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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: When Artists And Models Danced Together

mumbai Updated: Feb 14, 2019 00:51 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Seated (From left)Anjolie Ela Menon, Maite Delteil, Kasturi Wadhwani, Shanti Chopra, Rameshwar Broota, Ranjit Hoskote
Seated (From left)Anjolie Ela Menon, Maite Delteil, Kasturi Wadhwani, Shanti Chopra, Rameshwar Broota, Ranjit Hoskote (HT Photo)

They are both assumed to inhabit equally-colourful, but mutually-exclusive worlds. And if anyone could bring together some of the country’s leading artists and models, it could only be Shanti and Sangeeta Chopra, the gallerists, who had helmed one of the city’s leading model agencies a few decades ago. No surprises then that Tuesday evening’s party, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Colaba-located gallery Art Musings, featured an impressive collection of both. Hosted at The Clearing House, the evening saw the likes of artists – Anjolie Ela Menon; Paresh Maity; Maite Delteil; Rameshwar Broota; Nilofer Suleman; Shilo Shiv Suleman; Jayasri Burman; Nandan Purkayastha; Jitish Kallat; Smriti Dixit; Chittrovanu Mazumdar; Maya Burman; Atul Dodiya; Anju Dodiya, Baiju Parthan and Ajay Dhandre amongst others celebrate the occasion with a great showing of joy and abandon. Breaking the stereotype of the ‘tortured artist in the attic’, they took to the floor after minimal persuasion, some of them like Kallat and the 86-year-old Delteil, the statuesque French-born artist-wife of Shakti Burman, proving that they were no slouches when it came to mean moves. In this, they were amply matched step-to-step by the Chopras vast circle of leggy models and others from the community such as Anna Bredemeyer; Sangita Bijlani; Mehr Jesia; Reshma Bombaywala; Michelle Tung; Lisa Sadanah; Svetlana Caspar; Suzanne Sablok; Aarti Surendranathl; Beverly Soares and Lascelles Symmons, and by the time the dinner was served, one could hardly tell the difference between the celebrating artists and the exuberant models. Added to this happy mix were noted members of the art community such as Dinesh Vazirani; Tasneem Mehta; Ranjit Hoskote; Nancy Adajania and Shirin Gandhi, and members of the city’s intelligentsia like Lillette Dubey and Sonal Dabral. The 20th anniversary celebrations of Art Musings are marked by a year-long exhibition at the gallery featuring their prominent artists.

True Lies
How things have changed. A fashion designer shared a disturbing insight into the state of affairs in the world of fashion shows. “There was a time,” he said, “When the models were people of substance with distinct personalities and reputations of their own. “Today,” he continued, “They are just known as numbers, as in ‘This one comes for a price tag of 20K and that one for 30K.’ That’s how we are expected to sign them on for ramp shows. What’s more, most of them are not even Indian, hailing mostly from East European countries,” he said, adding, “As for making an individual mark, they’re altogether faceless and nameless.” And, with social media followers playing a large part in their success, no surprises that the ramp seems to have become a numbers game.

Short And Sweet

Murzban F Shroff
Murzban F Shroff

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-shortlisted author and six-times Pushcart Prize nominee, Murzban F Shroff has just published his third book, Fasttrack Fiction, a collection of digital shorts for the time-harried reader, for Chiki Sarkar’s Juggernaut, described as India’s fastest-growing digital reading platform. Why digital shorts, we asked Shroff, a product of the analog age and an avid bibliophile , whose library boasts a collection of well-thumbed tomes from literary masters. “The modern reader is perilously overloaded. His attention is targeted by powerful forces. He must assure them [his readers] immediately that reading him will be worth their while,” he replied, quoting Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow. “Look what competes for his/her attention,” he went on to elaborate, “International politics, national politics, crimes of the day, issues of the day, news about the rise and fall of markets, news about strengthening and weakening currencies, news about technological advancements, news about deals and offers, investment opportunities, mergers and acquisitions, sports and achievement, travel and lifestyle options. Then there are films, television, games, culture, media events, social events.” Shroff’s latest offering, he informs, has stories ranging from demonetisation to duality, corporate intrigue to political intrigue, land-grabbing to Bollywood scandals, and infidelity to the triumph of humanity. As the author of Breathless In Bombay, a collection of short stories and Waiting For Jonathan Koshy, a novel, explains: “Fasttrack Fiction is specifically for those who need not feel guilty about not reading lengthily anymore, but who enjoy the power of brisk, meaningful storytelling.” But as ever, his enthusiasm for literature which is pithy short and attuned to the needs of the modern reader is fittingly informed by his love for the old masters. “Odd, I have now a mania for shortness. Whatever I read – my own or other people’s work – it all seems not short enough to me,” he quotes the Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekov, widely believed to be the master of the short story from a century ago, to bolster his case.

Tracking The Young Turks

Anurag Thakur
Anurag Thakur ( HT File )

Bunty Chand, the indefatigable head of Asia Society, India, informs about an upcoming series that hopes to add to the political discourse in the run up to the general elections. “While the countdown to the 2019 general elections has witnessed a proliferation of comebacks, splits and new partnerships, it has also seen the emergence of a new generation of leaders and challengers across party lines, who, for now, seem to offer a youthful and different approach to political life, whether they are descendants of political dynasties, bureaucrats leaving civil services for politics or newcomers with professional backgrounds,” she says. Called ‘Young Turks on the Political Turf’, the first one to be held in Mumbai later this month will see the likes of MP and former president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Anurag Thakur; MP and vice president of the Rashtriya Lokdal Jayant Chaudhary; Congress leader and former minister of state Milind Deora, and Rajya Sabha member and Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel, match wits in a discussion moderated by Delhi-based political journalist Priya Sahgal. The next few sessions in the series, we are informed, will have the likes of Yashwant Sinha, Kumar Ketkar and Govindraj Ethiraj speak on subjects such as media autonomy and credible news coverage during the much-awaited upcoming electoral initiative in the world’s biggest democracy.

First Published: Feb 14, 2019 00:50 IST