Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

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

Hooked by the book
Some initiatives help you in ways that you can hardly imagine. Finance and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has realised this after a year.

(Right) Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar with activist Anna Hazare
(Right) Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar with activist Anna Hazare

His office has issued a directive where guests attending functions organised by the forest department should be welcomed by offering them books and not expensive flowers. His contention is that the gifts (presents) should prove useful to guests.

Flowers cost a lot of money and guests don’t carry bouquets home, rendering such gifts useless. On the other hand, books, he felt, if presented, not only add novelty to functions, but also make recipients happy.

Personally, the minister has benefited a lot from the gesture. He has received almost 1,200 books in the past 14 months, of which he has read many. He says he flips through pages and devours interesting chunks right there on the dais.

“But what makes me happier is that books spare me of the trouble of listening to boring speeches that are delivered during such functions. I put my time to better use,” he says. We’re booked on the idea, Mr. Mungantiwar.

Bend it like Mallika

Mallika Sherawat
Mallika Sherawat

Being healthy and fit isn’t a trend, tweeted Mallika Sherawat while posting this on her social media account. We agree, Mallika. Over, under and out!

Dwayne Bravo’s a Champion
We know Dwayne Bravo can groove on and off the cricket pitch, thanks to IPL’s coverage that stretches beyond the stadium. Now, we hear that Bravo will launch globally at the ICC World Cup T20 official anthem on March 14 in Mumbai at a star-studded event.

Dwayne Bravo in a still from the ICC World Cup T20 anthem, Champion
Dwayne Bravo in a still from the ICC World Cup T20 anthem, Champion

Called Champion, the all-rounder shot the video in downtown Los Angeles. It is the follow-up single to the widely popular Indo-Anglo fusion song called, Chalo Chalo. The anthem’s release will be a few days before the West Indies kicks off their first game.

Bravo sounded kicked about the release, “I’m excited to not only launch and perform this song but it means a lot that I’m able to do that in India. I’ve always said that my biggest fans are right here in India so I’m happy to release another song here. I got great support with Chalo Chalo, and there’s already been a lot of excitement around Champion.”

He added that his team had plans for his time in India, both for Champion and the DJBravo brand. “I’m looking forward to unveiling them soon but of course, doing well in this World Cup and supporting my team is my priority.” You go, Bravo!

Dhobi Talao goes fashionable
Organisers of the upcoming fashion week in the city have tried their best to hold their big-ticket shows shows across diverse spaces beyond the main venue.

St Xavier’s College in Dhobi Talao. Pic/Sameer Markande
St Xavier’s College in Dhobi Talao. Pic/Sameer Markande

All of this, we feel, to play catch-up with international standards where venues play a part in the theme of the collection. Now we hear that this season, St Xavier’s College will lend an academic touch to proceedings of this glitzy shindig. The college quadrangle will host to the finale of the event where Delhi designer Rohit Bal will hold fort.

Rohit Bal
Rohit Bal

This diarist was reminded of the time when the security guard at SXC would stop capri-wearing collegians due to the existent dress code of the institution. We’d love to see his reaction to the back-baring cholis that will sashay down the ramp at the grand finale.

You can be an Indian Kygo too
It was a full house at The Exchange x AVA music conference in the city yesterday. The exchange, which featured music industry professionals from Ireland and India, was all about how to get your music heard by the right people, and how to take it from there.

Arjun Sankalia
Arjun Sankalia

At one of the sessions, Arjun Sankalia, director of publishing and international music at Sony India, answered a question about music labels only promoting Bollywood by saying that they did promote non-Bollywood music as made popular by rapper Badshah and singer Arjun Kanungo.

When mid-day pointed out that even their songs, DJ Waley Babu or Baaki Baatein Peene Baad respectively, were keeping with the Bollywood formula, he answered. “In India, Pop and Bollywood is almost the same, and that’s the way it is.”

When probed further if they would release a song by an Indian producer who remixed an international English song a la Kygo (who remixed an Ed Sheeran song and got noticed by Sony Norway), Sankalia didn’t disappoint.

“There are issues surrouding bagging the rights to a song, but we are open to this idea. We would give them a chance.” There is some hope at the end of the tunnel.

Man, mannequin and Mahtani

Pic/Nimesh Dave

Tushar Kapoor seemed to be taking a few style tips from Nandita Mahtani at a preview at a store in Bandra last evening.

The unexpected guest appearance
How does one test an actor’s skills? By throwing them a challenge bang in the middle of the act. And though it wasn’t a challenge that they remotely anticipated, the actors who took to stage at NCPA’s Tata Theatre last evening to perform Peter Brook’s Battlefield rose to the occasion.

A still from Peter Brook’s Mahabharata
A still from Peter Brook’s Mahabharata

Even as a mouse scurried across the stage leading to a joint gasp across the theatre, the actor playing Krishna and Bhishma both, from the Mahabharata (on which the play is based) wove it into his lines.

At the time the actor was narrating how all in Yudhishthir’s reign were happy, “even the animals” he added to his lines on seeing a mouse scurry across the stage. After the cameo, the mouse scurried away.

The audience appeared to be a sporting bunch, not letting the interruption get in the way of enjoying what has been hailed a world class theatre.

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