Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
For the specially abled children at Mukul Madhav Foundation, the 20th anniversary celebrations of the organisation were filled with surprise. Already cricket fans, the kids who are coping with cerebral palsy, visual impairment and other disabilities found themselves in the company of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was there to conduct an interactive session.
"It was lovely meeting and interacting with these amazing kids. Bringing a smile to their faces made my day. I was left in awe by their breathtaking performances," Pandya said about his experience.
The silver lining
When Megha Bhaduri, a film student and budding director, began taking pictures of her father, who was ailing from Huntington's Disease, little did she know that two years later it would become fodder for a dream project. Bhaduri moved to the US to pursue her masters after her father's death in 2016.
There, she met Zain Memon of Memesys Culture Lab who backed her project. Now, it has blossomed into Piano Fingers, a documentary traversing the lives of four families — of which three are based in Mumbai — as they navigate through loss and taboo that come with incurable genetic diseases like Huntington's. The film is slated to release in July-August 2019 and is in the last leg of production.
A still from Piano Fingers
"The experience has been emotionally exhausting but worth it because it brings to light the issue of stigmatising diseases under the cultural connotations of Indian society, and [the need to] spread awareness about Huntington's Disease," Bhaduri told this diarist.
The nominees are
India's publishing industry was estimated to be worth $6.7 billion in 2017 and it continues to keep growing. To celebrate the interesting titles released in 2018 across genres, the shortlist for the Publishing Next Industry Awards is out. Oral historian Aanchal Malhotra and social activist Aruna Roy are among those who have bagged nominations for the best printed book for Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition Through Material Memory, and The RTI Story: Power to the People, respectively.
Anita Vachcharajani's Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel with a Paintbrush has been nominated for children's book of the year while the category for best book cover design has some outstanding entrants. SoBo's Kitab Khana made the cut for bookstore of the year. A jury of 30 including publishers, designers and consultants will decide the winner whose name will be announced in January.
Defining the new normal
The city's busiest film festival, MAMI, is back in the bay. And this year, it brought along with it not only a riveting array of films but also a message on gender equality. In the wake of the #MeToo movement in India, which is entering its fifth week, the MAMI board dropped movies associated with men who were called out for sexual harassment or for being complicit in cases of abuse.
Joseph and others at the MAMI panel
The organisers also put together a panel comprising filmmakers Kabir Khan, Shonali Bose and Anjali Menon, and actors Renuka Shahane, Padmapriya and Parvathy to conduct a session which sought to chalk out the way forward in making Bollywood a safe space for women.
Casting director Tess Joseph, who was part of the session, put up a post on Facebook, which read, "It is this 'aisa hi hota hai' attitude that needs to change. We need to define a new normal... Actors don't allow yourself to be bullied into meetings after office hours or at people's homes. Follow your instinct, voice your discomfort and understand what it's stemming from."
San Soucci, once again
In March 2011, this diarist recalls walking into the historic Masina Hospital in Byculla after its OPD had been renovated. Formerly known as Sans Soucci (French: no worries), it was once the palatial home of wealthy Jewish entrepreneur, David Sassoon.
The mansion was later gifted by Sassoon to Dr Hormasji Manekji Masina after he had cured him of hernia. A striking reminder of the city's ties with the Baghdadi Jews, we now hear that initial talks are underway among its leading members for its upkeep and maintenance.
Prominent among them are Jewish scholar Dr Saul Sapir and prominent member of the community Ralphy Jhirad. Watch this space for developments on this count.
My turn now
Singer Sona Mohapatra, whose tweet against composer Anu Malik over sexual harassment among other allegations, led him to lose the judge's chair on a talent show, readies to judge a reality singing show on the sets at Juhu. Pic/Satej Shinde
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