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The Grand Dame Of Kantha Celebrates Her 80th In Perfect Synchronicity With The Times

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Mallika and Sharad Varma organized a terrific luncheon get-together with about 250 of Shamlu’s friends to celebrate Kantha revivalist and spokesperson, Shamlu Dudheja’s 80th birthday at the ITC Pala on Sunday 15th April, 2010. In tribute to Shamlu’s life, a short montage of family photographs were pieced together beautifully and shared with everyone present. Oindrilla Dutt spoke briefly about Shamlu, and had friends Tanusri Shankar and Preeti Patel dance together for the first time ever, in homage to ‘shakti.’ The theme was aptly chosen as Shamlu continues to be a pioneer and a dynamic force in her field for many years, inspiring generations of young girls to strive for their dreams. Following this there were several song recitals of Shamlu’s favorite tunes from Rabindra Sangeet to classic Hindi tunes by the charming opera singer Meerung Hall, accompanied by vocalist Soumyojit Das and Sourendro Mullick on keyboards (see attached clips on facebook.com/windowontravel). ITC’s GM Atul Bhalla personally supervised the logistics, and the food counters brimmed over with the most delicious Italian, North Indian, Bengali (as it was Poila Boishak too), Asian and continental eats. Most of the city’s glitterati were in attendance as Shamlu has not only played host to everyone throughout the years but has been such a powerful role model in helping empower young girls and women and giving them a constant source of livelihood in Bengal. This was, in fact, the city saying thank-you to Shamlu and her family in return!

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