The Old Order Changeth

Good to know that the figures contemplated by hunky, deep-sea diving director, Homi Adajania, are to do with the box-office this time.

According to sources, his newest offering, ‘Finding Fanny’, has exceeded all expectations at the box-office, registering a whopping weekend collection of Rs 19.9 crore across India (with just a 900-screen release!), and 1.71 million US dollars worldwide.

Considering the film’s off-kilter content and quirky humour (which also involved a prosthetic bum), this is clearly a game-changer for the industry.

Homi Adajania and Deepika Padukone
Homi Adajania and Deepika Padukone

When we asked the director about these fabulous and unexpected collections, he said, “I don’t follow all this number stuff, but I’m just glad Dinoo (producer Dinesh Vijan) didn’t have to sell his house!”

Modesty done with, the Parsi Sobo boy didn’t mind a bit of triumphalism. “The true success is that the potential of a new and evolved audience, which is ready to embrace different types of cinema, has been realised,” he said, adding, “It’s a very healthy sign for all of us in the industry.”

Project Mom and Son
“I was having a conversation with a college friend who was curious about classical music. The little he understood did interest him, but not to a degree that he would regularly start listening to classical music,” says the Mumbai-based 22-year-old Faizan Khan, son of acclaimed Sufi singer Zila and grandson of Ustad Vilayat Khan, one of India’s most revered sitarists.

Faizan Khan and Zia Khan
Faizan Khan and Zia Khan

“That incident stayed with me, and the idea of The FeZ Project started forming,” he says of the venture that he’s launched with his mum, which has already caught the fancy of audiences. “I found it strange that in a country with a burgeoning young populace, we have several music festivals and music channels which are thoroughly promoting Bollywood music and now indie music, which is brilliant, but unfortunately no one is making an effort to revive classical,” he says.

And how did it start? “I spoke to my mother, who is already a noted Sufi singer. And she liked the idea,” he says. Where can you find The FeZ Project? “Digital media is one of the most effective ways to reach out to a large audience, especially the youth. It’s high time that Indian classical music utilises the power of the Web and makes its presence felt,” says the young music entrepreneur and artist.

And with ‘Chaap Tilak’, their first video, debuting early this month featuring Zila with an accompaniment of a beatbox and a guitar riff, the FeZ Project is off to a flying start. “Watch out for our weekly drops of each song. We combine Electronic, Flamenco, Rock to classical Sufi,” says the graduate of Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, who considers Ustad Vilayat Khan as his first teacher.

And what does his mum Zila say? “It’s so satisfying na, when sons take over?”

We agree.

Celebrating Ravina
Had we not taken off for Europe, we would have been there too, but alas, we could not partake in the three days of festivities that marked the big birthday of TV maven Ravina Raj Kohli in Bangalore.

Ravina Raj Kohli
Ravina Raj Kohli

Kicked off with a great big shindig last Friday at the home of Leena Singh, a close friend of the birthday girl, guests from Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Chicago, Bahrain, and other parts of the globe converged the next evening at the palatial home of Nandini Alva, spread across a 7-acre estate, for the party, which included films featuring the life and times of Kohli over the past five decades.

And as the likes of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Farah Khan Ali, Pooja Bedi, Poonam Dhillon, Sabina and A D Singh and Kiran Kapoor of Roli Books applauded speeches delivered by Kohli’s near and dear ones like Lathika Pai, Mitali Kakkar and Fahad Samar; there was much laughter and hilarity in the air.

But, a measure of mindfulness marked the occasion; Kohli, who’d paid a moving tribute to her mother in her speech, we hear, has sponsored the education of 40 underprivileged children for one year on behalf of her guests.

Oh no, you don’t!
“The idea of converting the Kala Ghoda area into a Times Square is a hare-brained one, (and that’s being unkind to hares),” said our friend, Literature Live’s indefatigable founder, Anil Dharker, who, over the years, has come to be known as the city’s voice of conscience.

Anil Dharker
Anil Dharker

“Every area develops its own character over many years in an organic way: Kala Ghoda has thus become a wonderful arts precinct, while Times Square has become an iconic commercial space. One is known for its quiet elegance; the other for its gaudy energy. Can you make Times Square into a Kala Ghoda?” asked the man, whose early years had been spent in many of the area’s cafés, measuring out his life in coffee spoons.

“Politicians often erupt with idiotic ideas like these. Remember people wanting to transform Mumbai into Singapore? Suppose we were to say — let’s change our politicians overnight into polished Westminster types. Would that work you think?”

Ha! What a thought!

Finally, St Regis
According to insiders, the much-awaited St Regis-Palladium agreement is almost done and dusted. And Mumbai is all set to welcome a new luxury hotel in its midst.

Atul and Gayatri Ruia
Atul and Gayatri Ruia

And given how hard they’ve worked to keep the flag flying after the unceremonious exit of the Shangri-la group, Atul and Gayatri Ruia deserve to go on holiday now!

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