Edifice of the old guard

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He's easily one of India's foremost architects, and his buildings like the Shiv Sagar Estate complex, the Nehru Centre, Grand Paradi and the Otters' Club dominate Mumbai's skyline like few others.

So next month attending the launch of 'The Architecture of IM Kadri,' by Kaiwan Mehta, will be a slew of heavy weights from the architect's legion of friends and admirers. For starters, Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Pawar will preside over the function, and the guests of honour will be Deepak Parekh and Shirish Patel. But there will be others too.

(L to R) Then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sharad Pawar and Governor Dr PC Alexander, when IM Kadri was appointed Sheriff of Bombay in 1994
(L to R) Then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sharad Pawar and Governor Dr PC Alexander, when IM Kadri was appointed Sheriff of Bombay in 1994

The Kadris, both IM and his late wife Vipula, were foremost amongst the city's intelligentsia, and very much part of an illustrious group comprising artist MF Husain, actor Dilip Kumar, Barrister Rajni Patel, and city elder Nana Chudasama.

Supriya Sule, Athiya Shetty and Sharad Pawar
Supriya Sule, Athiya Shetty and Sharad Pawar

That the above were also married to graceful and hospitable women made it something of the primus groups of its time in Mumbai. Elegant soirees and sit down dinners, where chiffons and crepe de chines and crisp kurta pajamas were the order of the day, and Chivas Regal served as the conversation would turn to art, and politics, and culture.

But of course, this was 30 years ago and along with the old guard, the book launch next month will be attended by the children and grandchildren of this circle: NCP leader Supriya Sule, BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, Kadri's daughters Mana Shetty and Isha Mehra who have taken over their mother's philanthropic activities, and son, architect Rahul Kadri, along with his (Kadri's) grandchildren including the actress Athiya Shetty, are all expected to be present. And going by the names, it appears that the more things change the more they stay the same.

Prize-winning debut
"When I first published my book for free on Watt pad, I never imagined that it would go on to win awards, and become an international bestseller," said debutant author Farah Oomerbhoy, whose 'The Last of the Firedrakes,' has been nominated for The Benjamin Franklin Award 2016 under the Teen Fiction (13-18 years) category.

Farah Oomerbhoy
Farah Oomerbhoy

The author, who confesses to reading at least 3-4 books simultaneously, depending on her mood and time of day said, " Most of the books I am reading at the moment are fantasy. Right now, I'm addicted to Sarah J Mass' Throne of Glass series, and am on the fourth book in the series, Queen of Shadows."

As for critics within the family she said only her eldest son Raheem (10) has read the book, and "can't wait for book 2 to come out." "Rayyan (8) and Inaara (4) are still too young to read it," she said, adding, "but they have heard the story and love it. All of them know that I am busy working on book 2 and they frequently ask me what is going to happen next." Nice!

Off the cuff
A slew of bankers and bizmen were seen attending Wednesday night's 'Off The Cuff' at a suburban five-star hotel, featuring FinMin Arun Jaitley, in conversation with Shekhar Gupta and his new business colleague Barkha Dutt. Ravi Ruia, Deepak Parekh, Hemendra Kothari, Nimesh Kampani and Harsh Goenka were present.

Arun Jaitley. Pic/PTI, Barkha Dutt
Arun Jaitley. Pic/PTI, Barkha Dutt

"The talk amidst the audience was whether the team of Barkha-Shekhar would be as enduring as Watson and Holmes or Batman and Robin," said a fellow hack, somewhat off the cuff himself. "Also the audience was curious why the duo's new enterprise is called Print when it has nothing in fact to do with print but involves live events and digital content."

The whole nine yards
Nice to hear that people break out of the silos that the world places them in. Delhi-based Director of Roli Books, Priya Kapoor, has just announced a new venture, involving a project close to her heart: the relaunch of a sari boutique called Titli featuring saris she's designed herself.

Priya Kapoor
Priya Kapoor

"They are woven in our hometown Benares," she said, "and the name of the venture is inspired by my Nani's original pop up boutique of Benarasi saris in Delhi." And with a recently photographed brochure featuring Neerja Pant, Fatima Mahdi Karan, Shivani Sibal and her mother Kiran Kapoor shot by Karam K Puri, the publisher demonstrates by example how talent is limitless, and ought to go the whole nine yards.

Reading between the lines
The life of a city diarist can be a piquant one. How else to describe the situation that arose last week when a blind item about a set of sisters from up North, who'd settled in Mumbai, was misconstrued to apply to two sisters in Mumbai?

So to make matters absolutely clear, we would like to state that the item titled 'Sisterhood' had nothing whatsoever to do with a pair of sisters from Mumbai. Or as is said in the movie business these days, 'No Mumbai sisters were meant to be harmed with the writing of the item.' Sometimes reading between the lines can be hazardous to one's health.

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