Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

Embracing the future of culture
“A decade ago, I did not think that we would use the Internet this way. Change is always good,” said Dr Sudha Gopalakrishnan to this diaryist, ahead of the launch of Sahapedia, a digital repository of culture.

Yesterday, went live, and enthusiasts and researchers can now find multimedia content on a range of cultural topics (right from Sufi literature in South Asia to the Bagh prints of Madhya Pradesh). If it sounds like Wikipedia, that is only because it is an encyclopedia, but with one difference.

All content is authentic and well-researched by experts. Gopalakrishnan, the founder and vice-president of Sahapedia, has been known formerly as the founder-director of the National Manuscript Mission. “We want to present the complexity of each cultural element, and capture the diversity.

We also keep in mind that borders are artificially created,” says the wise Dr Gopalakrishnan. Right now, Sahapedia is 5,000 entries strong with critical essays, photographs and videos. And this number is just the beginning, says the founder.

Reality check
Varanasi boy Yatharth Ratnum just won’t stop at making music. The 19-year-old, who took the top prize at the music talent show The Stage in December last year, is now readying for the Indian release of his first film “Blue Mountains”.

Directed by Suman Ganguli, the film tells the story of a small town kid, who makes it big at a reality show, and has Ratnum playing the lead character Som. It’s no coincidence that the movie takes on from his own life. It was intentional, said the singer. “It’s a story I best understand and can relate to.”

The teenager’s life veered into a different direction, when Ganguli first spotted him at the music show Lil Champs, way back in 2009. But he admits his fate, is not what many reality show artistes enjoy. “The fame we get is short-lived, and sometimes, it is a struggle to move forward. More than often success drowns you, and you lose direction,” he says. “It requires a lot of passion, zeal and drive to stay on the right track.” With this film, we hope Ratnum hits new notes.

Girl Talk

Pic/Nimesh Dave

Singer Kavita Krishnamurthy shares a light moment with the legendary Asha Bhonsle at the 74th Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Awards in Vile Parle on Saturday. Dinanath Mangeshkar was a well-known theatre actor and musician and also father to Asha and Lata Mangeshkar.

This Uncle’s got a doppelganger
Author Shashank Gupta was shocked to read the report of the app StayUncle being launched in his morning newspaper. No, he wasn’t disturbed by StayUncle’s business model — which is to help young consenting, but unmarried, couples find hotels that are open to letting out rooms to them.

Shashank Gupta
Shashank Gupta

It’s because the entire “idea” seems to be identical to a character called Uncle in his book, Pimp, who gets a brain wave after watching intimate couples on Mumbai’s sea face, and starts renting out room to them. “I am sure their business is for a good cause.

But in my book, the larger question being posed to this cruel Uncle is that when you start a business like this, how far can you go?” He says his book has got two kinds of reactions — either people love the dark story, or they are disgusted with this old man.

Lately, he has been getting a different kind of call from his fans. “People have been calling me up and saying ‘you must be happy!’ I am, but am also really surprised at the coincidence.” Talk about life imitating art.

Are you ready for the ‘Farzification’?
Delhi got its first Farzi Cafe in 2014, but the Mumbai debut will have what the capital doesn’t. “Fresh seafood, Maharashtrian lehsuni chutney and ghati masala,” Saurabh Udinia, Chef de Cuisine — Modern Indian, Massive Restaurants, tells us.

Chef Saurabh Udinia
Chef Saurabh Udinia

With a range of tapas, hoppers (dishes based on fermented batter), along with star dishes like Mini Raan Kachori, Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Mash with chutney foam, and Galouti Burger.

“The cafe is a place of many moods and energies. The view is of lush greenery through the day, while at night, the plants move back to reveal the window as a canvas for projection. Another key element of the design is ability to reconfigure the entire layout and all the tables in such a way that each time you visit, you can have a varied table experience,” says Udinia.

“Farzi,” says Zorawar Kalra, “has many connotations. But at Farzi Café, it has just one, ‘creating an illusion’ with its cuisine.” Culinary art meets the alchemy of modern presentations.

Such a sixy thing to do!
England fast bowler Ben Stokes is doing his best to put behind his highly forgettable last over of the World Twenty20 final against West Indies in Kolkata a few Sundays ago.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes

Apart from expressing his determination to be a top performer for England this summer and demolish visions of West Indies’ cricketer Carlos Brathwaite’s four sixes for his Caribbean teammates to break into ‘champion, champion’ mode, Stokes also attended a WWE event in England recently and took on the role of a timekeeper, according to the Daily Mail. But we still can’t get over the fact that Stokes was destroyed mentally after that Brathwaite assault at Eden Gardens.

We recall something similar happening to Australia paceman Mick Malone, who was hit by West Indies’ tailender Wayne Daniel for a six to give his team an incredible, memorable win during Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket under the VFL Park floodlights in Melbourne in the late 1970s.

Later that night, Malone, a Western Australian, called his wife Lynn in Perth for some comforting words. However, she didn’t know what happened in her hubby’s last ball and was about to watch the highlights on television. “Don’t tell me the result,” she told Mick, staying glued to her television. Mick just hung up and according to his teammate Rodney Marsh, went out and got himself drunk that night.

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