Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Stepping into the limelight
Actor Sara Ali Khan turns heads as she exits an eatery in Bandra on Thursday afternoon. Pic/Shadab Khan
Here comes the convertible
Who can resist the temptation of "two-in-one"? Indians love a good bargain, after all. Designer Payal Khandwala has tapped into the allure of double in a range of reversible sarees she has decided to call Gemini, after the twin-faced zodiac sign. That the designs also participate in the sustainable narrative is an added bonus. "As a Gemini myself, and a saree lover, I've wondered how to make sarees more multipurpose than they are.
These sarees come with two pallus. All you have to do is flip them to alter the look significantly," she tells this diarist about the handwoven pieces in mulberry silk and cotton, in plain and twill weaves. The reversible garment experiment in India is as long as it is varied. Maheshwari sarees, for instance, come with reversible borders. PJ Ravi of Chennai's Kumaran Stores introduced a range of Kanjeevaram sarees treated to resemble pre-washed denim in 2008. They offered the wearer an illusion of owning four sarees for the price of one. Four matching pallus in different patterns could be zipped on the main saree length in seconds.
Last year witnessed a series of engaging events in the arts and culture space as part of the UK-India Year of Culture in the two countries. While the official year of exchange is over, the High Commission of India in London will now host a similar discussion about the perceptions of culture, heritage and traditions in India. The speakers include Rajiv Arora, co-founder of the jewellery brand Amrapali, art historian Girjia Sinha and textile designer Sanjay Garg.
Humour dished out free of cost
The biggest grouse that people seem to have at present is the fact that petrol prices have reached sky-high levels. This, of course, is serious business. But that doesn't mean that a comedy group can't derive humour from the dire situation. Its members put up a post on a social media platform that read, "Petrol price is so high that…" This led to such a funny series of comments on the thread that some of the people who replied would do well to join the comedy group's ranks. Some examples of the responses are: "Cocaine is looking for a new job", "It's giving Snoop Dogg a complex", "You have to show your PAN card to buy it", and "Modi has decided to make jogging the national hobby". Hilarious.
Urdu takes centre stage
Urdu has been witnessing a revival of sorts in the city, with experts coming up with interesting ideas to familiarise young Mumbaikars with the beauty of the language. A connoisseur of Urdu and Hindustani since his student days, actor-director Harsh Chhaya will be reading poetry tonight by modern Urdu poets including Nida Fazli, Dr Bashir Badr, Jaun Elia and Ahmad Faraz at a musical evening called Zara Sa Ghazalish. While he has performed in a similar but more formal event in Kolkata, this will be his first performance in Mumbai. "Sudeep Banerji is one of the few people today who only sings ghazals, and Aalok Shrivastav is a well-known Urdu poet. We wanted to do something to introduce the language to a new audience," said Chhaya about his fellow performers. "The evening will be a mix of storytelling, recitation and singing, and we hope it sounds interesting to the audience," he told this diarist.
An actor who is flying high
These are exciting times for Ashish Verma. The actor shot to fame with the web series, Inmates, and is now readying for the launch of the feature film, Bhavesh Joshi, which hits the screens today. But word comes in that in the middle of all this, Verma was busy shooting for a British production, called Imperial Blue (not to be confused with a liquor brand of the same name). Directed by Daniel Moss, the film stars Paul Dewdney and Nicolas Fagerberg alongside Verma. It was shot partly in Uganda and partly in India, and the plot revolves around a new drug in circulation, Bulu. No wonder Verma is flying high.
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