Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

An eventful week

Last week I was in Delhi. I arrived there on Friday afternoon, a day late as I had stayed back to attend the inaugural function of Kolkata Film Festival 2011.
There is a Bengali food festival going on at The Cafe – the coffee shop at Hotel Hyatt where I was staying.
The Hotel has tied up with famous restaurant chain of Kolkata Bhojohari Manna. This morning Somnath Dey, the food & beverages assistant director of the Hotel, told me that the Bengali food festival was a grand success. I too realised this when I saw the long queues of guests at the tables at the The Cafe.
Danseuse Sonal Mansingh has invited me for dinner on Sunday evening. I had a word with her regarding her new series of lectures and work on Krishna. Yesterday, I was at the India International Centre (IIC) and attended the book launch function Indira Gandhi Revolution in Restraint (Volume 1). The Book is authored by Uma Vasudev whom I meet her prior to the launch over tea. The book was released by the Chief Minister of Delhi Smt Sheila Dikshit.
During the past two years, I attended five such functions where Sheila ji's name was there in the invite and she either did not turn up at all or did so only at the closing hours of the function. I don't know whether she makes too many of commitments to people or whether the organisers just use her name?
This latest Book launch function, scheduled for 7 pm, started at around 7:10 pm. The Chief Minister came in at around 8 pm and released the book. There was an excellent panel of speakers – former Governor and Union Minister Bhishmnarayan Singh, member of Planning Commission Smt Syeda Hamid, Chairperson IGNCA and Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan Shri Chinmaya R Gharekhan and Secretary (Ministry of Culture) Jawahar Sircar.
Bhishmnarayan Singh shared his experiences with Indira Gandhi and Gharekhan also spoke about his personal experience with Indira Gandhi. He has served her about three years at the Prime Minister's Office besides being India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He recalled many incidents of his overseas trip with Indira Gandhi.
I also meet and had a brief chat with Jawahar Sircar just before the inaugural function which was chaired by Prof M G K Menon of IIC.
After the book launch, I went to Hotel Meridian to attend the dinner to mark the conclusion of Delhi International Arts Festival. This Festival, the brain child of Bharatnatyam exponent Prathibha Prahlad, is in its fifth year. The Festival was held from October 31 to November 15th 2011. Hindustan Times was the media partner.
There were many eminent artistes from Delhi at the dinner - Sonal Mansingh, Ranjana Gauhar, Rekha Surya, Kushwant Singh's son Rahul, Mr L Rao of ICCR and others. Also meet Shalini Dewan after a long time. Shalini was serving as the director of UNIC in Delhi till last year.
I was amazed to see the organising skill of Prathibha as she roped in British Council, American Centre, Alliance Francaise, Max Mueller BhAwan, Japan Foundation, Korea Foundation, Russian Centre of Art and Culture, Sangeet Natak Academy, Doordarshan, ITDC, ICCR and several other embassies and cultural centres under one roof. Being as a organiser myself, I know it is quite a task. Congratulations Prathibha!
Back to Kolkata, I attended the dinner hosted by Shree Venkatesh Films to mark the film festival. I met many friends from the film fraternity including Shantanu Moitra. The first thing he said on seeing me was “ALL IZ WELL!”
Yes Shantanu. In 17th Kolkata Film Festival All IZ WELL.
ess bee

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