Come September 12 and the entire Khan clan, late cricketer Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi’s family- wife Sharmila Tagore; son Saif Ali Khan and his wife Kareena Kapoor; and daughters Soha and Saba Ali Khan, will head to London for a special event. The fundraiser dinner-auction is being held on behalf of the Pataudi Trust to raise money for the visually impaired in India. And what promises to be the highlight is bestselling British author Jeffrey Archer, an avid cricket fan, playing the role of auctioneer for the occasion.
The family wasn’t sure whether Archer would participate. “We didn’t know whether he would agree or not, so I went to meet him and, surprisingly he agreed solely out of his fondness for my father. Mr Archer always had a lot of respect for dad and has always spoken highly of him. In fact, he also wrote a short story called The Century based on my father in his book, A Quiver Full of Arrows,” says Soha.
Under the Pataudi Trust, the family is raising money for a cause Pataudi Sr was passionate about — giving the gift of sight. “Maybe because he lost sight in one of his eyes when he was 20. We have a hospital in Pataudi where we do operations for people who have eye problems such as cataract,” says Soha, adding that her mother is in charge and takes all the decisions of the trust.
“But we all, including Bhai (Saif), agreed that Mr Archer would be the right person to do it because he has been a close friend of my father’s for a very long time. Besides, he is amazing, entertaining and funny. The event has to be conducted properly and has to be of proper quality, not just because it’s in memory of my father but also because a personality like Jeffrey Archer is part of it. So we are all getting involved now,” she adds.
Archer to auction Messi, Saif, Kareena’s memorabilia
Next month, Jeffrey Archer will be auctioning a number of artifacts, including a cricket bat autographed by the Champions Trophy-winning Indian team, a ball signed by Anil Kumble and a bat autographed by Rahul Dravid. Other items that will go under the hammer include an earring designed by Saba Ali Khan, Saif Ali Khan’s watch, one of Kareena Kapoor’s saris and a bat signed by the England and Australian cricket teams. Another highlight is a T-shirt belonging to and autographed by Barcelona’s star Argentinan footballer, Lionel Messi.