What do you get when you put together Tina Brown, Nita Ambani, Barkha Dutt, Shabana Azmi, and Anand Mahindra?
You get the next ‘Women in the World Summit’ in Delhi, that’s what. To be held next December and spun as the ‘Women in the World Asia’ edition, this most Glamazon of talk fests, already one of the world’s foremost platforms for discourse, was informally kicked off on Tuesday with a dazzling array of what to expect.
Hosted jointly by Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi and Barkha Dutt at Azmi’s official MP bungalow, it boasted of an enviable guest list, with some choice icons from the Mumbai-Delhi power glam corridor.
Anand Mahindra, Nita Ambani and Tina Brown. Pic/Getty Images
For Mumbai’s Anand Mahindra, Akhtar, there were Delhi’s N K Singh, Shashi Tharoor and Vikram Seth, along with Justice Leila Seth, actress Sharmila Tagore, journalists Manu Joseph, Barkha Dutt, Shoma Chaudhary, Madhu Trehan, the FT’s Victor Mallet, publisher of Penguin Random House India Chiki Sarkar, head of Google India Rajan Anandan, CNN-IBN’s Suhasini Haider, Vaishali Nigam Sinha, green entrepreneur, whose husband Jayant Sinha is being discussed as a future MoS in the MoF, noted documentary filmmaker Ramesh Sharma, Sufi singer Zila Khan, theatre director Feroz Khan, amongst many others.
Helmed ably by Preeti Dawra, managing director, Asia, Tina Brown Live Media, and Mumbai’s own Gayatri Rangachari Shah, the Asia summit’s executive producer, is the Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy.
And, when you consider that this year’s The Women in the World Summit 2014 boasted co-hosts like Meryl Streep, the UN’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Diane von Furstenberg and Barbara Bush, with Nita Ambani, Anand Mahindra, Shabana Azmi and Barkha Dutt as co-hosts, it’s off to a flying start!
Real and Reel Life
Incidentally, Sobokers will be delighted to see that design maven and art patron Sangita Kathiwada has a cameo in Rang Rasiya.
“She plays the role of an art patron, someone who bids for Raja Ravi Varma’s works in an art soiree,” says a source who’s seen the film. “And considering her real-life interest, it’s pretty perfect casting!”
Of artists and poets
From those who have seen it, Rang Rasiya, a film based on the life of the 19th-century Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma, directed by Ketan Mehta, is something of a masterpiece.
Nandana Sen, Ketan Mehta and Randeep Hooda
Starring the striking duo Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen in the role of the painter and his muse, the film’s artistic integrity, nuanced approach and passionate, highly erotic love scenes have been the talk of the city for the last few days.
Not least because no one’s quite sure if Sen’s scene of frontal nudity will make it past the censors. Meanwhile, Sen, who is married to John Makinson, chairman of Penguin Random House, brings a true blue pedigree to Bollywood she is the daughter of Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna economist Amartya Sen and poet Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Padma Shri winner and one of contemporary Bengal’s foremost writers.
Incidentally, the connection between actors and poets is a strong one Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi and Sen are only three of the children of prominent poets. Undoubtedly, film buffs will know of more.
Media’s power sorority
Its contribution to the top echelons of journalism in India cannot be overstated, from top TV and print star Madhu Trehan, to former city editor of the Times of India Dina Vakil to author and journalist and now screenwriter, Basharat Peer, the alumni of Columbia University’s School of Journalism have done their college proud.
Reunion of the J-school alumni
And on Tuesday night, almost as riveting as the news that Tina Brown had decided to bring her next ‘Women in the World Summit’ to Delhi, was the serendipitous reunion of three J-school alumni from the same batch.
NDTV’s charismatic Barkha Dutt, CNN’s articulate Mallika Dutt and print’s stylish Gayatri Rangachari Shah, whose elegant articles have graced the pages of the New York Times and the Indian Express. ‘Reunited classmates from Columbia journalism school! Commented one on a social networking site.
What a year that must have been!
And so it goes
In Delhi, we caught up with the peripatetic Suhel Seth, whose relentless circumventing of the globe (only its nicer parts, though) leaves us quite giddy. Seth, never one to beat around the bush said, “I spent some quality time with Al Pacino last week in LA.”
Suhel Seth, Al Pacino and Leonard Cohen. Pics/Getty Images
After suitable gushing on our part, we couldn’t think of any rejoinder, but to trot out our well-worn meeting Leonard Cohen story. “At the Kemps Corner Hotel. Over a glass of red wine. There was a cigar.” Cohen and Pacino. Discussed on the dappled lawn of a Lutyen’s bungalow on Lodhi Road.
And so it goes. And so it goes.
Guess who’s coming...
And word comes in that the line-up for this year’s The Hello! Hall of Fame awards ceremony is in keeping with the tradition all-star cast.
A R Rahman
From Kumar Mangalam Birla, Fawad Khan, Sonam Kapoor, to Satish Gujral, Aditya Thackeray, Chintan Upadhyay, Sania Mirza, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and K Radhakrishnan, ISRO chairman; they’re all going to be there, but this year there’s an upping of the ante.
The Oscar winning, daylight-shunning, elusive Mozart of Madras, A R Rahman, will also be attending, we are assured.