Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier

The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Box office vote
The filmy and filly (and colts and studs) connection was evident when we spotted Rishi Kapoor walking into Mahalaxmi racecourse on Monday evening. Kapoor, clad in a maroon tee and casual trousers, was there to cast his vote at the elections.

The actor did not spend time listening to speeches, and the question-answer round which was on at the time he walked in, and instead, went straight to the booth. He, however, did spend some time at the Annual General Meeting taking some refreshments and generally listening to all the horse talk before exiting.

This at a time, when star power is waning at the racecourse. By this, we mean real star power, when the biggies themselves were horse owners or passionate followers of the sport arriving to race on Sundays and standing in lines to bet, like all the lesser mortals did, and not like the star celebrities who arrive in the paddock these days brought in by the sponsors.

Meanwhile, it would not be out of place to suggest to Kapoor that he collect all the turf club shenanigans, twists and turns and present them to Bollywood as a movie script. We are ready to place our bets on it being a box office hit.

Lady Mountbatten and a newborn in Shimla
While the recently released historical novel, The Last Vicerine, captures little-known facets of Edwina Mountbatten's life, what it may not tell you is this.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with Lady Mountbatten during an event in 1959. Pic/STF/AFP/Getty Images
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with Lady Mountbatten during an event in 1959. Pic/STF/AFP/Getty Images

In October 1947, she paid a social visit to a hospital in Shimla and gave a peck on a newborn's cheek - perhaps the last Indian child she kissed before she left for England a few months later with her husband and last viceroy of colonised India, Lord Mountbatten.

And the child? Environmentalist, author and editor Bittu Sahgal. "Yes, those were the days when hygiene was not all that important. Perhaps Lady Mountbatten did not know that one can only kiss a newborn's feet, while cheeks and hands are off limits to avoid any infection," laughed Sahgal, as he shared this little piece of history with this diarist.

Pic/Suresh Karkera
Pic/Suresh Karkera

Stairway to Sachin
Employees of the BMC get a glimpse of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, as he arrives at the headquarters to launch a civic initiative on Tuesday.

London diaries with the captain
From being the son of the last king of the then state of Patiala, serving the Indian army, penning books on Sikh history to declaring earlier this year that the 2017 state assembly poll was his last electoral battle, Captain Amarinder Singh has had an interesting life.

And going by the recent launch of his authorised biography, The People's Maharaja, in London, it looks like those interested in the life story of the Punjab Chief Minister go beyond India. While Singh interacted with Suhel Seth during a session, the audience had a special guest - the 106-year-old UK-based marathoner Fauja Singh.

Singh also found time to meet steel magnate Laxmi Mittal and be part of commemorative celebrations of 120 years of the Saragarhi battle. Phew!

Stepping into their fathers' shoes
It's true that talent runs in the blood, especially in the film industry, where star kids get hands-on filmmaking experience from an early age. We saw two such examples recently at an inter-school film festival organised by the students of Oberoi International School.

(From left) Student organisers Aravind Raju, Devi Dang, Partho with parents Deepa Bhatia and Amol Gupte
(From left) Student organisers Aravind Raju, Devi Dang, Partho with parents Deepa Bhatia and Amol Gupte

The winner for best film, director and story was filmmaker Amol Gupte's son Partho for his film Jasmine Stung. And winning the Special Jury Award (comprising JD Majethia, Anjana Sood, Meghna Puri and Porus Khareghat) was Kabir Khan and Mini Mathur's son Vivaan.

A reel challenge
With Ashutosh Gowariker, Gauri Shinde, Devdutt Pattanaik and Tanmay Bhatt on the bill, India Film Project is back and bigger than ever before. The festival is slated to take place over September 30 and October 1, and will involve a film-making challenge spread over 50 hours.

A staggering 35,000 filmmakers are expected to gather and create over 1,700 films at the event, which will also involve workshops, screenings and panel discussions. So if you feel that movies are your thing, now is the time to register for India Film Project, since applications close on September 14.

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