Enter the statesman

Malavika SangghviCongratulations are due to Anand Mahindra, the Mahindra group and family who after the devastating tragedy that they recently faced of losing their young scion, the 32-year-old Kaveesh Nath in a freak road accident in Goa have something to cheer about.

At the NDTV Business awards held last evening, at the Hyatt Regency in Delhi not only was the Lifetime Achievement award given to the former Chairman of the Mahindra Group Keshub Mahindra, current Chairman Anand was awarded the Business Leader of the Year award setting a new precedent where two people from the same family are recognised by prestigious awards in the same year.

(From left) Anand Mahindra, Keshub Mahindra
(From left) Anand Mahindra, Keshub Mahindra

In a celebrity packed audience that saw the likes of Mallika Sreenivasan, Pawan Munjal, Chanda Kochhar, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Venugopal Dhoot and with Chief Guest Montek Singh Ahluwalia doing the honours, it was a gathering of stars.

Kumar Mangalam Birla Chanda Kochhar
Kumar Mangalam Birla and Chanda Kochhar

Suhel Seth who spoke to us from the hall, even as the awards were underway said, “With two generations of the Mahindras being thus recognised and their sustained contribution to the business community over decades, the stage is set for Anand to assume leadership of the business community.

It could be called his Delhi coronation in many ways,” said the marketing guru, adding, “God knows today with the politicians of this country making loutish statements and asses of themselves we need credible statesman in other fields.”

The NaMo effect
As for Dilli, the talking heads never rest. Not only did Narendra Modi address the FICCI conference Monday morning, but also the Think India meet. The Capital seems to be in the putative PM’s thrall. Of course, not every one is dewy eyed.

 
Nidhi Razdan and (right) Gujarat CM Narendra Modi

Nidhi Razdan, the popular TV anchor posted on her timeline, “Too much ma-bahen in Modi’s speech.” Followed by “Times Now: Modi address to FICCI laced with humour, satire and a roadmap - his informal best.” Clearly I have no sense of humour. Luminous beauty, a gentle considered approach to anchoring and a dry sense of humour? We like!

Ah Taj
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at the Taj group. Not only has India’s premier hotel chain had to come to terms with the change of guard at Bombay House following the stepping down of the charismatic Ratan Tata, but in a couple of months from now RK Krishna Kumar, managing director of the Indian Hotels Company Limited since 1997 is due to retire too.

RK Krishna Kumar
RK Krishna Kumar

His going will leave a huge vacuum at the top given that he steered the company through some of its most challenging times. Whereas much speculation on his successor is rife, this diarist has learnt from credible sources that the person slated to take over is from within the group and is a relatively younger man - known to be a protege, the legendary KK himself.

If this were not enough to bring on sleepless nights and much to-ing and fro-ing amongst its top executives - the lease that comes up for renewal for its prestigious New Delhi Taj Mansingh still hangs by the wire. Our sources say that every other hotel chain is trying its darndest to outbid the occupant and that the NDMC has many contenders. Time to take a break and sign up for one of their own summer getaways we think.

Two women
Internationally celebrated Jazz artist (and Andy Warhol favourite) Asha Puthli and Padma Vibhushan Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay whose birth centenary we are celebrating this year seems to have little in common but think again. Not only were they closely related, but shared a deep and enduring bond.

Asha Puthli Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
Asha Puthli and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

“Our families were very closely knit and we were connected through two marriages on my mother’s side and Kamalakka (Kamaldevi) considered my dad her younger brother.” “Two of my mom’s sisters married Kamalakka’s older sister’s sons (their mother died in child birth) and Kamladeviji raised both her son Ram Bappa and her sister’s sons,” says the songstress.

“All my cousins used to get terribly nervous when she came over and during family functions would tell me that I was the only one she really care for and I know that is true because she always gave me her beautiful temple saris and fabulous rings, and I have still kept some of the things she gave me, including her autobiography which she inscribed with, ‘To my favourite niece’. She was straightforward, intense and serious with most people but whenever I walked into the room she would light up. The original ‘Devil is loose’ and the iconic Indian cultural doyenne: who would have thunk it?

Dubai Times
It’s not only Indians within the country who’re kicking up their heels. Word has come in of the high flying Dubai based Vaswanis - Sunil and Rita - who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary over three days of lavish revelry and non stop partying- two of them at the Atlantis last weekend.

Akon Lionel Richie
Akon and Lionel Richie

And whereas many guests had flown down from all over the world, including Lakshmi Mittal, cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, and the Pali Hill glam brigade of Poonam Dhillon and Manish Malhotra, it was the presence of two of pop music’s biggest names who attracted all the attention. According to an insider, the grand finale included performances by Akon and Lionel Richie.

“The previous evening had a ‘Sufi’ theme and Rahat Khan performed to great applause,” said our source. “And, of course, on the third night the two biggies were rolled out.” Incidentally, though Dubai-based for many years, the Vaswanis hail from Lagos and have been embroiled in some high profile economic offences, which include duping a man to the tune of $1.6 billion! 

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