Elephants bedecked in white and red flowers are placed as installations at the entrance and next to the stage. Dull gold chandeliers match the wall decor. The minimal lighting helps mute the ambience,in keeping with the theme of the evening so that when Manisha Koirala,looking radiant in a Chantilly lace sari and maroon ornamented blouse,walks onto the ramp,all eyes are on her. The actor was the showstopper for the event,a fundraiser in aid of cancer patients,organised by fashion designer Maheka Mirpuri in association with Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH).
Held on Saturday evening at The Taj Mahal Palace hotel,the event announced the founding of MCan,a charitable trust that aims to provide financial assistance to the underprivileged fighting the disease at TMH. I have signed an MoU with the hospital and taken a pledge for life to raise funds for people fighting the malady,chiefly those suffering from cancer of the neck and throat, said Mirpuri.
It is a cause that is close to her heart since the designer lost her father as well as brother-in-law to the disease within a span of a year recently. This is the reason,says Mirpuri,she will not limit her contribution to hosting this annual charity event but will also participate in workshops and others events at ground level that are part of the hospitals cancer awareness campaign. The focus,she says is especially on school and college students who easily come to believe that smoking is cool.
The concept of the fundraiser evening stemmed from the other subject that she is most familiar with fashion. It was important to her that the message regarding cancer be communicated in a manner that doesnt weigh heavy on the guests,so Mirpuri ensured the charity auction is part of a larger,entertaining programme. So the evening saw ghazal singer Talat Aziz perform,a fashion show with models dressed in Mirpuris creations and Simone Singh hosted the evening while the guests nibbled on Zeba Kohlis Fantasie chocolates. I thank all of them; they have come on board to support the cause. Even before tonights auction,my friends helped raise Rs 22 lakh, Mirpuri said.
By 10.30 pm,the house was packed and several celebrities attended the event,including Kiran Juneja,Kishor Bajaj with wife Kintu,Khushnuma and Arzan Khambatta,Timmy Narang,Poonam Dhillon and Sheetal Mafatlal. However,the highlight of the evening,of course,remained Koirala. A cancer survivor herself,she made her first ramp appearance that evening after recovering from the illness. On stage,the actor talked about her battle against the disease. Cancer was a reality check, she admitted. It made her see how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle. But it is doable,beating cancer. If you will it,you can do it, she said.