Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Haath ki safai
Chunky Pandey plays it safe amidst the coronavirus scare as Kurush Deboo tries to shake his hand during an event in Vile Parle on Thursday. Pic /Sayyed Sameer Abedi
COVID-19 fallout: A viral concern for music
There is a reason why the city's music industry isn't dancing with joy right now. Covid-19 has ensured that starting today, visas of all foreign nationals entering the country stand invalid till April 15, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. This means that all the gigs that international acts were booked to play in the intervening period have been cancelled, leaving the promoters concerned. The biggest name so far is American pop sensation Khalid (in pic). But there are smaller acts that have also been affected. Ugandan DJ Kampire's gig at a Khar venue this weekend is the first casualty, while Rotterdam artiste Oceanic's performance later this month has also been cancelled.
Romario Rodrigues, founder of music management company Kranti Art Theory, summed up the mood when he told this diarist, "We were supposed to bring an as-yet-unannounced international artiste down for our anniversary concert, which can't happen anymore. It's obviously important to put safety first and the government has taken a stand.
But with six other bookings also cancelled, I am thinking of getting a swimming tub, putting it in my living room and just sitting there till the issue blows over."
META safe than sorry
The 15th annual Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival scheduled to begin in New Delhi today has been postponed amidst fear of the coronavirus. We had reported last month that QTP's Every Brilliant Thing and Piyush Mishra's Gagan Damama Bajyo were nominated including in the Best Play category. Quasar Thakore Padamsee of QTP told this diarist, "It's a pity but better safe than sorry. Every Brilliant Thing is an interactive play and if everyone is going to be in a mask and afraid, it is not the vibe we want. Most importantly, we have a responsibility now and these are genuine problems. I'm sure META 2020 will be back at a later date."
A class act: Thespian gets honoured
Om Katare (second from right) receiving the award from Ram Naik (right)
The annual Vaagdhara Awards recognises individuals from across India for significant contributions to the country's societal and cultural development. This year, the Excellence in Theatre honour was given to Om Katare, founder of Yatri theatre group at the Mukkti auditorium for upholding the cause of thespians for 41 years. And coincidentally, one of the guests of honour was former UP governor Ram Naik, who Katare had once met. "I had done a play on the girl child and met him regarding it. It was election time and he had promised to do something after it got over. But he retired and I was happy that he remembered and spoke about meeting me," Katare told this diarist.
For the fourth year in a row, a popular cab aggregator has released a Lost and Found Index report, which is both, insightful and funny. It reveals what Indian leave behind in cabs, on what time and days of the week and some of the most unique items lost. "This year, for the first time, Mumbai has emerged as the most forgetful city in India, trumping Bangalore. It is also our attempt to educate riders on how to get their items back," Prabhjeet Singh, head of rides for the firm, told this diarist.
Decoding a novel pandemic
As the world moves into social distancing because of the newly-declared pandemic, three city-based medical professionals will release a comprehensive account of the virus next month. Written by physician and infectious disease specialist Dr Swapneil Parikh, medical researcher and clinical psychologist Maherra Desai, and neuropsychiatrist Dr Rajesh M Parikh (inset), the book is titled The Coronavirus: What You Need to Know about the Global Pandemic (Ebury Press, Penguin Random House).
The genesis of the title, Parikh, told this diarist, dates back to January. "As the Director of Medical Research at the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, I was concerned about our institution being ready to treat Covid-19 patients effectively while protecting our other patients and staff. So, early February I got a warning on a 50-page protocol for our hospital," he shared. The idea of a book took shape through a conversation with publisher Milee Ashwarya and the three writers then, put in 16-hour days and completed the draft. Ashwarya added, "Looking at the damage misinformation can cause, not just right now but also in the past, it is important to give people access to credible and correct information."
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