>> Bad news for fans of Avicii, the Swedish DJ, remixer, model and record producer (ranked no 3 on the Top 100 DJs list by DJ Magazine in 2012). News has come in that his concert at the Turf Club scheduled to be held next month has been cancelled due to ill health. “Yes. It’s sad but true,” said Percept’s head honcho Shailendra Singh when we asked him for confirmation.
“But one’s health is very important and I’m sure he will get fit and come back soon, as he was very keen to finish what he had started in Mumbai in 2011.” And will fans that booked tickets, get their refunds? “Yes, we are giving people the option to switch to DJ Tiesto and if they don’t want to do that then we will refund their money,” he said. As for the organiser’s loss: “Fortunately we didn’t pay anything to the artist so we are ok financially.”
>> It was expected but not with the alacrity or ferocity that we are witnessing. As a run up to the 2014 elections, not only are various prime ministerial candidates staking their claim, but regional parties have begun flexing their muscles too. And so, whereas NaMo has made quite an impression on the chatterati with his speech at the India Today Conclave (those singing his praises are as diverse as Kalyani Chawla, the attractive Dior head in India, Yes bank chairman Rana Kapoor and the Puries themselves) Nitish Kumar, Bihar’s wonder boy is not far behind. After his electrifying rally in Delhi this weekend, the charismatic CM was seen attending a music concert hosted by legal eagle Harish Salve in memory of his father, the late Congress leader NKP Salve. What was more significant were his companions in the front row.
His chief advisor, former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission NK Singh (said to be the sharpest man in politics today) and Suhel Seth, the ubiquitous social phenomena. And when you consider the invisible lines that connect these men, a new and potent power centre emerges: NK is friend and mentor to India’s richest and most powerful industrialist Mukesh Ambani and brother-in-law to Bapji Jodhpur (through his wife), Seth was on the board of the recent One World fundraising conclave for the erstwhile Maharajah’s head injuries foundation, where the star guests and patrons were the senior Ambanis. We could go on but enough said… Is Nitish with his development mantra that has transformed Bihar, and without the baggage of communalism (like his bête noir) gathering some very powerful allies who could call the shots in 2014? Watch this space…
Urban folk hero
>> If Gupta was the pinup boy at the IDF, then architect and Harvard professor Rahul Mehrotra was its folk hero. His passionate talk, which he kicked off with the caveat that he didn’t want to ‘fetishize architecture’ and instead was going to talk about the failures he had encountered and the learnings that had resulted learnt, was a lesson in ardour. From calling Mumbai’s unregulated and often illegal development ‘bazaar urbanism’ to his pragmatic, “I don’t think slums are going away,” to his endearing anecdotes about Dharavi school kids who mange to emerge looking spiffy for school without toilets to use and his project which involved creating a shelter for mahouts and elephants in Jaipur, it was quintessential Mehrotra: policy driven, public spirited and left of centre. Making him deserving of the standing ovation he received many times over. But best of all we liked his admission of hitting rich, guilt-ridden clients for money to subsidise solar panels for a community in a slum!
Art’s new rockstar
>> If much of Hussain’s success was predicated on his rock star persona, his able successor in the art world is undoubtedly Subodh Gupta, the Bihar born, Delhi-based internationally celebrated artist known for immortalising everyday objects in steel and for his installations, photographs, and videography. Not only did his talk at the IDF receive much applause and cheering from the audience, but later as he wandered through the NCPA chatting easily with his fans and admirers he was a natural star. Most appreciated was the artist’s earthy no-nonsense and unpretentious approach to art.
“I saw more Madhubani art in Delhi than I did in my hometown,” was his dry response to a question on whether he felt compelled to represent his own artistic heritage. This fetched a ripple of laughter and clapping from an audience obviously fed up of ‘institutionalised state culturati.’ Similarly, his comments, “I don’t differentiate between good art, good design and good architecture,” won a round of applause for demystifying and breaking down age-old hierarchical silos. But finally, what got him the biggest cheer were his no-nonsense comments about why he took on certain commissions. “The money attracted me,” he said. Refreshing candour. Admirable honesty. We like!
>> With her model looks, her toned biceps and her famous star friends, she seems an unlikely candidate to be a yogini, but from her recent activities that’s where author, fitness guru and gym owner Deanne (Chikki) Panday appears to be heading. Her recent posts on a social networking site have much to do with her trip to the Maha Kumbh, meetings with various healers and new age gurus and kudalini practices. Her ardent championing of Devraha Baba – the saint who survived 250 years, (“Amazing, magical, the true yogi baba”) to her pix of Sivamani playing at her kudalini yoga class, to her espousal of Mooji Baba (born Anthony Paul Moo-Young in Jamaica and now considered a direct disciple of Sri Harilal Poonja, the Advait master) all point to a spiritual awakening unusual in someone pursuing the path of physical fitness. An ardent blogger, social networker, Twitterer and of course, friend to superstars like SRK and Bipasha, given her influence and following, Panday’s turn could well mean that more of Bollywood’s brat packers could be turning fuzzy on us soon!
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