Between the two Padamsees

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

We had a bird's-eye view at the private preview of Jatin Das' ongoing exhibition, 'Figures In Motion', at a Mumbai gallery last week

We had a bird's-eye view at the private preview of Jatin Das' ongoing exhibition, 'Figures In Motion', at a Mumbai gallery last week. Das entered the gallery at 5 pm, clad in a red kurta, attending to the smallest detail. For instance, at the entrance to his show, he requested that the board announcing 'Closed' be changed to the more hospitable 'Preview' (the establishment did not have the said board), and his fine eye spotted a floor that could do with another scrub, which he requested.

Jatin Das with daughter Nandita outside Jehangir Art Gallery. Pic/Pradeep Chandra
Jatin Das with daughter Nandita outside Jehangir Art Gallery. Pic/Pradeep Chandra

Wanting to freshen up and change from the red kurta into a black one, he left his daughter, actress Nandita Das, to take charge of things in his absence. However, while he was making his escape, his first guest had arrived. It was Alyque Padamsee, on the dot at 6 pm. "You always come first," Jatin greeted Alyque warmly, and while they chatted about the work at hand, a largish crowd of friends and admirers turned up, many of whom wanted their pictures taken with him.

"Take as many pictures as you like," Jatin said to the photographers, "But don't ask me to pose. I hate such photographs." By now, the hall was packed with the likes of Juhi Chawla and Pheroza Godrej, who had both spent a long time studying the 83 canvases displayed. Finally, Akbar Padamsee showed up on his wheelchair and stayed almost till the end. And in this manner, bracketed between Mumbai's two formidable Padamsees, Das' first showing in Mumbai after a hiatus of seven years got off to a good start.

Asia lover worldwide
Our New York-based friend, the musician and artist Maura Moynihan, is truly an Asia lover through and through. The daughter of the late senator for NYC Patrick Moynihan, she'd spent her formative years in Delhi as a student at the American school when her father was posted as Ambassador to India.

Maura Moynihan with friends and (inset) one of her canvases
Maura Moynihan with friends and (inset) one of her canvases

A few years later, Moynihan, who was married to legendary photographer Richard Avedon's son John (who wrote a much lauded biography of the Dalai Lama) discovered Nepal. When we'd met her at Robert De Niro's trendy dig in Tribeca, though her love for India was palpable, Kathmandu appeared to have caught her fancy.

Over the past few years, Moynihan's passion for Thailand has surfaced. Her social media posts are filled with her ardour for Bangkok and the charming ways of the Thais. But this is not lip service. This month, Moynihan's exhibition, 'King of Kings', in honour of Thailand's late monarch His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is on show in Bangkok, and has been attracting appreciative comments.

As is known, October is a very special month in the life of the Thais, as it is the month when the royal cremation ceremony of the late king, who died last October, takes place. Moynihan's portraits of the shy philosopher king, much loved by his people, demonstrate a keen sense of artistry and command of strokes, something that her mentor and employer in the 70s during her stint at the Factory, Andy Warhol, would have approved.

From Turkey with love
Word comes in that actor Aamir Khan, who is on a trip this week to Turkey, has been overwhelmed by the response his visit has attracted. "I didn't know that in Turkey young people were watching my films. They kept inviting me, and since then, I have said I would like to come here," he said at a press conference.

Aamir Khan and Sabri Ergen
Aamir Khan and Sabri Ergen

The visit is the brainchild of outgoing Turkish Consul General in Mumbai, Sabri Ergen, who had been instrumental in persuading Khan to make the trip after he'd met him three years ago at a screening of PK. Last year, Kiran Rao and their son had visited and loved the place. Khan is said to have a sizeable following there with his Dangal being a box-office success recently.

Charity gala for a cause
Actor Randeep Hooda will be the guest of honour at the fifth instalment of designer Maheka Mirpuri's annual charity gala and fundraiser in aid of the Tata Memorial Hospital this evening.

Anil Kapoor, Maheka Mirpuri and Vivek Oberoi at last year’s gala
Anil Kapoor, Maheka Mirpuri and Vivek Oberoi at last year’s gala

As is known, her foundation MCan provides financial assistance to the underprivileged fighting head & neck cancer at the hospital, and towards this she has got art specially commissioned by Sejal Firodia's art studio 'White Canvas,' to interpret the evening's butterfly. Also going under the hammer are a brass and wood chess set, fusion uncut diamond earrings with pearl tassels, and many canvasses.

Over the past four years, Mirpuri's foundation has raised over Rs 2.5 crore towards the treatment of 400 patients, and she says it is a drop in the ocean as much more is required to alleviate the huge costs of treatment.

Guests expected to attend the charity gala are Pankaja Munde, Smita Thackeray, Divya Palat, Meena and Suresh Raheja, Eesha Koppikar Narang, Alka and Surender Hiranandani, Bhagyashree, Laila Khan Furniturewala, Kintu Bajaj, Manali and Dilip Vengsarkar, Sachin Joshi and Arzan Khambatta, amongst others.

"Rakshanda Khan will host the evening's proceedings, which will comprise TMH's Dr Anil D'Cruz, talking about the disease and its rapid spread, specially amongst the Indian males, along with my show in which 22 models will walk in my creations. There will be a live musical performance, followed by a Kathak dance performance," said Mirpuri, when we spoke to her on the eve of her show yesterday.

Whose English is it anyway?
We came across yet another instance of social media one-upmanship yesterday, having to do with correcting a well-known personality's grammar. Our views on grammar Nazis are unorthodox: believing that correcting others' 'p's and 'q's is pernickety (as long as one gets the meaning across, ki pharak painda?).

Chetan Bhagat
Chetan Bhagat

Of course, this is not only because we believe language is free for anyone to interpret (like the Afro-American poets who bent English with such zest and got such good results), but also because we are so poor at so many other languages ourselves, that we can't afford to correct others.

Yesterday, we chanced upon a tweet by author Chetan Bhagat that read, "Did you ever, as an Indian, saw the Taj as a 'Muslim' monument (as @washingtonpost is saying it's being neglected because it is Muslim)" Fellow hack Hartosh Singh Bal was quick to point out the author's grammatical error and responded with, "Let's please not 'saw' the Taj," ticking off one of the country's bestselling English writers.

By the time we went to print, Bhagat had not responded or deleted his tweet. But others had joined in the fun. Sunil Alagh pointed out that Washington Post should stick to reporting about the multiple issues in USA, and food critic Marryam Reshii tweeted, "What is all this see-saw business going on! Can't an intellectual wrote' a book in peace?"

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