Picasso's in the house

Sep 29, 2017, 06:00 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

The unveiling of Pablo Picasso's 'La plage, Juan-les-Pins' at the Lodha World Tower at Lower Parel on Wednesday evening was accompanied by the excitement that such an occasion would demand

The unveiling of Pablo Picasso's 'La plage, Juan-les-Pins' at the Lodha World Tower at Lower Parel on Wednesday evening was accompanied by the excitement that such an occasion would demand.

Pablo Picasso. Pic/Getty ImagesPablo Picasso. Pic/Getty Images

Painted in 1937 at Mougins, a small town a few miles from Cannes, when the master was recovering from a tumultuous phase in his marital life, the canvas, depicting the Mediterranean seascape filled with vivid bright reds, yellows, greens and blues and with thick black brushstrokes, will soon be moved to its final resting destination at the real estate developer's property at Altamount Road, where it will be displayed in the Tea Room.

What makes the deceptive calm of the work all the more intriguing, is that it is said to have been painted a few months after Picasso completed his iconic Guernica, acclaimed to be one of the most powerful depictions of universal suffering and the horrors of war.

Vinti Lodha was seen graciously receiving guests like art patron Jeroo Mango, Parmesh Shahani of the Godrej India Culture Lab, Raakhee Lalwani, designer Divya Thakur, author Amrita Verma Chowdhury, Sonal Singh of Christies (which had helped acquire the canvas) aesthete Prerna Goel, Gaurav Bhatia of Sotheby's, businessman and blogger Sajjad Mitha and curator Bina Aziz, amongst many others.

"With this masterpiece, we aim to bring together the very best of art and sculpture from across the globe and embellish the opulent ambience of our luxury projects," she said, adding, "We are extremely delighted that not only our patrons, but several families will also be able to see and admire this fabulous art piece, and we also hope that this will encourage the aspiring artists in our country."

Following speeches by art consultant Farah Siddiqui and Emmanuelle Houlès, Attachée of the French Embassy, guests were regaled by a music recital by a trio led by Khursheed Khurody on the cello, which recreated the harmonies of Spanish and French music to evoke the atmospherics of the painting. And with flutes of champagne and a cornucopia of canapés at hand, the public viewing of an original Picassogot the unveiling it deserved.

The pyjama publisher
Enough wit has been expressed about the fact that Hugh Hefner, the man credited with single-handedly, (though of course that is an unfortunate word given the circumstances) launching the sexual revelation of our time, has died at the age of 91. ('HH: the only person to whom the words 'he's in a better place' can never apply' went a typical meme).

Playmate Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner, playmates Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson. PIC/gettyimages
Playmate Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner, playmates Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson. PIC/gettyimages

After all, the man lived a life of such fantasy that it had assumed larger than life proportions in our collective psyche. What most missed is that all of it was predicated on a canny intelligence, which understood the significance of brand ambassadorship long before the likes of Richard Branson were even a gleam in their father's eye. If Hefner frolicked with voluptuous bunnies and his magazine's centerfolds (whom he called Miss November, Miss January etc) at his fabulous Playboy Mansion all day, not only was he living out what is said to be every man's sexual fantasy, but he was also working assiduously at extending his brand image.

Of course, it could be argued that towards the end of his life, the feminist revolution, easy access to porn on the Internet and political correctness, made Hefner something of an anachronism, almost a relic of his time. But for us, he will always be remembered for what we hold as his single-most valuable contribution to the world: the idea that work, office hours and life is better spent in one's pyjamas. Yes, try getting stressed in your PJs, or starting a war in your dressing gown. Somehow, it's just not imaginable.

Ultimately, besides his contribution to the sex education of millions of boys across the world, Hefner will be remembered as the man who taught the world to chill. And, of course, no point saying RIP to a man like that. More like: 'keep rockin' Hugh'.

Acing it internationally
No doubt about it, Raell Padamsee's theatre production firm is on a roll. "We have not one but two of our shows performing on either side of the globe in the same week soon," the veteran theatre producer and scion of a rich theatre legacy exulted yesterday. "Broken Images, the psychological thriller, will open in Toronto October 1," she said, "While Unfaithfully Yours, starring two of TV's best-loved stars Rohit Roy and Mona Singh, will open in Hong Kong on October 6."

Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi
Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi

What's more, this is not the only achievement to report, says Padamsee. Broken Images, Girish Karnad's thriller about the diabolical relationship of two sisters, which we had the pleasure of watching in its Marathi original thanks to the Vinod Doshi Foundation, has a record-breaking statistic all to itself. "There are three Padma awardees attached to the production," informs Padamsee. "It has been written by Padma Bhushan Girish Karnad, directed by Padmashree Alyque Padamsee and performed by Padmashree Shabana Azmi!" she says.

The Obama visit
He's been here before of course, but that was official when he was POTUS, and access to him was controlled and not too easy. Which is why news that Barack Obama will be in India soon, this time as the key note speaker at a national broadsheet's upcoming annual leadership summit held towards the end of the year, is causing considerable excitement.

Barack Obama. Pic/Getty Images
Barack Obama. Pic/Getty Images

Of course, besides looking forward to the general schmoozing with the Capital's high and mighty at these affairs, the question on everyone's mind is: who would be the lucky person who gets to moderate the discussion with the man himself? In the past, it's always been an editor of the newspaper who's done the honours. But will such an important role be consigned to a mere hack? Or will a politico be enrolled? Watch this space.

Celebrating Sagar
This week saw many friends of designer Hemant Sagar of Lecoanet-Hemant, (started 35 years ago with his partner Didier Lecoanet) fly in from all corners of the world to celebrate his 60th birthday in Mallorca where he has a home.

Kirat Binder, Gita Kapoor, Doris Zachares, Hemant Sagar with Gita Kapoor (in pink) and a friend
Kirat Binder, Gita Kapoor, Doris Zachares, Hemant Sagar with Gita Kapoor (in pink) and a friend

From Delhi, flew in vivacious World Bank maven and Feng Shui practitioner Gita Kapoor and architect Arun Rewal, from Kathmandu came exporter Doris Zachares, joined by a slew of impossibly long-limbed models led by YSL's one time muse, the India-born Kirat Binder, who now divides her time between Delhi and Europe.

And with brunches at Sagar's beautiful villa in Santa Ponca, breakfasts at Mallorca's Club del Mar and the birthday celebrations held at a world heritage site in Palma, followed by disco dancing until 3 am, there was much laughter, bonhomie and cheer to make Sagar's transition into senior citizenship a most pleasant one.

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