Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

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

Manish Tewari and Anil Dharker try to figure the working of their microphones at the release of the former’s book in Mumbai last evening. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Manish Tewari and Anil Dharker try to figure the working of their microphones at the release of the former’s book in Mumbai last evening. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Of spokespersons, sense and censorship
Last evening came with an interesting dose of socio-political dialogue as Manish Tewari, the national spokesperson of the Congress, was in the city for the launch of his new book, Decoding a Decade: The Politics of Policymaking (Vitasta Publishing). In a conversation with writer-columnist Anil Dharker at a packed house, Tewari opened up about the wide-ranging subjects he has covered in the title, which is a collection of his columns for various publications spanning a decade.

Some pertinent topics in the book include Tewari’s exploration of the death penalty in India. “The whole topic boils down to retributive justice versus reformative justice. Our handling of clemency petitions depends on the predilections of the jury, instead of an institutionalised system guiding the process,” Tewari, who is also a lawyer, told this diarist.

Since the decade includes eight years of the UPA government and two of the current establishment, Tewari expressed his views on the state of liberalism during both regimes. “During the UPA days, there was no fear in the country. Today, there is a censor in the mind of every creative person,” he recollected.

Chai in China
At first glance, we very nearly imagined it to be at some railway station in India, what with the chai and railway engine as no-brainer clues.

Turns out Rahul Khanna was in the neighbouring country - China - on location in Beijing for a shoot with a hospitality brand. He tweeted: ‘China: good place for tea breaks.’ The wanderer in us will put that down on the bucket list.

Shoojit captures the pressure
We’ve all been through the stress that accompanies any exam in school or college. For many students, this pressure can prove to have lasting and negative effect, especially when you add parental pressure to the mix.

A new film directed by Shoojit Sircar (in pic) that released this week, aims to bring the spotlight back to the stress that surrounds exams using the #Releasethepressure. In it, teenagers talk about not having a social life, being unable to sleep, or studying for 10 hours straight, being scolded at for not studying and being so afraid of their parents that it drives them to tears.

Although a dramatised version, the film uses real letters written by teenagers and manages to get the point across. It sees the parents read out the letters. The film ends with a dire message about how exam pressure is one of the leading causes of depression and suicidal tendencies among children.

Herbal biz mantras
Over 40 years back, when Shahnaz Husain shed her sheltered life as a mother and decided to make a foray into herbal cosmetics, little would she have imagined that one day, she’d be the subject of the The Harvard Business School curriculum.

Shahnaz Husain with Harvard professor Geoffrey Jones
Shahnaz Husain with Harvard professor Geoffrey Jones

Recently, the B-school conducted a video interview with her as part of its Creating Emerging Markets project featuring various business leaders. “I spoke about how international beauty empires are pumping billions of dollars into a hysterical cosmetic industry, selling youth and dreams in bottled jars.

There I have stood alone and sold India’s 3000 BC civilisation in a jar. I said that the current challenge is to develop products for a global market,” shared Husain, who was in the city to participate at a conference that showcased these videos.

Pachauri gets into digital mode
After broadcast journalist Barkha Dutt’s move from the medium, and her recent coverage of the UP elections for a mobile news platform, another journalist has taken the digital plunge.

Veteran journalist Pankaj Pachauri, who was also communications advisor to former PM Manmohan Singh, recently made an announcement about his new news app that will broadcast a mobile-only news channel. We hear the tagline for the app is Credible. Co-creative. Concise - a combination that’s hard to come by these days.

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