Patiala to honor Om Puri and Parmeshwar Godrej

Nov 29, 2017, 06:04 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Anyone who knew the late philanthropist and vivacious society queen Parmeshwar Godrej would know how despite marrying into a blue-chip Paris clan and moving in the highest echelons of international society, she had never forgotten her earthy Punjabi

Anyone who knew the late philanthropist and vivacious society queen Parmeshwar Godrej would know how despite marrying into a blue-chip Paris clan and moving in the highest echelons of international society, she had never forgotten her earthy Punjabi roots or her beloved Patiala, the birthplace of her forefathers.

Now, word comes in that Patiala will be honouring her along with fellow Patiala native, late actor Om Puri. (Neither individual in their wildest dreams would have ever thought that they would someday be bracketed together.)

Om Puri
Om Puri

Launching early next March and set in the newly restored Qila Mubarak, the annual initiative, called Panorama Punjab, will attempt to highlight the hybrid history and culture of the region with seminars on fashion, architecture and films, featuring curators from Getty, MoMA, V&A and Design Museum Copenhagen.

Parmeshwar Godrej
Parmeshwar Godrej

The forum has been founded by the erstwhile New York-based filmmaker Sarah Singh, a member of the erstwhile royals of Patiala, who recently moved back to India to help her cousin CM Captain Amarinder Singh campaign at the hustings. So next March, Patiala will pay its tribute to the late Mrs G. When will Mumbai acknowledge her contribution to its growth?

Fabrics of history
"I put this exhibition together as a personal tribute to Indira Gandhi, who, when I was growing up, was the epitome of grace and style," says our friend Malvika Singh, the Delhi-based daughter of former left-leaning intellectuals Romesh and Raj Thapar, who were once members of the prime minister's elite Kitchen Cabinet.

The Muddaya family with Priyanka Vadra
The Muddaya family with Priyanka Vadra

Now, in the year of the slain leader's 100th anniversary, Singh curated a selection of the handloom sari-loving prime minster, and then, constructed looms in exact replication of the original looms they had been created on, which were exhibited at the Bikaner House, the Capital's newest flourishing cultural centre, which she presently runs.

Sonia Gandhi in Bikaner House with Manju Dubey, Vipra Muddaya, Malvika Singh and Arup Nanjap amongst others
Sonia Gandhi in Bikaner House with Manju Dubey, Vipra Muddaya, Malvika Singh and Arup Nanjap amongst others

"We did one run turning out the same saris, and then, we went further and played around with the colours, schemes, etc, to come up with 108 one-of-a-kind pieces," she said about these priceless fabrics, so evocative of the once all-powerful PM, in which a slice of history has been woven. "Next, I am embarking on a series of similar exhibitions in tribute to other great revivalists — Pupul Jayakar and Martand Singh, who championed handlooms."

Unsurprisingly, the exhibition was attended by the Capital's prime patrons of art and culture, including Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi, Sunita Kohli, Manju Dubey and Aruna Ghose.

The return of the jet-set Jaipurs
Even though news of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle threatens to put the spotlight squarely back on the British Royals, there appears to be some serious competition from another set of royals, albeit from a former royal kingdom named Jaipur.

Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur with Ava Phillippe
Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur with Ava Phillippe

Remember the days when the statuesque internationally celebrated Princess Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar, (who after her marriage in the forties to the dashing polo-playing Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II became 'Ayesha Jai-poh', and then later the Rajmata of Jaipur), had captured hearts and minds across the world as the epitome of glamour?

Remember how those iconic portraits of an ethereally beautiful queen with her lanky polo-playing king and later as a handsome silver-haired dowager defined Indian royalty abroad? From international rockstars to tycoons, to the jet set, they were all on first-name terms with the fabulous Jaipohs. And Ayesha Jaipur, from a swanlike princess to a dazzling queen and then a silver-haired Rajmata, had been the belle of that ball. It was said that with her passing there, no royal was left in India, who could capture the world's imagination like she had.

But this week, when pictures of the lanky polo-playing 19-year-old Padmanabh Singh, erstwhile Maharaja of Jaipur, at the Bal des Débutantes, as cavalier to Ava Phillipe, Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon's daughter, showed him cutting such a dashing figure, it was almost like the good old days of the jet-set Jaipur royals were back.

And as if to complete the picture, now Maharani Padmini Devi, step-daughter-in-law of Ayesha Jaipur herself has turned Rajmata, allowing her hair to go silver, smiling regally as the new generation of Jaipurs assume their roles in the international arena.

Campbell, Jagger and McGowan in New Delhi
This Friday, Naomi Campbell, Bianca Jagger, Hollywood actress Rose McGowan and founder of multidisciplinary cultural brand Liberatum Pablo Ganguli will mix and mingle with a delicious slice of Dilli's best and brightest at Suhel Seth's well-appointed bachelor pad in Gurgaon's DLF enclave.

Cher and Pablo Ganguli
Cher and Pablo Ganguli

In town to participate in an annual media seminar, the aforementioned international stars have been brought down by the Kolkata-born Ganguli, who now lives between London, New York, Mexico and Los Angeles, and is an enigmatic character, who had been introduced to us by Geordie Gregg, editor of Tattler, almost two decades ago, as someone who'd wanted to bring an international litfest to India.

Way before JLF or LitLive and we recall helping stage two neither without its share of ups and downs, which included surly British civil servants, bone-crushing hugs from Ganguli and a very giggly Goldie Hawn amongst other things. But that is another story for another day, as they say. As for Friday's soiree, expect to see many pictures on social media for sure.

Skirting the issue
It's difficult to describe live-wire TV anchor, media heiress, RADA-trained sometime Bollywood star, expat wife, super mum and all-round gypsetter Koel Purie to those who don't know her.

The skirt by Manish Arora
The skirt by Manish Arora

'Force of Nature' is the best we can do. This week, the high-voltage social and media animal celebrated her birthday in Paris, where her husband is now posted after his stint in Tokyo. "Right now, I'm learning French and doing Paris," she texted us yesterday. "My birthday weekend climaxed at the wildest cabaret club in Manko Paris," she exulted.

Koel Purie
Koel Purie

That's when we first heard about the matter of the skirt, not just any skirt, mind you. One created by the very prince of the gypsetter tribe, Manish Arora, himself. A skirt that so epitomised the Purie brand of joie de vivre that she had worn it for her birthday celebrations and been pestering him to sell to her. Mais non. The maestro was not relenting. "He is refusing to sell it to me as it's one-of-a-kind from his archive," she said in a message, whose hashtag read #sellmetheskirt. But all hope is not lost.

"Before I left for Tokyo, I'd told you with such nonsense flight of fancy that I want to become the mascot of Japan," she said to us, adding, "And a year later, shockingly, it came true. Your column brings me luck. Maybe I should make a wish via your column again," she said blithely. Let's begin by wishing that Arora relents, we thought.

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