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Star power
(From top): Paresh Maity, Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma and Kajol at the launch of Maity’s Limited Edition Portfolio;
N Ram; Najam Sethi and Professor Amartya Sen (left to right) at the release of Sen’s new book; models show off the latest footwear from Puma; Kapish Mehra of Rupa publishers, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Gautam Bhimani at the launch of Reverse Sweep: Confessions of a Cricket Junkie

Actress Kajol is back in circulation even as she makes a comeback on the silver screen. She was spotted in the Capital recently on more than one occasion: playing brand ambassador to an electronic brand along with her husband, actor Ajay Devgan, and at another very artistic evening. She added star appeal to the glitzy launch of artist Paresh Maity’s Limited Edition Portfolio of watercolours and an exhibition of these paintings titled An Odyssey. The evening was made even more special with a santoor recital by Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma.

Maity’s Limited Edition Portfolio of six watercolours is replete with the scenic beauty of China and Italy. The 100 prints ' signed and numbered ' are of the same size as the originals and have been produced with a specialised process called ‘giclee’ that gives the prints the same look and feel as the original. “There can only be one original and few get to enjoy it. Duplication ensures that a lot more people can take pleasure in the work,” explained Maity.

The paintings were an eyeful and the santoor maestro’s performance was riveting. While Kajol confessed to being delighted to be in the company of the two masters, Maity said that the three shared the bond of being artistes. The other famous faces spotted at the do included artists Anjolie Ela Menon, Shamshad Hussain and Kanchan Chander. Rajeev Lochan, Director of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) was also seen mingling with the stars of the evening.

Identity issues

Delhi was present in full force when Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen came calling on the Capital to unveil his latest book, Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (Penguin). The book was jointly released by Najam Sethi, editor-in-chief of The Friday Times and Daily Times of Pakistan and N. Ram, editor-in-chief of The Hindu.

Sen had his audience’s undivided attention as he discussed the contents of the book. He read excerpts that dealt with the illusion of singular identity and the atmosphere of violence that this illusion has created in the world. Sen quoted from poet Derek Walcott’s A Far Cry from Africa, which voiced the dilemma of a man facing identity crisis. He highlighted the critical role of choice in the determination of our significant identities. “Since we belong to many groups, the importance we attach to each must be partly a matter of choice,” he said.

The evening concluded with a Q&A session with Sen patiently answering all the questions put to him. Sen was joined by Sethi and Ram in answering the queries related to identity and religion. The discussion over, Sen was swarmed by fans in search of autographs.

Cricket all the way

When a wacky cricket commentator writes his first book, the biggies of the world of Indian cricket gather to applaud his efforts. It was a glittering gathering at Delhi’s Taj Palace when ESPN Star Sports commentator, Gautam Bhimani, unveiled his book. For, the Indian skipper Rahul Dravid and team mates Yuvraj and Harbhajan Singh attended the do while none other than the Little Master, Sunil Gavaskar, released the book.

Best known for giving live commentary from a helicopter and reporting from a tree top, Bhimani finally decided tell all about his escapades on and off the field in Reverse Sweep: Confessions of a Cricket Junkie (Rupa). Bhimani said, “The title of my book suggests unorthodoxy because the reverse sweep is a shot that cricketers avoid hitting. I do things in an unconventional way and haven’t pegged this book as a literary work but something to be read and enjoyed.”

The evening began with an audio-visual presentation that captured Bhimani and cricketers sharing light moments during cricket tours in India and abroad. Congratulating Bhimani on behalf of the Indian cricket team, Dravid said, “Seeing the video, I think I know what to do after I finish with cricket.”

Bhimani talked about his long association with Gavaskar whom he called “Sunil uncle” as a child, graduating to “Sunil bhai” after they became co-commentators. Gavaskar for his part, seemed impressed by Bhimani’s knack of having the right words for every occasion.

Besides the cricketing fraternity, also present were former external affairs minister, Natwar Singh and management guru Arindam Chaudhary.

Get sporty

The brand had quietly launched its Indian subsidiary, Puma Sports India, in Bangalore at the beginning of the year, but last week it took time out to make the formal announcement. Puma, the lifestyle sports label, unveiled its latest collection Puma 24 in a show that Mumbai won’t forget in a tearing hurry. Here’s why: the models didn’t just trek down the ramp as they usually do, but instead staged mini-skits on a typical 24-hour routine to prove how the global brand can be made a part of everyone’s morning-to-night wardrobes.

So the models were first seen waking up in Puma innerwear, after which they got into exercise mode with Puma’s jogging gear, and ended the day with chic numbers such as Eskimo jackets that doubled up as partywear. If this was the action on one ramp, on the other, Puma’s sporty footwear went display. Only, the curtains on this ramp had been rolled down to reveal just the models' legs as they strutted about in Puma sneakers, unconventional floaters, boots and more.

The good news is that Puma brings its entire global range to India and this collection packs a punch. Label addicts can pick up gear for traditional sports like football and cricket, and can also dig into its sports-lifestyle segments for clothes best suited for motorsports, golf, yoga and dancing. The brand offers a vast range of footwear and accessories to go with the garments. Seen at the launch were the usual Page Three suspects including socialite Kishen Mulchandani, model Teejay Sidhu and television actor Manoj Bohra.

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