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Heavyweight editorial hunting

There might soon be an announcement of a big name editorial appointment.

The Hindustan Times’ attractive publisher Shobhana Bhartia is said to be in talks with the Indian-origin editor of the Los Angeles Times, Davan Maharaj, to discuss the possibility of his taking over as the editor in-chief of the Hindustan Times, that bastion of Delhi political verisimilitude, according to a source.

 

Shobhana Bhartia Davan Maharaj Raju Narisetti
Shobhana Bhartia, Davan Maharaj and Raju Narisetti

Maharaj, who replaced Russ Stanton as editor and executive vice-president of the Los Angeles Times in 2011, has worked at the prestigious West coast title for over 22 years and is a native of Trinidad. If Bhartiya succeeds in wresting him away from his current perch, he will be the third big name foreign newspaperman to join the top editorial echelons of the Hindustan Times group.

In 2006, Raju Narisetti, the then Editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe had been brought in to launch Mint, for HT Media Ltd, which is also the publisher of Hindustan Times. And last year, the Hindu reported that the Hindustan Times had appointed South African journalist Nicholas Dawes, editor-in-chief of Mail and Guardian (M&G) as its new chief editorial and content officer.

Other heavyweight international names being considered to edit the HT, according to the fantastic grapevine that passes for newsroom gossip were Megha Bahree (formerly of Forbes), Tunku Varadarajan (formerly of Newsweek International for a post and Pranay Gupte (ex NYT). “Bhartia has hired a major global headhunting agency,” says our source. So will there be a big edit appointment soon? Watch this space!

Zohra and the heart-shaped mole
On hearing that the Indian government in all its supreme and asinine wisdom has denied the 101-year-old Zohra Sehgal a ground floor apartment in Delhi because she does not fall within the 40-60 year old category, we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Not only is the actress a national treasure but she is also something of a family icon.

Zohra Sehgal
Zohra Sehgal

Back in the day when the family relocated to Mumbai from across the border, it found itself sharing digs at 41 Pali Hill, where Sehgal and her sister Uzra resided, along with their neighbours, the soon to become famous Anand clan of Chetan, Dev and Goldie. Family mythology is resonant with tales of theatre, film and dance activities that took bud amidst this preternaturally talented group.

But there is another reason why we feel so connected with Sehgal. For almost a decade we had hung up on the wall of our office, a magnificent portrait of the grande dame shot by Suresh Natarajan. Captured in black and white, it presented her in all her wrinkled majesty.

And under her right eye, for all the world to see was a perfectly outlined heart shaped mole! “Real?” We‘d asked the photographer. “Real! ” he’ d replied. “Like every thing else about Zohra.” For that alone she deserves the ground floor house!

The shoe fits
We mentioned them last week when reporting on czars and czarinas of the art world. After all, such is their clout that both Rajshree Pathy and Anupam Poddar’s names would show up on any art power list. But this week we bring them together on a completely different front.

Anupam Poddar’s sparkly shoes
Anupam Poddar’s sparkly shoes

A few days ago, during the Delhi Art Fair, Pathy in a jocular vein had posted a picture of a rather flamboyant glitter spangled shoe on her Facebook wall, saying ‘Guess who wore them at the Jor Bagh art event last nite?’

Rajshree Pathy
Rajshree Pathy

Not only did her teaser receive many comments but left her the art cognoscenti furiously guessing. But now it can be revealed. The wearer of that stylish piece of footwear was none other than one of Delhi’s foremost art patron, Anupam Poddar. Diamonds on the soles of his feet?

Monkey business
Oh dear. This super brat industrialist who has made a habit of throwing mega tantrums (his hissy fits at luxury hotels across the world are a thing of legend) has done it again. Miffed that a senior executive in his company did not attend to the details of his personal hobby in a manner with the attention he expected, this spoiled man-child is said to have given the middle-aged gent a public dressing down in which he called him ‘a monkey’.

The victim of his Simian analogy did not take the insult lying down and has been heard complaining to all about his treatment at the hands of his employer. “His temper is his undoing,” he is said to have told a colleague. “Not only is it affecting his work, but it’s the reason his dream project is not getting clearance from authorities. He’s pissed off every one with his attitude.”

Friends, art historians
Two scholarly women, both celebrated art historians who have been friends for decades. The story of Dr Saryu Doshi, former honorary director of the NGMA and Dr Vishakha Desai, president emerita, Asia Society is a fascinating one.

Dr Vishakha Desai Dr Saryu Doshi
Dr Vishakha Desai and Dr Saryu Doshi

They met in the mid ’70s when Doshi was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and Desai was pursuing her PhD in art history. “She stood out even then,” says Doshi, about her brightest pupil.

Dr Doshi and Dr Desai
Dr Doshi and Dr Desai

The friends met last month in Mumbai when this picture was clicked. “We reminisced about old times,” says Doshi. “And then Vishakha sent me the picture with the message ‘don’t we look like sisters’?” And now Doshi is off to London where she will be the keynote speaker on Jain Art at SOAS and Desai will be in Mumbai where she along with Rajeev Sethi will be speaking under the aegis of the Asia Society on ‘Art in Public Spaces’ this Friday ’. And, of course, Dr Doshi will be in the audience to cheer her along!

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