>> The best piece of news we’ve heard in a long time is that Pheroza Godrej has been appointed Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the National Gallery of Modern Art Mumbai.
Anyone who knows Pheroza will be familiar with her stellar contribution to Mumbai’s art scene. Right from the time she launched Mumbai’s first art and ideas newspaper ‘Hi’ (a bit like the Village Voice), to when she hosted poetry readings at her nascent Cymroza Gallery, Pheroza has always been on the cutting edge of fresh ideas. That this appointment might usher in Mumbai’s golden age of art and take the NGMA to its glory days under Saryu Doshi‘s stewardship is something that all those who know Pheroza’s capabilities are hoping for.
Characteristically modest, Godrej who wears her family name as lightly as she does her scholarship says, “I am merely the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee and will be working with the Director of the NGMA and the Committee.” Three cheers!
The big ticket event
>> Niraj and Pommi Rawal, the erstwhile Kolkata couple who have since many years become an important quotient on Mumbai’s social scene are preparing to host their youngest daughter Ritika’s wedding to Kunal Vardan (of Atria Mall fame).
And like they have done at the weddings of their two elder daughters, this time too the festivities will be marked by old world warmth and Kolkata style elegance.
The Rawals who are arguably Vijay Mallya’s oldest and closest friends are a popular couple and Mumbai is gearing up for extended celebrations that include Tony and Haseena Jethmalani’s party tonight, a sangeet mid-week and a party at the mall itself later. But most awaited apparently is the red carpet night hosted by the boy’s side which will feature a ‘bingo’ competition.
Sources swear that the last time the Vardan’s hosted such a night was when their daughter got married two years ago – and the prizes were ‘luxury cars and TV sets!’ Just another day in paradise!
Kapoor’s Gangnam style!
>> We met him last year in Mumbai when he was the toast of society hostesses and were captivated by his easy internationalism and shy charm. And now we learn that celebrated sculptor Anish Kapoor has shot his own tribute ‘Gangnam Style’ video in support of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.
For those recently returned after a holiday from Planet Earth, the Chinese artist and activist had shot a parody of Psy’s viral pop hit three weeks ago in which he had injected a bit of symbolic frisson to the original horse riding-themed choreography by introducing handcuffed hands.
Though Weiwei’s parody had been applauded the world over for its cheek, authorities had not appreciated its insouciance and had blocked its dissemination evoking worldwide outrage.
According to newspaper reports, Kapoor wearing sunglasses and handcuffs executed the video’s signature dance moves with ease carrying a sign that said “End Repression, Allow expression.” “Our video aims to make a serious point about freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” said Kapoor.
Perhaps he should come to Mumbai where free speech and expression are increasingly endangered!
>> Lina Asher, the attractive educationist whose Kangaroo Kids initiative has flourished into one of India’s most credible of school brands has now launched a book — a compilation of all her wisdom on the subject of education and children.
Titled Who Do You Think You’re Kidding?, the book’s pre-launch blurb describes it as ‘a trendsetting book about parenting and preparing our children for the future’.
We have spoken on this subject with Tina Ambani’s dynamic niece (Asher is her sister’s daughter) and find we agree with most of her views on parenting. Here’s wishing the book every success and hoping more parents subscribe to Asher’s progressive views on the subject!
London’s wedding wars
>> You can have your mansion on London’s Millionaire’s Row, standard issue his and her Rolls Royces for you and the missus and the proverbial mention on the UK rich list, but what’s a few billion in the bank worth if you don’t have people’s eyeballs popping with the lavishness of your hospitality?
An insider to the high rolling NRI London crowd was bringing us up to speed about the community’s particular rites of passage. “Weddings — the bigger and more expensive the better — are the status symbols of the hour,” he said, adding, “Ever since LN Mittal upped the ante with his over the top wedding reception at Versailles for his daughter.”
Apparently since then, much pink champagne has flowed in Florence, Venice, Istanbul and Bali, in an attempt to outdo the Mittal extravaganza but no one has ever been able to match the Mittal magic. But now this might be put to test by a dashing Marwari tycoon who will be hosting his son’s nuptials in Udaipur soon.
“Not only are there plans to fly in international pop stars to perform but the Cirque du Soleil has been signed up for an evening,” says our source, adding, “No expense has been spared to make it the wedding of the decade.” (Incidentally, this is the same son whose elopement with an erstwhile actress had earned him his father’s ire many years ago!) So will the Mittal’s best wedding planner title be challenged? Watch this space!
>> As weddings become the currency of success and material recognition we are happy to note that one of the most elegant invites we have received recently has been Yes Bank Chairman Rana Kapoor’s invitation for his daughter Raakhee’s imminent nuptials with Alkesh Tandon.
The handsome packet containing a series of elegant cards in different colours exchanges the over the top iconography of the modern Indian ‘royal summons’ for a more sober style.
But best of all is the pocket-sized leather and silver bound copy of the Bhagvad Gita that accompanies the announcement. We like!