>> Its website describes it as ‘an initiative that seeks to create a culture of idea-sharing, intellectual discovery, and open dialogue for young India by curating events and projects that educate, entertain, and mobilise in equal measure.’
And when Leeza Mangaldas, one of Evoke 2012’s curator’s says, “Our focus was to explore how we could execute a forum that lies at the intersection of education and entertainment, exploring in an intellectually rigorous and insightful way, the topics that human beings find most appealing: Beauty, money, sex, love, violence, faith and substance,” the initiative, slated to take place on December 6 at the US Consulate, BKC, Mumbai seems all the more intriguing.
Leeza who graduated phi beta kappa from Columbia University last year, (where she took classes in literature, economics and evolutionary biology amongst others) is pursuing a career in filmmaking and acting in Mumbai when she’s not igniting Mumbai’s cultural landscape with her fresh ideas and creativity.
Evoke 2012 which has been supported by the US Consulate in Mumbai, and the Columbia Alumni association, with a grant from Lamborghini Mumbai, is the outcome of a collaboration with her friend and fellow social change maker and Samyak Chakrabarty, described as India’s youngest media CEO.
It features the likes of Lara Dutta (on beauty), Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (on money) Mark Lilla, Professor of History at Columbia University (on faith), Shekhar Gupta (on violence) and LGBT activist Ashok Row Kavi (on sexuality). “For my generation, globally, I feel that there is an unfair stigma attached to academia and intellectualism,” says Mangaldas. “We hope Evoke 2012 provides at least an impetus for questioning and conversation.”
Guess who came to dinner!
>> He’d got the nation dancing to his Chamak Challo and news of his trips to India have been making the rounds, but last Saturday guests at the lavish Sahara-Sachdev wedding celebrations were thrilled to witness a surprise performance by none other than the Senegalese-American R&B and hip hop recording artist, songwriter, record producer Akon. The artist had been flown down on a commercial flight with his manager by Dinesh Sahara of the Ruchi Soya group India’s largest manufacturer of edible oil who happened to be the bride’s father. “Akon flew in on Saturday night and flew out on Sunday after performing,” our source informs us. “There were about 2000 guests at the party and the hosts had booked the entire first floor of the five-star hotel.”
Contrary to rumours Akon did not perform at the Sethia wedding in Udaipur though, “He was never booked for that,” says the same source. And we wonder how those rumours started. We put the confusion down to wedding fever. And, in case, readers think the wedding hi-jinks are in any way abating with the Sahara-Rawal-Sethia festivities behind us let us hasten to dissuade them: Rana Kapoor’s daughter’s wedding takes place this weekend in Delhi followed immediately by the Bhosle-Kadam mega wedding in Pune!
When Mickey met Mary
>> What happens when a five-time World Boxing champion and Olympic heroine meets a celebrated holistic health and wellness guru? A mutual admiration society gets created! Or so we are informed by those who witnessed the recent meeting between Mary Kom and Mumbai’s own Mickey Mehta. “I have heard about you… first time I am seeing you!” Kom is supposed to have said to Mehta.
“You look so lovable, I can’t imagine you fighting!” Mehta is reported to have replied. When asked about the encounter Mickey who began his career as a martial arts expert (but has since given up the practice) revealed that Mary displayed none of the aggression of a fighter. “Nor has she lost her femininity,” he said. What next? Will we see Mickey training Priyanka Chopra alleged to play Kom in the Sanjay Leela biopic on the champion’s life? Watch this space!
Upwardly moving Ed
>> Word comes in that the redoubtable Nonita Kalra, editor of Elle India whose imminent move to newer pastures we were the first to write about will be joining a reputable FMCG in a senior position.
“The deal hasn’t been inked yet,” says our source, “But it’s more or less in the bag. Meanwhile, the rest of the magazine’s disgruntled staff is said to be equally upwardly mobile!
How lit fests came of age
>> A measure of how India’s lit fests have come of age is the recent post on Facebook by author historian William Dalrymple who is also the director of the (rival) Jaipur Lit Fest: “Proper competition for Jaipur at last! Really excellent line up and programming for the Times of India Literary Carnival!” he exulted recently. And besides his natural graciousness, Dalrymple is not far off the mark.
With panelists like Katherine Boo, Suketu Mehta, Sunil Khilnani, Ramchandra Guha and Dalrymple himself slated to appear, Mumbai’s literati is going to be in hog heaven this December. As for us, we are counting the days to hear Pakistani-American author Daniyal Mueenuddin (Saturday, December 8, from 5.30 pm and Sunday, December 9, from 2.30 pm) whose slim collection of short stories In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is one of the finest pieces of writing to come out of the subcontinent we believe.
So from December 7-9, it’s the Mehboob studios for anybody interested in the word in particular and wordsmiths in general!