We met the soft-spoken and very suave former Maharajah of Jodhpur Gaj Singh or Bapji as friends call him at a dinner hosted for him by Nita and Mukesh Ambani at their home on Tuesday night. It was to spread awareness about the upcoming One World Retreat weekend that he is organising for his India Head Injury Foundation in March.
Around 50 couples had been invited to hear the erstwhile Maharajah speak about the work his foundation has been doing. “India is the head injury capital of the world. Over 100,000 lives are lost every year,” he said adding, “One out of every six brain accident victims die in India in the US it’s one out of 200!” Mercifully, his son Shivraj Singh who sustained a serious head injury while playing polo has made steady recovery.
“He is now married. He has a wife and a lovely daughter,” said the Maharajah. “We were lucky to have access to medical aid and doctors but how many others in India can? My foundation is working to spread awareness and support for those who don’t have access to the support we did.” The highlight of the evening was a film about the IHIF, which ended with a spirited appeal for the One Word Retreat by rocker Sting. “Great things happen when the heart meets the mind,” he said. We like!
Critic’s Oscar picks
It’s always good to meet Anupama Chopra, whose The Front Row on Friday nights we try not to miss. This time we picked her brains about her Oscar picks. “I loved Lincoln,” she said, “And it’s probably going to get the best actor award for Daniel Day-Lewis.
But the jury’s still out for the best picture award. Argo seems to have come in from nowhere and picked up notice at the critical pre-Oscar awards. I liked Zero Dark Thirty too,” said the movie buff whose also authored books like Sholay: The Making of a Classic, King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the seductive world of Indian cinema and First Day First Show: Writings from the Bollywood Trenches.
Incidentally, we both admitted that we were underwhelmed by Les Miserables. “Two-and-a-half hours of singing!” she said crinkling up her pretty nose. “I went home and said to my family please no one sing today. No singing allowed!”
And, of course, sometimes we get it wrong. Very wrong. Yesterday, while reporting on one of the nicest pieces of news that we had heard in these recent bleak times we inadvertently wrote that poet Jane Bhandari had married a ‘Kapil’ Puri.
We can only imagine the consternation in the Bhandari-Puri household that morning. “We have been getting calls all day,” said Jane. “His name is Kamlesh Puri. Lt Col KK Puri in fact.” Lt Col Puri in fact, is the dashing son of veteran actor Madan Puri who he is writing a book about. Apologies all round. And congratulations to the married couple once again!
Fellowship of thespians
And this from our fellow MiD DAY columnist and friend, theatre director, adman extraordinaire and aspiring guitarist Rahul DaCunha. “Twenty years ago, Shernaz Patel, Rajit Kapur and I started, our theatre company Rage.
What followed was Love Letters, I’m Not Bajirao, Jesus Christ Superstar, Flowers, Class of 84, Chaos Theory, and One on One, etc. Twenty-five plays in 20 years. Plus our beloved Writers Bloc. Thank you Sherns and Rajoo. Thank you all the amazing performers we’ve worked with. Thank you all the magicians who created quietly behind the scenes. Happy 20th birthday.”
Jackie writes in
It’s not every day that we get fan mail from a Bollywood star. Yes, a couple of them have complimented us and mentioned that we are read daily but a letter! And that too from the one and only Jackie Shroff. About bees! “Good morning.
Such a nice piece on Josephine Selvaraj on the subject of farming bees,” wrote the superstar about an item we had carried about the winner of the IMC ladies wing Jankidevi Award 2013. “We are working on an indigenous seed bank and bee farming near Mahabaleshwar and would love inputs from Selvaraj,” he wrote, “Maybe on Mahashivratri in March when we are organising a Kathak program at a function to honour ladies who have contributed to society and environment. We would love you to be there, will keep you posted. Regards to the family. Jackie.” He’s always had the reputation of being one of the nicest people in Bollywood, but to take time off to pen a note … Now, all that’s left is to ask him what on earth he’s doing with the …er birds and bees!
She is one half of what are easily the most stylish couples in town. Gracious hostess, gentle raconteur and a weaver of peerless repute in circles that matter. And now Monica, wife of celebrated architect Charles Correa will be presenting her exquisite weaves at an exhibition at the Chemould Prescott Road on January 24, 2013 to February 23 this year.
Called Meandering Warp: variations on a theme the artist has broken new technical ground by further developing her concept of removing the reed in her weaves so that the warp threads can meander freely ensuring an element of serendipity and happenstance in to the art. Introduced to weaving in 1962 by the noted American weaver Marianne Strengell of the Cranbrook Academy, Michigan, Monica continued her training at the Weaver’s Service Centre in Bombay and enjoys a formidable reputation amongst international and national aficionados of her art. Her works are displayed at the constitutional court of South Africa in Johannesburg, and the Four Seasons restaurant in Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram building in New York.