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Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

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

No pix please, it's a museum!
Our photographers have sometimes been denied access to sensitive spots and not been allowed to take pictures when security can be compromised.

If you are taking a ‘professional-looking’ camera to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, don’t. Pics/Satyajit Desai
If you are taking a ‘professional-looking’ camera to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, don’t. Pics/Satyajit Desai

But we wonder what the stricture is that causes photography to be banned at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum at Byculla East. And it’s not even a blanket ban. A notice board outside the museum states that professional photography is not allowed. But people with point-and-shoot cameras and mobile phone cameras are not turned back.

As one visitor to the museum remarked, it is difficult to define professional photography, when a good photographer can take a good picture even with a mobile phone camera and not necessarily a professional camera.

The museum is run by a trust and controlled by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The 134-year-old museum was restored in 2003 and about 4,000 objects in the museum were restored by INTACH (the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage).

While the BMC has been talking about making the city travel-friendly and attracting tourists, such a rule is bound to turn people away as practically every second person today has a good-quality camera.

Dadar resident Rohinton Mehta, who visited the museum recently with his SLR and was turned back, said, “I bought the required ticket, but was stopped at the entry gate because I had with me a digital SLR camera.

I was asked to leave the camera bag in the security’s custody till I completed the visit. Why this discrimination between a compact/camera-phone and a professional-looking camera? In any case, the DSLR camera that I was carrying was a high-end camera, but not a professional one.”

One of the museum staff said, “This was a management decision as we did not want the pictures of the objects to be misused in any way, as has happened in the past.” The BMC administration surprisingly claims to be unaware of this situation.

Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas said, “I am not aware of this and I assume that it must be an ongoing rule. I will have to check on this and get back.”

The name of the couch... and of the wardrobe?
We receive newsletters sometimes from homegrown e-tailing decor companies that often advertise furniture which is quirkily named.

A trend we have noticed of late is that of naming furniture pieces after characters from popular English television shows. A few names that caught our attention are Stinson, Mosby (both characters from How I Met Your Mother) and Rossi (the lead investigator in Criminal Minds).

Dashing as these gentlemen are, we got to wondering why we’re not seeing furniture and other household items named after Indian TV show folk. Heaven knows, there are plenty to choose from. How about a Pradyuman office chair after the iconic detective hero of CID, for example?

In fact, the trend could be kicked off with the big mama of drama, Pearl Padamsee, who was the face of The Living Room’s readymade sofa back in the days when the local carpenter enjoyed greater popularity.

Those of that vintage will remember her peppy line, “Don’t you worry darling, it has changeable covers!” which probably means little in this era when “removable and replaceable” is the mantra.

Liberty is about equality
Liberty Cinema takes its name seriously and literally. The historic art deco single-screen movie theatre at New Marine Lines is set to screen South Asia’s biggest mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) film festival — the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, between May 21 and 25. In its fifth year, the festival will also be held simultaneously at Alliance Francaise de Bombay between May 22 and 24.

Liberty is probably one of the last few theatres to have a real curtain that goes up before the show, and comes down during the interval
Liberty is probably one of the last few theatres to have a real curtain that goes up before the show, and comes down during the interval

Sridhar Rangayan, festival director, says, “For the last four years PVR and Cinemax multiplex theatres have supported us and we are grateful. It was time, though, to move to a larger theatre as we always had over 30 per cent audience we could not accommodate. Liberty has over 1,000 seating capacity, so we will be able to accommodate everybody.”

Liberty’s owner Nazir Hoosein adds, “We hope that the festival will help change attitudes and eliminate prejudice.” For history buffs, the construction of Liberty began in 1947, the year of India’s Independence, and hence the name. Mehboob Khan’s Andaaz (1949), was the first film to be premiered at Liberty.

It also held premieres of superhit Bollywood movies Mother India (1957), which ran for a full year here, and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) which ran for around 2.5 years. In fact it was in Liberty that artist MF Hussain watched HAHK, which made him a diehard fan of its star, Madhuri Dixit. We hope that Liberty’s inclusion of LGBT films signals a broader mainstream acceptance of the LGBT community in Mumbai, the city that welcomes all.

Taxing eloquent
There's something to be said for the Mumbaikar. The resilience that characterises the city’s residents also make us see humour in the grimmest situations. Like one chuckleworthy message going around on WhatsApp: Please pray that the present Election Commissioner (EC) becomes the Income Tax Commissioner of Mumbai. So that our names disappear from the taxpayers’ list too...

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