Smiling from Milan to Mumbai

Way before we actually met singer-composer Kanika Kapoor, we were familiar with her smile, thanks to a charming dentist who cited it as an example of the perfect mouth.

So when we met her last week at the Taj Lands end, we found ourselves taking particular note of it, and indeed it was a wondrous thing.

Smiles apart, Kapoor wanted to talk about Milan Fashion Week and her recent visit there. Apparently, before making a mark with chart busters like ‘Baby Doll’ and ‘Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan’, Kapoor had walked the ramp for designer Alberta Ferreti at a prestigious Italian fashion event a few years ago.

Kanika Kapoor
Kanika Kapoor

“It was in Milan when I first walked the runway as a muse for designer Alberta Ferreti that I discovered myself in many ways,” she said. “For a global designer like Ferreti to choose an Indian girl who loved singing, only made me find confidence in the most unexpected of places — at Milan Fashion Week!” she said. No surprises then that when Kapoor attended MFW 2016 recently, it was a special experience.

“I attended all the shows and picked up my favourite local designers like Elisabetta Franchi, Patrizia Pepe and Atos Lombardini. I also had the opportunity to meet interesting people like Anna Della Russo, the editor and creative consultant of Vogue, Japan, the Italian footballer Federico Marchetti, and Chiara Ferragni, the Italian blogger and fashion designer,” she recalled. Nice!

Making music in New York
No doubt about it. Chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent is having a jolly good month. At the San Pelligrino’s Asia’s Best restaurant awards held in Bangkok recently, Mehrotra’s celebrated Delhi eatery, Indian Accent, once again won the title of India’s best restaurant, and also jumped up to number nine in Asia.

Chef Manish Mehrotra, Rohit Khattar and Akshay Tripathi with friends at Indian Accent, NYC
Chef Manish Mehrotra, Rohit Khattar and Akshay Tripathi with friends at Indian Accent, NYC

What’s more, the restaurant opened a branch in midtown New York’s Le Parker Meridian Hotel, which according to our foodie source, has been a winner from the word go. And now we hear music maestro AR Rahman, the Mozart of Madras dropped into the newly opened Accent in New York and was seen enjoying his meal. And no, we don’t know if he sang for his supper.

Fulfilling Hema’s legacy
The art community is still reeling from the ghastly murder of one of the most loved members of its fraternity — Hema Upadhyay.

Hema Upadhyay and Shireen Gandhy
Hema Upadhyay and Shireen Gandhy

And at the forefront of it is Upadhyay’s devoted gallerist, Chemould’s Shireen Gandhy, who has just pulled off the truly challenging task of fulfilling the artist’s last commitment — that of showing two of her works next month at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

“Hema was working on the exhibition Mega Cities Asia when she was killed,” said Gandhy when we spoke to her. “In fact she had become something of a mascot for the show, as both her works — aluminum sheets, car scrap and found objects installation courtesy the Kiran Nadar Museum, and the poignantly titled — Build me a Nest, so I can Rest, her installation of migratory birds which she used as a metaphor for Mumbai’s itinerant population, defined the show’s theme,” said Gandhy.

Completing this work, which was 90 per cent ready at the time of the artist’s death, was understandably an emotional test and not for the faint hearted. “Her wonderful assistant was guided through Upadhyay’s notes,” said Gandhy.

“And the show’s curator, Al Miner and her Italian gallery, helped enormously to bring it all together,” said Gandhy, who will be flying down for the opening of the show next month. Will she document the proceedings for Upadhyay’s legion of friends fans and family back home? “Yes that’s a good idea,” said Gandhy, “I might just do that.”

No binaries, please
“I think the idea was to have a discussion that involves people who would rise above politics and talk about being responsible citizens,” said the Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum’s Tasneem Mehta, who, along with Ronnie Screwvalla and Kumar Ketkar, will be on a panel discussion at the launch of ‘Standing Guard: A year in Opposition,’ a collection of articles by former Union Minister for Finance, P Chidambaram.

P Chidambaram and Tasneem Mehta
P Chidambaram and Tasneem Mehta

To be held next week, Mehta hopes that it will not be the usual verbal jousting between the Left and Right. “I was a Marxist when I was at Columbia University,” she said. “And the whole point of being a student is to explore different ideologies and ideas. But these binaries do the country no good and nuanced responsible conversations should be conducted where constructive dialogues result. I am not anti-BJP and pro-Congress” she said. “It’s a far more nuanced and considered approach.”

Family wars
It’s being spoken about in hushed tones. And even those who have no truck with the people concerned refer to it guardedly. It involves one of India’s leading business clans and it’s high profile progeny — a high flying fugitive from the law ensconced in great style in London, whose wife is ailing.

Apparently not so long ago he had posted a comment on a social networking site about one of his close family members and her alleged tantric activities. ‘Whatever you might try it will not work,’ he’d alluded. The post was subsequently removed perhaps on more circumspect advice but the damage had been done. “Every one knows who he referred to and the bad blood that exists between the two women in his life,” said a source.

And apparently, what’s adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the fugitive is said to be actively seeking the sale of one of the clan’s top corporate jewels, so that he gets his share of the family pie and can walk away from it — a move that is bringing him in to direct conflict with the person his post referred to in the first place!

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