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Lunching at Harvard

>> The airborne and peripatetic Suhel Seth, who recently returned from a month of high-level schmoozing abroad was excited about his lunch with Mumbai boy, the very distinguished Prof Homi K Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. “We had never met before, but Anand (Mahindra) was very keen we meet and said we’d definitely enjoy each other’s company. We had lunch one sunny afternoon in Boston at the Harvard Faculty dining room and on the next table was world-renowned economist Ben Freidman!” said Suhel.

“Bhabha, recently the recipient of the Padma Bhushan spoke of his association with world–renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor and of his elder son’s internship with the US apex court (his younger son Satya is starring in Rushdie’s much-awaited Midnight’s Children) and his surprise at being awarded the Padma Bhushan with no lobbying on his part whosoever. I picked on my corn and lettuce salad, he chose the fish of the day and the lunch that was scheduled to last an hour went on for two!” No wine was ordered, Suhel informed.

Incidentally, speaking of dining Suhel says that so dysfunctional is the current state of affairs in Congress that at the dinner to celebrate the UPA’s third year in office, the Congress top brass had no clue that Mulayam Singh would be attending — leave alone be seated at Head Table. “The head of a party described as ‘goondas’ just a few¬†months ago by no other than Rahul,” harrumphed a party bigwig who’d not been consulted!

Queer Film Festival in Mumbai
>> How wonderful to learn that the third Kashish Mumbai International Queer Festival is eliciting such positive response! At its glittering launch on Wednesday, Moushumi Chatterjee, who inaugurated an art exhibition Celebrating the lost art of Bollywood billboards with a queer twist said, “We are all human and we are one. I am happy to be here for Kashish. The greatest gift of humanity is the ability to love and I do not believe that love should be the reason to discriminate against anyone.”

Festival director Sridhar Rangayan said that not only have the applications for registrations gone up exponentially since it began but also that the profile of the audiences have also changed. “Film buffs, students, co workers and friends of gay people are coming in along with entire families,” he said. “What’s particularly heartening are the two regional films one in Marathi Aam Hi Ke Tisre and the other in Panjabi Family Khusreyan Di which are being screened, along with the Oscar winner Beginners.

For those interested in attending, the third edition of India’s biggest film festival that focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender themes, will be held at two venues from May 23-27, at Cinemax Versova in Andheri West and Alliance Francaise at New Marine Lines. Richard Seeley, managing director of Barclays, one of the sponsors of the festival said, “We are here to support this since the philosophy of the festival fits in perfectly with the philosophy of our company. Equality in opportunity and equality in life are very similar prospects.”

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The elusive Koel
>> Our fellow MiD DAY columnist, bridge champion and occasional poet Hema Deora sent in this lovely photograph of the elusive Koel bird which graces Mumbai at the onset of the monsoon in all its splendour.

“Seducing the surrounding, echoing melody, Kuhuuu, Kuhuuuu, I spotted this Koel from my balcony, perched shyly high in her black robe camouflaged by the dark leafy branches,” she said. Now, we know from where her sons Mukul and Milind get their artistic gene!

Bonding over Dim Sum
>> For those who despair that the two halves of Mumbai are drifting further apart — here’s some evidence to the contrary. North and South Mumbai appear to be bonding over Dim Sum at Yautcha, the all-day Dim Sum restaurant at the Bandra-Kurla complex.

The other night when we dropped in to sample some of the restaurant’s fare, we were pleased to see diners drawn from both sides of Mumbai’s foodie coin: the young and restless from the suburbs and SoBo’s old and settled. Kishore Bajaj, the Hummer-driving moving spirit behind the London Michelin starred Mumbai franchise, who also launched Hakkasan (which we hear is not bringing in the numbers that it had hoped to) says he was so pleased with his experience with Yauatcha that he is planning to launch a few more restaurants over the next few weeks.

And why did the man who owned Bada Saab, the tailor to Bollywood diversify at this stage of his life into F&B? “Well, I thought since I had begun with ‘kapda’ and then gone on to ‘makan’ with my real estate business, it was time to get in to the ‘roti’ part of the business!”¬†

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