mirza & Sonam Kapoor talk about the men in their lives - Izhaan Mirza and Anand Ahuja
It was a power packed afternoon when glamorous tennis champ, Sania Mirza, and the chic cine star Sonam Kapoor Ahuja made a quick Delhi visit for the FICCI FLO 35th Annual Session with industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla as the chief guest. After the two ladies had finished with the umpteenth request for selfies and autographs, they also shared a few personal anecdotes with the gathering. “Being a mother has made me realize that I have selfless love in me and that it has made me a better person,” revealed Sania who cherishes the company of Izhaan, her little bundle of joy. But the feisty sportswoman took it upon herself to spotlight gender parity in sports. “In India we have come a long way in women’s empowerment but a lot needs to be done especially in sports. Despite so many women excelling in sports especially in badminton, wrestling, we have a lot to do for women. Women should be paid equal prize money in sports, this discrimination is in all sports worldwide," she said as she discussed how women were shaping the future. She quipped, "My only regret is being a tennis player in the nation that loves cricket.”
Sonam echoed Mirza’s sentiments. She said, “Art is a reflection of society. In Bollywood, I was not treated as an equal. But I realized it soon and felt that women should not be the only ones who have to compromise.”
Fortunately for both of the women in question, the men in their lives are woke fellas, supportive of their feminist thinking. “After marriage, my husband is my cheerleader and as a support, has added my name in his middle name and has become Anand Sonam Ahuja,” the actor fessed up. But that’s not where it ends - even her in-laws are super supportive, she revealed. Sonam admitted that her Delhi-based in-laws, especially her doting mother-in-law always pampers and feeds her whenever she is in town! How’s that for having the best of both worlds.
Maharani Gayatri Devi’s biographer shares unknown stories about cultural doyens
Jaipur based Dharmendar Kanwar was a dear friend of the Late Rajmata Gayatri Devi and closely associated with the charismatic royal for years. Now she is the Managing Trustee of a benevolent trust started by the late Maharani and is a respected author who has over 25 books to her credit. Among her many publications are two biographies of the celebrated Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur - Enduring Grace and The Last Queen of Jaipur – both best sellers. Dharmendar is now working on a book about INTACH, the national organisation that is at the helm of India’s art and cultural heritage, management and conservation. The book, one learns, will have many insights into the cultural history of post - Independence India and dedicated team of people passionate about our vanishing heritage.
The author says, "Rajmata Gayatri Devi was so concerned about Jaipur’s deteriorating heritage that she regularly visited the walled city and wrote letters to the concerned authorities to address encroachment issues and the general state of apathy. She once took the Mayor in her car to show her around but the lady was so fascinated by Rajmata that instead of looking at the buildings she spent the entire time looking at Rajmata with awe! I was asked by INTACH last year to do a book on its history, how it was started; who were the people associated with it and how this journey of 35 years has been; the struggles and the groundbreaking work undertaken by them. There are little-known but fascinating stories of working with State Governments across the country and literally arm twisting them to get work done. It has been a learning experience for me as well even though I’ve been an active member of INTACH since 1986 and was aware of its history. There was so much I discovered as I travelled around the country interviewing people and recording their stories. It’s never easy to put together the history of an organisation which has been led by a vast number of luminaries—people like Pupul Jayaker, Martand Singh (Mapu), BK Thapar, Kapila Vatsayana, SK Misra who headed and moulded INTACH and made it the reputed organisation that it is today.”
Dharmendar also recalls how when INTACH started its activities in Jaipur in the early 80s people were not ready to understand or accept this totally new concept of heritage conservation and John Singh of Anokhi and Convenor of INTACH would spend hours trying to convince Government officials to give INTACH a chance to at least share their ideas. It was an uphill task but for John and other convenors but it was a challenge that they had accepted on Mapu’s persuasion and not one of them was ready to give up!
“Mapu was passionate about heritage and unafraid of anything. He devoted a lot of energy to the project and said if you want to save our heritage, you have to save the city!” she recalls.
With many more of such interesting stories making it to the final draft of the book, it sure promises to be a good read for culture buffs.
Delhi Industrialist Pavan Morarka dons the producer’s hat
Delhi Industrialist Pavan Morarka, Chairman and Managing Director of WH Brady, a 100-year-old firm is a well-known but a low profile name in the capital’s social circles. Delhi foodies have always looked forward to the excellent home cooked Marwari fare from his kitchen. He is now busy producing his second film (his first, a Hindi film, was a flop), a biopic to be made on the young nine-year-old Taekwondo national champ Diya Patel of Ahmedabad who has the distinction of getting a black belt from the South Korean Taekwondo Federation at such a young age.
The film, to be initially made in Gujarati, is an inspirational sports film to create greater empathy for sports other than cricket. The shrewd businessman that he is, Pavan says the film industry has changed a lot since he made his first film, but now regional films are doing well and can be made with a small budget. He says this will be a unique film because it is a little known true story of the grit of a real person. Unfortunately, such stories of people who are not high profile nor from nationally loved sports like cricket never get mass attention. Diya will be playing herself and despite having no formal training in acting, is quite a natural while facing the camera, says Pavan.
The producer even threw a cosy dinner at home to introduce Diya and the film’s team like entrepreneur and musical performer, Lalithya Munshaw who is looking after the musical aspects of the film to his Delhi friends. Lalithya, who has performed with Bollywood’s ace musicians like Sonu Nigam, Rashid Khan, Shaan and Louis Banks, gave a performance at the house party. The guests included thosefrom the capital's corporate, cultural and social circles like Kajoli and Mohit Sehgal, Rukmini Chaterjee and Hemant Bharatram, Dinesh Sehgal, Kamal Kumar, Kiran Sawhney, Witty Bawa, Sonia Mehta, Jyoti Vashisht, Devika and Mohit Sahni to name a few.
Payal Kapoor celebrates 25 years of Arushi Arts
Another familiar name in the capital’s art circuit is that of Payal Kapoor, the eldest daughter of late DK Jain of the Luxor writing instruments group and his granddaughter Arushi. In a happy turn of events, Kapoor’s baby, Arushi Arts, will soon be completing twenty five years of its existence. To commemorate the milestone year, Arushi Arts just awarded the DK Jain prize to tribal art exponent, Mayank Kumar Shyam. A solo exhibition of the artist’s work was organised in association with well-known art collector Lekha Poddar who also presented the award. Kapoor predicts that tribal arts are going to be a major trend in the art world globally this year. As for Arushi, after whom the gallery is named has also turned entrepreneur with ARTSop, an off-beat Art tech start-up venture. Last year Arushi became the director of Arushi Arts USA and has now put together her first all Indian art show, “Art of India, Reclaiming the present.”
The younger Kapoor is now busy with a revamp in the app. She explains, “The user interface of ARTSop is changing and we are now adding multiple features to it like connecting clients, helping logistics, managing inventory, including renting spaces and much more. We are facilitating each one of them to the other figuring out the demand, the requirement and the associations that art galleries are looking for.”
How’s that for a fine blend of art and commerce!