Sundeep Bhutoria

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Thank you.
ess bee

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Missing out on Delhi events

November 29, 2014: I am scheduled to leave for Delhi for a week. In winter, Delhi is known for the diplomats' events and political lunches and dinners. A front page news in yesterday's The Telegraph reported that the Prime Minister has discouraged party members and top ministers from hosting cosy lunch and dinner parties during winters. This is in line with the austere measures that the Modi government has been introducing slowly in the functioning of his government.
The report said that Nirmala Sitharaman has been the only exception to host a lunch for some women journalists with the onset of winter.
This week I missed two events in Delhi. One was the French Ambassador, His Excellency François Richier's inaugural dinner on the occasion of “Treasures of Rajasthan: A Lifestyle Exhibition” at the Residence of France, New Delhi, on November 20, 2014.
The other event that I missed was scheduled yesterday at 4 PM and hosted by the German Ambassador, Michael Steiner, who organized a satsang to celebrate his his birthday at the German Embassy in Chanakyapuri. 
With Papia Adhikari and Roopa Ganguly
The satsang was addressed by spiritual guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who spoke on how to bring different cultures together and foster mutual understanding between people in Europe and India. 
Yesterday evening I was at Nandan to see Roopa Ganguly’s new film Nayanchapar Din Ratri by director Sekhar Das.
With Chandreyee Ghosh
The film, which carries a social message, is about the life and travails of three domestic helps Nayanchapa, Champa and Malati played by Roopa, Chandreyee Ghosh and Damini Basu respectively, who commute by local trains from the suburbs to Kolkata each day for work braving all kinds of hardships in life.
It was nice of Roopa to bring in her three housemaids at the premiere. 
ess bee

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

At the ITC Sonar to watch `The Mousetrap'

November 25, 2014: During the past week, I again spent considerable amount of time in office and dropped in for only one public function on Thursday, November 20, 2014. It was a play, “The Mousetrap”, of Welcome Theatre Production by ITC Hotels at the Sunderban Laws, ITC Sonar, at 7 PM followed by cocktails & dinner.
With ITC Sonar General Manager Atul Bhalla and his wife Kangan 
I met Virat and Aamir Raza Husain whom I have know for a couple of years since we had him participate in one of our Ek Mulakat series in Jaipur.
I was really impressed with the acting as well as the accent of Aamir Raza Husain in the play. I must also compliment ITC Sonar’s General Manager, Atul Bhalla, for drawing maximum number of guests this year to the Welcome Theatre in Kolkata compared to the earlier years to which I have been a witness.
ess bee

Monday, November 17, 2014

A visit to Ganga Kutir in Raichak

My first visit to Style File
November 17, 2014: The last weekend once again turned out to be very busy as I went to the Style File on Friday evening. It was my first visit to Style File and I was impressed with the display of art and sculptures.
On Saturday I reached Ganga Kutir in Raichak around lunch time for the birthday celebrations of Madhu Neotia. Harsh Neotia had invited a group of friends for an overnight stay to celebrate Madhu’s 50th birthday at the beautiful Ganga Kutir.
It was my first visit to Raichak. 
Over the last three to four years, whenever Madhu and Harsh invited me to this picture perfect place, I was either out of Kolkata or was engaged in some other matter that did not allow me to be with them. 
I wish this time I could have visited all the three properties run by Harsh in Raichak - Ffort Raichak Hotel, Ganga Kutir and the newly opened Anaya Kutir
This, however, was not possible since I was busy at the birthday party celebrations which was very well organized with the minutest of details taken care of. 
This is what we always expect from Harsh Neotia.
Yesterday, after a brunch at Raichak, we drove back to Kolkata and went to The Taj Bengal where the “vegetable market” was on at The Taj Terrace. This idea has been conceptualized by Karen Anand - a food guru who influences the way people eat and perceive good food and wellness. 
With Madhu Neotia
Karen has often been called the “Martha Stewart of India". 
Karen was born in Bombay but grew up in London and Paris. She returned to India in 1984 and decided to dabble in cooking, until then a hobby, which eventually turned into a path breaking career.
Thanks to The Taj Bengal, General Manager, K Mohanchandran, who took me around the “vegetable market at The Taj Terrace. I also met Elizabeth, wife of Scott Furssedonn Wood, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata.
With Karen Anand and K Mohanchandran at The Taj Terrace
From The Taj I went to North Kolkata where Shoojit Sarkar’s film Piku's shooting was on. 
With Arindam Sil and Irfan Khan
I witnessed the shooting of a shot of Big B in which he even had a Bengali dialogue. Thanks to Arindam Sil, I met Irfan Khan and then had lunch with Shoojit Sarkar in his personal van which, of course, is like a hotel room.
It was Amitabh Bachchan’s grand daughter’s birthday so he had ordered sweets for the whole unit members. The weekend was not over yet.
Giving a copy of my book The Safari to Irfan Khan
In the evening I went to The Oberoi Grand on the invitation of Sunita and Naresh Kumar. The dinner was preceded by a perfomance by famous Pakistani classical singer Shafaqat Amanat Ali of Patiala Gharana. He was the lead vocalist of Pakistani rock band Fuzon and has sung many Bollywood chart busters.
I really enjoyed the evening. It was a selective audience and the singer, who was supposed to sing for an hour, sang and regaled those present for over two hours.
ess bee

