Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
Fly over Kemps Corner
The city's iconic Kemps Corner flyover celebrated it 52nd birthday yesterday. Built in 1965, it is India's first flyover. It was the BMC that had commissioned it, and christened it Dr Gopalrao Deshmukh Uddanpul. Under the aegis of civil engineer Shirish Patel, it was completed at a cost of Rs 17.5 lakh, in just six months. The bridge, according to archives, had concrete hinges and not cast iron because delivery of the latter would have meant an 18-month-long wait.
In an article that this diarist sourced from mid-day's archives, Kemps Corner resident Piroj Wadia recalls that the bridge had a soft opening with the visit of Pope Paul VI, the first ever Pontiff to do so. Urban lore of the time claimed that the flyover would outlast others since it had the Pope's blessings! Back then Wadia wrote, much like when the Sea Link opened, the flyover was the city's big draw for a joyride.
Pathak, Popat and a parrot
Vinay Pathak is a man who wears many hats. The 48-year-old actor, who started his journey on television, is one of the coveted performers today — on stage and on screen.
Recently, he lent his voice in Ruchi Narain's animation film on Hanuman, where his character, that of a parrot, is called Popat Sharma. "BREAKING NEWS — I'm joining the Damdaar toli to report live from Jungle Raaj Tak," he announced on social media. We'd love to hear this parrot talk.
A homely New Year for the Tharoors
On the occasion of Vishu, the Malayali New Year, Shashi Tharoor shared a few frames and sweet childhood memories of the festival. While one picture showed the Vishu Kani (an assortment of auspicious items you're supposed to see as soon as you wake up) that his mother prepared that morning for the first time in decades, another photograph showed Tharoor and his mother praying together.
The memory, he said, took him back to his childhood days, when his mother would lead him to the prayer area so he could open his eyes "to the sight of God, prosperity and beauty."
Mumbai frames in Barcelona
City-based photographer Prarthna Singh had a chance encounter with wrestler Gita Phogat two years ago and was instantly fascinated with her world. Soon, she found herself at The Sai Sports Camp in Lucknow and the result was the photo series, The Wrestlers, which was recently exhibited as part of a transnational project on female identity and representation in photography. Singh has now been selected as one of the finalists in the first edition of the FC Barcelona Photo Awards, which identify work that reflects intrinsically positive values of sport. Her frame titled Sarita and Pooja earned her the recognition.
"Immersing myself in their everyday was a tremendously humbling and inspiring experience... Each of their stories speaks of overcoming innumerable hardships, fighting family pressure and most importantly living gender differently. 'What is the one thing you want most in the world?' I would ask them; 'Desh ke liye medal jeetna hai,'" said Singh about her Lucknow experience.
Finito for Mumbai racing
Like a film spool unreeling towards its end, this weekend is the last for Mumbai racing. The curtains come down on a five-month long season with two days of racing today and tomorrow under lights. The cash-strapped Royal Western India Turf Club is not finishing off with a glamorous finale. Yet, the Mahalaxmi paddock should resound with applause as trophies are to be given away to champions for the season.
The Indian Derby 2017 at Mahalaxmi
The Mumbai racing days also had quite a spectacular Indian Derby and several themed days revolving around fashion and food. Despite depleting reserves, the club managed to finish the season, as demonetisation cast a dark shadow over it and there were signals that it was yet another nail in the coffin for the sport. Yet, the races went on and now, it is au revoir, till the thunder of hooves is heard again over the Ghats, when racing returns to Pune in August.