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Home / Mumbai News / Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Swaraj’s Show of Soft Power

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Swaraj’s Show of Soft Power

Sushma Swaraj seems to take her role as India’s External Affairs Minister quite seriously.

mumbai Updated: Oct 26, 2018, 00:47 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Sushma Swaraj with chef Vikas Khanna
Sushma Swaraj with chef Vikas Khanna

Sushma Swaraj seems to take her role as India’s External Affairs Minister quite seriously. We had written about an initiative she organised quite recently, where she got the New York-based celebrity chef, Vikas Khanna, to cook up an Indian meal at the UN headquarters. And now, word comes in that as part of the ‘India at UN’ series, and to celebrate international UN day on Wednesday, Swaraj once again managed to get Indian stars to take centrestage. This time, it was a performance by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, with his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, who performed at the famous United Nations General Assembly hall. “Promoting peace and non-violence on UN day with a special musical homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the UN concert,” shared India’s most famous sarod player, Amjad Ali Khan, who was accompanied by the Refugee Orchestra project and conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya. “India was hosting a concert on United Nations day after 50 years, and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan spoke about the great Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore before leading into the performance. The audience was filled with celebrities and I spotted Sonali Bendre and Vikas Khanna cheering on,” informs our source. We wonder what plans Swaraj has next up her sleeve.


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Anahita Oberoi, Suneeta Rao and Ishitta Arun.
Anahita Oberoi, Suneeta Rao and Ishitta Arun.

We could not attend the friends and family soft launch of Ga Re Maa, Ishitta Arun’s first theatrical presentation based on a story written by her, after she launched Ikigai & Co, but we were delighted to learn that the offering, described as “a comedy about mothers and their sons that stuffs the generation gap with love and music!” has been chosen to open the 40th anniversary of the Prithvi Festival early next month, one of the Indian theatre world’s most prestigious platforms. “We’re inspired by the ancient Japanese philosophy of Ikigai, which roughly translates to ‘what you live for’,” said Arun, an erstwhile model, VJ and actress hailing from an exceptionally talented background, whose mother Ila Arun is the noted Rajasthani folk singer, and who counts among her uncles the likes of advertising icons such as Piyush and Prasoon Pandey. “It is a collective of like-minded individuals who do what we love and love what we do. Whether it’s a passion for food or a love of the arts, at Ikigai & Co, we collaborate with creators from all walks of life and showcase their journey towards finding their Ikigai,” she said, between sessions of mommy duty yesterday. And, to be sure, with its first offering, Arun, married to musician and music impresario Dhruv Ghanekar (he is the music director for the project), appears to have brought together a virtual powerhouse of talent for Ga Re Maa. Directing the venture is Anahita Oberoi, and starring are theatre, TV and music veterans like Bharti Achrekar and Suneeta Rao, the latter who will be returning to stage after a hiatus of 18 years. “Your Ikigai lies at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing. At Ikigai & Co, we aim to vividly tell the stories of people who have arrived at this destination,” says Arun.


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