While Byculla’s Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum suffered a lamentable setback this past Sunday when the finale of Lakme Fashion Week which was to be held there was abruptly shifted to a different location, things seem to be looking up, with Reliance Industries chairman, Mukesh Ambani having offered Rs 1.8 crore to the city landmark.
Industrialist Mukesh Ambani will contribute his yearly remuneration from his post on the board of the Bank of America to fund events at the museum for three years. (Right) Honorary director Tasneem Zakaria Mehta at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, which she is sure will greatly benefit from Mukesh Ambani’s contribution. File pics
Every year for three years, the industrialist will contribute R60 lakh – remuneration from his post on the board of the Bank of America – to the museum.
Set to roll out from April 1, the money will be used to fund programmes and exhibitions there, confirmed Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, honorary director at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum and vice-chairman of INTACH. “Mukesh Ambani is an old friend. He has been seeing the good work that we have done in the past decade at the museum.
He said to me, ‘I am giving you this money for the museum as I support the work done’. This is a terrific gesture of support for the museum,” said Mehta, adding that she hoped this would set a philanthropical example for the country’s businessmen to follow.
This support comes at an important juncture: just three days ago, the museum received a rude shock as it was gearing up to host the grand finale of the Lakme Fashion Week, an international event. After an MNS leader allegedly threatened to protest and damage property if the show was held at the museum, the event was shifted to Palladium Hotel in Lower Parel.
“When episodes like the recent cancellation of our venue for a fashion event occurs, it’s a setback. I wish our politicians and lawmakers see merit in the work here. In fact, Mr Uddhav Thackeray has been a great supporter of our museum,” she reminds us.
Mehta is sure that Ambani’s contribution will go a long way in supporting the museum, as the annual itinerary demands more funding than what comes in right now. “The BMC gives us R2 crore annually, which is insufficient. Raising funds is the toughest challenge.
Apart from the skills and knowledge, the funding that I bring to the table is crucial to keep this museum going. People like Mr Ambani are giving money as they value the work being done here. They have come forward only because we are doing something big at the museum,” said Mehta, adding that the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation also contributes funds every year.
While galleries and artists support the museum through exhibitions, Mehta is in the thick of additional fundraising through events like fashion shows and film shootings. She cites a recent example where Vidhu Vinod Chopra shot his upcoming film with Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhar at the museum.
“Being a good friend, we charged him substantial money,” Mehta elaborated. When contacted, a spokesperson from Reliance Industries confirmed the news, adding that it was Ambani’s intent to donate the amount as it was for the benefit and overall upkeep of a fine city landmark.