Friday, November 14, 2014

Clearing up pending work

November 14, 2014: This entire week I was in office clearing up accumulated office work which had piled up due my continuous travels. Also there were many other pending issues and related desk work that needed my attention to sort it out and streamline things by clearing the work log.
In fact, there were many good and important events which I had no option but to give miss out on including the inauguration of the Kolkata Film Festival. The dinner hosted by Shree Venkatesh Films at Eco Tourism Park as well as dinner at Hotel Lalit Great Eastern after the inauguration of the Film Fest.
Today there is the WFUNA Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting in New York which I had to miss. I have to attend to a whole lot of paper work to ensure my absence would not affect the meeting in anyway. I also proposed to the ExCo that the next ExCo meeting be held in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The decision for this will also be taken in this ExCo meeting in New York which I am currently awaiting.
Tomorrow I will be missing Dadul’s party at the Priya Cinema Hall to mark the opening of his new `Bar Lounge' as I will be away for a night from Kolkata at Raichak. 
I have never been to Raichak before and I look forward to spend a night at the Ganga Kutir.
ess bee

Monday, November 10, 2014

At the Navy Symphonic Band Concert

With Dr Manjula Chellur and Ravi Ahluwalia
10 November, 2014: Yesterday evening I attended the Indian Naval Symphonic Band Concert programme and Cocktail & Dinner party of the Eastern Naval Command. Hon'ble Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, Dr Manjula Chellur was the Chief Guest.
The venue was the Lascar War Memorial in Hastings. This memorial is a 100 ft-towering structure that was built in honour of 896 Lascars, who died fighting for the British Navy during the First World War close to the Princep Ghat.
The memorial was designed by William Ingram Keir which won him an award of Rs 500 for its design in an international contest in 1920. The Lascar War Memorial was unveiled to the public by the then governor of Bengal, Lord Lytton, on February 6, 1924. The Indian Navy maintains this memorial which provided a picturesque backdrop.
The Indian Navy Band is one of the pioneer bands of India was commissioned in early 50s. The Band has rendered its splendid performances across India and abroad. The Band's wide-ranging repertoire includes stirring martial music, arrangement of symphonies, overtures, concertos, Indian classical music and a host of other forms of contemporary, genres, including pop and folk music. The audience were treated to some of these.
Lt Commander Satish K Champion was the principal conductor of the Navy Band and supported by P K Tamang and Rajan Suresh. The Lieutenant is proficient in playing piano, harmonica, trumpet and a number of other instruments and also has many musical compositions to his credit.
I left after cocktails and before the cultural programme by Priti Patel and Mitul Sengupta but in fact, it was an evening to remember at the Lascar War Memorial venue on the banks of the Ganges.
ess bee

Friday, November 7, 2014

High tea with Ficci FlO president

With Neeta Boochra
Nov 7, 2014: Yesterday was hectic as I hosted a get-together over tea in the afternoon at the Taj Chambers for Ms Neeta Boochra, National President, Ficci FLO, who was in Kolkata. 
Ms Boochra is the first woman from Rajasthan to be the National President of Ficci FLO. I have known her since a long time. 
I have been collaborating with Ficci FLO for my events from the tenure of Ms Vinnie Kakkar. 
With Anuradha Lohia
I invited a few guests, Anuradha Lohia, Vice Chancellor, Presidency University, Krishna Bose, Rita Punwani who is the incoming president of Ladies' Study Group (LSG), Madhu Neotia, and other LSG members Abhilasha Sethia, Mallika Verma. Priya Seksaria, who is the Chairperson of Ficci FLO, Calcutta Chapter, was also there. 
Chinese Consul General, Wang Xuefeng, was also there. My family (industrialist-philanthropist) friend Ashok Verma who is based in London and is the Chairman of NRI Foundation and currently on a visit to the city, joined in.
After the tea party I went to the Menoka Cinema Hall for the premiere of Rituparna Sengupta’s new film Pati Parameshwar. The film, a Bengali comedy, is directed by Jayasree Bhattacharyya. 
With Madhu, Neeta and Krishna Bose
After spending half an hour I went to the South City Mall for the premier of Prosenjit Chatterjee’s film Force in which his wife Arpita Chatterjee has also acted with him after a long time. The film, directed by Raja Chanda, is action-packed thriller based on father-son relationship. 
Prosenjit plays the role of Arjun, an encounter specialist police officer, whose is out to eradicate crime and criminals from the society. His son is an autistic patient suffering from neuro-developmental problems. 
From South City, I went to the Quest Mall for the special show of Kaushik Ganguly’s film Khaad. There is no way I could have watched any of the films but as Rituparna, Arpita-Prosenjit and Kaushik are my friends, I decided to watch the films later but went there to wish them the best. 
From Quest Mall again I went back to the South City Mall for a private dinner and by the time I was back it was midnight. 
I am thinking of having a special screening for Pronam members for Prosenjit’s fiolm Force. The coming weekend I also have scores of programmes lined up.
ess bee

Monday, November 3, 2014

At the Czech National Day in Kolkata


November 3, Kolkata: I returned late night Sunday from Delhi and went to The Oberoi Grand to attend Utsav Parekh, the Honorary Consul of Czech Republic in Kolkata. The occasion was the Czech National Day.
I met a delegation from the Czech Universities and His Excellency Mr Miloslav Stasek, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, over Cocktails and Dinner. It was a get-together of about 100 prominent people of Kolkata selected for the get-together who were present. I interacted with the delegation as well as the Ambassador.
As I had arrived on October 31, I missed many events in Kolkata but the one I wished to attend the most was on Thursday (October 30) evening and that of Priti Patel. It was a concert “A Princess’ Story” choreographed by her and presented by the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy with Anjika, Akshar and Modern High School for Girls at the Rabindra Sadan auditorium which was supported by Education For All.
ess bee