Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

A Parisian pop-up
Fashionista Pernia Qureshi is in the midst of preparing a speech for her trip to the Paris Fashion School. The school was supposedly impressed by how her website acts as a bridge between luxury fashion and the Indian audience, and helps them own it in an affordable way. They have invited her to speak.

“I am going to be talking about the future of the luxury fashion market in India. But I am also looking forward to chat about how designers from Paris can understand Indian textiles better,” Qureshi told us. But it’s taking Indian luxury international is what excites her the most. “I grab any opportunity that comes my way to do that. That’s what makes this worthwhile.”

Motorcycle diaries

Pic/Satej Shinde

Actor Salman Khan and Aras Gibieza, a two-time European stunting riding champion, looked set to burn some rubber at an event held at a Malad mall on Saturday.

Rohan Shreshta’s fan boy moment
Ace photographer Rohan Shreshta is not the kind to get dazzled by celebrities. But, recently, while shooting with legendary French footballer Zinedine Zidane, the 30-year-old found himself stuttering.

“I’ve idolised Zizou for as long as I can remember, and then to be right next to him was surreal,” says Shreshta, who shot a TVC with him in Madrid. “I got the call for the ad when I was vacationing in Cuba. I left my holiday mid-way because you don’t get a chance like this often.”

Shreshta revealed that apart from being painfully good looking, and fit at 45, Zizou is humble to a fault. “He was co-operative despite the language barrier. We communicated via a translator.”

Shreshta even discussed his #whiteTseries campaign, where he shoots celebs in a white ganjee, which Zidane agreed to be a part of. “At the end of the shoot, Zizou came up to me and said something in French, which I couldn’t figure. When I asked the translator, he said, ‘Zizou said you’re a fantastic photographer’.” Kudos.

Back on track
When we met India-born UK-based Chef Stephen Gomes last week, he was chirpy, with teething problems at his first city restaurant, Chemistry 101, put behind him. The special party held on April 6 welcomed an overflowing guestlist, which, threw service off gear. But bad press, he says, is a learning lesson.

Stephen Gomes. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Stephen Gomes. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

“We were first told there would be 40 guests, and the number went to 70, and finally, we had 150 guests. But, we are back on track, and the response has been overwhelming. For now, we have closed our top section and are catering to 30 covers at the ground level. I will open the top level only once we are confident that we can give personal attention to more guests,” says Gomes who wants to look ahead as they launch lunch service, including a molecular gastronomy thali. Who said lunch meetings are boring?

A six-year-old storyteller
A little birdie recently took this diarist by surprise when she mentioned the release of her first self-published book. The diarist’s writing ambitions aside, what made this newbie author the source of slight envy, was her age. All of six, Ashwika Khanna, a senior KG student at BD Somani International School, has written a children’s book titled, Pushti and Anushti at the Airport.

First in the series of stories about two sisters, the 12-page book will be available for kiddies on online platforms, says her mom Payal. “Pushti is like me,” says Ashwika innocently. “She is obedient and listens to her parents. But Anushti is very naughty and gets into trouble. I want kids to know that we should always be good.”

First quarter out
Doing it in style, the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016 announced its first 25 participating artists, egging the public to ask for more. Under the discerning curation of Sudarshan Shetty, the list has a good mix of names from foreign shores and home turf.

Riyaz Komu
Riyaz Komu

We are especially excited for Avinash Veeraraghavan, Orijit Sen, Anamika Haksar, Praneet Soi, TV Santhosh and Desmond Lazaro. Riyas Komu, the festival’s co-founder, tells us that Shetty’s choices will bring together different streams of thought, which are sure to make the Biennale into a melting pot of ideas.

For those of us eager to know what more is on the list, the wait is just a couple of months away for the second set. “We are parceling the announcements strategically, so that each artist gets represented well,” says Komu.

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