Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

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

Batting for memorabilia
A cricket bat in a bookshop? Unlikely, but that’s what our in-house book scavenger was offered as he finished paying for his purchases at a new and second bookshop in Bangalore earlier this week.

The man at the counter pulled out a new SG bat (SG stands for Sanspareils Greenlands and not Sunil Gavaskar although the batting icon was the first international cricketer to endorse it way back in 1983) and offered it for Rs 5000. There was more to the good-looking piece of English willow — it was signed by dasher Virender Sehwag.

So how come a bat signed by Sehwag was being kept at a bookstore? One of the patrons of the bookshop is a supporter of a charity trust that aids differently abled people and one reckons the large-hearted Sehwag donated a signed bat to the charity. Signed equipment was not only restricted to Sehwag.

India’s hockey wizard Dhanraj Pillay too signed a few sticks and South Africa’s iconic all-rounder Jacques Kallis inscribed his name on a bat made by a lesser-known manufacturer. Who says lovers of the written word only get lucky with book treasurers? By the way, our man bought the bat.

Smile, Vidya

Pic/Swarali Purohit
Pic/Swarali Purohit

Film actor Vidya Balan obliges photographers at an awards ceremony in Worli yesterday.

Farewell, Chef Coelho
When we rang up chef Vernon Coelho at 7 pm yesterday, he told us that he had just reached home after a regular day at IHM Mumbai, better known as Dadar Catering College, where he served for 34 years — the last 17, as Head of Department.

Chef Vernon Coelho at the Institute of Hotel Management at Dadar in Mumbai. File pic
Chef Vernon Coelho at the Institute of Hotel Management at Dadar in Mumbai. File pic

"It was my last day, and I made it memorable by taking two classes. One practical class and another theory class on introduction to Chinese cuisine for final year students," he said, with a mix of nostalgia and pride.

But 3 pm onwards, students and ex-students dropped by to bid adieu to the man who taught them to use the knife — albeit, not for war but for the love of food. “They came by to thank me, and I took a lot of selfies too,” the 60-year-old beamed. A solo traveller, Coelho’s first stop will be Dubai.

"It's for a food festival. Next, I will take a holiday to Australia and New Zealand. While I want to take up a consultant job, it will not be full-time. I want to stick to my core specialty of hospitality counselling." And he confessed that he would slip in a guest lecture or two, to keep the passion alive.

What ‘A’ farce!
The first trailer of the much-awaited movie, Aligarh, based on the life story of Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, the professor of Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), was released today with an adult certificate.

Siras was suspended by Aligarh Muslim University after he was filmed having sex with a man in his bedroom. Soon after the trailer released, the writer of the Hansal Mehta film, Apurva Asrani, took to a social media platform to vent his disapproval of the gradation of the trailer.

Asrani writes, “Do you know that Aligarh trailer has been given an ‘A’ certificate?? This means that the theatrical trailer can only be played with an ‘Adult’ film, ruling out most of our theatrical promotions. This also means that the trailer will not be played on TV all day & will only appear on late night TV. The ramifications of this move by the CBFC are huge!

There is no way to reach the larger audiences who rely on a trailer to come to the cinema! And why?? Anyone who has seen our trailer will know that, unlike the prevalent sex comedies in cinemas, there is NOTHING sexual or objectionable in our trailer!” And he urges people to support the film and its purpose, “Do Come Out and voice your protest if you think our trailer deserves a U or UA certificate. If you think we deserve an A certificate, then do enlighten me with your reasons.”

Now, India’s cattle get IDed!
If you think little is being done with the digital India initiative, read this. Till today, you have seen/heard of iris recognition technology only for your passport, or for UIDAI (Aadhar) number, but now it will be introduced for cattle identification.

In an attempt to help farmers, government and insurance agencies identify the right cattle, and process insurance claims on death, a Gujarat-based company has developed a technology, called Cattle UID. This includes a retina scanner that can be used to identify cattle.

Presented at the e-governance Symposium in Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), it can be used to give every cattle a unique ID, based on their iris pattern. The technology is considered tamper-proof since iris of every animal differs. So, if implemented properly, cattle thieves won’t be able to re-brand stolen cattle and sell it in the market.

This novel idea will also save cattle from existing tracking methods like RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) ear tags, ear marking, neck tagging with transponders, branding using hot iron or freezing methods, paint and tattoos that pose serious health hazards. From what this diarist hears, Andhra Pradesh might be the first Indian state to have implemented this technology.

Meet Tiger Shroff’s dad
Those who are used to Jackie Shroff’s frequent use of tapori lingo especially his trademark, ‘bhidu’, were intrigued to note that he diligently refrained from mouthing Mumbaiyya slang recently.

Jackie Shroff at the festival venue. Pic courtesy/Chaitanya Padukone
Jackie Shroff at the festival venue. Pic courtesy/Chaitanya Padukone

As the brand ambassador of an ongoing government-backed documentary festival, Mumbai International Film Festival, the suave Shroff had to observe protocol while addressing invitees that included Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and I&B MoS Rajyavardhan Rathore.

Urging people to shoot sentimental shorts on their mobiles, he revealed that he wished to direct a brief bio tracking his late mother’s journey from Turkistan to Mumbai. “With regard to festival goers connecting with me as ambassador, even if youngsters relate to me as Tiger Shroff’s father, I have no issues with the ego,” he quipped.

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