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All for art's sake

Prominent corporate leaders are going to raise funds for an initiative called 'Khushii', writes Prerna K Mishra.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2006 17:44 IST

What do Ratan Tata, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Naina Lal Kidwai, Malvinder Mohan Singh, Naveen Jindal, VN Dalmia and YC Deveshwar have in common? They are all business leaders most comfortable drawing up spreadsheets, but they have taken time off to pair up with artists — all for a noble cause.

The corporate initiative is a part of an endeavour to pair up more than 100 eminent personalities from different walks of life with artists such as Amitava Das, Krishen Khanna, Paresh Maity, Satish Gujaral, Shipra Bhattacharaya and Jayasri Burman to raise funds for the homeless and the elderly.

The effort is being co-ordinated by a non-governmental organisation called Khushii, chaired by cricket legend Kapil Dev.

“The cause of supporting old people and rag-pickers is one which is significant and this is why I agreed to be a part of this project,” Bharti Enterprises Founder Chairman and Group Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal told Hindustan Times.

While Hari Bhartia, Shobhana Bhartia, Gautam Thapar, Analjit Singh and Peter Punj have participated in the project from the corporate sector, the initiative has also roped in patrons like Bollywood stars Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, minister Praful Patel, actress Sharmila Tagore and deputy chairman of the planning commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, besides celebrity cardiologist Naresh Trehan for a stroke or two.

The 125-odd works of art created under the initia tive will be auctioned in the Capital on Friday at the British High Commission- er’s residence. The auction will be conducted by Ian McGinlay of Christie’s.

P Chidambaram’s creation with Anjolie Ela Menon is priced at Rs 20 lakh while Ratan Tata’s work with Laxman Shreshtha has an initial bid price of Rs 12 lakh. But Bachchan daughter Shweta Nanda’s piece and Tina Anil Ambani’s creation, both with Jogen Chowdhury, take the cake with price tags of Rs 25 lakh each.

“As each piece of art, co-signed by the patrons and the artist, has been given a base price, Khushii al ready has a neat Rs 3.5 crore in its kitty for the poor even after paying the artist 25 per cent of the successful bid.

"We feel humble to see how many eminent people have taken time from their busy schedules to step forward and give a helping hand,” said Vandana Luthra, founder and mentor of beauty and fitness firm VLCC, who is current ly president of Khushii.

Though the final amount that Khushii gets to raise from this project will depend on the actual bids, creators who have already offered primary bids will take their works home in case higher bids elude the auction.