Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

Jun 30, 2017, 09:34 IST | Team Mid-Day

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

Pic/Shadab Khan

Size Does Matter
Alia Bhatt proves big is better when she gets a staff member to shield her from Mumbai's temperamental monsoon with nothing less than a sprawling garden umbrella.

Farewell, Neil
Neil Dantas, the talented NID graduate and graphic artist, who added his quirky touch to the iconic symbols of Mumbai, is no more. Dantas was known for his creative designs of the kaali peeli, cutting chai, and BEST buses, and the phrase Kuch Bhi, which he put onto T-shirts and mugs. He was detected with brain tumour in 2010. This year, the cancer relapsed and his friends had successfully organised a fundraiser for his treatment. If the outpouring of grief and messages of love and support are anything to go by, Dantas was an inspirational, loving mentor and friend. And his designs, one of which this diarist has worn proudly, are certainly the BEST.

The plot moves to Spain
In November 2014, during this diarist's chat with bestselling author Dan Brown, who was on a visit to Mumbai, he shared a clue about the setting for his next book. "It won't be Italy!" he said, refusing to divulge more, despite our polite nudging. Last year, news trickled in of his next, Origin, that revealed little else, apart from the fact that it was going to be another thrill-a-page chase by symbologist Robert Langdon. Recently, his publishers released a trailer that revealed names of four locations in Spain – Bilbao, Seville, Madrid and Barcelona that are part of the plot. Now we know.

An author's note to cynics
The #NotInMyName campaign, in the wake of Junaid Khan's mob lynching, saw support coming in from all quarters across cities. While the campaign had its usual online detractors, writer Annie Zaidi felt the need to reach out to those who feel such protests pale before the powers that be. "You are wrong. Something changes. It is established that there exist people who do not want other people killed, maimed or disenfranchised... I know you worry, how will a small peaceful protest end? What about lathi charges or teargas?" she said, pointing, however, to the fact that events in history are not sealed off from each other. "Good, safe societies are never so for just one section... Peace and prosperity are either available to all or all live in fear." Well put.

Job offers from Chang
A bored-looking Meiyang Chang, dressed in formals and seated in a dull office, stamps away one document after another. "Is your job stamping out your passion?" asks the dentist-turned-singer and actor, as he urges viewers to own what they do. The creative is for their host's upcoming show, India's Best Jobs, where he will be seen interacting with bike modifiers, wildlife photographers, canine behaviourists and other interesting professionals. That sounds like a cool job, too, Chang.

Sooni makes it to the Academy
Under pressure to diversify the membership of its governing body for several years, the Academy recently rolled out its list of invitees for 2017, which included Bollywood biggies Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone among others. But we knew the committee had done their homework well when we saw screenwriter and photographer Sooni Taraporevala, and documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan on the list. "It's a great honour. I was thrilled and surprised [to see my name]. It was lovely waking up to the news," Taraporevala told this diarist. The 60-year-old, who has been the scriptwriter for Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay, Mississippi Masala and The Namesake, said she was lucky to have Nair as a collaborator. "These 30 years have been quite a rollercoaster ride. There were several scripts I was commissioned to write for films that never got made. But then news like this comes by, and you are propelled to continue working," she said. Taraporevala recently directed a VR film, Yeh Ballet, about two boys from working class families in Mumbai who dream about being principal dancers in American ballet companies.

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