Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Dossier

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

For the joy that's Urdu
For most Urdu lovers from the film industry, it was en masse flight to Delhi over the weekend. Jashn-e-Rekhta, an annual festival to celebrate Urdu language and culture, saw participation from lyricist and writer Gulzar, screenwriter and playwright Javed Siddiqui, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, actor Saurabh Shukla, and film critic Bhawana Somaaya among others.

The festival was an initiative of Rekhta, an online repository of Urdu poetry and literature in Nastaliq, Devanagari and Roman scripts to make it more accessible.

Barring the Tarek Fatah manhandling incident, the three-day event was largely about panel discussions, street plays, dastangoi (storytelling) sessions, mushairas, qawwalis, ghazals and baitbaazi.

The final right
Among the many issues that women in India face for being women, there is one that perhaps gets the least attention — the fact that they cannot perform the final rites of their loved ones. The marketing communications agency JWT India in association with HAIYYA, an NGO, now seeks to address this inequality with an initiative that aims to give Hindu daughters the same rights as sons to perform the last rites of their parents.

A still from the short
A still from the short

As part of the initiative, it recently released a short film online, where daughters who have been denied the right to light the funeral pyre — or even visit the crematorium — ask pertinent questions like how the very woman who gives birth is denied the right to participate in the rituals of death. Those who believe in the cause can voice their support on mydaughterwill.org

Aiga! What's in a name?
With election fever at its zenith, the typical bogey of incorrect names continues to beset voters. Herbert Barreto of Wadala received two election cards from the Election Commission of India. The first identity card should have had the name, Herbert David Barretto. Instead, they had written his name as 'Heraberat' David Bareto! To compound matters, Herbert's son's name, Engelbert had been spelt as 'Aigalabate' and the middle name as 'Harbat'.

The cards with the same photo and wrong names
The cards with the same photo and wrong names

Then, both his picture and his son's picture were the same. He and son are of course, going to vote today anyway. But, it is amusing how befuddled those in charge get when it comes to Westernised or Anglo names. A bit of a smile as you traipse to the booth.

Guthrie on event etiquette
We've all attended concerts where instead of the flashlights of yore, these days people illuminate the crowd with their phones. And if you've been stuck behind such a person, you know how annoying it is to have to view the concert through someone else's lens. Last week, at guitarist Guthri Govan's gig in the city, he had a word of advice. 'Put away your phones,' he told the rapt audience.

Guthri Govan
Guthri Govan

'The people behind you don't care about the video you're shooting. They want to see this live.' His quip was in response to an enthusiastic fan in the front who used his flash to take a photo. Govan, who performed with Gino Banks and Mohini Dey was in peak form throughout, cracking jokes about the 'average show they were about to put on', telling people not to request for their favourite number as he would play it at the end, and of course, giving them phone etiquette. It's a pity though, that many didn't take
his advice.

Not as candid, Suchitra?
This year began on a literary note from the film industry with Rishi Kapoor and Karan Johar releasing their autobiographies. Looks like, former actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi has been perusing the tomes, but isn't quite impressed.

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi
Suchitra Krishnamoorthi

Though she didn't mention the titles, here's what she had to say in a recent post: "Reading the much-hyped biographies. Feels like I'm in a beauty parlour reading Stardust or Filmfare." Coming from someone whose autobiography has been called a page-turner for its honesty, perhaps Krishnamoorthi was looking for some more candour. But then, how often do writings from the industry promise this?

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