Thursday, May 7, 2009

Anita Delgado

This is Anita Delgado. Born in 1890 in Malaga, Spain. By the age of 16, she was a well sought-after flamenco dancer, admired for her beauty, grace and youthful talent. Painters wanted to paint her, and men just plain wanted her.

In 1906, as she performed in ceremonies to celebrate the marriage of the Spanish king, she caught the eye of a visiting dignatry, Jagatjit Singh, the Maharaja of Kapurthala. She was 16, he was 34. After 2 years of courtship, finishing school and French lessons sponsored by the Maharaja, Delgado left behind her work and her life in Spain to live in opulence in the Himalayan foothills, as Maharani Prem Kaur of Kapurthala.

Jagatjit Singh, Maharaja of Kapurthala

Like any respectable royal, she became a discerning collector of crazy-opulent jewelry. Delgado's favourite piece, she has always expressed, is this juggernaut of an emerald, shaped like a crescent, and flanked by swirls and cascades of diamonds (See below. And remember to breathe.).

Story is that the gorgeous chunk of emerald used to belong to the Maharaja's elephant, and when Delgado saw it on him (the elephant), she felt it was just too gorgeous to be on an elephant, and asked the Maharaja if she could have it. The Maharaja must have thought, "Vhut, it's only the elephant's tikka! Why on earth would you want that?" But he told her she could have it, only if she studied her Hindi properly. A year later, she became fluent in the language, and the Maharaja kept his promise.

She loved it so much, she wore it whenever she could...

... in her early years as Maharani Prem Kaur...

... while being painted...
... and in her more mature days.

THE elephant, former owner of elephantine emerald.

Invariably, most of her other pieces of jewelry were jaw-dropping opulent and oh-so-gorgeous. Many pieces were of designs influenced by the belle epoque and art deco movements in Europe, and brought to life by the finest jewelry craftsmen in Punjab.

For almost eighteen years, Anita Delgado remained the Maharaja's fifth and favourite wife. Then it all went horribly wrong and this is where it all gets iffy. What her camp is saying, is that the Maharaja started having affairs, and she, feeling neglected, started her own - with her stepson, the Maharaja's son with an older wife, and who was the same age as Delgado. His camp would rather paint a picture of an opportunistic social ladder climber, who lived a scandalously lavish life, and that it was her "misbehavin'" that drove the Maharaja to other women...

Fact is, a movie was slated to begin shooting in 2006, about Anita Delgado's amazing story from poorly educated flamenco dancer to Maharani of Kapurthala. Penelope Cruz bought the rights to the story and is all set to play Delgado, but because the story fits the Delgado camp, the current Maharaja of Kapurthala is preventing the film from being materialised, in order to preserve the good name of his great-grandfather...

I say, "OH WHATEVAH!". Whichever story they take, it's the eye-candy bling that I'll be looking out for. Including the one on one very lucky extra on the set - the elephant.


  1. thats true...penelope is not worth doing the film...she cant portray her well....and trust me the movie will be really an ostentatious extravagance

  2. I donn´t think so. Penelope is perfect for this role !

  3. I read a wonderful book about her story called Indian Pasion written by Javier Moro. It is a great novel and I would love to see a movie about her.

  4. Haga una visita:

  5. I've been waiting for the project to start for few years already, since I first read the book.The story has a special meaning for me since I'm Spanish, my surname is Delgado and I'm also married to an Indian :o).