Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

Jul 08, 2016, 09:00 IST | Team MiD DAY

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

From sutradhar to feminist
“Obviously, I would want Shah Rukh Khan to play the lead role of my characters in my fiction novels. But then, he should fit into the story and the character. Actually, I have been very lucky that whichever star-actor I have wished for, has been part of the movie cast of my adapted novels,” enthuses ace author Chetan Bhagat, who has turned sutradhaar host for a new reality TV show that is being aired on a recently launched TV channel.

The bestselling author’s next novel will focus on ‘dramatic feminism’ (in his words), “Girls will be surprised to realise how deep I have delved into the female psyche,” he told this diarist.

A slice of Goa
When we heard rumours that Khar’s Yellow Bar All Day was shut for renovation, we dialled owner Nikki Bedi, who revealed a lovely-sounding teaser, “Yes, it’s shut for now. But, we’ll be back with a new avatar in August. All I can say is Goa’s most popular restaurant is coming to town.”

Chef David Cananzi

Meanwhile, Yellow’s happy-go-lucky chef, Davide Cananzi, refused to comment on his past stint, but shared plans of a new project as executive chef at Crossroad92. The three-month-old modern-style Asian street food restaurant in Fort, has a presence in Borivli too.

“People here know me as an Italian chef, but wait till you taste my Asian pot chicken broth,” he says. He plans to introduce a pizza and pasta menu next week. “Our concept is that the word ‘boring’ cannot exist here,” he says, adding that Fridays are dedicated to live music nights. The chef will pair food with the tunes.

“If it’s a Cold Play night, I’ll whip up British classics like Fish and Chips. I’ll also request musicians to send me their playlist, so I can make my menu inspired by it,” he shares. And if you’re wondering where to get your dose of his classic Tirasmisu, “Of course it’s on the menu!” the Italian signs off.

When Rahman moved to the music
AR Rahman was in the city to unveil the Futsal Premiere League’s groovy anthem. Unlike sports anthems, usually boisterous and heavy on the chorus, this one is R&B and Hip-Hop-inspired.

Pic/Sameer Markande

“Trends are changing. I wanted to break the formula and try something different,” he told this diarist. In the video that was unveiled last evening, he and brand ambassador of the league, Virat Kohli shook a leg. Rahman laughed, “They asked me to show my moves, and I thought they want me to be a comedian. But then, I showed it to my wife and she liked it!”

Calling it a wrap
It is curtains for Colaba’s Gallery Maskara, headed by Abhay Maskara. One of SoBo’s prominent galleries and part of Art Night Thursdays, the decade-old space will host its final show titled Time on July 14. In a newsletter sent out by Maskara, the curatorial director at the gallery, says that the last three weeks have been “nothing short of transformatory”. On June 14, a month back from the show opening, Maskara lost his father Santosh to pancreatic cancer within 12 days of diagnosis. In Ooty then, “the mood was upbeat and there were no signs that the end was near.”

Belgian artist Sofie Muller’s art at Gallery MaskaraBelgian artist Sofie Muller’s art at Gallery Maskara

Citing the passing away of his father, Maskara says that he will simply be unable to commit to the next 10 years in the same way that he has committed to the earlier 10. “It was a Herculean effort to run the gallery that needed almost all of my time, energy and resources,” Maskara admits. But the death of his father is the final blow, it appears, when Maskara shares that he has seen several of his friends all passing away early in recent years. “It hit home in a very personal way when my father passed away.”

Abhay Maskara
Abhay Maskara

However, the gallery’s closing is not the end of his tryst with the arts. Set up in 2006, its first public show was held in 2008, and it has represented artists like Prashant Pandey, Shine Shivan and Abraham George. Maskara says that it didn’t mark the beginning of his journey and neither will it mark his end. “Art is a part of me like salt is to the ocean,” he says. In the aftermath, the space will continue to exist and is looking for anyone interested to buy it. He doesn’t want to speculate, but he thinks it could easily become an artist studio, a private art foundation, a gallery for someone else – who knows? Will it always be for art? I hope it continues as an art space but that is not entirely in my control. An ending could mark a new beginning too, but we couldn’t help wonder if all the reasons are personal, and none too professional.

“The new directions are mostly personal; let’s hope it stays that way,” he says, dismissing speculation that the gallery was closing in a fickle art market. “Gallery Maskara has always had a distinct identity; we have happily existed in an ecosystem for 10 years where the interest in contemporary art or its adoption in India has not been so great. However, the weightage of these reasons is minimal and my decision is not market-driven. Art markets are cyclical, I hope it picks up soon for the sake of art. But it does not mean that I will re-open the gallery when that happens.” At 47, Maskara is looking at 57, and here’s wishing the next decade is full of exciting new canvases.

Live the NBA moment
With less than four months left for the NBA’s 71st season to kick off, its digital adaptation, NBA LIVE Mobile is ready to entertain fans across the globe. Available for free download, the game, developed by EA, allows players to build their squad for 5-on-5 matches on their phones.

The app features multiple gameplays including Live Event drills or game scenarios, head-to-head matchups against fans all over the world and single-player Season mode. As players participate in matches they will earn coins and other rewards to allow them to build up a team to beat. So, download the game and build a deep bench of top talent to max out the competition.

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