Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

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

Singer Atreyee performs at the launch of India Wales in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Pic courtesy/Jon Pountney
Singer Atreyee performs at the launch of India Wales in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Pic courtesy/Jon Pountney

Indo-Welsh fusion
This year will see a major cultural exchange between Wales and India. As part of the UK-India 2017 cultural season, 11 Welsh arts projects have been chosen to receive funding from the £450,000 India Wales Fund, a joint Wales Arts International and British Council scheme, which aims to help build relationships between Wales and India. Throughout this year, creative professionals from Wales and India will travel to each other’s countries to work together.

The final performances will take place in both countries while some of the work will be put up online. Some of the collaborations include Theatr Iolo that will work with ThinkArts to develop new theatre for babies and young children; Parthian Books will work with India’s Bee Books on their project Through the Valley, City, Village, where Indian and Welsh writers will team up to produce a new book. Welsh theatre company Living Pictures will tour India with their production Diary of a Madman, and are working with Indian QTP Entertainment on technical skills workshops.

Building new terrain
It’s bad enough that the original landscape and geography of the city is witnessing its worst time, what with builders making a mockery of original names of the city (read: Upper Worli, New Cuffe Parade and the like). Now this powerful lobby has entered new terrain.

This time, much to our surprise (and dismay), we spotted a jugalbandi of sorts with an ongoing cultural festival. A while back the same builder had announced a swank property in Byculla, and had borrowed its name (with an incorrect spelling) from a long-forgotten area that forms present-day Bandra and the area north of it.

Nostalgia was the selling point of this project what with sepia-tinted ad promos and heritage laced catchlines to woo prospective buyers. Now, we hear that the same builders have tied up with the festival for a walking trail around Byculla! Who would have imagined such a scenario where heritage, culture and real estate are mentioned in the same breath? We rest our case with this new-age method of brand promotion.

Pic/Rane Ashish
Pic/Rane Ashish

Big support from Big B
Amitabh Bachchan gives actress Divya Dutta a hearing at the launch of her book last evening at a five-star in Juhu.

Oliver after Trump
He has been one of the strongest critics of Donald Trump before he became a presidential candidate. And now that Trump helms America, well-known comedian John Oliver is paranoid on many levels. In a conversation with fellow comedian Stephen Colbert, Oliver said, “[Until inauguration day], it was just being tied to a train track watching the train coming.


Pic/AFP

And then, of course, inauguration day is the train hitting you and you think, Yep, that felt pretty much how I thought it would feel.” Going by Trump’s crackdown on immigration, the British-born comedian also said that though very unlikely, he could still be “tossed out like tea”. Having a green card is perhaps not enough, he shared.

Make it real
Love is universal; it doesn’t cater to caste or communities but there are impediments. How many couples, after all, can live-in freely without societal pressures?

As V-Day draws close, a recently released docudrama, Intercaste Intercourse, seems to be creating a buzz on the web. The story revolves around Mitali and her boyfriend, Ali, and is a refreshingly honest take on inter-caste relationships amidst family pressures.

There is also a sub-plot that portrays the relationship between pets and humans. The story highlights their struggles to fight taboos that unmarried couples face in a conservative society. Nothing like slice of real-life sagas, right?

Another spell of magic?
Only a decade ago, Indian television featured shows sprinkled with magic - not the kind where female leads turned into witches at the drop of TRPs, but where characters would engage in endearing mischief, thanks to their supernatural powers.

One such fondly remembered fantasy-sitcom is Shararat (loosely based on the American show, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) that made Shruti Seth a popular face.

The actress recently hinted that the show may come back for another season, and her veiled tweet has already got fans all excited. We’ll wait to hear from the fairy’s mouth.

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