Farah Khan Ali takes on Narendra Modi's Tweet on divisive politics

Dec 06, 2017, 06:00 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

We came across a fiery post by outspoken jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali on social media yesterday

We came across a fiery post by outspoken jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali on social media yesterday. Ali was reacting to a speech made by the Prime Minister, where he said, "Congress strategy is to divide people, and they oppose for the sake of it".

Farah Khan Ali
Farah Khan Ali

Ali, who has a considerable social media presence, responded saying, "With due apologies sir, your party the BJP is doing the same, ie, divisive politics based on religion, caste and creed. It's about time your both parties fight each other over 'real' issues. Don't u think???" The said tweet received a lot of traction, and interestingly, Shiv Sena cub Aaditya Thackeray was one of the first to 'like' it.

Aaditya Thackeray
Aaditya Thackeray

The high-profile jeweller was back again later in the evening. "From proving religious belief to political party president nominations. From playing the poor card to divisive politics. From banning movies to ransom over beheadings. High time we addressed real issues like education, jobs, farmers, etc," she posted and ended with the
one-liner, "We voted to bring vikas but all seems bakwas!" Fighting words those.

Chief guests at food fests
"Our unusual chief guests over the years have really lent colour to the show," says Farzana Contractor, editor of one of India's leading F&B magazines, and organiser of a gargantuan and popular annual food mela that sets up its tents this weekend. "I invited Asha Bhosle, who I knew was not just a foodie but a great cook, for our very first show and when she learnt that legendary chef Imtiaz Qureishi was doing a demo of Dum Pukht Biryani the next day, she said, 'Arey wah, mujhe bhi seekhna hai, main kal zarroor aaoongi!'" recalled Contractor, adding, "Of course, I least expected her to do so. But there she was the next day, sitting in the World Trade Centre courtyard with all the other enthusiastic visitors, learning to cook!"

Farzana Contractor
Farzana Contractor

Bhosle is not the only Bollywood star whose unstarry ways have impressed Contractor. "One year we had invited Salman Khan but were most unsure of his turning up. But even as the day's fallback chief guest did the honours and was returning to his seat, Salman sauntered in, alone without entourage or body guard, in a purple batik form-hugging T, which had women of all ages drooling," she laughs. "He ate and ate, from booths serving street fare, speaking in 'Nagpada' tones, asking for bheja fry. He won many hearts with his easy attitude," she says.

Asha Bhosle
Asha Bhosle

As for this year's fest, which boasts 10,000 food, wine and gourmet products, kitchen equipment, a variety of live cookery demos, a scrumptious food court and live music to serenade you every evening, she has decided to just let all her foodie celeb friends take over. Nice!

Salman Khan
Salman Khan

Of striking canvases and stories
Today will see bidding begin on leading art and antiquities auction house Pundoles' online auction, which offers a tightly selected group of works that range from early Bengal postcards by Rabindranath, Abanindranath and Gaganendranath Tagore, to early modernist masterpieces, including a young bull by Tyeb Mehta, informs Mallika Sagar, a consultant with the institution.

Mallika Sagar
Mallika Sagar

"There is a monumental untitled Husain from 1966, from a corporate collection that promises to be one of the highlights of the sale season," she says, adding, "And continuing with the theme of the 1960s is an untitled Gaitonde canvas from 1963 in deep, rich melancholic tones of greens, slate greys and blacks."

We have always liked Sagar's take on art, vivid and humane at the same time. In fact, the meticulously compiled catalogue notes on today's artists and their lots often reads like parables of extraordinary men and times.

One of the works to be auctioned
One of the works to be auctioned

Like this one on the late MF Husain: Born in Pandharpur the son of a poor textile mill employee, by the time he turned 19 his passion for painting had led him to the study of philosophy and languages, including Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu and Hindi. It was then that he told his family that he wanted to go to Bombay to grow as an artist, but as his father had no money to give him, he left for the city without a penny.

MF Husain
MF Husain

One of the star lots in today's auction happens to be an untitled oil on board by Husain dated 1966, which has an estimated price of Rs 3-5 crore. Yep. Sometimes life (and art) are like that!

Star struck
The thing about the star craze syndrome is that it cuts both ways. From stars who make outrageous demands, to organisers who are so star-struck, that they compromise or deliberately avoid necessary security measures to get maximum publicity out of the stars, there is much to be desired on both sides. For instance, word comes in that at a recent high-profile wedding celebration at a five-star venue in Mumbai, the organisers of the event were so star-struck by the guest of honour, a national treasure, that they are said to have not followed the due security SOPs that had been set up to ensure the eminent personality's smooth and safe entry and exit, and it ended with the guest of honour having to politely excuse himself early and leave.

"A welcoming delegation was positioned outside the venue to greet and receive the celebrity guest, who had arrived just before the scheduled time. Out of safety considerations, and to avoid hysteria, a back entrance had been earlier assigned for him and his security detail," says a source. "But though the all other high-profile guests used this channel, the welcoming committee 'forgot' to inform the star guest about this and he was made to walk a sizeable distance to reach the venue through hysterical crowds, and seemed obviously uncomfortable before making his departure," informs our source. And the best bit is that when questions were asked why the vital and agreed upon SOPs weren't followed for the star, a relative responded saying, "Main toh sab bhool gaya usko dekhke!" Shocking!

For the love of Shashi Kapoor
Photographs from Shashi Kapoor's funeral yesterday, of the film industry's top stars from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, and Naseeruddin Shah to Anil Kapoor, demonstrate how widely he was loved and respected by his colleagues. Seeing some of the country's most famous faces bowed in sadness at the death of a respected peer will remain for a long time in public memory. Few of us will understand how difficult it must be for them to attend such events, where their private grief is made so public.

To have flashbulbs popping in your face, and crowds jostling you for selfies or autographs at such a personally challenging time, when so much is passing through one's head, must be mortifying. More daunting are the often unkind and thoughtless things shouted by frenzied fans who want a reaction or attention. Given all this and yesterday's inclement weather, that so many top stars were present, demonstrates the regard and love Shashi Kapoor attracted. Rest in peace, Shashi, and as the London-based Imtiaz Dharker so pithily posted yesterday, 'Another graceful presence from old Bombay is gone'.

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