Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

01 June,2020 06:03 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Team mid-day

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

Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Living on a prayer

A man lights an incense stick before an idol of Hanuman in Mulund, during the lockdown over the weekend. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Imagining the world after 40 years

Everyone is uncertain about what the immediate future holds once the worst of this situation is over, but the folks at Art and Charlie, an initiative for artists, are focusing their thoughts even further down the line. The Mumbai-based platform is putting together an online exhibition called Cut to 2060, for which they are calling for submissions where artists can contribute visual ideas including animation, photographs, videos and digital collages that imagine what the world will look like four decades from now.

"We want to see how all the changes that we are experiencing now will affect our lives at that time [2060]. So, we are asking people to showcase their artistic vision and ponder on that thought a bit," Ayesha Parikh, founder and head curator of Art and Charlie, told this diarist, adding, "We are also doing a three-part talk series, on the future of the ecosystem, cities and art consumption. The first one, on the ecosystem, is scheduled for June 5, with the other two being held on subsequent Fridays."

Key lessons

Maria João Pires founded the Belgais Centre for Study of the Arts in 1999

After announcing her retirement in 2018, one of the world's best pianists, Maria João Pires made her way to the city in February, having told this diarist that "a trip to India is always an exception."

Here, she gave two scintillating performances with the Symphony Orchestra of India, and the violin virtuoso and friend Augustin Dumay. Owing to the lockdown and her work with the Belgais Center for Arts in Portugal, Pires is now taking one-to-one online piano lessons open to anyone, really. "At this point it is necessary to find alternatives and make all efforts to build a better world," she said. Visit for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Such a long journey

Last Sunday, thespians Quasar Thakore-Padamsee and Akash Khurana were in conversation in an insightful session by Akvarious Productions on four decades in Mumbai's theatre scene through the latter's journey. "Akash is a rare person in the theatre community; his work spans four decades. He has constantly moved and worked with many people and not stuck to a group. He is as much my contemporary as he is Naseeruddin Shah's. He's worked with the likes of Satyadev Dubey all the way to Akarsh Khurana.

He was around when Prithvi Theatre first came up. He has also done shows at some of the alternative venues. He has tried every model theatre artistes have used; from part-time to full-time," Thakore-Padamsee told this diarist. "Among other things, we talked about the duties of current theatre artistes towards the post-COVID generation and the way forward in reviving it," he added.

Vir is in seriously august company

No wonder comedian Vir Das is happy these days. He's made it to the comedy issue of Queue, a journal launched by a streaming platform, along with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Jerry Seinfeld, Hannah Gadsby, David Letterman, Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock, among others.

In the interview, which is available online, Das has spoken about his first stand-up, his inspirations, which include Chapelle, and the one time that his pants ripped open on stage, in his typical candid style.

Goodwill pays off for this festival

This diarist remembers entering a different world altogether when he walked into the Malad venue for Control Alt Delete, a crowdfunded music festival. It was in February this year, when life was a lot simpler, and the sort of unfiltered fun that everyone was having made it apparent that this event runs on tremendous goodwill.

The organisers have now released the complete accounts for the money that they raised, and reported that the last edition was the most successful one, with the 50-odd performers netting '6,081 each. But things are still up in the air when it comes to the next edition. "We want to see how the cards fall into place before we start planning anything," shared Nikhil Udupa, one of the people behind the fest.

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