Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Dossier

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

When the maestro held a masterclass
Theatre supporters of all kinds converged at Janki Kutir for a cultural high on Sunday night. Hansal Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Ashutosh Gowariker, Ramesh Sippy, Rakesh Bedi, Ila Arun, Dia Mirza, Nandita Das, as well as the Kapoor clan (Brothers Rajiv and Randhir Kapoor, Karisma and Kareena with hubby Saif), turned out to support Shashi Kapoor and his children, Sanjna and Kunal at Prithvi Theatre’s 32nd Memorial Concert.

Ustad Zakir Hussain readies backstage before Prithvi Theatre’s 32nd Memorial Concert
Ustad Zakir Hussain readies backstage before Prithvi Theatre’s 32nd Memorial Concert

Hundreds were packed into the intimate setting, many of them were happy to settle for the makeshift floor seating made by using a part of the famous semi-circular stage. Ustad Zakir Hussain directed a series of classical music tributes where he chose to stay in the background.

Ustad Zakir Hussain and his brother Taufiq Qureshi
Ustad Zakir Hussain and his brother Taufiq Qureshi

Two hours into the show, and he stepped in. Soon, he had the audience under his spell, regaling them with his wizardry and anecdotes, the odd joke thrown in, along with several short (impromptu) jugalbandis with brother Taufiq Qureshi, who matched him on the djembe.

Saif Ali Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan and sarangi player Sabir Khan (Ustad Sultan Khan’s son). Pics Courtesy/ Manish Mansinh
Saif Ali Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan and sarangi player Sabir Khan (Ustad Sultan Khan’s son). Pics Courtesy/ Manish Mansinh

After three hours of immersive music of the purest kind, the audience walked out with smiles, and notes that resonated for long.

Keep it hot when you fly
Frequent fliers would be aware of food options (or the lack of it) on domestic flights, especially the odd hour departures.

The chai flask helps to keep your tea warm during the flight
The chai flask helps to keep your tea warm during the flight

This diarist still gets embarrassed while recalling how her stomach growled mid-air during a flight from Delhi to Mumbai but all that the air-hostess could muster was chutney sandwiches. Now, Travel Food Services (TFS) hopes to change this.

It’s in the process of developing an insulated food tray that will enable passengers to carry hot meals, picked from an outpost of their choice at the airport, on to the flight. This innovation comes on the heels of Chai Flask by the same F&B operator.

It’s an insulated pentagon-shaped container with a spout, sufficient to carry two cups of a hot beverage that passengers can enjoy sipping on, in the clouds too.

Will India’s cricket czars drop 'control'?
While the Lodha Commission has caused a clean-up in the way cricket is run in India, Suresh Menon, (in pic) the editor of Wisden India Almanack (Bloomsbury) has a message for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the Notes by the Editor section of the latest edition of the annual.

Suresh Menon
Suresh Menon

Menon writes: “I concede I might have become a bit of a bore on the subject. But I think it is long past the time when the Indian cricket board dropped the “Control” from its name. Other countries that had the word in their names have dropped it, opting for something shorter and sharper.

If the “Control” has remained in order to tell the players who is in charge, then that’s all the more reason for dropping it. How about Indian Cricket? Or Cricket India?” We agree, sir, but will the czars nod? Your guess is as good as ours.

Chiddu has a designer fan
Last weekend witnessed the release of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s much-awaited book, Standing Guard: A Year in Opposition (Rupa) in New Delhi.

In a departure from netas like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress VP Rahul Gandhi who attended the do, designer JJ Valaya (right, standing) was spotted waiting for his turn for an autographed copy from the ex-mantri. We like this changing fabric of Indian politics. Pun intended, entirely.

Way to go, Sharmeen!
It was a second for Pakistani-Canadian film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. At yesterday’s 88th Annual Academy Awards, she bagged her second Oscar in the Best Documentary Short category for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. It looks at the common practice of honour killings in Pakistan.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Previously, in 2012, this diarist had the opportunity to interview the steely director after she won her first Oscar for Saving Face, a documentary that chronicled acid attack survivors in Pakistan. At the time, she was thrilled with the highest global honour, telling us, “The support that the Oscar generated for the effort to combat acid violence is a reward in its own right, and it has motivated me to continue to produce quality work.”

A poster of the Oscar- winning documentary, A Girl in the River
A poster of the Oscar- winning documentary, A Girl in the River

As the conversation flowed, we asked about the possibility of an Indian collaboration. Her reply got our salaam: “Given the central role played by India in Pakistan’s historical narrative I would love to collaborate with Indian film-makers.

We share so many common issues and we both stand to learn from each other because our cultures are so similar. I would love to collaborate with an Indian director or focus on an India-centric cause should the opportunity arise.” Now, that would be a filmi coup. What say?

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