Her art in the right place

Isha Ambani
Isha Ambani

There is a strong correlation between art and healing. The edifying effect that creative works have on the human spirit are well documented, and the importance of art and music in hospitals cannot be overemphasised. No surprises then, that later this month, Isha Ambani, who has displayed an abiding interest in art, is hosting a panel discussion on the significance of public art to celebrate the new works acquired by the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.

What's interesting is that the panel features a refreshing group of relatively young, and edgy voices from the art community, like Shilpa Gupta, Reena Kallat, Sumir Tagra and Jiten Thukral. To be moderated by Dr Deepnanjan Klein, head of Classical and Contemporary South Asian Art at Christies, it marks the first public foray into Mumbai's art and culture space of the Yale-educated daughter of Nita and Mukesh Ambani, who also sits on the board of Jio and Reliance Retail. Earlier this year Ambani had been one of the invitees along with Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, a black tie red carpet event, that marked the coming together of art and charity, both subjects said to be close to her heart.

And miles to go...
Yes Bank's Rana Kapoor brought in his 60th birthday this weekend with an intimate celebration in the company of his family in the salubrious climes of Sardinia. "There were eight of us including Dad's newest son-in-law Aditya and his newborn grandson Ariaan..." says eldest daughter and serial entrepreneur Radha Kapoor. "We had a private band playing his favourite Frank Sinatra songs, especially 'I did it my way', which is so true to his life story" she says.

The Kapoor family in Sardinia, Porto Cervo where they were for the birthday
The Kapoor family in Sardinia, Porto Cervo where they were for the birthday

Besides the music and the love in the air, there was a specially curated six-course sit down featuring all the birthday boy's favourite dishes from the original Zodiac Grill menu: lobster thermidor, camembert soufflé etc .

"It was great family bonding time discussing future business prospects and anecdotes from his past," says the doting daughter. But it is her last sentence that demonstrates what distinguishes winners from losers. "Dad told us how he feels younger than ever now and that he has a lot more to accomplish..." Watch out world.

Face-off phones
As always the announcement of iphone's newest launch has dominated conversations. What has come in for maximum jokes is iphone X’s latest feature which will unlock the instrument by facial recognition. 

Rima Jain with Rishi, Randhir and Rajeev Kapoor
Rima Jain with Rishi, Randhir and Rajeev Kapoor

Not only are wits taking down the app with comments about how identical twins will pose a challenge to this feature, and how wives will now be more successful in gaining their husband’s secrets (by pointing their cell phones at their faces while they sleep), but how the device will be confused by similar looking faces.

As in this meme, shared by Vaibhav Vishal on Twitter, which has gone instantly viral depicting four of Raj Kapoor’s children, Rishi, Randhir and Rajeev along with sister Rima Jain seated at a what looks like their favourite Chinese dim sum joint, looking eerily similar. 'I feel sorry for iphone X already’ was the meme's cryptic comment. Indeed.

Heroine of her own movie script
We still remember her as if it were just yesterday. Standing tall in her crisp white organza saree, with her famous husky voice, kohl lined eyes and gajras in her hair. It was obvious to anyone who met her that the leading film columnist of the '70s, Devyani Chaubal aka the Queen of Mean, was the heroine of her own movie script and a legend in her own lunchtime.

Devyani Chaubal. Pic/Pradeep Chandra
Devyani Chaubal. Pic/Pradeep Chandra

As the author of two widely read weekly columns in Eve's Weekly and Star and Style, she was the one who afforded her star struck readers tantalising titbits from the inside track of Bollywood. The revolving bed and wardrobe of a famous film producer, the rampant alcoholism of a star wife, the white shoes and gold chains of a film financier and so on and so forth.

Legend had it that Chaubal was the daughter of a once wealthy clan that had squandered its fortunes on horse racing and high living. To be sure, her hauteur and arrogance, not to mention her bitter barbs were most likely a product of her struggles as one of the few single working women of that era. She had been a friend of our parents and a frequent guest at their parties, and it was not unfamiliar to see her regaling guests about the antics of the film world late into the night.

It had been Chaubal who'd described the newly launched Anil Kapoor as 'an actor with the face of a small-time pick pocket.' It was Chaubal who'd had to hitch up her saree and run for her life, when an inebriated and mad as hell Dharmendra had chased her across a field, at a film fundraiser over an item she'd written about his love life, and it was Chaubal who'd scandalised us teenagers, while narrating the latest chapter in her on going love affair with the era's leading man (Many said it was an imaginary affair or at best one sided). " I saw myself in my birthday suit for the first time, reflected from all sides in the magnificent floor to ceiling mirrors of his boudoir, and realised how beautiful I was," she said.

Many years later when we had visited her as she lay gravely ill from an unknown disease, supposedly brought on by her crash dieting ('For him') ,we recall how her eyes were still as bright as embers in the shabby nursing home at Linking Road. That and the basket of her favourite flowers that adorned her bedside table. "They're from HIM," she'd whispered in her famous husky voice. "He sends them to me every day."

She had died a few months later most likely unsung and alone. This portrait by our former colleague, ace photographer Pradeep Chandra, brought all this back to us as a flash. For her sake we hope that the star had indeed remembered to send her those daily bouquets in her dying days.

For God and country
A few days ago we had written about Mumbai's consular corps, those men and women who tirelessly represent their countries, facilitate engagements, and issue travel documentation on Indian shores.

Ashok Wadhwa
Ashok Wadhwa

However, there exists an interesting subsection of this community: local Indians who are appointed to head diplomatic missions in honorary capacity in cases where countries are reluctant to run their own embassies, mostly due to budget constraints.

These individuals have to be men and women of considerable means, given the profile of their jobs, possessing sterling reputations, and they are carefully picked and highly vetted, as on their shoulders lies the prestige and reputation of a foreign country.

Over the past years, the likes of DLF's KP Singh, Birla matriarch Rajshree Birla, and industrialist MK Sanghi have all flown the flag of various countries. Now word comes in that ace investment banker Ashok Wadhwa also wears a consular hat.

At a dinner on Wednesday night, while being introduced to the Consul General of a European nation, Wadhwa was overheard shyly informing the gentleman that he too has been CG for the past two years. Of Guatemala (in Central America which shares a border with Mexico)," he said. Who woulda' thunk!

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