Talk of the Town
Published on 14 February 2013
Vikas Khanna has come a long way. And now, the Michelin star chef is getting down and dirty with some innovative recipes in his latest book, Khanna Sutra: Food Lessons in Love. Launched recently in the capital's Shangri-La's Eros Hotel and published by Om Books International, it was unveiled by fashion designer Rohit Bal.
With seven cookbooks and four documentaries already to his name, this book is the chef's latest offering. The first copy was presented a few weeks ago to the US first couple at the White House. At the book launch, though, Khanna smiled and said: "I had hidden the first copy and kept it aside for my parents before going to the White House. So my parents still get the first copy. I hope the Obamas are not listening."
The recipes in the book are Khanna's experiments with food and flavours over the years, woven around the concept of sensuous eating. "The recipes were on my laptop for years until Ajay Mago, my publisher, discovered them and insisted on revealing them to the world in the form of a book," he said.
Khanna Sutra has been divided into sections like aphrodisiacs, soups, salads, fish and shellfish, meat and poultry, desserts and drinks and more. There are unconventional offerings like avocado soup with spicy salsa and also crispy okra salad with dried mango strips. There's good news for vegetarians too — about 60 per cent of the recipes fit the bill for them. So, grab a copy for Rs 895 and rustle up a sensuous food fiesta this Valentine's Week.
By Anupma Tripathi
Photograph by Rupinder Sharma
Timing it right
Nobody seemed to mind the delayed start or the chilly winds as Shah Rukh Khan unveiled Tag Heuer's new Link Lady Collection on the terrace of The Leela Palace, Delhi recently. The evening celebrated women who have excelled in their fields. Four powerhouse women — Sara Pilot, for her contribution to charitable causes through her organisation Cequin, Pia Singh, chairperson of DLF's entertainment venture, for her work in the country's luxury retail sector, Ritu Beri for her pioneering work in Indian fashion and Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal for excellence in sports — were felicitated. Tag Heuer brand ambassador, Khan, serenaded the ladies in his inimitably charming style with a song before presenting each of them with a Link Lady watch.
Sara Pilot had a strong team cheering her on in the form of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah (Sara Pilot's brother and father respectively) and also her husband Sachin Pilot, the central minister for corporate affairs. Other celebrities present included Sunanda Tharoor (wife of high-profile minister Shashi Tharoor), designers Manav Gangwani, Nida Mehmood and Rohit Gandhi and businessman, Sanjay Kapur.
By Saimi Sattar
Photograph by Rupinder Sharma
Romeo & Juliet
Mumbai's Marine Drive promenade with its stretch of Art Deco buildings never fails to evoke visions of a bygone era. Now, combine that with the romance of a long-ago Mediterranean summer evening and the magic of the moving image.
Well, UK-based solicitor and classic cinema buff, Shireen Irani, is set to do just that with the pop-up cinema that she's bringing to town this month. Irani is now launching Gipsy Cinema - an underground cinema club that she founded in London last year - in India with the screening of four classic Italian films on the rooftop terrace of Hotel Marine Plaza overlooking the bay. The setting under the stars will aim to resemble a Roman terrace café on a summer evening and the menu will include a pre-screening Italian dinner and a post-screen café-and-chat session.
"My father instilled a great love for classic films in me when I was a young girl. He always said that he wished that there was a classic film club while he was growing up in Mumbai where he could have mixed with like-minded people. So, I started Gipsy Cinema in his memory and also as a space for people to share this passion," says Irani, who's also the founder of i-Probono, an online network that links non-profit bodies who require legal assistance with lawyers and students offering free legal services around the world.
So far, Gipsy Cinema has held screenings of classic films in apartments in Paris, Rome and London. Now at Marine Plaza, you can watch Gregory Peck romance Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday or immerse yourself in Franco Zeffirelli's retelling of the story of the star-crossed pair of Romeo & Juliet. Or how about enjoying a taste of Frederico Fellini's La Dolce Vita or just losing yourself in the magic of movies through Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso?
Irani has tied up with the Italian consulate for the screenings, which will be held from February 13 to February 16. And she's also teamed up with Visual Disobedience, a community of young artists, who will transform the Marine Plaza rooftop into a Roman terrace café. "We want people to be transported but also to mix and exchange views," she says.
The first members to join Gipsy Cinema in India - you can join by going to gipsycinema.com - will receive invitations for the screenings, which will accommodate 200 people each evening.
That's not all. Irani's planning to host nine series of Gipsy Cinema's pop-up screenings over the next two years. Next up are cities like Delhi and Bangalore and she's also exploring opportunities to take it to Calcutta and Jaipur. Says Irani: "Pop-up cinema is very popular in UK and UK. Gipsy Cinema is the first to bring the concept to India, and if it's anything like the way it's featured in London, people are bound to enjoy it here as well."
By Aarti Dua
Winter may be on its way out, but that's no reason why you shouldn't pick up woollies that have been hand-made by artisans from across the country.
Dastkar - which has been working with Indian craftsmen for over 30 years - in collaboration with Delhi Tourism is holding a special exhibition, 'Winter Weaves', between February 14 to 28. Head for the 'Nature Bazaar' on Anuvrat Marg in Delhi to keep your date with Dastkar.
The event will be all about Banarsi brocades, exquisite Kashmiri ari and Kutch embroideries. You'll also find tussar weaves and sujni quilting from Bihar and woollen handlooms from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Also expect block-printing and decorative tie-dye designs of shibori and bandhani.
By Anupma Tripathi
The haute Indian
Varun Bahl's Midas touch in Indian couture has been well documented. For PCJ Delhi Couture Week 2012, he featured deeply traditional silhouettes like the achkan, sharara, anarkali, the Mughal farshi (loose pyjama-style skirt) and lehenga with intricate detailing. His recent line for Carma, one of India's oldest multi-designer stores, doesn't veer drastically from the sensibilities displayed in last year's collection.
Based on a spring theme, Bahl's Carma collection, launched at the Delhi store recently, has a profusion of floral motifs, primarily roses, making an appearance on the necklines and sleeves of anarkalis. But the couturier concedes that he is rooting for Indian silhouettes this time as well. So, shararas, lehengas, saris and anarkalis are making a comeback, albeit with a spin. Expect shararas in shorter avatars teamed with sensual see-through tops and coloured bustiers along with pre-draped and stitched saris. "The sari needed to be updated. Now one can just slip it on and zip up. It's that easy," says Bahl.
Working on a rich palette, the designer has played around with shades of fuchsia, red and burgundy but balanced it with neutrals. So, there is an entire range of anarkalis in tones of ivory pepped up with subtle hints of colour.
Of course, no India-inspired collection is complete without the use of luxuriant fabrics and the designer has paid homage to opulence by using silk-net, chiffon, velvet, georgette and zari for his distinctly flowing silhouettes.
By Susmita Saha
Varun Bahl with models wearing his creations