Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Whispers

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

On the wrong side
This diarist was present when ex-Pakistan minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book, Neither A Hawk Nor A Dove, was released finally amid tight security.

It came to light that a few Shiv Sainiks, in their bid to sabotage the launch, had managed to sneak into the venue that morning via the Nehru Planetarium, which is located in the same complex.

They pretended to be local tourists who had dropped by to watch a show at the planetarium. However, they were intercepted by security. It was a Monday, after all, when the planetarium was shut.

These four-five men were asked to leave the premises. A few others had taken refuge in the parking lot but were also spotted, and requested to move out.

A Regal time
Back in 1933, on this day, Regal opened as India’s largest cinema hall, cooled by India’s first ever air-conditioning system. Designed by FW Stevens’ son, Charles in the Art Deco style, it was the first in its time to use RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete).

Regal cinema in Colaba. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Regal cinema in Colaba. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Cubism genius Karl Schara had a hand it its visionary interiors. Built as the city’s first exclusive theatre for films, it was Parsi entrepreneur Framji Sidhwa’s idea. He bought the site to build ‘The Best Cinema East of Suez’.

The 1,200-seater had a 65-ft-long steel balcony built by Tata Iron & Steel Company (Jamshedpur), offered unobstructed seating. India’s first underground car park was built over the auditorium structure.

Governor of Bombay, Frederick Sykes opened the first show with Laurel and Hardy’s, The Devil’s Brother. Regal mostly screened American films because of Sidhwa’s contract with MGM.

Leopards’ call
DCP Expeditions, a popular Mumbai-based nature conservation and wildlife photography training academy, completed five years. To celebrate the occasion, the academy organised a wildlife photography awards night in Vashi last week. The event was attended by renowned personalities from wildlife photography.

This award-winning shot by Mohan Thomas captured leopards near Kabini river in Karnataka. There are two leopards in the frame; though only the tail of the second can be seen in this frame
This award-winning shot by Mohan Thomas captured leopards near Kabini river in Karnataka. There are two leopards in the frame; though only the tail of the second can be seen in this frame

Mohan Thomas won the Photographer of the Year 2015 award for his image of two leopards in Kabini. Some of the other winners were Amit Rane, Ripan Biswas, Amir Shaikh and Bishwajit Datta Chaudhury, all masters of stunning wildlife frames. To view the full gallery of frames, log on to

A bloom in this teacup
Mumbai seems to be taking its tea seriously. The latest store to jump the tea-wagon is Foodhall at Lower Parel’s Palladium mall. It has launched a house brand called The House of Tea (THT) that will offer nearly 70 varieties of loose leaf blends and fusions.

Blooming Tea
Blooming Tea

From this stock, we can imagine de-stressing over cuppas of Lady Grey that blends Bergamot oil and Lavender flowers with black tea. However, the one that caught our fancy was the artisanal Blooming Tea. Made by binding tea leaves and flowers into a bulb, which are set to dry, this tea comes in a ball-shaped bundle.

When placed in hot water, the threads loosen, and the flower blooms in the cup. Steep at R26,800 per kilo, we’d love to know if there are any takers for this pricey brew.

Globe’s Hamlet in India
For those whose bucket list included watching a play at London’s iconic Globe Theatre, there’s good news. The theatre company will present an adaptation of Hamlet in Bengaluru’s Ranga Shankara theatre on October 18, and the British Council will livestream the performance.

A scene from Hamlet
A scene from Hamlet

So, anyone with an Internet connection will be able to follow the show. This production is a young, fresh version of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of deferred revenge. Twelve actors will perform over two-dozen parts on a stripped-down wooden stage in two hours and forty minutes. To watch this classic via livestream, log on to /hamlet-world-tour/

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