Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

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

A date with Raja Ravi Varma
Over the weekend, Piramal Museum of Art unveiled Pages of a Mind, Raja Ravi Varma: Life and Expressions, an exhibition that celebrated the works of iconic artist and painter, Raja Ravi Varma. Hailed as one of the greatest painters of Indian art, he was known for making affordable lithographs of his paintings, which contributed to his reach and influence as an artist and public figure. “The last time when a Raja Ravi Varma show was held in Mumbai, was about 20 years ago, at the NGMA. We wanted to showcase never-seen-before artworks. We asked friends and collectors who owned single pieces or even two, to share their collections,” said Dr Swati Piramal. “Two paintings from our collection were also displayed. This is a common practice overseas; it’s happening in India for the first time,” she added. Some paintings to watch out for include one about Sita being taken in by mother earth. “Notice the expression on Ram, Sita and their sons. The one depicting Sita’s wedding shows how young she was, and reflects on society of the time. Another interesting work shows a begum preparing for her bath with a Siddhi woman. It offers a glimpse of tracing the migration of the Siddhi community in Hyderabad.” The works will be on display at Peninsula Corporate Park in Lower Parel till April 30.

Raja Ravi Varma
State of the art: Swati Piramal does a walkabout with Dolly Thakore for Pages of a Mind, an exhibition of Raja Ravi Varma’s artworks in Lower Parel, over the weekend. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Mumbai’s neglected heritage on world radar
It wasn’t the sort of news that this diarist would liked to have read. San Francisco-based non-profit organisation, Global Heritage Fund (GHF) is a pioneering body that champions the preservation of some the world’s most important and endangered world heritage and cultural sites. A recent post by GHF highlighted that Mumbai’s historic colonial monuments were crumbling, citing the birthplace of Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, the neglected bungalow, as one of the several mansions that were once associated with famous residents, now in ruin. Business interests of politicians and developers in ‘constructing sparkly new luxury towers’ rather than preserving Mumbai’s architectural history are mentioned as reasons for continued neglect. The post goes on to quote architect Abha Narain Lambah, who agreed that Kipling’s Bungalow was a sad reflection of bureaucratic hurdles … creating the death of a historic building. Global infamy is our second name.

The Kipling Bungalow. Pic/Shadab Khan
The Kipling Bungalow. Pic/Shadab Khan

Bollywood spring in Delhi
Come March 15, and book-loving Dilliwallahs will skip their leisurely late afternoon reading sessions at Lodhi Gardens to head to the annual Spring Fever 2016. This six-day fest, touted as the oldest cultural do in the capital, will emerge as the place to be seen and heard at with Hauz Khas bling and Lutyens’ swish set adding to the wow factor. But this time around, they’ve got competition. While browsing through the line-up of speakers, litfest regulars Shashi Tharoor and Ramchandra Guha didn’t surprise but the Bollywood brigade appeared to be quite the flavour. The names read like a big-ticket release day line-up — Gulzar saab, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Twinkle ‘Ms Funnybones’ Khanna, Emraan Hashmi, Shilpa Shetty-Kundra and Sonali Bendre-Bahl. The writing has been on the wall for a while now; what with litfest organisers inviting filmi celebrities by the hordes to draw in crowds. Book deals and Bollywood shall remain bedfellows, it seems.

Shilpa Shetty-Kundra, Emraan Hashmi and Twinkle Khanna
Shilpa Shetty-Kundra, Emraan Hashmi and Twinkle Khanna

Naach, Aditi, naach
You know what they say about doing what you love, right? It’s never hard work. This seems to ring true in Aditi Rao Hydari’s case too. The nimble actress says that she danced for nine long hours during the shoot of a four-minute video, Let’s Dance, that releases today, just before Women’s Day. The video, which is part of the #UnBlushed series on Culture Machine’s digital channel, Blush, shows the actress expressing her philosophy through free-style dance moves. “This form of dance is exploratory and not bound by any rules. It’s a visual representation of what freedom and celebrating the moment means to me,” shares the actress, adding, “I enjoyed the shoot. The director would let the shot roll and not cut because I was in my own space, enjoying the music and feeling the movement.

Aditi Rao Hydari in the video
Aditi Rao Hydari in the video

I could have gone on for another eight hours easily.”

Mall chic in BKC
BKC seems to be emerging as one of the hippest and hottest new destinations for restaurateurs, this season. While the latest entrant is Atul Kochhar’s Lima in Maker Maxity building, the venue will also be home to a luxury mall, work for which is under way in full swing. London designer Andy Lampard and his team at design studio Zopsigog that designed the interiors of Lima, will also be a part of the team to design this upcoming mall. While the interiors of Lima resemble a grand colonial mansion, we’d love to see what the Brit designer has in store for the uber-luxe shopping block.

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