The music of peace

“This is the first time that we will be performing at the Nobel Prize ceremony and the Nobel Peace Prize concert,” said Sarod maestro, Amjad Ali Khan, when we contacted him in Oslo, where, along with his sons Amaan and Ayaan, he has gone for the prestigious assignment.

“I am happy that Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai will be receiving the Peace Prize. I want to thank them for the kind of work they have been doing in order to safeguard children’s rights,” says the 68-year-old Padma Vibhushan awardee, admired as much for his music as he is for the harmony and graciousness exuded by him and his family.

“This year, the presenters have invited artistes from very diverse genres to present a special blend of traditional and modern music sensibilities of the two countries of the prize winners and pay tribute to the laureates homeland,” adds Amaan Ali Khan.

Amjad Ali Khan (centre) with his sons Ayaan (left) and Amaan
Amjad Ali Khan (centre) with his sons Ayaan (left) and Amaan

“We are extremely thrilled to perform alongside Queen Latifah, Steven Tyler, Bolly Flex and Laura Mvula,” says brother Ayaan.

Kailash Satyarthi Malala Yousafzai
Nobel Peace Prize winners Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai

As for what they will be playing: “We will be presenting ‘Raga for Peace’ on this momentous occasion,” says Amjad Ali Khan.

Nice!

Giving it back in style
Can there be anything more dignified, self-actualised and kickass than Shweta Basu Prasad’s ‘Open Letter to the Media’? Readers will recall how the award winning actress was wrongly accused of being involved in a sex racket a few months ago, an allegation which she has been completely cleared off by the Metropolitan Sessions Court, Nampally, Hyderabad, this week.

Shweta Basu Prasad. Pic/Twitter
Shweta Basu Prasad. Pic/Twitter

Debunking the fictitious statement that was given blanket coverage that she was supposed to have issued after her arrest, not only for its maudlin nature but for its bad grammar, she says: ‘Seriously? Whoever you are, who imagined this statement, were you smoking funny cigarettes at work? Who talks like that? This sounds like a dialogue from some 80s Bollywood film.’

‘The problem with our society is, as long as I was given sympathy and everyone went ‘awwww’, ‘poor girl’, and ‘so sad’ and so on, everybody was supporting me,’ says the young woman, who could have so easily milked her situation for sympathy.

Instead, she’s all set to move on: ‘Enough said, enough heard. I have completely gone past the whole incident …this episode does not deserve any more attention!’

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Between the Lines
Taking their cue from the migratory pattern of foreign dignitaries of exotic plumage from far and near, some of the country’s leading and most groovy lit/think/cultural shebangs have either wound down, are in a state of indolent fabulousness or revving up.

Recently Mumbai Goa and (soon Jaipur) have been in a state of suspended self congratulation as cultural and intellectual gladiators from near and far schmoosed over seminars, sound bytes and Sauvignon Blanc.
And when you have so many dishy authors and authoresses rubbing their Hidesign rucksacks and Bombay Electric scarves with equally dishy publishers playwrights and poets, what’s a bit of flirtation between the seminars?

A lot can happen between the sheets (of manuscripts and other things) and it does.

Keeping this in mind, the wry, morning after meme posted on Facebook by a sultry flame-haired authoress kind of summed up the sexy vibe in the air.

‘Always go to bed with a good book or someone who’s written one,’ she posted.

Indeed.

Designed in India
There’s a lot of optimism and good cheer surrounding today’s meeting between the country’s leading designers and Minister of State (independent charge) for Textiles, Santosh Gangwar, scheduled to take place this morning at the Taj Land’s End. Initiated by BJP leader Shaina NC, who also happens to be a designer, it’s a result of the PM’s ‘Make in India’ impetus, according to its organisers.

Anita Dongre Rina Dhaka
Anita Dongre and Rina Dhaka

“This is a platform where I have requested prominent designers like Ritu Kumar, Sandeep Khosla, Wendell Rodricks, Rina Dhaka, Anita Dongre, Manish Malhotra and Vikram Phadnis to create the best textiles and take them to the international market as part of Modiji’s vision. It will be a collaborative between Govt of India and the fashion fraternity,” said Shaina.

Sandeep Khosla Manish Malhotra
Sandeep Khosla and Manish Malhotra

And whereas Rodricks had begged off due to a prior commitment, others who we spoke to last evening like Manish Malhotra and Sandeep Khosla were enthused about the meeting.

“Since the last three years, I have worked a lot in Kashmir and with Mijwan, the NGO run by Shabana Azmi in Azamgarh, where from 40 women to now 150, we have witnessed a blossoming of chikankari craft in a younger newer way,” said Malhotra.

“I am looking forward to working with Banaras weavers. In this sea of design and social media, I think its important to revive India’s textile/embroideries and present them in a language of today,” he said, “We are really looking forward to this meeting and we would be stressing on getting back to make the best chiffons, georgettes, organzas in pure silk and also a khadi road map for weaving more and more handspun fine khadi cottons and silks,” said Khosla.

“We would love to revive classic Benaras weaves with a modern twist. We totally believe in made in India and that is a part of Abu and my design philosophy...” he said.

Will this be the much-awaited breakthrough for Indian fashion’s debut internationally? Fingers crossed.

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