>> We’ve seen him in his role as one of Wharton’s most controversial speaker that might have been, and the hitherto yet undeclared prime ministerial candidate for the BJP, but the latest avatar of the irrepressible Narendra Modi might just be as fashion guru. Witness the note he wrote last week to designer Shruti Sancheti who will be presenting her collection ‘Swadeshi’ at the Lakme Fashion Week — Summer/Resort 2013. ‘Khadi for nation to Khadi for fashion’ includes integration of Swadeshi sanskars in youth matching to the latest trend of the fashion world (sic)’ writes the Gujarat CM making up for patriotism what he lacks in grammar. Sancheti, a mother of two, is no stranger to LFW or grandiose themes. Her debut at Lakme Fashion Week started with a collection titled ‘Zero Mile Legacy’, we’re informed and her CV makes it abundantly clear that she is married into a prominent and politically active family in Nagpur too. Which perhaps explains Modi’s uncharacteristic endorsement. “It is high time to market the handmade environment friendly fabric to stand out in a crowd as the tallest of all as brand India,” he writes. The CM as a fashionista? Who woulda thunk it?
>> Whereas a diarist has many pleasant duties, ever so often one has to report on onerous events. One such is news of the breaking up of the talented Niharika Bhasin Khan whose contribution to the success of The Dirty Picture cannot be overemphasised and her equally talented husband the dashing Ayub Khan, son of actors Begum Para and Nasir Khan and nephew of Dilip Kumar.
Meanwhile, whereas there isn’t any confirmation that Niharika is seeing Kai Po Che actor Amit Sadh, the resemblance between Ayub and Amit has not gone unnoticed. Both men possess a dark haired boyish machismo that is hard to miss.
>> Whereas today all kinds of ersatz tributes and platitudes will be trotted out on the occasion of Women’s Day, the one that appears to make the most genuine is that of Sula Vineyards. Why so? Because Sula Vineyards and its creator Rajiv Samant has always shown a genuine appreciation of women and their capabilities and many women hold key positions in the company.
For example, not only do they have Cecilia Oldne, as head of international business & global brand ambassador, Sula Vineyards but Sovna Puri heads the tastings & trainings division and is DGM marketing. Of course, all this is only par for the course in a company named after a woman. Sula is short for Sulabha, Rajiv’s charming mother! And so, today when all the female guests in the house at the Tasting Room are pampered with a complementary glass of Dia Red and chocolates along with other thoughtful privileges like gift hampers and Tapas discounts — it seems like more than lip service! We like!
>> “What complete joy spending these evenings back in the old Gowalia Tank area I grew up in, with my old mentor Ustad Aslam Khan Saheb,” exulted poet –musician and all round force of nature Anand Thakore recently about his ancestral two-tiered home Chandri Villa bought by his great-grandfather in 1919. “Chandri Villa was first home to Govind Lal Thakore — one of the greatest lawyers of his times,” he recalled. “It then housed my Gandhian grandparents while Gandhi had himself lived down the same lane. History and the arts were never far under my father’s reign and under mine the villa became a great gathering place for poets and musicians.” But all good things have to come to an end and Chandri Villa was sold to a builder for demolition and reconstruction finally. However, there’s a silver lining on the villa’s horizon. “Police Commissioner Venkateshvaran who lives on the first floor is now fighting a case against the builder claiming that one of the flats is police property,” says Thakore, adding, “My great-grandfather was a clever man; imagine a lawyer renting a flat out to the police, sharp move.” Nice!
Young diva extraordinaire
>> Just when people had begun to get used to Ekta Kapoor’s most outlandish eccentricities, comes another young in-your-face and very successful Bollywood diva with an arsenal of her own. She might not be a producer (at least not yet) but as casting director for Yash Raj Films and the woman who discovered Ranveer Singh and cast him in Band Baaja Baaraat, Shanoo Sharma’s already a legend all the way from Khar to Bandra. And in an exquisitely written profile in this month’s Caravan, Taran N Khan captures the larger-than-life mystique and quintessentially Bollywood ethos of this spunky enigma.
“Ironically, her intense fame in these circles is matched by her near-invisibility in the larger public sphere — an absence that she takes some pains to maintain. Like many truly powerful people, Shanoo works behind the mirrors, hiding in plain sight,” says the article, adding, “Since 2006, she has cast for almost 30 films, working with a range of directors, from Sudhir Mishra to Aditya Chopra. In a career spanning just over six years, at the age of 34, Shanoo has become one of the most powerful casting directors in Mumbai, and certainly the most flamboyant.” But best of all is the description of the lady: “She wore a black kurta and loose black pants, with a brightly coloured scarf. Her eyes were lined thickly with dark kajal, and she wore heavy silver earrings, several oversized rings and a large bindi. Her assistants hovered around her, and she would dismiss them only to summon them again, like a fickle queen with her coterie, addressing them in tones that ranged from haughty to courtesy.” Move over Ekta. Here comes Shanoo.