Dharavi and the artist

Malavika SangghviFor a while now we have been fans of artist, author and inveterate Mumbaikar Subhash Awchat’s stunning Dharavi series.

A long time visitor of Asia’s legendary slum, Awchat has been roaming the area’s narrow lanes for many years now capturing its vivid and arresting ambience on his camera and using his masterly artistic techniques to render them in to works of art.

“I live near Dharavi,” we recall Subhash saying to us in his characteristic singsong lilt. “Every week I am there. Watching how some things change and some stay the same. Come with me any time.” It’s an offer we look forward to accepting.

Subhash Awchat
Subhash Awchat 

Art attack
It is a sign of things to come that one of Mumbai’s most prominent and reputed art galleries, has had to move into smaller digs albeit in the same district. Whether it was the inflationary, intervention of entrepreneurial adventurists, the collateral damage of new art markets opening up in the East or just a plain correction of the market, word in the art district is that things are almost back to pre-reform gloom. “The frenetic activity seen in the spate of art summits fairs and biennials is misleading,” said a gallerist. “None of the traditional and consistent Indian collectors are buying these days. Ironic when Indian artists are gaining such recognition abroad!”

The old and the beautiful
For all those smitten by Bollywood nostalgia here’s a picture to treasure. Liked by astounding numbers on a social networking site, it features four of the industry’s most adored yesteryear female stars: Nanda, Waheeda, Helen and Sadhana shot recently and very removed from their chiselled and carefully lit selves.

Nanda, Waheeda Rehman, Helen and Sadhana
Nanda, Waheeda Rehman, Helen and Sadhana

What’s more, a fan has carefully juxtaposed portraits of the ladies in their youthful glory. Nanda, the eternal girl next door from her Chotti Bahen days, Waheeda, ethereal and stately in her Guru Dutt phase, Helen perhaps just off the set where she’d sung Mera naam Chin Chin and a dreamy eyed Sadhana while gliding down a mountain.

Of the four ladies we have had the pleasure of meeting only one: the stunningly elegant Waheeda Rehman. First in Bangalore at her farm, when she was actively producing a breakfast cereal and later at many social events in Mumbai. Graceful, serene modest and soft-spoken were our leading ladies of a bygone era. We wonder how this generation of actresses will be regarded 40 years from now. Frightening thought.

Cupid’s day out
A little bird tells us that Cupid has visited the home of Sterlite’s dynamo Anil Agarwal.

Anil Agarwal
Anil Agarwal

His pretty daughter Priya will be getting formally engaged to her childhood sweetheart Aakarsh in April this year. And Mumbai will gear up for one more big-ticket big fat Indian wedding. Congratulations are in order!

Researching the big fat Indian wedding
“It’s the only research initiative conducted on the subject by the marketing arm of a five-star hotel. And at the end of this month the Taj Group will be announcing the results of the nationwide survey they undertook on the ‘big fat Indian marriage’.

Hindu wedding
Representation pic

“From food to fashion to ceremony and ambience, our researchers have scoured the length and breadth of the world to understand the changing and important attitudes towards weddings.” On the panel in Mumbai will be sociologists, marketing executives, chefs and wedding planners who will discuss the ins and outs of an industry that appears to be buoyant and thriving no matter what! Nice!

Pony tailed wonder
Whereas we know zilch about the pony tailed wonder and his claim to fame, we find we share much common ground with all those he’s taken on and tried to browbeat with his bluster and bullying tactics. More power to you Mahesh Murthy, Maheshwar Peri and Co. Now will you explain to me why when I research Arindam Chaudhuri on the net, all I get are hagiographies and flattering epithets? When will we discover the real diamond behind the zircon?

One more from the Khan-dan
We met him at Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday celebrations not so long ago and were struck how even in a room full of superstars, this dark eyed, bee stung lipped beauty shone bright. Introduced to us by his cousin, the actor Fardeen Khan as ‘my cousin Reza from Iran’, we realised that the handsome young man was the son of our parent’s dear friend Shahrukh, the only Khan brother in the swashbuckling stable of Juhu Khans - Feroz, Sanjay, Ahmed and Akbar - who had stayed away from Bollywood.

Reza Khan
Reza Khan

In fact, as we recall it Shahrukh had broken rank and gone abroad very early on in the ’70s to pursue academics and business and had married an Iranian beauty. Well, now his son with some excellent star genes is here to take the Khan legacy in Bollywood further if he wishes. Meet the newest Khan on the block? ¬†

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