Dressing John

>> How do you get leading menswear designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed to blush? Easy — ask him which side he ‘dresses’ John Abraham! Recently, when Ahmed found himself dressing long term clients Abraham along with Rahul Bose and Neil Nitin Mukesh for the GQ awards ceremony he was pretty chuffed.

“They were all given a choice to wear some of the world’s most revered international brand names,” says the designer who remains one of the few fashion gurus with a world view that goes beyond Tom Ford. “And each one opted to wear my label over any other.”

John Abraham with Priya Runchal at the 'GQ Men of the Year Awards 2012, Rahul Bose
(From left to right) John Abraham with Priya Runchal at the 'GQ Men of the Year Awards 2012, Rahul Bose

The results are here for all to see. “I gave Rahul a velvet midnight blue tux as he could carry it off, Neil something more flamboyant in electric blue and as for Abraham I did away with the tie as an open neck went with his edgy image.” And who was the vainest?

Neil Nitin Mukesh and designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed
Designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed and Neil Nitin Mukesh 

“John’s the easiest to dress and Rahul’s the most particular,” said the designer. As for the question of whether Abraham dresses to the left or right we received a coy “that kind of information I am not privy to.” Sigh… many women would love to know.

Good guys win
>> OK. So, the good guys do win (sometimes). Word on the street is that Prithviraj Chavan’s attempts at cleaning up the Aegean stables as far as the state’s builder universe goes has resulted in some pretty delicious just desserts: builders who have adhered to norms and played by the rules (like Godrej Properties founded by Adi Godrej and managed by his son Pirojsha) are prospering whereas the naughty ones (like a prominent high-end builder who has some juicy deals at Malabar Hill) are paying for their sins with delays and negative cash flows.

Adi Godrej, CM Prithviraj Chavan
(left) Adi Godrej and Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan

Interestingly, two of Mumbai’s oldest business families that had sold their mansions to a flashy big name developer are said to be ruing the fact. “After all these are bluechip names and they can’t understand how NOCs and other clearances are systematically ignored,” says
an insider.

From eligible to iconic
>> Those in denial of the fact that we live in a world of hyper media consciousness and insidious brand awareness would do well to consider this: a media house that until recently was considering engaging ‘eligible bachelor’ cricketer Yuvraj Singh to market their product is now reconsidering the choice.

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh

Why so? Surely the handsome sports hero has garnered even more popularity after his bout with cancer and his swashbuckling return to the field? “Yes,” says a marketing guru whose business it is to know these things. “His illness and recovery have not only made him even more of a hero, but also transported him out of the ‘glamorous bachelor’ category in to the ‘legendary icon’ one. Marketeers have had to ‘recalibrate his positioning’.” Just goes to show how seriously the men in suits take brand and image and perception!

Of Sufi fests and literary meets
>> This fortnight we have been inundated with invitations to attend not one but two culture fests. Not only have we been invited to the second edition of the International Sufi Festival 2012 to be held from October 5-11 in Ajmer (featuring the Sabris of Mumbai, the Nizamis of Delhi and the Warsis of Hyderabad amongst others) but also to Kasauli to participate in the Khushwant Singh Literary festival around the same time. It’s going to be a tough choice as we are suckers for Sufi. Especially in Rajasthan. Especially in winter.

Begum Abida Parveen and Rekha
Begum Abida Parveen and Rekha

Which brings us to a slightly embarrassing disclosure: we are recent converts. Almost 11 years ago when we ran in to Begum Abida Parveen at our office and requested her to sing at our residence for our mother’s birthday, we had no idea about her kind of music or legendary status. It was just a daughter’s attempt to surprise her mother who was something of a Sufi aficionado. Suffice to say that regardless of our ignorance, the legend agreed (her only request was that we invite the actress Rekha who she described as her most ardent fan which we did) and that it was a magical intimate and special evening that left us staggered and rendered us Sufi fans forever. So where will we be over the next fortnight? In cool Kasauli amidst KS’ friends and admirers, or on a dusty desert going ‘wah wah’? Watch this space.

Not To Miss Exhibition
>> Artist Anju Dodiya has always distinguished herself from the pack by her deliberate aloofness from hype and global markets, the ‘bazaar’ aspect of art that deplete even the most energetic of artists.

A canvass by artist Anju Dodiya
A canvass by artist Anju Dodiya

Her seemingly still canvasses, which nudge the viewer into challenging areas, are a welcome change from the frenetic and often frantic attempts at ‘cool’ by others of her ilk. And the reclusive artist’s latest exhibition ‘ Room for Erasure’ at the Chemould (on till Oct 24) appears to have all the qualities of her distinct style. Fellow hack and now author Sidharth Bhatia who has been a long time admirer of the artist says, “I find this to be her bravest and most evolved show. She has gone deep into herself. She paints for herself not for markets or audiences.” We like! 

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