Selfie support

To coincide with the unveiling of Shaheen Abbas’ third stint as jewellery designer with Gehna Jewellers, five of her BFFs, namely Mini Mathur, Maria Goretti, Neha Dhupia, Aditi Rao and Huma Qureshi we are told, erupted spontaneously into a series of perfectly composed selfies on Instagram to support/promote their friend.

(L to R) Mini Mathur, Maria Goretti, Neha Dhupia, Huma Qureshi and Aditi Rao Hydari
(L to R) Mini Mathur, Maria Goretti, Neha Dhupia, Huma Qureshi and Aditi Rao Hydari

“Mini and Maria are really old friends,” said Abbas. “More than friends, they are family to me. We’ve literally done life together. They are girls who are always in my corner,” she said, ticking off the famous five, one by one, recounting her ties with each.

“Neha and my husband Roshan go back a long way, from the time they were in Delhi together, close to 20 years ago. And from the time I’ve met Neha, she has been a constant support to me. She’s my cute cheerleader,” said the celeb jewellery designer.

What about the two young Bolly actresses? “The friendships with Huma and Aditi are fairly new, but as soon as I met them both we instantly clicked. They’re both such positive people. And Huma and I make the best Taboo team,” she said referring to the popular board game that’s taken young Bollywood by storm.

“All these girls have always shown such great support to me. I feel so touched and overwhelmed,” said Abbas channelling the likes of Meryl Streep receiving her nth Oscar on stage.

Meanwhile Sunil Datwani of Gehna said, “Shaheen’s designs stimulate sensibility and can easily be paired with western or cocktail outfits.” Abbas was more succinct, “Jewellery is a silent language and one just has to learn how to speak it.” Nuff said.

Sitara Devi at a performance in 1952 and at 92 in 2014Sitara Devi at a performance in 1952 and at 92 in 2014

(L and above) Performers including Ranjit Barot and Zakir Hussain at the tribute
(L and above) Performers including Ranjit Barot and Zakir Hussain at the tribute

Celebrating Sitara Devi
Wednesday night marked the first death anniversary of Sitara Devi, and her son Ranjit Barot, had organised a fitting tribute to the memory of one of India’s most revered exponents of Kathak, with artistes like Zakir Hussain, Antonia Minnecola, Fazal Qureshi and Sabir Khan joining Barot, in what those present say was an explosion of music and celebration, the likes of which are seldom seen at the NAPA.

Risqué is better
We miss no opportunity to hear multiple awards winning blues legend from UK, Dana Gillespie, when she is performing. With a career spanning 53 years in showbiz and more than 64 albums to her credit, Gillespie is the real McCoy; the genuine article, the bonafide Blues babe.

Dana Gillespie and Amrita and Malaika Arora
Dana Gillespie and Amrita and Malaika Arora

A dyed in the linen Indophile, this (Puttaparthi) Sai Baba follower has been coming to India for over 35 years now and we have heard over the decades, her smoky voice getting smokier with age, her Sixties wild child face getting craggier and more arresting.

On Wednesday night Gillespie was performing at the blueFROG, to kick off her four-city tour of India this year with Simply The Blues, the brainchild of Anil Mehta, a blues aficionado, who has been managing the star for the past three years in India.

“Dana is not just a blues legend but a true ambassador of music across the world,” said Mehta when he joined us for a pre-performance drink at the Frog, adding “and what better way for us to showcase this powerhouse of talent than through a multi-city tour.

We start with tonight’s gig at blueFROG, tomorrow we travel to Goa to perform at Sol de Goa Hotel, which is a lovely boutique property with interiors by Tarun Tahiliani, and on the 28th we move to Delhi to play at Qla which was the old blueFROG. And then it’s on to Bangalore for the last leg at blueFROG on 29th. “

And as a precursor to what’s to come, Gillespie whose current tour is composed of ‘Risque Blues,’ belted out some of her popular and acclaimed tracks like Long Night, Ten Ton Blocks, great blues standards like St. Louis Blues by WC Handy and Empty Bed Blues by Sippie Wallace. She closed the evening with her original boogie shuffle, A Lot Of What You Got.

“It’s all about rhythms and emotions. Emerging from a working class environment, it had elements of bawdiness in it. This made it fun. I say naughty is nice but risqué is better. I love seeing people walking away from my shows grinning ear to ear,” she said.

And by the looks of the audience that featured the likes of Malaika and Amrita Arora, Ashitta Tham, AD and Sabena Singh, and Leena Asher amongst others, there was a whole lot of grinning by the time Gillespie was done.

Cooking up a Storm
At the start of this week gallerist Vickram Sethi (ICIA) donned his celebrated chef’s hat, once again, in honour of his long time friend, the Delhi-based artist Anjolie Ela Menon, who is in town for her exhibition at Art Musings, which opened last evening.

Anjolie Ela Menon and Vickram Sethi
Anjolie Ela Menon and Vickram Sethi

Sethi is an impassioned foodie, and over a meal that had more than a dozen courses, a handful of Menon’s friends partook of such delights as edamame bundles, avocados laced with slivers of raw mango, a lentil salad with ginger, rosti with chicken brew and homemade berry yoghurt and warm carrot cake.

Gobstruck with the fare, we quizzed Sethi on his creations, which had been completely untutored and original. “The avocados, tomatoes and other vegetables were bought from Crawford Market, the spicy tomato jelly was from Paris, the pizza dough was made in our gallery, but the cheese was from Italy.

The edamame came from Nature’s Basket, the horseradish sauce was Japanese, the ginger was Japanese, the fish from Sassoon Dock, the portobello mushrooms were from Amsterdam, and the dessert was all made at home with imported berries,” he said. And as a result of cooking up this gourmet storm, we hear Sethi was in bed for the next few days with flu!

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