Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

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

Maseratis and the hooves-who of racing
The Mumbai racing season may be on its last legs, but it still has some horsepower to see it through the tail end months. And by horsepower, we mean both literally and figuratively.

Dubbed the Platinum World Championship, the evening race will see some style and sizzle on the course. While some beauty queens will be taken for a short spin in two Maseratis at about 6 pm, they’ll be joined by contestants of a popular beauty pageant, and will mingle with the punters till late evening, when the races wrap up.

An RWITC official says, “It is an effort to bring some fashion and style to the race day for a season on the wane. There will also be six live music bands and food courts. On Sunday, we have a day dedicated to charity with The Lions Club Day with six races named after contributors to the Lions Club. There will be artisans and an exhibit on the causes supported by the club.”

Madame DKNY meets Mrs Ambani
One of America’s most influential designers has had a busy two days. In the city for a luxury conference, Donna Karan got a taste of Bollywood’s tadka when she dropped in at a soiree hosted by Manish Malhotra at his residence.

Tina Ambani chats with an acquaintance while Yash and Avanti Birla exit the hotel
Tina Ambani chats with an acquaintance while Yash and Avanti Birla exit the hotel

Representing the pretty half of the industry were Kangna Ranaut, Jacqueline Fernandez, Athiya Shetty and Sonakshi Sinha. Some of the other guests included Victoria’s Secret model Karolina Kurkova and creator of New York Fashion Week Fern Mallis. The morning after, the diarist spotted Karan in the lobby of a suburban five-star, rushing to the 25th floor.

We spotted Donna Karan in the lobby. Pics/Sameer Markande
We spotted Donna Karan in the lobby. Pics/Sameer Markande

We hear she was likely to meet Nita Ambani, who we later spotted exiting the hotel. Interestingly, a few minutes later, the other Mrs Ambani was seen waiting for her car at the hotel entrance, while Yash and Avanti Birla made a quiet exit. All linked by a common thread or just a lucky hour of power spotting?

The political Panda
It’s rare to see Indian politicians display a sense of humour on a public platform, let alone laugh at themselves. Reason why we were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the profile pic of the suave and articulate BJD MLA, Baijayant Jay Panda on his Twitter account.

Baijayant Jay Panda; Panda’s profile photo on Twitter. Courtesy/ Baijayant Jay Panda’s Twitter account
Baijayant Jay Panda; Panda’s profile photo on Twitter. Courtesy/ Baijayant Jay Panda’s Twitter account

It had none other than a Kung Fu Panda lookalike with the Indian tricolour. With the third edition of the successful animation film set to hit screens early next month, we’re not sure if this was sheer coincidence or otherwise. Either way, it made us smile.

Mining the truth
Meghalaya’s coal mines have acquired infamy because of the notorious practice of rat hole mining. In this system, the miners, often boys, climb down the narrow and dangerous pits to dig out coal with a pickaxe and a torch. The story of their lives became Chandrasekhar Reddy’s documentary feature, Fireflies in the Abyss.

A poster of Fireflies in the AbyssA poster of Fireflies in the Abyss

Drawing the world’s attention, it earned critical acclaim at Busan International Film Festival and the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival. Now, it will be screened at the prestigious documentary festival —2016 Hot Docs, Canadian International Documentary Festival that begins from April 28. Bravo!

Nandita backs a cause
“It is the one thousand six hundred and eighty first day of the protest at Sampara Pandal in Idinthakarai,” said documentary film maker and author Minnie Vaid at the launch of her new book, The Ant in the Ear of the Elephant: the story of the people’s struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear plant, at a Mumbai bookstore this week.

Minnie Vaid and Nandita Das
Minnie Vaid and Nandita Das

Vaid’s book chronicles the lives of the Project Affected People (PAP) and throws light on their daily struggles. “I wanted to reach out to a vast audience of students in schools and colleges, policy makers, housewives, doctors, ordinary citizens — everyone who cares to know about social struggles going on in various remote parts of the country that remain relatively unreported and isolated,” she added.

Film actress-director, theatre artiste and activist Nandita Das, a known advocate for causes related to human rights and social justice, released the book.

Sorry, Mr Robert Galbraith
JK Rowling sent social media in a tizzy for a larger part of yesterday, after she posted two of her rejection letters on her Twitter account.

JK Rowling. Pic/AFP
JK Rowling. Pic/AFP

The hugely successful creator of the Harry Potter series shared these mails along with the post: ‘By popular request, 2 of @RGalbrath’s rejection letters! (For inspiration, not revenge, so I’ve removed signatures.)’. A definite upper for all those aspiring writers out there.

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