Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

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

Aruna comes to life
Delhi-based theatre artiste Lushin Dubey is busy planning her next play inspired by Aruna Shanbaug, the spirited young nurse who lay in a vegetative state at Mumbai's KEM Hospital for 37 years after a brutal sexual assault when she was 25.

Lushin Dubey and late Aruna Shanbaug
Lushin Dubey and late Aruna Shanbaug 

The solo act, to be directed and scripted by Arvind Gaur, is an adaptation of Pinki Virani's book, Aruna's Story: The True Account of a Rape and its Aftermath, and opens in Delhi this September. "I have previously adapted Pinki's Bitter Chocolate and was keen to take up Aruna's Story right after my first solo, Untitled. But, the rights to the book were with someone else," says Dubey, who waited seven years for it. These are early days still, says Dubey, who is yet to develop the idea.

"I have finished the first reading of the book, and it will take another week before I figure out the approach. As of now, I am plagued with questions regarding the law, police, euthanasia, and above all, how to address the heinous crime of rape? Can this 'an eye for an eye' approach be a cure?"

India's first web-only thriller
Web-only comedy shows are hardly a novelty. Which is why when filmmaker Yogi Chopra rued the lack of variety in fiction online, he thought 'thriller'. After months of ideation, casting and fund-raising, he is set to launch Hankaar, India's first web thriller series. "In Gurumukhi, the word stands for ahankaar or ego. The good/bad decisions that my characters take are on account of their ego," he says.

Set in Mumbai drug dens, brothels and real estate offices, the series directed by Ravi Iyer follows five ordinary people played by Rajesh Balwani, Ankur Vikal, Ram Menon, Ram Menon and Yogini Chouk.

Each episode is not more than 15 minutes long, and airs once a week starting December. With R61,000 raised through crowdfunding, Chopra has R8 lakh more to amass in 50 days. "I like that I have a deadline. Within that time, I need to go all out and make a noise about the show," says the Chembur resident, who has directed music videos for indie musicians in the past.

Curious? Check out the promo on www.hankaar.com

We are waterproof
Luxury is a relative term. To the Charmichael Road aunty, it means the Birken bag. For kids living in the city's shanties, it's a raincoat.

Anuj Sharma tutored kids in crafting their own raincoats from tarpaulin
Anuj Sharma tutored kids in crafting their own raincoats from tarpaulin 

Digital media firm, Culture Machine's Blush channel and designer Anuj Sharma got together to make the luxury available to everyone through a DYI rainwear project.

"Instead of distributing one raincoat and disappearing from their lives, I thought we should teach the kids how to make a raincoat on their own from materials that are available in their surroundings," says Sharma, who used tarpaulin sheets that often make it to shanty roofs in an attempt to render them waterproof, along with buttons and rubber bands.

"The technique used to make them is a lot like tie-and-dye. It required patience from the mad bunch of kids! But their enthusiasm was contagious. Since we hadn't planned a 'look', when I got them to wear the finished products, they looked like cute ETs," says Sharma, who collaborated with Blush's Rashi Verma. For a peek into the project, check out the Raincoat Santa — DIY Raincoats for Underprivileged Kids video on Blush.

Wisden hall-of-fame
OUR in-house book scavenger is elated at completing a 25-year run of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack - 1990 to 2015. Earlier this week, he managed to land the 2003 edition, not an easy one to get hold of. For the first time in 140 years, the publishers of the Bible of cricket had decided to have a photograph on its famous yellow cover. That's why Edition No. 2003, with then England captain Michael Vaughan on the cover, is special.

The Wisden collection from 1990 to 2015. Pic/Rane Ashish
The Wisden collection from 1990 to 2015. Pic/Rane Ashish 

Its other significance for our cricket nut is that it covers India's 2002 tour to England. Remember Sourav Ganguly's shirt-swinging act at Lord's? What was also memorable in the English summer of 2002 was the 1-1 squared series played out by Ganguly's Indians vs Nasser Hussain's Englishmen. For the first time in 16 years, India deprived the hosts from a series win.

The collector's prized possession is the 1972 edition which covers Ajit Wadekar's 1971 conquest of the English in their own den.
We hear it's getting harder and more expensive by the year to collect Wisdens. Our man is keen to collect editions that cover Test tours made by India. Here's his wish list: 1933, 1937, 1947, 1953, 1960, 1968, 1975, 1980 and 1983.

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