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Mumbai Diary page: Thursday Theme

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

Nostalgia nuggets about Worli Seaface
This picture of the stars with R K Laxman’s Common Man on Worli Seaface brought a whiff of nostalgia with it. Those with salt ‘n’ pepper hair (more salt and less pepper, maybe) may remember film shootings held at Worli Seaface.

Neha Dhupia (l) and Anupam Kher pose for a photograph during a promotional event for the forthcoming film Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami alongside the Common Man Statue. Pic/AFP
Neha Dhupia (l) and Anupam Kher pose for a photograph during a promotional event for the forthcoming film Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami alongside the Common Man Statue. Pic/AFP

The promenade was a popular location for film shoots, and every now and then, a shooting would happen with the actors’ van, a tempo or two loaded with supplies and a group of set persons spilling out, to the delight of Worli locals.

This was an age when there was no Internet, no mobile phone, no fancy cars (the roads were dotted with Ambassadors and Fiats). When a Mercedes drove up to Seaface, there was a frisson of excitement rippling through the crowd as it must be most probably the stars. Then the ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ (nobody was politically correct and called them actors those days) showed up.

The crowds were controlled by the people on set and during a break in shooting, were sometimes allowed to take autographs of the stars. No mobile phones and no selfies with the stars. The No 82 and No 89 double decker bus which trundled through that route, saw people craning their necks out for a peek, shouting to others, “Hey shooting, shooting…”

Stars resting under coloured umbrellas (we see sandwichwallahs using them now) during shooting breaks, with makeup men hovering around. It was a different age, a more innocent time compared to the hi-tech and hi-jinx that films are shot in today and looking back, overall, great fun too.

Mumbai, don’t google it, read it
With libraries fast shutting shop in the city and teachers despairing about the lost reading habit, we have one message for Mumbai kids: don’t google it, read it. Puffin India and Amazon are presenting a contest for kids which is actually celebrating the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the classic for children.

A trip to the UK beckons for kids who read in the city
A trip to the UK beckons for kids who read in the city

The prize for five kids is a trip to London. What one had to do is visit the amazon website's contest page and answer five questions about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to win an all-expenses trip for you and your child to London. The winners get a chance to watch the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical in London’s West End, visit The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden and take a trip around the London offices of Roald Dahl’s UK publisher Puffin.

One needs to click the URL: www.amazon.in/roalddahlcontest for more details. The winner to be announced on October 8. Meanwhile, to kids in the city, we say, contest or no contest, put down your hi-tech games and read the book as Dahl takes you on a magical chocolatey tour.

Cab tab: Commuter strikes back
With the cab meters recalibrated to Rs 21 as minimum fare in the city, is it now the turn of the cabbie to tut in dismay, if the passenger does not have the odd Rs 1 and pays him just Rs 20.

For such a long time, some cabbies simply took Rs 20 as minimum cab fare, as the minimum earlier was Rs 19, they would refuse to give Rs 1 saying they do not have change.

Is it time for a little payback now, with commuters paying Rs 20 and telling the cabbie that they do not have Rs 1 in change? Hmmm... Mumbai’s transportscape throws up profound questions.

If we live in a country where free speech is part of the constitution...

Why do we still pay telephone bills?

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