Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

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

Hear it for Madame Gandhi
She burst into our consciousness in August 2015 when she ran the London marathon without a tampon while menstruating, giving power to the #freetobleed campaign. Now, musician Kiran Gandhi has used her second name to bring more power to India and its women by starting a band with two others, Alexia and Ayesha.

Kiran Gandhi
Kiran Gandhi

The band takes its name after the most famous woman to have shared Kiran’s surname. You guessed it — Indira Gandhi, India’s third prime minister and the country’s first (and till now only) woman prime minister. The band, Madame Gandhi, will start on the March of Madames tour, which takes place during women’s history month, and starts and finishes in NYC.

Kiran writes in an email announcing the band, “It is an electronic drums and vocals project that celebrates female leadership and explores themes of feminism, gender equality and liberation. I have taken everything I have learned since the menstrual marathon, my time at business school and my work with M.I.A, and channelled it back into a body of musical work.”

Now, we are not sure what the original Madame Gandhi listened to, but this surely is a band she would have liked to watch. And, as far as what the current brood of the Gandhis have to say, well, they have other drums to beat, we guess.

Laughter not a challenge here

Pic/Nimesh Dave

Actresses Tabu, Dimple Kapadia and Neetu Singh along with designer Sandeep Khosla found something terribly funny at the opening of a store by the designer and his partner Abu Jani last evening.

Click to revive
River March, an organisation that work towards reviving the rivers of Mumbai has organised a photography workshop at Mahim Nature Park that will be conducted by documentary photographer and animator Aslam Saiyad.

All the money paid as fees for the workshop will be donated to the organisation by Saiyad. “It will be an eight-hour long beginner’s course for new DSLR owners. I will cover sections like understanding ISO, aperture, photo formats such as JPEG and RAW as well as rules of composition.

Post a two-hour lecture, we will head out in the Nature Park for a practical session,” says Saiyad, who also teaches photography to students of a local school at Valvanda and Palghar, and to children of commercial sex workers through organisation Kranti.

He is currently working on a lengthy project to document the life around the rivers of the city from their origin to the time they are turned to nullahs in the city. He will capture the changes through all the seasons. If this interests you, call 9820666255.

The death of lemongrass prawns
This diarist is feeling a bit cheerless after learning of one of Colaba’s most-visited South East Asian dining destinations folding up. Busaba, housed in a warm bungalow on Mandlik Road, where another iconic eatery, Indigo sits, will shutter to house a new culinary idea by its chef and owner, Nikhil Chib.

Nikhil Chib whips it up in the Busaba kitchen
Nikhil Chib whips it up in the Busaba kitchen

We are despondent, but not surprised. On the last few visits to the 15-year-old eatery, famous for its tiger prawns in lemongrass and rock salt, we found ourselves as the only guests in the ground-plus-one restaurant, although the cocktails were just as potent and the Pla Neung Manao (Thai steamed fish), just as fresh.

We are not sure if Chib’s QSR, Busago, will also wind up (he refused to share details), but we are curious about what’s to come. If Chib continues his tradition of returning from his travels with a new ingredient, recipe and even a chef, the new entrant on SoBo’s dining scene is going to be one to watch for.

Angry Indian Goddesses in LA
If the film intrigued Indian viewers, we’d love to know what Los Angeles thinks of Angry Indian Goddesses.

A scene from Angry Indian Goddesses
A scene from Angry Indian Goddesses

The Pan Nalin film will open the 14th edition of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) to be held in Hollywood from April 6-10.

The line-up will include 16 features and 11 shorts. Anu Menon’s Waiting featuring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin, will close the festival with its North American premiere.

Sarnath’s got designs on Japan
It’s always interesting to check out what’s brewing on graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee’s canvas. This time around, when we caught up with the imaginative illustrator, he told us about his new body of work, which unfolds all the way in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Sarnath Banerjee during a visit to the city. Pic/Sameer MarkandeSarnath Banerjee during a visit to the city. Pic/Sameer Markande

“My recent work is situated in the Japanese island of Shodoshima. It is a large drawing commission that involves a Zen tub and six characters taking a bath. It overlooks the great bay, and one of them is a dragon,” he shared. Watch this space for more.

Are you carrying an ostrich?
Is that a Hermes on your arm? Or an ostrich? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has called on Hermes, Prada and other la-di-da brands to drop ostrich and other exotic skins, and urging shoppers too.

Juvenile ostrich are raised on barren dirt feed lots before being transported to slaughterhouses. They are killed just after their first birthday
Juvenile ostrich are raised on barren dirt feed lots before being transported to slaughterhouses. They are killed just after their first birthday

Western Cape, South Africa — PETA India’s US affiliate, PETA US released their first exposé of a secretive ostrich-slaughter industry, in which young ostriches are killed for luxe shoes, handbags and belts for Hermes, LVMH, Prada and other top European fashion houses with India stores.

Footage from South African slaughterhouses run by two of the world’s largest ostrich producers that supply up to 85 per cent of all ostrich products, reveals torturous methods to extract ostrich skin for Birkin or Prada bags and other luxury goods. For those whose curiosity is piqued, there’s a PETA video. Others can continue with their ostrich-head-in-the-sand attitude.

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