Mumbai Diary page: Monday Musings

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

Thank you, Mr Kher
Bollywood is putting its money where its mouth is. The film industry, long panned for its inaccurate and even laughable depiction of the gay community in some of its films, is now becoming more visible and vocal about the community.

Anupam Kher and his acting school ‘Actor Prepares’ have sponsored top prizes at this year’s Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival for the second year running.

Anupam Kher announced that prizes of Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 will go to the Best Narrative Feature Film and Best Indian Short Film respectively at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) film festival. The cash awards were instituted by Anupam Kher in 2013.

Kher made the appropriate noises on the occasion stating, “It is really important to support a festival like this, which offers a platform for Indian and international films that otherwise can never be seen in India. This is also our commitment to raise awareness about social issues,” he added. Quite right, Mr Kher.

The Kashish Film Fest ended yesterday evening in Mumbai, with awards being given out in various categories. As far as film award ceremonies go, the Kashish awards are of course, a far cry from the highly visible, glitzy plethora of award ceremonies we have for the entertainment industry today. Yet, a beginning has been made and when LGBT history is documented in India, Anupam Kher will surely have a place reserved for him.

Modesty pays
With celebrities’ Twitter intros sounding like mini-essays at times, it is refreshing to see movie great Amitabh Bachchan’s bio (@SrBachchan): “Actor ... well at least some are STILL saying so!!”

Hockey jockeys
There may be no Mumbai-based player in the Indian team for the FIH hockey world cup that begins in The Hague, Netherlands (May 31 to June 15) but that does not mean there will be no Mumbai representation at the prestigious tournament.

Claudius DeSales Javed Shaikh
Technical official Claudius DeSales (l) and umpire Javed Shaikh

Two Mumbaikars, Claudius DeSales and Javed Shaikh, have been selected by the FIH to officiate at the quadrennial event. While DeSales has been appointed as a technical official, Shaikh has been picked as an umpire. “It's a moment of great pride for me to represent Mumbai and India at the World Cup,” said DeSales. For Shaikh, it’s his first world cup.

“I’m very nervous but hopefully I can ease the pressure by treating it like just another international match,” said Shaikh. Both are obviously hopeful that India does well at the tournament. “We take pride in our hockey and I hope our boys can make us proud,” said DeSales.

Mango Meter
This should settle the debate. The city’s mango lovers have voted on for their favourite among the golden delights, and no surprise the Alphonso is streets ahead with more than 55 per cent votes.

The next most popular are not even close; Kesar and Langda clock less than 10 per cent each. Of course, many parts of India have their own regional superstars among mangoes, but for those who cannot do a country-wide tour, it’s a question of what they can get in the city’s markets.

Even the tasty Mancurado mango, the pride of neighbouring Goa, does not reach Mumbai’s markets. That may spell good news for Alphonsos now we just hope unscrupulous elements stop using chemicals to ripen them, and let us enjoy the all-natural goodness.

Unfinished business
Local trains are fodder for a great deal of entertainment... sometimes, even when nothing happens! Recently two men squeezed into a packed train at Kurla, and one happened to elbow the other.

As is inevitable, an argument ensued although, if common sense had prevailed there was no need for even a mild exchange of words. But sense is not common, specially in crowded locals. So, the encounter spiralled into a full-fledged altercation with one man challenging the other to get out at the next station and settle it with fists.

That may sound like a polite invitation but it was simply because there was no space for maara-maari in the compartment. As it happens, the exigencies of commuter travel prevented the dust-up, as one man was going to Chembur and the other was unwilling to accompany him. And thus the other commuters missed a free dose of entertainment.

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