>> Just last week we were present when the lissome Neha Dubey hosted the Taj group’s 100th hotel celebration with its launch of the Taj Vivanta in Gurgaon. Speaking with warmth and elan, the actor recounted her childhood memories of the Taj Man Singh, where her father Ravi, was GM for many years.
And this weekend we hope to catch her and her mother the talented Lillette Dubey in Where did I leave my Purdah (written by Mahesh Dattani) at the NCPA Experimental theatre. Starring Soni Razdan Bhatt, the Dubeys and a host of other talented actors it promises to be a stimulating evening. “We’ve just finished 25 shows across India,” says Lillette. Nice!
>> Big news for music lovers of a certain ilk. Not only is the legendary Armin van Buuren performing this Saturday at the Turf Club (he’s been voted the number 1 DJ in the world a record five times by DJ Mag.) But he’s in India to celebrate the 600 episode of A State of Trance, his wildly popular weekly radio show before jetting off to Miami for the Ultra Music Festival at the end of the month. Interestingly, music was van Buuren’s second choice of career: he was studying to become a lawyer and join the ranks of white collar workers but put his law degree on hold as he thought he could have a more successful career being a DJ.
This is the first time Van Buuren has brought A State of Trance to India though he has performed at the Blue Frog Mumbai and Sunburn, Goa in the past years. And though there will be the usual hue and cry over traffic jams and parking issues, we who attended the Norah Jones concert and found it magical agree with the organiser Percept’s Shailendra Singh when he says, “With 60 per cent of our population below the age of 25 years, concerts like these have the power of making a social difference. It gets them to go out in sunshine make friends and live in the moment.”
Another club, another brawl
>> Oh dear. The same SoBo sports club that only recently shot to the headlines with a high profile brawl had another similar snafu when it had to forcibly eject a very senior member of the IPS from one of its outlets due to misbehaviour and inappropriate dressing. (Read alleged inebriation and wearing shorts). What’s interesting is that the gentleman — no stranger to controversy — has not created a stink so far. Perhaps, because when the chips are down nothing rules as much as Club rules.
Cutting edge satire
>> Suddenly our mailbox is full of theatre invites. And not just any theatre. Thought-provoking, cutting edge and indigenously created, just the kind we love! Our former colleague, the New York based and Vassar educated Rehan Ansari will be presenting a reading of his new contemporary play Unburdened this evening at the Bandra Base. Directed by Saniya Ansari and starring Ankur Vikal, Farid Currim, amongst others the liner notes says, “Unburdened is set in the time just before and after US President Obama’s inauguration when Robin, a journalist from Toronto, goes on a newspaper assignment to Karachi.” Glancing through act one we found that there are many references to popular culture and easily recognisable characters; for instance, in Karachi, Robin meets Nazia, a musician in her early 20s, and at a Halloween party they attend they run into people dressed up as famous personalities: ‘Costumes that pass by include Bush and Obama as a couple — Bush is in drag and wearing a wig to pass off as Michelle, Brangelina, a couple of Osamas, the one-eyed Taliban leader (Mullah Omar) in diaper.’
>> It was a party we would have loved to attend if we’d not been on our favourite beach attempting to impersonate a coconut palm. Not only were the hosts dear friends but also the artist Anjolie Ela Menon holds a special place in our hearts. She was after all a mentor, guide and frequent sounding board when we lived in Delhi in the ’90s.
Which is why Mala and Harsh Goenka and Neelam and Vickram Sethi’s lunch to kick off Menon’s retrospective at the ICIA gallery at Kala Ghoda on March 12 coupled with a celebration to mark her and Raja Menon’s 50th wedding anniversary was so special. “Saif Ali Khan, Kavita Singh, Sheila Jhaveri, Mehli Gobhai, Naina Kanodia and a large number of ex-navy colleague were present at the occasion,” says Sethi. Meanwhile, the retrospective has been well received and will continue till March 30.
Look what we began
>> When we began penning this diary we had no idea that not only would various members of the fourth estate adopt the same tone and style but now we have sundry members of the PR industry attempting to secrete themselves into these pages with ‘snippets’ which they obviously have taken trouble over to blend into the heady mix. This latest from one Suman Prasad was so inadvertently hilarious that we couldn’t help reproducing it: “What did you say? at PTC award function? You are joking, aren’t you? No, actor Sunny Deol was spotted for the first time at an award function. Not a single eye had seen him in a Hindi film function before this, but he was spotted in Chandigarh at PTC award function in a Sardar costume. What might be the reason? Was the actor promoting any of his films? Isn’t it strange that an actor who does not attains (sic) any Bollywood functions was spotted on the stage of Punjabi films.” And just for the record no attempt has been made to explain what PTC is or when and where the function took place! See what we mean...