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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The capital of cool

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2018 11:09 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Guests, including Karan Johar and Siddharth Roy Kapur, at the pre-launch party of Soho House, Juhu.

Guests, including Karan Johar and Siddharth Roy Kapur, at the pre-launch party of Soho House, Juhu.

Its opening has been eagerly awaited in Mumbai, and this weekend, Indian fans of the Soho House brand can take heart that there is some positive activity towards its launch: the likes of Prasoon Joshi, Karan Johar and Siddharth Roy Kapur joined Narendra Kumar Ahmed and Cecilia Oldne at what appears to be its first pre-launch party on site in Juhu. As is known, the Soho House marque was launched in London’s Soho district in 1995 as a private members’ club for those in the arts, fashion and media industries, by British entrepreneur Nick Jones (it’s now been acquired by US billionaire Ron Burkle and operates more than 18 clubs around the world).

Membership is a strictly held affair, with new members requiring an introduction by two previous members and a stated bias towards hipness and cool, over bottom line and material success. Going by its previous record, there is every chance the club’s advent in Mumbai will be a game changer and that much of the social action will shift to Juhu once it opens its doors. Soho Club Mumbai will be the first of the brand’s roll out in Asia and the fact that its opening has taken more than four years to fructify speaks of the importance it holds in the group’s scheme of things. Neither is its location in a standalone, sea-facing multi-storey block in Juhu, a coincidence. The suburb lies at the heart of the city’s showbiz community, not too far either from Bandra and BKC, the other the hotspots for the city’s well-heeled.

A few months ago, we had visited Soho House, Istanbul, housed in the former headquarters of the American ambassador to Turkey, which displayed the brand’s trademark hipness. In Mumbai, people as diverse as restaurateur AD Singh and actress Alia Bhatt are said to have been roped in to curate its all-important membership list.

Just one thing though: at Istanbul’s Soho House, we recall being informed that members and guests were expected to desist from taking pictures while inside its premises, to insure their privacy.

Will our trigger-happy, selfie-obsessed, local celebrities be able to comply? The mind boggles.

SECRET DIARY OF:
Shahnawaz Hussain, BJP leader

March 23, 2018

Dear diary,

I am in a particularly upbeat mood today and deservedly so: As you might recall, around this time a few years ago, I had found myself in an embarrassing spot, when I had, (out of the goodness of my heart) tweeted a warm, respectful greeting to all my Christian brothers and sisters on the occasion of Good Friday. “Warm Greetings on #GoodFriday to all of you!” – I had posted on the micro-blogging site.

Well, that did not gone down well and I had received a fair share of criticism for my efforts. “Somebody plz tell him what does #GoodFriday means,” tweeted one Dr Jitendra Awhad. “Wonder how Christians like me r feeling after this tweet,” tweeted one Abraham Jacob. As you can understand, this was very disheartening and had left me feeling quite dejected. But being someone who never holds grudges, I have decided I will not let this small hiccup come in the way of my reaching out to my dear brothers and sisters in the Christian community. So this year, dear diary, I am going to greet them with a more appropriate message for the occasion. ‘#HappyBadFriday’ I plan to tweet this Friday.

That should set things right I’m sure!

CULTURAL CATALYST

Malvika Singh

Delhi and Rajasthan’s chief cultural provocateur Malvika Singh will be making a sortie into Mumbai next week for a discussion around art revivalist Pooja Singhal’s Pichwai exhibition, which takes over most of Famous Studios next week. Singh, who in the past four years, has created a staggering amount of cultural centres. including Delhi’s Bikaner House, one of the Capital’s most vibrant cultural spaces, and the Museum of Legacies in the Old City of Jaipur, along with tribute sari exhibitions to the likes of Indira Gandhi, admits the culture-vulturing has proven to be too hectic and she needs a break. “So I’ve decided to enjoy myself and party every night,” says the unabashed extrovert, whose Sujan Singh Park home is one of the great salons of the city, featuring an array of ministers, artists and intellectuals.

A portrait of Frida Kahlo by a young artist from Kolkata.

What cultural institutions is she looking forward to visit in Mumbai? Not too many, she says, “I think the Zaveri sisters are doing good work with their art gallery, and Maithli Ahluwalia has great taste in the fashion sphere, but other well-known museums and galleries are pretty shabby.”

Meanwhile, there’s a host of things to pursue once she’s ready to resume role of cultural czarina, especially the work of a young artist of the Kalighat school, discovered by a friend in the ‘gallis’ of Kolkata, who paints portraits of Frida Kahlo. “I want to expose his work to the world,” she says. Nice!