A rare privilege

The venerable British auction house, Christie's certainly understands the Indian market, and knows how to service it.

Close on the heels of its much talked about catalogue on gilded pages featuring its upcoming art works, and many pages dedicated to a single painting of V S Gaitonde, it upped the ante considerably with its latest innovation to capture the wealthy and interested Indian collector.

Lakshmi and Usha MittalLakshmi and Usha Mittal

Last week a special showing of its imminent The India Sale auction was organized by them in Delhi and every single piece of art from masters like and Tyeb Mehta, Ram Kumar and Manjit Bawa were featured. But here's the surprise. It was all for the benefit of a single person, a woman.

Who obviously was important enough for Christie's to take the trouble? The woman was none other than wife of London-based steel tycoon LN Mittal, Usha Mittal, who is a patron of the house and a big collector.

Its entire collection laid out for the eyes of one woman? Now that's style. How soon before other similarly placed divas demand the same privilege now?

Celebrating Pawar
In addition to Sharad Pawar's much awaited big birthday celebrations this December, which are to be held in Delhi, and where a wide spectrum of political leaders are sure to attend, word comes in that Mumbai, the city of the former two-time Maharashtra CM's residence, will witness another celebration at the Nehru Centre, to which Pawar has been closely connected.

Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel
Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel

Apparently, all the arrangements for this have been left to NCP leader and old Pawar faithful Praful Patel, who was heard adding his voice to Sophie Chowdhury's dulcet tunes at a recent football league event.

Does this mean there will be music and dancing on this occasion too? “We aren't sure about that. But now that Patel is behind the arrangements, at least we know the catering will be good,” said our source. Patel is said to have substantial interests in leading F&B players in the city and is known to be a man of fine taste.

Son takes over
Anjan Chatterjee, who is a prominent name in the food and beverage industry, is said to be a happy man this week. Chatterjee, the managing director of his company, Speciality Restaurants, has many successful ventures to his credit, including Oh Calcutta and Mainland China.

Anjan and Avik Chatterjee
Anjan and Avik Chatterjee

The reason for his ecstatic state is that, this week his son the 23-year-old Avik Chatterjee has been featured in a leading business magazine. Avik, who shares his father's passion for food and restaurants, joined his father last year after completing his education in London. And Anjan credits Avik with the expansion of the group into bars and lounges that cater to a younger clientele.

Avik, a keen footballer in his spare time has initiated the groups foray into resto-bars, namely the Hoppipolla franchise, which has opened two locations in Mumbai and others in Pune and Bangalore. And word on the street is that the group has plans to soon open an outlet in London and are also toying with the idea of a molecular gastronomy offering outlet in BKC which will feature food from a big name chef.

Big ticket wedding
So as we approach the end of another year we come closer to Mumbai's most fun and some would argue hectic few months, popularly known as the Big Fat Indian Wedding Period or BFIWP. And word comes in, that one such anticipated occasion, is of Viren Raheja and Simran Adnani.

Viren Raheja and Simran Adnani
Viren Raheja and Simran Adnani

Viren, one of the promoters of the Raheja Group, and son of Rajan Raheja, has been credited with the expansion of cable company Hathway. Simran is a Dubai-based entrepreneur who started her fashion label Braided Tales after her return from studying in New York.

The couple got engaged this summer at the Raheja owned JW Marriot hotel in Mumbai and is said to be planning a destination wedding in the coming months in Mauritius or another such beach-y location and are expecting a high profile turnout. Incidentally, this past weekend Viren flew down with Simran to celebrate her birthday at Rajvilas in Jaipur, and the celebrations are said to have been very OTT. We wish the young couple well.

Persona non grata?
For many years his stocky gruff figure was a liet motif in the corridors of this all-important corporate house. Known to be the chairman's only real friend, it was said that he had used this proximity to land many lucrative contracts that kept him going.

But now that there's been a change of guard at the top, insiders from the hallowed group say they cannot be more grateful that he's been shunted off, since his mentor and friend's retirement.

“What's amazing is that the decision to declare him persona non grata has been taken by a member of his own family,” said a source. “So it may not have been easy. But he was rude, bullying and loutish and we are so glad we don't have to deal with him any more.” Oh dear. Is this an indication of an impending rift in the family then?

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