The Maharashtra government has indicated that it is ready to intervene to save the iconic Café Samovar, housed at Jehangir Art Gallery, which i s all set t o close down on March 31.
According to culture minister Vinod Tawde, the government was ready for talks. “We are ready for talks with any of t he parties concer ned,” Tawde said.
Tawde was responding to a question raised by Congress member Sanjay Dutt in the legislative council where he asked the government to save the structure or at least shift it to an alternative space.
Earlier in the day, a representation was made by BJP leader Shaina NC who met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.
According to Shaina, the café was second home to acclaimed artists like Tyeb Mehta, MF Hussain and Akbar Padamsee. “It is j ust not a tourist place but a cauldron for talent that emerged in the city through art and culture,” said Shaina. She was accompanied by Deveika Bhojwani and Malavika Sanghvi, daughters of Usha Khanna, the owner of Cafe Samovar.
They demanded that Cafe Samovar continue this brand at an alternative venue within the premises of the gallery or the museum. The café was started by Khanna in 1964 and has been a favourite with filmstars, lawyers, artists as well as students.
For over t hree decades, the family-run cafe has been fighting a legal battle with the founding trustees of the art gallery. In an out-of-court settlement in 2010, the cafe was granted an extension of five years, which ends on March 31.