A tribute to Jeannie

Dolly Thakore and her team at Population First, the NGO founded by Bobby Siesta, managed to draw quite a crowd for their National Laadli media and advertising awards for gender sensitivity. Seated in the audience besides chief guest Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson of the State Bank of India, were the likes of Rajashree Birla, and designers Wendell Rodricks, Rudra Kapoor and Hemant Trivedi on Wednesday night at the NCPA.

Arundhati Bhattacharya and Jeannie Naoroji. Pic/Malavika Sangghvi
Arundhati Bhattacharya and Jeannie Naoroji. Pic/Malavika Sangghvi

What’s more Fashion Rewind night as a closing act was a show like few other, when a dozen or so of the top models of yesteryear came together to pay a tribute to uber nonagenarian choreographer and mentor Jeannie Naoroji on the occasion of her winning the Laadli lifetime achievement award for 2016.

In one standing ovation after another, the audience applauded, whooped and whistled as the likes of Zeenat Aman, Deepak Parashar, Kavita Singh, Nandinni Sen, Esther Daswani and Salome Roy Kapur brought back the good old days, as they glided effortlessly on to the stage displaying the Naoroji magic that had ensured their pole position as super models back in the day. In her moving tribute author Shobhaa De, who had begun her career as a model with Naoroji back in the Sixties, spoke about ‘the Jeannie Naoroji school of Life’ narrating how the choreographer had not only taught a generation of girls how to walk the ramp or drape a sari in under a minute, but how to conduct themselves in life too.

“We had an absolute blast,” said former super model Nandinni Sen about the show. “Even though we were all jittery and had been backstage from 4 pm to almost 9.30 pm with little to eat or drink no one minded or complained in respect for Jeannie. Also there’s just so much love that binds us models together,” she said.

But the last word was of course the ramrod straight and graceful in characteristic pearls and kaftans Naoroji’s. Seeing that the adoring gushing audience were not going to cease their standing ovation, the Mumbai’s ultimate grande dame cocked an eyebrow at the crowd and significantly tapped her wristwatch indicating that the show had to proceed.

That the audience instantly obeyed was not only a measure of the respect she’s held in but also of her absolute command on audiences here and around the world. Congratulations Jeannie. They don’t make too may like you any more.

Walk Like An Egyptian
She takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. Reena Wadhwa, wife of investment banker Ashok whose luxury brand company, RW Brands brought iconic Italian brand Gucci to Indian shores in 2009 as a local joint venture partner and whose film production company had a hit with the recently release Airlift appears to be in no mood to rest on her laurels.

Reena Wadhwa
Reena Wadhwa

The mother of two, who has acted in many TV serials, it appears is all set to revisit her acting career by performing for the first time on stage for a production called India by The Nile 2016, which a spokesperson describes as ‘a celebration of Indian contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, visual arts, food and well-being, held between April 23 and May 7, 2016 across five cities in Egypt.’ Phew!

Doppelgangers Ahoy!
Regular readers of this page must be aware of our frivolous fascination for doppelgängers: people who look startlingly alike, who we have featured on this page quite often.

Mohamad Khan and Rahul Singh. Pic/Malavika Sangghvi
Mohamad Khan and Rahul Singh. Pic/Malavika Sangghvi

But we like to pride ourselves that our chosen lookalikes have more than startling physical resemblance in synchronicity; in fact they fascinate us because they have more than just looks in common: take the case of the last pair we featured: Delhi-based, single, middle-aged man about town, writer Bhaichand Patel and Delhi-based, single, middle-aged man about town, writer Prem Shankar Jha, who not only command a somewhat similar perch in Lutyen’s Delhi, but who were last spotted seated side by side matching bald pate and comfortable midriffs eerily similar a few months ago at the Khushwant Singh Lit Fest in Kasauli.

Something of this nature occurred on Wednesday evening at the NCPA following the Laadli media awards when in a great act of serendipity Fate (or the opportunity of a cool drink) brought Mohamad Khan and Rahul Singh both exquisitely pedigreed media commentators boasting leonine white beards together. “Only a few weeks ago I was accosted by an attractive female at the Yatch club who spoke to me at length thinking I was Rahul,” said Khan.

“I happen to be mistaken for Mohammad all the time,” replied Rahul “But alas never by attractive females!” he said. And then they cheerfully posed for this picture.

Tharoor and the Happy Hour
Shashi Tharoor is once again on the most eligible bachelor for women of a certain age list according to those in the know.

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor

And whereas we haven’t given credence to those who swear that the dashing silken tongued former Deputy UN Secretary General has recently married again, (he is said to have shown a photograph on his cell phone of the wedding ceremony to a friend, even pointing out the resemblance of his alleged new bride to his youthful idol crush Sadhana? Madhubala?) we do think the suave minister’s reputation suffers a tad from his man about town image.

“I met Shashi the other evening for tea and snacks at Delhi’s IIC,” a frequent Delhi-Mumbai flier was overheard telling a local wag recently. “He seemed in excellent form. But he had to excuse himself from what was turning out to be a great evening,” said the gent, “As he was called away for an urgent meeting with the ‘High Command’.” Must be for Happy Hour was his listener’s droll comment. See what we mean?

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