Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

Laughter therapy
Comedian Navin Prabhakar entertains inmates during a rehabilitation of undertrials programme at Arthur Road Jail.


Prabhakar is best known for his Pehchan Kaun (Mumbai bar girl) act on the TV show, the Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Pic/Rane Ashish

SOI goes to Europe
Eleven years after being formed, the Symphony Orchestra of India will later this month, fly out to Switzerland. While SOI has performed outside of India previously — in Moscow, Muscat and then Abu Dhabi — this will be their first performance in a western European country. Their performance will open at Zurich with an Overture to The Bartered Bride. They will also be debuting a new piece — Bela Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra.


Zakir Hussain performing Peshkar with SOI

Accompanying them will be tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, who will perform Peshkar, a concerto for tabla and orchestra, which has been written specially for the SOI by legendary tabla maestro Zakir Hussain. With Europe being the birth place of the tradition of the orchestra, it's a proud moment for SOI which is only in its 10th year. "Almost a baby," says a member. That these concerts will be performed as part of the Migros Kulturprozent Classics series, where "top-notch caliber" is presented to the world, is an honour that Mumbai, and India, should be proud of.

Atul Kochhar spills the beans on Lima 
Service has started at Chef Atul Kochhar's NRI, and all eyes are on his tapas lounge, Lima, which will specialise in Latin American food. "India has been eating Mexican for a decade. I am going to add Peruvian and Brazilian to that menu," explains Chef Kochhar, who will offer a crisp menu of 12-15 select dishes of chimmichangas, empanadas, tiraditos and Ceviche.

The first look of Lima, which will come up at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC),  next month
The first look of Lima, which will come up at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), next month

While he promises not to tweak the food to suit the Indian palate, his plan is to curate an authentic spread using local ingredients. "We are trying to grow a few Peruvian seeds here. The food will focus on street food. Rawfish, such as red snapper and sea bass, will be sourced from Kerala and Gujarat," he says. There will be rice dishes too. "Since we Indians love our rice. Peruvian ho ya Hindustani, biryani to chahiye," he laughs.

Chef Atul Kochhar

Most of the Latin American cuisine  ingredients are familiar to the Indian palate — chickpeas, red kidney beans, black beans, rice, potato, yuca, salt, chillies, garlic, and lots of cumin. "But not the Peruvian bell chillies. You have to pluck them in the morning, and catch the drop of oil oozing out. Add two drops to a neutral oil and you have your chilli oil. We have corrupted our palates with an overdose of chillies and turmeric. I want to bring back what is original, with a little bit of nostalgia." Watch this space for more.

All for art
Taking cue from last year's last-minute canvassing for funds, the Kochi Muziris Biennale has decided to reach out to the art community well ahead of time. Bose Krishnamachari, the Biennale's co-founder, is organising a series of Meet the Curator sessions, with one slotted in Pune next Sunday.

"We are creating awareness regarding the Biennale across cities," says Krishnamachari. Arti Kirloskar of the high-profile industrialist group, is planning the private get-together in Pune. Ritu Chhabria, Sabina Sanghvi, Alpana Kirloskar and Varsha Talera have also played a role in this meet. Krishnamachari says one such meet is planned overseas during the Art Dubai  in March.

Paranjape should have been there too!
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) awards night held last Tuesday was as usual, a glitzy affair. It was well-timed too with Team India in attendance just before their departure to Australia for a limited overs series. While there was a healthy presence of former India cricketers under the evening sky in Bandra, Daily Dossier would have also liked to see people who have helped Indian cricket along the way being invited. To be specific, we are referring to 77-year-old former Mumbai Ranji Trophy batsman and quicksilver fielder Vasu Paranjape.


Vasu Paranjape (right) with Mohammed Azharuddin during the preparatory camp for the 1987 World Cup

Apart from being a mentor to some of Mumbai cricket's most celebrated names, Paranjape has also been the BCCI's National coach, who was always available to oversee practice sessions for the Indian team in the 1980s when there were no coaches attached to squads.  In fact, Paranjape, father of former India ODI batsman Jatin, assisted Kapil Dev's defending champions in the lead-up to the 1987 World Cup. He was also manager of the Under-19 World Cup team in Australia in 1987-88. A stint at the National Cricket Academy came later. It could well be that the BCCI has kept missing his name in the guest list inadvertently and in all probability they'll be happy to right this wrong.

POP show at Apollo Bunder
No matter how much this diarist tries, it's tough to imagine that a temporary Plaster of Paris (POP) structure had originally served as the 'Gateway' at Apollo Bunder, to greet King George V and Queen Mary during their visit to India for the Delhi Durbar. Just before their visit, an iron shed that stood at the spot facing the sea was haphazardly replaced with a pavilion and hall made of white POP.

Apollo Bunder
New Year celebrations at the Gateway

The royal couple departed from the same structure on this day, in 1912, exactly 104 years ago. Soon after, they departed, the then Governor of Bombay, Lord Sydenham initiated a scheme to commence work on a permanent structure. This reclaimed frontage was meant to be an imposing stone-landing stage, unique in design. The inaugural stone was laid in 1913, and the promenade around the plaza was levelled. The Gateway was ready by 1927, with George Wittet's plans that were a cross between Parisian Arc de Triomphe, Moorish and old Gujarati architecture.

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