Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier

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

Eat on this
One of the discussions on the first day of the ongoing three-day The National Restaurant Summit (IRIS) held at a suburban five-star was on eating-out trends in India.

Riyaaz Amlani
Riyaaz Amlani

Moderated by Riyaaz Amlani, CEO of Impressario group, the speakers – Rohant Shyam of Zomato, Rahul Khanna of Azure Hospitality (Mamagoto), Kishore DF of WTF and Mihir Desai of The Bar Stock Exchange — bit into the subject with gusto.

“While we have no crystal ball to tell you what works, we’ll tell you our grassroots story,” Amlani began. Shyam shared data for the online food portal. “The user chooses convenience over price. Romantic dinners have been a top search in the past three months,” he revealed. Shyam added that Powai is emerging as a foodie hotspot.

While the conversation moved from marketing a food brand to offering exciting experiences — Bar Stock Exchange got a special mention for its concept. The panel also agreed that people are looking inwards, and they want to eat their own cuisine. No more postcolonial hangovers about the West being better.

“People are looking for good stories and nostalgia, whether Indian or Western,” said Khanna. Three points stood out: people are not willing to travel too far for a restaurant, they want value for money and restaurants must work to retain loyal customers.

Women, art and politics
Monday saw the launch of cultural theorist and curator Nancy Adajania’s book, The Thirteenth Place: Positionality as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf. This monograph on Altaf is aimed to serve as a cultural history of leftist politics and the women’s movement in India.

Kaiwan Mehta with Nancy Adajania at Kitab Khana in Fort. Pic/Shadab Khan
Kaiwan Mehta with Nancy Adajania at Kitab Khana in Fort. Pic/Shadab Khan

The author marks the journey of Altaf within the troubled relationship between aesthetic and political avant-gardes in postcolonial Indian culture. Adajania has also presented the history of Marxism and feminism in India and the role played by these ideologies in the evolution of artists such as Altaf.

A helping hand

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

Actress Kriti Sanon lends a hand to Parineeti Chopra (in black dress) as Ramesh Sippy and wife Kiran Juneja look on during a book launch at a five-star yesterday.

Tabiyet kaisi hai?
It started with kahwa chai and ended with David Bowie memories. The opening of the much-awaited exhibition, Tabiyat, an initiative by Wellcome Collection at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) on Monday evening was a grand, high-profile and memorable affair.

Mallakhamb performers from Shree Samarth Vyayam Mandir last evening. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Mallakhamb performers from Shree Samarth Vyayam Mandir last evening. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

On the lawns of the museum, flanked by a frangipani tree decked with oxygen masks, guests were audience to Dr Farokh Udwadia’s encapsulation of India’s varied health practices. The stars of the evening were mallakhamb performers of the Shree Samarth Vyayam Mandir.

Spotted among these lithe youngsters was the 50-year-old vice-principal of Ruparel College, Dr Neeta Tatke. The opening saw a fine mingling of the art and medicine community — twin aspects of this exhibition curated by Ratan Vaswani.

In the crowd were Brinda Miller, Ranjana Steinreucke, Usha Mirchandai, Darshan Shankar, Rahul Mehrotra, Prashant Lahoti, and Dr Ken Arnold from Wellcome. It was a tight guest-list — strictly those associated with the exhibition — but the person we missed the most was Mark Prime, Tabiyat’s expert exhibition designer.

Prime, who has formerly designed Mrinalini Mukherjee’s New Delhi show and Anish Kapoor’s first Indian show at Mehboob Studio, is also an expert at going undercover, avoiding the gaze of the press. Ending with a fine dinner catered by Joss and wine, served off the no-alcohol bounds of the museum, talk about David Bowie’s passing away did come up.

We were told that the text for the exhibition uses the same font as the late legend’s Heathen album cover. Bowie, you live on!

Makeshift at Kala Ghoda
A pavement at Kala Ghoda is playing venue for the display of works by students of Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies.

Pics Courtesy/Krvia
Pics Courtesy/Krvia

On view till January 15, the exhibition has been curated by Rahul Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote and Kaiwan Mehta.

Will Cyrus accept the offer?
Funnyman and actor Cyrus Sahukar will be back on the small screen on January 30. This time, he will be hosting a Comedy Central India original, Challenge Accepted.

Cyrus Sahukar
Cyrus Sahukar

The show will showcase a dare-based fight to the finish between five contestants competing for a grand prize. We have always loved his gift of gab, and will have to wait and watch what he offers this time.

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