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Down Town : The Delhi-Mumbai Gazette

A trip down memory lane for Gayatri Devi, J.J. Valaya in an expansion mode, Kapil's attempt to clear his name and more...

Down Town : The Delhi-Mumbai Gazette
Down Town : The Delhi-Mumbai Gazette

A Royal Tint
It was a trip down memory lane for many in the chiffon-and-pearl set at the inauguration of the exhibition of the recently-discovered princely portraits from Bond Street’s famous Lafayette Studio, currently showing at Delhi’s British Council. There was Maharani Gayatri Devi, gazing at her grandparents, and at the handsome young Maharajah of Cooch Behar who eloped with her mother, the Princess of Gaekwad, much to her father’s displeasure. And the Rani of Mikha peering at the full-length portrait of her mother, the Rani of Mandi. "I’ve never seen this picture of hers before," she mused, as she gazed at the tall elegant figure who had left the palace to live in Paris when her daughter was only four years old. "The Rani’s conspicuous lack of jewels is in stark contrast to her father (Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala) who spent up to a quarter of his revenue annually buying swags of pearls and emeralds for himself," says Russell Harris, curator of this exhibition. Taken at the height of princely passion for all things English, these early 1900 portraits from the Lafayette Studio, famous for its studio portraits of court debutants and visiting royalty, reveal another royal passion: for fabulous gems and medallions...
Sheela Reddy

A Studio-US Turn
J.J. Valaya, we are told, is in expansion mode. And no, it has nothing whatsoever to do with his weight. The trousseau specialist launched his flagship Studio Valaya store in Delhi last week. Another two stores will be opened in Mumbai by month-end. Studio Valaya is the diffusion label from The House of Valaya much as Emporio Armani is the middle- to high-end product from the more niche, high-value range of Giorgio Armani. While the JJ Valaya label is one of the leading statements in couture collections, Studio Valaya epitomises the simpler, more wearable and accessible look of the diffusion market. "It evolves the same trends into a watered-down, cleaner and more affordable look," says Valaya. But both labels have one thing in common—they cater to the confident, sophisticated woman and man who believe in timeless yet contemporary elegance. Do you count yourself among them?

Mix ‘N’ Match
Saffron, olive and plum in wood, steel and stone; Indian technique and crafts on western frames; a marriage of the classic and the contemporary. That in sum is Raseel Gujral and Naveen Ansal’s Casa Paradox 2002 furniture and home accessories line which includes sofas, tables, chairs, lamps, cushions and even candles. "Our emphasis is more on creating a mood than just a piece of furniture," says Ansal. "They are stand-alone pieces but speak one story," claims Gujral. And prices? Rs 500-Rs 80,000.

A Kapil Of Things
Kapil Dev can give a lesson to our politicians on the art of going on about nothing. When the former all-rounder promised a dhamaka last Tuesday, Delhi scribes lay siege at the Taj Palace but the Haryana Hurricane was as revealing as a Bollywood ingenue". I promise to give every story of my life to this young man," he said, pointing towards Anurag Kashyap, the director of a one-year film project called Kapil Dev: The True Story.In his perfectly confusing English, he announced he was ready to clear his name from "what everyone knows happened". Still, he’d like the film to be about the 90 per cent good that’s happened to him rather than the 10 per cent bad. "Life is beautiful," and "Prabhakar was a friend," were his most quotable quotes. We could almost see a halo!
Dhiraj Singh

The Cutting Edge
Shabana Azmi wasn’t rude enough for Star TV. Not when compared to Neena Gupta who has been chosen to anchor the Indian version of bbc’s The Weakest Link that has an acerbic hostess using expressions like "pathetic" and "stupid" to describe some guests. The guests however don’t mind, since the prize on offer at the quiz show is up to Rs 25 lakh. Neena doesn’t believe she is "rude", perhaps just a bit "no nonsense". And that is not the only reason why she was chosen above others. "I’ve heard that Shabana, Rekha and Sushmita Sen were other possible anchors. But I don’t think I was chosen because I could be rude. I am an MPhil in Sanskrit. I think in Hindi. I have a command over the language and if I may say so, I am beautiful too." And though she will not reveal exactly how much she is paid for all these virtues, "the money is good", the lady says.
Manu Joseph

Singing All The Way To The Bank
Hindi films weren’t exactly crackling this Diwali but Karan Johar still found reason to smile. His commercial on Indian family values, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which comes with the ‘new’ message "love your parents", is already raking in money through its music. Says an official from Sony: "The album which was launched on October 16 has already crossed a milestone figure of over 25 lakh units in a record 30 days." If it’s true, it could be by far the fastest 25-lakh sale in the history of Hindi film music. And you can thank Jatin Lalit and Sandesh Shandilya for the music.

Trash Of The Fortnight : Kya Masti Kya Dhoom
Another show which began with a lot of promise but is now fast becoming less and less watchable. The concept itself is an old one, so that KMKD emerges as nothing better than the other seen-it-before show on Sony, Boogie Woogie.On KMKD too, precocious kids perform a filmi dance routine, their childish bodi es gyrating to adult moves. Hostess Sonali Bendre is a welcome relief but while she has the right looks, she lacks the punch and panache necessary to turn you into a show loyalist. Her guest list earlier boasted of stars like Aamir Khan but has now been reduced to names like Jaspinder Narula and Shaan. And then they have an Aftab Shivdasani to judge the moves and grooves when he himself is no great mover. It only helps that the participants aren’t outstandingly talented. Nothing more than a small-time, neighbourhood song’n’dance function.

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