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Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

Unlimited Basel
Shireen Gandhy has been having a swell time at Art Basel, we hear, which opened on June 16 and ends today. Turns out that Gandhy's swanky gallery was selected as part of the prestigious Art Unlimited section of the annual international art fair, ushering artists Mithu Sen and Archana Hande into elite company.

Nathalie Obadia, Ursula Krinzinger, Mithu Sen and Shireen Gandhy at the Art Unlimited Section of Art Basel
Nathalie Obadia, Ursula Krinzinger, Mithu Sen and Shireen Gandhy at the Art Unlimited Section of Art Basel

Sen's vitrine of personal belongings was sold in the first hour of Unlimited's opening to a prominent collector based in the Swiss mountains, who has a keen interest in furthering Indian artists.

Hande's video paean to Mumbai was again sold on day one to a Malaysian collector, who owns a private museum. Her Midas' touch is not running out, we say.

Music on dad's lips
Singer Abhijit Ghoshal, known best for impressing judges and audiences on SaReGaMaPa, believes music is the best wheel to bring about social change.

Abhijit Ghoshal
Abhijit Ghoshal

His new song, Meri Pyaari Gudiya, is one he hopes will do that. Ghoshal, who is father to two young daughters, decided to write the piece to spread awareness about female foeticide and education of the girl child.

"Music has the power to bring about change," he says. Ghoshal adds that with this song, he was hoping to write a lullaby that could be sung by fathers to their daughters. "My daughters love it when I sing it to them," he says. We wish other dads spread the love, too.

Blood korma for Nawabi energy
Last year, when we had booked at table at Sahib Room and Kipling Bar at St Regis (then Palladium Hotel), we had interacted with Chef Angad Rai, who told us stories of growing up in Lucknow.

Chef Angad Rai
Chef Angad Rai

The menu had left a delicious mark on our memory — especially the khubani (apricot) ka halwa. Rai has now moved to Westin as Chef de Cuisine for Indian restaurant, Kangan.

His travels across the erstwhile Mughal states of Rampur and Awadh translate into his food. "My menu focuses on Mughlai cuisine. I'm also doing a Kashmiri seb (apple) ki sabzi and guchchi ki biryani," says Rai. But it's the Taar Korma that has a story to it.

"When a Rampuri nawab fell sick, the khansama invented the taar korma, to help him regain his energy. It is also called blood korma for its red colour, but no, it doesn't use blood as ingredient," he signs off.

Sex co-operative on screen
Last October, Mumbai-based author Aditya Kripalani wrote Tikli and Laxmi Bomb, a sensitive novel about two Mumbai prostitutes who start a co-operative of sorts to protect the interests of fellow sex workers. Seven months later, the 35-year-old is set to take his narrative to screen with the same title. "A film always has more reach than a novel.

Aditya Kripalani
Aditya Kripalani

While the book helped me delve into the characters, with the film, I have the opportunity to flesh them out better. I can experiment with Marathi and Bengali, which I couldn't in the book because it was meant for an English-speaking audience," he told the diarist over the phone from Moscow, where he is vacationing.

The film, he hopes, will inspire women to ask themselves, "What if we started something of our own, by women, for women?" It's currently being crowd-funded on the Wishberry platform. So if you like what you see, pitch in.

Miserable in England
British author and journalist Brigid Keenan believes she is an Indian at heart. In her new book, Full Marks for Trying: An Unlikely Journey from the Raj to the Rag Trade (Bloomsbury Publishing), Keenan, who was born in Ambala in 1939, writes of how she was never at home in her own country, England. "Deep down, there's always been a tinge of anxiety, almost guilt — a feeling that I don't really fit in," she writes in the book.

Brigid Keenan
Brigid Keenan

Keenan, who describes herself as the last of the British Raj babies, had to unceremoniously leave with her family in 1948. "We were heartbroken when we came back (to England)," she said in a telephone chat from the UK. "To this day, I miss everything about India." To make up for it, she and her husband spend a month in India, every year. And now with the book, her home beckons again.

Mile sur mera tumhara
Kutle Khan

Renowned Rajasthani folk musician Kutle Khan performs with Zero's Sidd Coutto (on drums) at an event in Andheri (West) on Saturday. Pic/satej Shinde

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