Genius at work

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“It’s not enough to be called legends,” we recall Abu Jani, one half of the country’s most celebrated design label Abu and Sandeep, saying to us in his gentle dreamy style a few weeks ago over dinner. “You have to constantly engage with your audiences,” said Sandeep Khosla, the more garrulous one of the two who often completes his sentences.

What Khosla was saying was that even genius has to stoop to contour. The boys had been at the top of their game almost for four decades and though they’d reached an international and national acclaim of dizzying heights, it was time to step off their pedestal and show people who was boss.

Sonam dazzles in an Abu-Sandeep gown
Sonam dazzles in an Abu-Sandeep gown

And last Friday by opening this season’s BMW India Bridal Fashion Week in Delhi, that’s exactly what they did. Paying homage to the vibrancy of Varanasi, the ‘boys’ as they are known, took the audience at the DLF Emporio Mall through a magical mystery tour of silks, brocades, gold and silver thread work, colours and moods.

Sonam with Abu and Sandeep; Jaya and Shweta Bachchan at the showSonam with Abu and Sandeep; Jaya and Shweta Bachchan at the show

Right from the moment when Sonam Kapoor slithered down the ramp wearing a black multi panelled net flared gown detailed in gold and mirror, and three-dimensional lotuses embellished with Swarovski crystals, metallic gold sequins and beads, lip syncing seductively to Lana del Ray’s ‘Young and beautiful’ to the show’s finale, when she walked in a ruby red 10 kali net ghagra embroidered with gold metallic beads and Swarovski crystals, teamed with a blouse to match highlighted with three-dimensional metallic gold beads –the audience consisting of the likes of Jaya Bachchan, Dimple Khanna, Shweta Bachchan, Ritu Kumar, Subodh Gupta, Amaan Ali Khan, Neema and Ayaan Ali Khan and Subbalakshmi Khan was spellbound. Because sometimes even genius has to strut its stuff. To show who’s boss. Amongst all.

Milind with pals
He’s one guy who believes there’s life beyond politics. Ever since Milind Deora, the Congressman and musically inclined former MP for South Mumbai was defeated at the hustings, he’s been spotted around town with the brightest and the best across the board, like ace news anchor Barkha Dutt, the band of AIB stars and now most recently with filmdom’s Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, whom he was dining with at Ellipses over the weekend.

Milind Deora, Barkha Dutt, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor
Milind Deora, Barkha Dutt, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor

Deora, who is one of the few politicians whose interests range from the arts (he’s inherited a fine eye from his mother Hema) to show biz (his wife Pooja Shetty belongs to an old film family). He obviously knows how to make friends and influence people.

Souza going, going, gone
Francis Newton Souza was one of the most celebrated amongst India’s progressive artists. An impassioned and often irascible man who had the mouth of a truck driver, but the hands of an angel, he created some of India’s most coveted canvasses.

F N Souza
F N Souza

And now, according to our source, one of these, which had been acquired for 10 cool ones by a leading art maven, the wife of a heavyweight industrialist, will be once more on sale through an international auction house. Why is she selling we asked, knowing the lady’s passion for collecting.

A painting by Souza
A painting by Souza

“To raise money for her arts foundation,” we were informed “And given the world wide interest in Souza, looks like she’s well on her way to making a killing on it.”

The lure of green curry
Last week while many of the great and the good were gathered at the NCPA to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Shapoorji Pallonji group, headed by the reclusive construction billionaire Pallonji Mistry, whose son Cyrus Mistry is current chairman of the Tata group, the absence of Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, who had been instrumental in anointing Mistry, and handing over the reins to him after his own retirement in 2012 was noted.

Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata

There was speculation that one of the country’s tallest business leaders might have been travelling, but according to a source, the handsome former Chairman of the Tatas, who has now become an active investor in ecommerce enterprises, was not only in town but had chosen the evening to dine at his favourite restaurant The Thai Pavilion with a friend. We knew Chef Ananda’s green curry was irresistible. But that irresistible who woulda thunk?

Delhi’s sharpest wits
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you want to have the most scintillating ladies lunch in Delhi –you’ve got to call the guys!

Romi Chopra, Viveck Sahni, Malavika Sangghvi, Nikhil Khanna and Suhel Seth
Romi Chopra, Viveck Sahni, Malavika Sangghvi, Nikhil Khanna and Suhel Seth

Which is why, this weekend’s ‘MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project’ found itself blossoming in the breathtaking environs of the Cube, the 24-hour coffee shop at breathtaking Leela palace in Chanakyapuri, Delhi with four of the Capital’ s wittiest men.

Firstly there was the very grand Romi Chopra; close friend of the Gandhis, and an aesthete of epic proportions, with him came our friend, Delhi’s cleverest man Suhel Seth (even sharper at the start of the day). Nikhil Khanna the zany, loquacious, PR expert trotted in next and finally the gathering was enhanced by the watchful, ever astute presence of Viveck Sahni, owner of the Capital’s most sought after graphic company whose excellent line of luxe Ayurveda potions, Cama, is soon to launch in Mumbai.

Four of Delhi’s sharpest tongues, how many reputations were going to be at stake, how many lives on the line? Over Eggs Benedict, dim sum, idli sambhar and parathas laced with butter, OJ and coffee, the breakfast that began at 11 sharp wounds down a good three hours later with many casualties along the way.

And whereas most of it is unprintable or certainly inflammatory, what we can share is the morning’s quest of the 10 most attractive men in the country, that was the only time the table fell silent. Agreeing on two designers, one politician, a sculptor and a former Maharajah, we found none others.

No wonder most of us were single we concluded morosely. The MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project. Never a dull moment. See you next week!

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