Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier

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

Of Brabourne, Bocelli and batons
The sounds of various stringed instruments led us to the side of the CCI Brabourne Stadium where maestro Zubin Mehta, along with the The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was rehearsing for the grand finale concert that marked his 80th birthday celebrations. After several security checks, we entered the arena and spotted MC Rajit Kapur rehearse his lines. A smaller section of the ground will be used to seat up to 8,000.

Opera legend Italian Andrea Bocelli rehearses along with maestro Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on the eve of the third and final concert that will be held at the Brabourne Stadium later today. Pic/Suresh KK
Opera legend Italian Andrea Bocelli rehearses along with maestro Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on the eve of the third and final concert that will be held at the Brabourne Stadium later today. Pic/Suresh KK

“We will be using just one of the stands at the back with a screen placed at the side. Those tickets will sell at Rs 500,” an organiser told us. Giant speakers lined the stage while strobe lights along with spotlights followed the singers as they walked in to perform their pieces.

“Over 100 technicians have been at the venue since April 14,” he added. Seating has been divided into zones and numbered similar to an auditorium setup. “The birthday is going to be as grand as the old man himself,” a spectator was overheard telling another.

Crew on walkie-talkies with different coloured badges darted across mouthing last-minute instructions. Iconic tenor Andrea Bocelli and Mexican soprano Maria Katzarava were immersed in rehearsal. The maestro arrived, dressed in a casual T-shirt and trousers, and took his seat.

In a moment, he raised his baton and the magic began. The rehearsal opened with Verdi’s overture La Forza del Destino. As the violin bows rose and fell, the crystal clear voice of the soprano pierced through the arena; this diarist was spellbound. It will be Mumbai’s night to cherish.

Gateway glory
It's time to reveal the results of mid-day’s online poll that we ran on World Heritage Day (Monday, April 18).

We shortlisted five landmarks — Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Horniman Circle, Elephanta Caves, Gateway of India and Flora Fountain, and invited readers to pick their favourite. The Gateway was the outright winner. Check out the pie chart (above) to see how each landmark fared in the popularity ratings.

The Angry Birds movie trailer is out in Hindi now. It has been egging us to watch this film due to release in May. The pirate pigs and the brazen birds are due for the clash of a lifetime.

Screen grab from an Angry Birds game

But will Red, Chuck and Bomb fight back to beat the pigs black and blue? Or, from the looks of it, have the evil plans hatched by the pigs already succeeded? Our diarist cries fowl and plans to watch this film, which might soar to great heights at the box office.

Will you be tweeting and hooting about our feathery friends? We think not being able to fly is reason enough for the birds to be miffed.

A mockery, this
A month ago, this paper had carried a positive anonymous review of Mockingbird in Churchgate. A few weeks later, this diarist dropped by and had a pleasant evening.

Finally, SoBo could boast of a cool-meets-mature chic space, we thought. Last weekend, we decided to give an out-of-towner friend a taste of it. Greeted by a packed house, bar stools were the lone option on the ground floor. Hoping for quieter respite, we headed to the mezzanine floor.

With its low ceiling and groups imagining that they were at a T20 game, we had no such luck. Two minutes into our chat and we were asked to shift to another table since a group had to be accommodated. Sound levels had reached a crescendo.

When we requested our attendant if we could shift to the ground floor in case a table cleared, he cheekily remarked that we’d refused the bar stool option earlier. The food arrived, and in sharp contrast to earlier visits, it was a mixed bag. During the wait, on two occasions, incorrect orders showed up at our table.

Unused chairs and cutlery were repeatedly cleared from our table, making it impossible for an uninterrupted conversation. As a fitting finale to our forgettable evening, the tab was handed to us though we were contemplating dessert.

It was disappointing to note that another space had fallen into the now-familiar pattern of poor service as popularity rises; this despite it being early days. This ain’t a good sign, especially with SoBo’s discerning foodies lurking around.

Three’s company

Pic/Atul Kamble

Sangeeta Bijlani (centre) with global fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra and Lubna Adams caught up at a fashion show held at a Worli five-star earlier this week.

Hip-Hop all the way
The desi Hip-Hop scene is all set to get a much-needed boost. Urban youth video platform, 101India, will launch its critically acclaimed web series Hip-Hop Homeland that kicks off on April 27 with the spotlight on some of India’s finest underground Hip-Hop talent including upcoming rappers MC Mawali, MC Tod Fod, Mumbai’s Finest and Delhi’s Prabh Deep Sagar. Mumbai-based rappers Divine will headline the event.

A poster about the Hip-Hop Homeland festivalA poster about the Hip-Hop Homeland festival

Rap was born as a political movement to bring African-American art to the forefront of American culture and now, the online platform wants to highlight the fact that Hip-Hop artists from all over India too are using the genre to voice their opinion. One of the rappers, MC Tod Fod is looking forward to it.

“101India is bringing together such great Hip-Hop artists and it is a big opportunity for me to work with them. A lot of people would be turning up for the event due to the line up of popular artists and performing on such platforms will pave the way for my bright future.” Hip-Hop fans, this is your time to groove.

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