Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

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

All must sing for didi
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is well known for her affinity for the glitzy side of the arts and culture world.

A screen grab from the anthem
A screen grab from the anthem

Now, all the love has been reciprocated (extracted, perhaps) as leading names of the city’s film industry have joined hands to compose the party’s campaign videos as the Assembly elections (to begin from April 4) are around the bend.

Over the weekend, Banerjee tweeted the party’s theme song for the election titled, The Trinamool Song, written and composed by Anupam Roy, the singer and composer of the track Bezubaan from Piku, and directed by acclaimed singer and lyricist, Anindya Chatterjee.

Following the rich tradition of campaign songs in India, the lines are flat and the tune is awkwardly misplaced. All problems of the state, starting from Maoist turbulence to statehood demand in Darjeeling, to industry and jobs are claimed to have been solved and everyone smiles.

And course, there is a lot of green and fertile land. Wait, there’s more. Lead singer of once-popular band, Fossils, singer Srikanta Acharya, and poet and lyricist, Srijato, known for his political uprightness and party neutrality are in the fray.

The deal, they say, is between a professional and a client, which is fair. But the much-fought-for cultural independence seems to have been encroached upon a little more.

Shakespeare and co still rock
We told you earlier on this page of how an Austrian coffee roasting company is offering a cuppa to customers who hand in a poem today, which is UNESCO’s World Poetry Day.

William Shakespeare. Pic/Getty Images
William Shakespeare. Pic/Getty Images

Keen to gauge the mood, this diarist dialled one of our fave bookstores, Trilogy, to check what kind of poetry moves the city. Turns out that we’ve shifted back to classic English poets like Wordsworth and Shakespeare, as well as Kolatkar and Rumi.

Bailamos calling
Enrique Iglesias’ hit track has been playing in our heads since we heard about the Bailamos Festival, a dance extravaganza that begins on April 8.

Neeraj Maskara in a performance
Neeraj Maskara in a performance

Initiated by Salsa dancer Neeraj Maskara, the three-day fest features a line-up of 30 artistes including six-time World Salsa Champion Anita Santos Rubin and four-time World Bachata Champions Andrea Bosonotto and Silvia Accossato.

Guests can sign up for workshops on dance styles, participate in a high-energy dance championship or just let their hair down at a pool party hosted on the last day. What better way to cool off after some dirty dancing, eh?

Walking the talk

Pic/Satej Shinde
Pics/Satej Shinde

Manisha Koirala (right) walks the ramp at Shaina NC and Manish Malhotra’s fashion show, ‘Caring with Style’ in aid of children suffering from blood cancer, at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) last evening.

Say it with a macaron
Yesterday was celebrated as World Macaron Day. Introduced in New York in 2010, by chef François Payard, the concept was inspired by and coincides annually with Jour du Macaron in Paris and is celebrated on the first day of spring.

Sanjana Patel of her patisserie. File pic
Sanjana Patel of her patisserie. File pic

Sanjana Patel gave the international event a cheerful twist this year. Her café and dessert outlet, La Folie Lab, collaborated with Angel Express Foundation, an NGO that connects educated adults with school going children from slums who are keen to learn.

The pastry chef introduced the 12 children, aged 10-12 years, to macarons and encouraged them to decorate a macaron tower with macaron shells. Part of the proceeds from the sales of macarons that day were donated to the foundation. That’s what we call a sweet touch.

Remember Alam-Ara?
The landmark venue isn’t around and the film; well, it seems to have slipped out of public memory. Alam-Ara, the first full-length, locally-produced talkie film was released on March 14, 1931 at the long-gone Majestic Cinema in Girgaum.

A poster of Alam-Ara touted as an ‘All Talking, Singing & Dancing’ movie
A poster of Alam-Ara touted as an ‘All Talking, Singing & Dancing’ movie

It was produced under the banner of the Imperial Film Company, which was owned by noted Parsi Ardeshir Irani and his silent partner, Abdul Ali Yusuf Bhai. Though the film was made partly in sound, it did well at the box-office, running for seven weeks.

It had a star cast of the time featuring Master Vithal, Zubeida, Jillo Bai, Yaqub and Prithviraj Kapoor who made his screen debut. The film was shot at Jyoti Studios. Hollywood sound technician William Demming and Irani recorded the sound and dialogues while Joseph David wrote the film’s script.

From book to digital series
Dylan’s cult anthem, The Times They Are A-Changin’ would be perfect for this bit of news. Books made into dilms are passe. Digital is the new cool.

We hear that author Madhuri Banerjee’s Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas will be made into a digital series, with casting calls being sent out already on social media. Watch this space for more dope.

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