Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Who's this purr-son?
Now you know why cats and women have been long connected in popular imagination. Jacqueline Fernandez has company while she waits outside a clinic in Bandra on Thursday. Pic/Shadab Khan
The SOI sextet performs at Marine Drive
Here's music to our ears
Recently, when multiple Grammy-winning cellist played an impromptu gig at Marine Drive, Mumbaikars out on an evening walk or simply idling their time there were offered a rare treat. And recently, they were in for another musical surprise, when a sextet of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) performed there unannounced. The gig was part of NGO Ummeed Foundation's outreach programme as part of Autism Awareness Month, which is marked every April. Maya Bhogilal, who helped organise the event, told us, "Not many people know what autism entails. There were 14 buildings in the city that were lit up in blue on April 1 and 2, to mark the beginning of the month. But many didn't know why that was. So, we stood with posters that spread awareness about the issue even as the SOI band played the concert at Marine Drive."
Good on you, (Anuvab) pal
Here's a feather in Anuvab Pal's cap. The stand-up comic had toured the UK with his routine, called Empire, last year. He had performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and his show was also broadcast on BBC World Service's New Year's Special.
His humour seems to have struck a chord with the British, since the comedian has now informed this diarist that parts of the routine will remain as a permanent exhibit at the world-famous Victoria & Albert Museum, as part of a series called Laughing Matters: State of the Nation. That is a definite step forward for Indian stand-up comedy, and no wonder Pal said, "I'm not very good at talking about good things that happen because I consider it [stand-up comedy] to be just like any other job, but I was a little pleased with this one."
Story of a Russian adventurer
Hardly anyone knows about this, but a little over two decades before Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama reached Indian shores, an adventurous Russian merchant named Afanasy Nikitin had found his way to Revdanda, a village near Alibaug. In fact, there is a school there that has a monument dedicated to Nikitin, erected in 2002 under the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And a delegation from the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (in pic) recently visited that monument, with the director of its Mumbai chapter, Sergey Fandeev, telling the schoolchildren about Nikitin's adventures and how he, for all practical purposes, was the founding father of Indo-Russian friendship. Fascinating stuff.
A chef gets his due credit
Long before our TV screens were inundated with cooking shows, there was only one programme - and one chef - that visually captured the art of preparing food. That programme was Khana Khazana and that chef, of course, was Sanjeev Kapoor. The show eventually got shelved, but not before Kapoor had made a name for himself and gone on to mentor many of the present-day celebrity chefs. So, when his birthday was celebrated this week, Saransh Goila, Vicky Ratnani and Ranveer Brar (in pic) took to social media to acknowledge the debt that they owe Kapoor. Goila, for instance, wrote, "Today whatever I am and where I have reached, all stems from the universe he created and it wouldn't have been possible without his support." Nice to see credit being given where it's due.
Artistes log ki poll khul gayi
There is a clear divide among the country's artistic community. That's why you first had a bunch of filmmakers, then a group of writers, followed by scientists and lastly, thespians signing campaigns that called for voters to exercise their franchise against the ruling dispensation. But now, around 900 artistes have come out in support of the saffron party, signing a letter that warns people against voting it out of power. They include some expected names like Vivek Oberoi, Koena Mitra, Payal Rohatgi (in pic) and Pallavi Joshi, whose husband, Vivek Agnihotri, is a vociferous BJP supporter. Others include Rahul Roy and Shankar Mahadevan. It still remains to be seen what the average voter will decide by May 23. But before that, it's becoming clear as day which side of the fence these famous faces sit on.
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