When Pritish Nandy came to Mumbai in 1982, he didn't think much of the city. And that's because he felt that he was coming from a friendlier and culturally richer city, Kolkata. After spending a 'magical decade' in the city of dreams, he fell in love with it and even did his bit to promote art and culture as a former Member of the Parliament.
Who: Pritish Nandy What: Talking about the changing face of Mumbai Where: At his Nariman Point office
Pic/ Mahesh Chafe
But once again, his love for Mumbai seems to be waning in direct proportion to the city's deterioration. Hoping to revive interest in art, he now brings to NGMA from Sept 10, Shesh Lekha, the last poems of Rabindranath Tagore that have been lyrically set in paint by artist Paresh Maity while Nandy has done calligraphy on them. The writer, producer, adman, politico, artist talks to CS about the various faces of Mumbai:
Relationship status The first thing that struck me about Kolkata was the fact that you could walk into anyone's house at any time of the day. The city has somehow still managed to retain this magic of relationships, which Mumbai has sadly lost. Here everyone is so busy earning money that they have no time for relationships. And that's one area that I have never compromised on. My company's CEO has been with me since the last 28 years. And I have a handyman who no one in their right mind would want to hire. He doesn't understand any language known to man or beast, but I like him. We have a strange chemistry. I think life is all about relationships.
Culture shock The deterioration of Mumbai saddens me. People now are only interested in money. The city is now operating for businessmen, gangsters and builders, and not for the common man. When Vijay Tendulkar died, he was forgotten in a day. Where have all the music concerts gone? In the late 80s we were able to fly down the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Sting etc. Now the taxes are so complicated that there are hardly any concerts organised. I think the quest for making Mumbai a global city and the financial capital has done more harm than good. We've lost our culture and our magic.
The tale of two cities While I believe that every city has some unique characteristic to it, the most attractive ones have seen a period of decadence. I lived in Calcutta during the Naxalite violence and saw the decline of the city with my own eyes. I now see many commonalities between Mumbai and Kolkata. The spirit of the city is flagging and we need to be concerned.