League of Outsiders who made it

Each time we meet Yes Bank’s Chairman Rana Kapoor, after giving us a ten-tonne bone-crunching handshake, he reminds us of a random conversation we had in the lobby of the Taj in the run-up to the last general election where he had correctly predicted the ascension of Narendra Modi as PM of India.

Rana Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan
Rana Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan

On Monday night too when we met the President, of Assocham and MD & CEO, YES Bank at the release of Assocham’s Knowledge Report on ‘Digitization & Mobility: Next frontier of growth for M&E’ he reminded us about that afternoon.

What had struck us then had been Kapoor’s personal identification with Modi as some one who came from the outside with nothing going for him, who would take on the establishment. But of course there was no time to ask Kapoor if he’d felt vindicated by Modi’s performance now.

It was 9.30 pm and the event that was slated to have begun at 8.30 pm was already running late on account of the Chief Guest Shah Rukh Khan’s non-appearance. Meanwhile a slew of worthies from Bollywood and the world of business and finance like Boney Kapoor, Prahlad Kakkar, Kailash & Arti Surendranath, Talat Aziz, Poonam Dhillon, were clamouring for Kapoor’s handshake.

Why did he choose SRK to launch the book we managed to ask Kapoor. His answer on stage was ‘who better to launch a report on the Media & Entertainment industry, than the undisputed king of Bollywood’. But off stage to us he said, “Because SRK and I started from scratch, and the best is yet to come.”

Uncannily it was the same sentiment of an outsider’s triumph he’d had for Modi. And Kapoor’s identification with SRK was palpable through the way he greeted the star when he finally showed up at ten past ten. We were unable to stay till then, but from the pictures it appears that a shaken and stirred SRK had received the handshake too.

Remembering Murli Deora
We were heartened to note that on the first anniversary of his death the late great Congress leader Murli Deora was trending on Twitter. Deora had been that rare politician who had held on to old fashioned beliefs like service to the people, and loyalty to his leaders, so did he ‘get’ social media we asked his son the blues guitarist and former South Mumbai MP Milind Deora.’

Murli Deora
Murli Deora

‘He knew I was on it and thought it was an effective medium to engage and have a dialogue with voters,’ said Deora, adding, ‘But I’m just grateful for the affection online and offline. He was deeply connected to many people and it feels good to know we’re not alone in remembering him’.

And the cow jumped over the balloon!
We heard this hilarious story about Chintan Upadhyay, the artist recently arrested in Rajasthan for his depiction of a cow hanging from a plastic balloon, that had apparently got the goat of some over-zealous cops in the artist’s home state.

The art installation at Jaipur
The art installation at Jaipur

Mercifully, the renowned artist known for his thought provoking depictions of mutants and babies and baby mutants has been released thanks to the timely intervention of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje. But according to an insider this has not been Upadhyay’s first brush with the law.

Chintan Upadhyay
Chintan Upadhyay

A few years ago the noted artist, who was showing at a prestigious art gallery in Mumbai, had received threats from the Shiv Sena that its lumpen were going to attack the artist and vandalise his art for its provocative stance. Naturally the police, not wanting such harm to come to one of the country’s most coveted artists, swung into action and stood guard at the exhibition hall’s door with orders to arrest any one who looked ‘suspicious or like a potential vandal.’

So imagine the embarrassment and red faces all round when it was discovered that the only person fitting that description, who they’d pounced upon when he’d arrived at the gallery — had been the artist himself! Yes, like many of artistic temperament, Upadhyay is known not only for his illuminating works of mysterious beauty but also for his unkempt longhaired and scruffy appearance!

The Warhol Effect
“Sharmistha has been involved in the art world for many years and we believe her understanding, knowledge and commitment to art will definitely help meet the Foundation’s goals,” say Kochi Biennale Foundation co-founders Bose Krishnamacharya and Riyas Komu about the recent appointment of Mumbai-based artist Sharmistha Ray as Consultant - Marketing/ Fundraising for the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale to be held in December next year.

Sharmistha Ray and Andy Warhol
Sharmistha Ray and Andy Warhol

“I am privileged to come into an existing structure that has, in a short span of time since the launch of the Biennale in 2012, been able to achieve so much by way of arts, education, private and public partnerships and stimulating new models of integrated patronage at all levels with a wide spectrum of responsible initiatives,” says Ray about her new role.

“It’s an entirely new paradigm that’s being created, so there’s a lot of work to be done to educate people about the importance of art to our culture in the process,” she said, adding ‘Certainly, the Internet has become a vital tool for crowd-funding and building general awareness around our project, but the personal touch is just as significant in activating charitable segments within corporate India and amongst HNWI’s.’

And perhaps as a precursor to her new role, Ray, a TED Fellow who relocated to Mumbai after living in NY and who brings some of the city’s edgy art culture has gone officially blonde. ‘Dig. Blonde. Call me Andy.’ She said cheekily alluding to one of the art world’s most successful evangelists.

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