Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

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

Aapro Zubin comes home
World-renowned music conductor Zubin Mehta was at a Colaba five-star yesterday to launch his biography, A Musical Journey (Penguin Random House) by Bakhtiar Dadabhoy. Mehta walked in by 4.05 pm, gait belying his 80 years and suddenly, the air was peppered with Parsi-Gujarati.

Zubin Mehta and wife Nancy Kovack make their way to a press conference to announce the release of his biography at a Colaba five-star last evening. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Zubin Mehta and wife Nancy Kovack make their way to a press conference to announce the release of his biography at a Colaba five-star last evening. Pic/Suresh Karkera

“Khursi khech ni” (pull a chair) he was heard telling Kekoo Nicholson, Cricket Club of India (CCI) president who was at the conference. “Zubin needed persuasion to allow this biography,” said Dadabhoy as an introduction while Mehta revealed, “He was very persistent. I went through some drafts to correct facts in the book.”

The peripatetic conductor was at his best while talking about his musical journeys that have taken him everywhere in the world. “It is a shame that the capital of India, Delhi, does not have a concert hall,” announced Mehta, adding “Recently, I played at a weightlifting arena that was converted to a concert hall.”

Mehta reminisced about a trip to China, “Culturally speaking, China is exploding. They have a second Opera House; god knows why, maybe, ego or maybe the government does not know what to do with its money. But it is becoming the place where the world’s musicians come to play to young audiences.” He added to some laughs that in China, “when a concert happens, people are unwrapping sandwiches, sending SMSs in the hall, babies are gurgling… that’s the Chinese way, I guess.”

Of his three concerts in Mumbai, he shared, “World-class soloists will be playing here. Like always, I am home here.” The political mixes with music, when it is a global icon, and Mehta remembered playing in, “areas of conflict, but, we can do that much more. Nobody should dispute the healing power of music.”

Israel and the simmering Israel-Palestine tensions were touched upon but Mehta elaborated about a place closer home, “We played in Kashmir in a tense atmosphere, with separatists threatening to stop us. My orchestra loved playing with the Kashmiris, it was a tremendous atmosphere,” he ended. From the heat of unrest to the real heat of Mumbai, it’s all in a swing of a baton for Zubin Mehta, originally from Mumbai and now of course, citizen of the world.

The basketball brothers
Recently, we heard murmurs that Brook and Robin Lopez, the New York slam-dunk duo, are due to drop by later this month.


 Robin (left) and Brook Lopez

On court, they play for different teams — Brook bounces for the Brooklyn Nets and Robin dunks for the New York Knicks — but off court, they both will be promoting the game through NBA’s Jr NBA grassroots initiative.

When they aren’t squaring off on court, the two love to geek out at Comic Cons, develop animation scripts and cosplay as superheroes. Sporty and geeky? Our diarist is swooning over them already. We are certain to have you catching up with them when they arrive.

Jungle fun for Mumbai’s kids
Since April 13, BookMyShow’s BookASmile initiative has organised special screenings for underprivileged children across Mumbai to watch The Jungle Book in 3D. Across India till April 19, the initiative is hoping to get more than 4,000 children to watch the film.

Shraddha Charitable Trust took their NGO members for the film screening yesterday at Lower Parel
Shraddha Charitable Trust took their NGO members for the film screening yesterday at Lower Parel

Farzana Cama Balpande, its head, said, “We started the initiative about a year and a half ago. The idea is to get children from less fortunate sections of society to enjoy films, the sector in which our company does business. With The Jungle Book, children of all ages from these NGOs can experience a 3D film, something that they may never get a chance to do otherwise.”

Dimple Gujral (Teach for India), Puja Mahajan (PETA), Ishita Jain, wife of Siddharth Jain, Director, INOX Leisure with 200 kids at Inorbit Mall. Pic/Ajinkya Sawant
Dimple Gujral (Teach for India), Puja Mahajan (PETA), Ishita Jain, wife of Siddharth Jain, Director, INOX Leisure with 200 kids at Inorbit Mall. PIC/AJINKYA SAWANT . Pic/Ajinkya Sawant

Screenings and theatres are booked as per the NGO’s convenience across the country. Money for these tickets has been raised via collections from tickets booked by customers on bookmyshow. From screens in Colaba to Virar, the initiative is giving less fortunate children a chance to enjoy the ‘Bare Necessities’ (pun intended!)

In another part of the city, INOX Leisure Ltd joined hands with Teach for India and PETA to host over 200 less privileged children from Malad’s Umedbhai Patel School for a special screening of the same classic. Clearly, the film seems to be a favourite pick for cool causes.

In good health


Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Nusli Wadia (second, right) with son Ness (right) on the dais along with MP Arvind Sawant (left) and Vinod Tawde, Minister (Education and Cultural Affairs) at an event to celebrate the completion of 90 years of health care offered by Wadia Hospitals at Nehru Centre, Worli, yesterday.

Sing along with the guitar man
Farhan Akhtar was spotted jamming with fellow band mates, Sarosh Izedyar (guitar), Dibyajyoti Nath (bass) and Anupam Deghatak (percussion, not in pic) at a Khar club late on Thursday night.

Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

It made for a pleasant mid-week high for revellers who seemed to enjoy Akhtar’s riffs and raspy vocals as he belted out Hindi and slow Rock tracks.

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