For those of us for whom time stopped a bit when we opened the pages of Midnight’s Children in the early eighties, it is a historic moment. Salman Rushdie will be in Mumbai very soon with the film that he has made along with director Deepa Mehta on the book that forever changed our lives.
It is historic because though Rushdie has been here before, this time it’s more significant than ever. In those dark days when he lived as a fugitive running from his would-be assassins, who would have thought that Rushdie would return someday with the unforgettable Saleem Sinai and his family - people fashioned out of the genius of his homesickness and sense of history?
Tracing his long steps back to his home at Warden Road, to childhood family outings on Juhu Beach and appearing at bookshops like Landmark and the PVR cinemas to promote the film Rushdie will be here! For all those who champion good writing and believe in artistic freedom and love Mumbai - this is a momentous moment.
It was called the one last tour. And finally they were performing in Mumbai. So, are you surprised that the city went a little mad? The last time when they were slated to perform, their show got cancelled due to Bal Thackeray’s demise. Tables that had been booked by Bollywood’s brat pack, scions of leading industrial groups and the sons of some of India’s most powerful politicos had to be scrapped.
And the mayhem that ensued was only a bit smaller than the heartbreak and disappointment. So, this time around when Swedish House Mafia returned to fulfill their Mumbai commitments, there was a collective intake of breath amongst their legion of fans.
“The concert was slated between 4-8 pm at the Race Course,” said an attendee. “But the mafia came in on around 6.30 and lasted till a little after 8. There were approximately 20,000 people who came to the racecourse and the traffic jam started all the way from just after the sea link – till Haji Ali on Tuesday night.”
There were three sections - general admission, VIP - a raised platform on the left side looking at the stage, which had a bar and the VVIP section, which had individual tables and was on the right side facing the stage. With a free-flowing bar, everyone was standing on chairs and dancing.
To add to the general crush, there was added chaos at both gates of the race course because there was also a wedding being hosted by the Mehta builder family (slated to bring in the Trump Towers to Mumbai,). “It took an hour getting out of the race course,” says our source.
Raell’s guessing game
“I saw him do a private show at the Israeli consulate in Mumbai some time ago,” says Raell Padamsee about the sparkling new act she’s soon bringing to Mumbai featuring the international illusionist Lior Suchard. “He sent me into another room to draw something, by the time I came back he had drawn an identical drawing to mine.
Awesome!” says the theatre impresario, who after carrying on the famous Padmasee theatre legacy, is branching out into uncharted territory: that of importing international acts of repute and originality. “Why should we have to go abroad to see these?” she asked us rhetorically.
“When I saw this highly energized, interactive show, I said we have to bring it to India and I feel the audience will just love him, apart from being great at what he does, he’s incredibly charming and cute to boot. He has already wowed Bill Clinton, Jay Leno, Kim Kardashian,” said the director before revealing that what she had drawn on the illusionist’s behest was a ‘simple smiley face with a cap’.
It has 12,440 likes on Facebook and its manifesto says its ‘Of the Bawa, by the Bawa, for everybody who ever drank with a Bawa.’ And for such unabashed Parsi groupies as ourselves, could there be anything more wonderful than Bawatips, the always self deprecatingly humorous website on Bawas?
“A long time ago in an office far far away on July 29, 2011, approximately 9.30 pm, a brain cell died of boredom which led to an idea, followed by a drunken night,” is how it describes its origins. And each day we - like hundreds of other Parsi worshippers log in for our favorite Parsi teases. (We like our dhansak and daru, more than our Mahrukh and Jeroo, is Bawatio#182 for instance.) “Our Goal: To reach over two million fans (60,000 bawas),” say it’s creators the improbably named Victor Daruwala and Hormuz Bana.
The invisible lady
‘Why are we invisible at all the wrong times in our lives?’ It was one of the most heart-stopping statements we’d encountered in a long time. “There’s an elegantly turned out lady who sits on the sofa at the club,” says Ayesha Kumar, sister of restaurateur AD Singh mentioning the name of a tony SoBo club. “She comes every day.
Everyone notices her, no one sees her,” says Kumar who when her sensitive eye is not noticing such cracks in the city’s marble slabs, creates clothes for her newly launched label AY clothes and accessories for women of substance and style.
“She must be 80. Always alone. Says she is a widow and lives with her grown up son and has been coming to the club every day for 30 years because she’s lonely,” says Ayesha adding, “But she said ‘no one talks to her here either’.” Ah, the bleak recesses that lie at the end of our tunnels and the stretching shadows of loneliness in a busy city.
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