“Please remember to call it a celebration not a tribute.” It was renowned singer Chitra Singh bringing us up to speed on the forthcoming two-day Festival organised by the Shri Jagjit Singh Foundation - which she has set up in the memory of the renowned singer - and Perfect Harmony Production on the occasion of her late husband’s birth anniversary.
Jagjit Singh and Ilayaraja
“We had invited students of music to send in their compositions for a competition, and the ones which have been chosen will perform them on the 7th of February,” said Singh, when we spoke to her in Chennai, on her way to the airport to catch a flight back to Mumbai.
Zakir Hussain and Chitra Singh
“On the 8th there will be a performance of his songs by some legendary personalities like singers Hariharan, Sonu Nigam and Suresh Wadkar,” said Singh, adding, “This will be followed by a programme by Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt Birju Maharaj and Ustad Zakir Hussain, who will replicate a programme they had done with Jagjit.”
Her dedication to the memory of her talented husband has seen Chitra leave no stone unturned to make the festival a success. “I am in Chennai where I came to present the first award in Jagjit Singh’s memory to the towering composer Ilaiyaraaja, and though he hardly ever accepts awards and honours –I am so happy that he accepted this in memory of my husband,” she said.
Some good advice
Stories of their crumbling marriage have been doing the rounds so frequently, that when this well heeled and high profile couple attended a recent society wedding, no one was surprised that they came in for some well meaning reproach from an older businessman friend.
“Why the hell do you need to spend so many days abroad?” said the friend with avuncular concern to the husband. “Stop all this and spend more time with your wife and family in Mumbai!”
And was the advice received well? “Can’t say,” said a source. “The attractive wife appeared very pleased about the advice given her so called philandering partner - and was seen enthusiastically agreeing with the concerned friend.”
Travails of the bouncing bon vivant
It was one of the more interesting sidelights of a recent TV news channel awards, where a collection of some of the country’s most famous people, had gathered to applaud each other on their successes.
Ranveer Singh and Suhel Seth
It occurred after a riveting display of the courage of Faroukh Abdullah’s convulsions, as he matched actor Ranveer Singh’s celebrated Bajirao Mastani jig, move for move; that’s when Singh had called out to Suhel Seth, Delhi’s most famous silver haired bouncing bon vivant (there are others) in the audience, referring to him as a fellow ‘player’- a phrase that Seth embraced with glee. ‘Players’ after all, are what bachelors of a certain ilk want to be called.
But what goes down in Delhi obviously doesn’t work as well in stately Kolkata (incidentally the place where Seth spent his youth ) Apparently at a recently concluded high profile wedding, Seth’s popularity with the ladies was not as appreciated by their menfolk, who were overheard grumbling amongst themselves about his enthusiasm for the ladies.
A case of the ‘Ladies of Kolkata’ or just the difference between exuberant Panjabi jhappi and pappi not appreciated in Bengal? At the awards the ‘player’ appeared his bouncing bon vivant self-regardless.
Bar bar openings
Word comes in that Zorawar Kalra (son of food legend Jiggs Kalra), is on a roll, heating up the food and beverage scene in India’s metros. His acclaimed molecular concept restaurant Farzi Cafe recently opened its second branch in Delhi’s Connaught Place (the first is in Gurgaon), and has been booked out every night since.
And word is that his Farzi Dubai is scheduled for a March launch. Plus, as we’ve written before, Farzi will open an outlet this year in Mumbai’s Kamla Mills compound (next to The Bombay Canteen). But the project keeping the serial food entrepreneur Zorawar busy these days is not Farzi - the next venture that has his attention is Masala Bar a lounge-bar on Bandra’s Carter Road. We hear he has found an enviable sea facing location with a terrace that can host live music and gigs.
Though so far everyone is keeping mum on the project, a foodie source informed us, “the menu tastings have begun and work is currently underway on the décor, it should be all finalized in another month”. One more reason to cross the sea link?
Sustainable Fashion show
What have the good men at Hindustan Lever got up their sleeve this time? This evening, no less than the global CEO of the international conglomerate, Paul Polman, will be in town attending a fashion show on ‘the theme of climate change and sustainable development’.
Paul Polman. Pic/AFP
And whereas the invitation sent out by Lever’s CEO Sanjiv Mehta does not list the designers participating in this enterprise, he does mention that they will be ‘India’s leading young designers who will take a step towards sustainable fashion.’ One more foray in to the fashion space? Watch this space!