A marquee event

Aug 11, 2017, 11:40 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Raj Nayak is sure on a roll. Not only has the consummate media veteran made his channel be the go to one for general entertainment, but he appears to be making an impact across the entire media gamut

Ronnie Screwvala, Smriti Irani and Raj Nayak
Ronnie Screwvala, Smriti Irani and Raj Nayak

Raj Nayak is sure on a roll. Not only has the consummate media veteran made his channel be the go to one for general entertainment, but he appears to be making an impact across the entire media gamut.

Only recently Nayak had overseen and presented what is being described as Bollywood's biggest and most successful IIFA in New York, and this month as President of the Advertising Club of India, the country's foremost body in its field, he is rolling out the first installment of its prestigious new initiative in partnership with another channel, 'The Ad Club Marquees', a kind of Lifetime Achievement award for brands which recognizes and rewards the country's best marketeers.

And with Smriti Irani Minister for Information & Broadcasting as its Chief Guest, and the likes of Ronnie Screwvala, co-founder UpGrad; Agnello Dias, Chairman & co-founder Taproot India; and Naveen Chopra, ex-COO Vodafone and Senior Advisor, TPG Capital on its jury, much is expected when the awards are handed out to those who grabbed eyeballs with their brands.

But the one question on every one's mind is this: will Jio and Patanjali, considered two of the most disruptive and successful marketing initiatives in recent times win against more traditional campaigns? Watch this space.

The cruellest month
This appears to be the cruellest month for poets and poetry lovers. No sooner had the community recovered from the loss of Eunice De Souza, a towering figure amidst Anglophone Indian poets, then word came in yesterday that the brilliant poet, writer and journalist Vijay Nambisan had succumbed to a long illness.

And given his standing among wordsmiths, his passing elicited some beautiful epitaphs from his fellow poets. But it was poet and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote's tribute that transported us back to the days when we too had written poetry and been engulfed in its sub culture in Mumbai.

"Vijay's passing snatches from us a very fine poet, one who ranged passionately and memorably in the domains of memory and desire, of regret and laughter," Hoskote told a popular site, recalling the days when poetry readings had flourished 'on terraces, in cafes and bars, in libraries, dimly lit rooms and college classrooms.'

"The jokes and the quarrels, the long walks across the Oval and Azad maidans, the offices of vanished magazines and now-transmogrified newspapers, the places our generation made its own, where our poems took shape and took wing," he said about the time when the late Nissim Ezekiel, Eunice De Souza, Arun Kolatkar would gather along with Adil Jussawala, Santan Roderiques, Gieve Patel to celebrate free verse.

But in the end, it is Nambisan's own lines, from his poem 'Half-life' that serve as the best epitaph not only for himself but for that era: 'The words which smouldered, though, Smoulder still Where, half a lifetime ago. You wished them well'

Capital's cultural resurgence
A most extraordinary cultural resurgence is taking place in Delhi, and that too under the twin gazes of the Kejriwal and Narendra Modi regimes. Its catalyst is our friend Malvika Singh, who has made the Vasundhara Raje bequeathed Bikaner House, the Capital's most vibrant hub for culture and discourse.

Rakesh Thakore, David Abraham, Rajeev Mehrotra, Malvika Singh and Dayanita D'Mello (Nee Singh)
Rakesh Thakore, David Abraham, Rajeev Mehrotra, Malvika Singh and Dayanita D'Mello (Nee Singh)

This month amidst an atmosphere of food drink and celebration, BH is presenting a series of exhibitions to mark 70 years of Indian Independence. And seen on the occasion were a host of writers, designers, architects, poets who not necessarily share the same politics or worldview as those in power currently at the Centre.

These include design moguls Vivek Sahni, Rohit Bal, Rakesh Thakore and David Abraham, art photographer Dayanita D'Mello (nee Singh), architect Rajiv Mehrotra, fashion impresario Prasad Bidappa, and textile conservationist Laila Tyebjee. Malvika Singh is the daughter of two of the Capital's leading left leaning intellects Romesh and Raj Thapar, and that she is overseeing this cultural resurgence in these times just goes to prove what we've always believed: everything does not need to be confrontational, and even those with vastly differing world views, one can find ways to work things together for the greater good.

So for all those so-called liberals who negate the very basis of what being a liberal is all about, and go about their lives moaning and groaning about the current situation, put this example in your pipe and smoke it. There's always a way to make things go one's way if one cared to find it!

The beautiful game
He is the scion of a family that's been associated with sports for decades, but even so when young Soboker and Cathedral school alumnus Siddharth, son of Anil Singh of ProCam, achieved what appears to be every boy's dream: that of being signed on to play in a prestigious football league, it was cause for considerable jubilation amongst his friends and peers. Singh has been drafted by Jamshedpur FC, a debutant team owned by the Tata group, for the fourth edition of the Indian Super League.

Siddharth Singh
Siddharth Singh

"I have followed a very unconventional route to get here, but nonetheless it's always been a dream to play and furthermore make my way into the national team, says the young sportsman. "I played for the university of Nottingham for three years where I was an undergrad under the highly reputed coach Gary Charles, which saw me play a season in the state league 1 of Melbourne for a team called Manningham United blues.

All this was to gain international exposure so that I could put that experience to use once I played in India," he says, adding, "I had also had a training stint in a top division Moldovan FC Zimbru before my season in Melbourne." Needless to say when there's a football star can a football mom be far behind? "He has always been committed, passionate, and unwavering in his aim to be a footballer and play for his country," says his proud mother Anita Singh. "As a parent I just stood by him watching his struggles, encouraging him to follow his dreams. As a child his biggest high was to be out there on the football field." Nice!

She's a Barbie girl
Oh dear. In these times of heightened gender sensitivity (amongst the chattering classes at least), one would think that the words 'Barbie Doll' would be pejorative and to use them to describe a woman would be insulting. After all, with her pinched waist, her elongated legs and her perfectly coiffed mane, Barbie represents all that is regressive as far as the new woman is supposed to be – right? Not so in amchi Mumbai.

This week when a particularly svelte socialite celebrated her birthday, rather than minding that one of her 'friends' referred to her as 'Barbie,' the birthday girl responded with some delighted emojis of gratitude. Of course, that's exactly what one would expect Barbie to do. Er, perhaps the sender had not been so off the mark?

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