Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

May 20, 2017, 08:46 IST | Team Mid-Day

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

Pic/Sameer Markande

In the skin of the character
If you think this chubby old gent is familiar looking, you are right. An almost unrecognisable Rishi Kapoor is caught by the midday photographer on the set of an upcoming film in Juhu yesterday.

In support of life
We like it when well-known faces put their weight behind causes marred by taboos. Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor recently went to the sets of Seven Lives, a short film that tells the true story of how an organ donation fails due to societal pressures. If it had happened, the donation would have saved seven lives. The chef interacted with the director and cast members of the film and urged his followers on social media to watch it. Kapoor also announced that during a recent trip to the US, he and his team managed to a raise a sum sufficient to help feed help feed 1,70,000 kids for a year. More power to you, chef.

A treacherous trek home
Anyone who's been to Mumbai recently can tell that it has become a city of craters, thanks to all the digging work. Many Mumbaikars have taken to social media hoping to awaken the authorities. Vishal Dadlani joined the league when he shared a picture of a dug-up pavement yesterday. "Had to jump this to enter my building... Thanks to the authorities for turning Mumbai into a wasteland of dug-up roads..." the artiste and composer said. The monsoon's not far away, and we hope the BMC is listening.

Mother of all ironies
Call it the irony of ironies. The annual five day-long Mumbai Kashish film festival beginning on May 24 is in its eighth edition here, and the choice for this year's 'country in focus' is the United Kingdom. As part of this, the LGBTQ-themed festival will screen 15 British films. What is more is that the UK, along with the British Film Institute will commemorate something called the LGBT50, which is a movement to mark 50 years of Britain decriminalising same sex relations. And to think that while this is on, Indians will remember that we still live in the shadow of Section 377. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which dates back to 1860, was introduced during British rule and criminalises sexual activities "against the order of nature".

The section was decriminalised with respect to sex between consenting adults by the High Court of Delhi on July 2009. That judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court on December 11, 2013, with the Court holding that amending or repealing Section 377 should be a matter left to Parliament, not the judiciary. While the British themselves are free, we continue to have a shackling law! Strange is a kind adjective for this.

Shriya Pilgaonkar caught during a break while shooting the ad film
Shriya Pilgaonkar caught during a break while shooting the ad film

Celestial dreams
"One of the best parts about being an actor is you can get to be all that you ever wanted to be in life, even if it is momentary," Shriya Pilgaonkar told this diarist, when asked about this new avatar. The actress recently finished shooting for an ad film, where she plays an astronaut. "As a child, my first ambition was to go to the moon, and Kalpana Chawla was, and remains, a great inspiration," revealed Pilgaonkar, who not only donned the special costume for the ad, but also put on a harness and underwent a kind of zero-gravity training. Now, this is what you call living a dream.

Gurmehar's story
She first came into our living rooms because a simple placard written by her went on to cause a political ruckus and subjected her to death threats, rape and commentary from people who questioned her nationalism. But Gurmehar Kaur, the 19-year-old English literature student and daughter of a martyr, faced her trial by media with strength. Now, she tells her story. Her book, Small Acts of Freedom, will be published in January 2018. The news was released yesterday, incidentally her late father's birthday. The book will tell the story of three generations of strong single women in her family — her grandmother, her mother and herself — spanning 70 years, from 1947 to 2017. It's a story that begins with her grandmother coming to India from Lahore after Partition, covers the whirlwind romance between Kaur's parents, her father's state funeral to her harrowing experiences as a student activist. We can't wait to read this one.

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