Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
How do you do it every day, Mom!
Shilpa Shetty, always well turned out and smiling, entertains the photographers as son Viaan, not in the mood for a crowd, turns away while dad Raj Kundra looks on, as the family exits a Bandra restaurant after lunch on Sunday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Whether it's a young media student from India or a 21-year-old Nobel laureate from across the border, the language that promising youngsters resonate with today knows no borders. We were pleasantly surprised to find Mumbai-based illustrator Priyanka Paul's graphic novel on Assembly, a digital publication by Malala Yousafzai's organisation, Malala Fund.
The Adventures of Rajni is the story of a 19-year-old from a small village in India, who is studying to become a police officer. If only political leaders could take a hint from this.
What's screening at the movies?
Time and again, filmmakers associated with good cinema in India have pointed to the lack of importance accorded to the script in Bollywood. Trashy movies, then, is only the obvious outcome, they say. These and other challenges faced by screenwriters will be the theme of the fifth edition of the Indian Screenwriters Conference taking place this Wednesday.
While Aamir Khan is the chief guest, veteran journalist Vinod Dua is the keynote speaker. Over the course of three days, filmmaker Amit Masurkar of Newton fame, screenwriter Varun Grover, actor and writer Sumeet Vyas, and Jyoti Kapoor Das (writer and director of the short film Chutney) among others, will be addressing topics such as whether writers and producers can ever be allies, where the new voices in television are, and the blurred lines between history and mythology. While we like the choice of topics, here's hoping what emerges from the discussions translates to what we watch on the screen, too.
Gone over to the dark side
We have heard of still and sparkling water. We have also been asked by the wait staff at restaurants if we would like to sip on water bottled straight from the gurgling brooks of the hills - and seen the price go up as the adjectives pile on. So, we weren't surprised when we heard of a new entrant to the mineral water scene in the city. That is until we checked out the product images. Packaged in a sleek bottle was jet black water, darkened not by activated charcoal, but with "naturally infused black fulvic minerals". Sourced from the springs of Canada, the water is being marketed as the panacea for overall wellness with its optimum pH levels. And to make sure the colour doesn't creep potential consumers out, they also provided pictures of celebs swearing by the concoction. The price? Rs 260 for a 500-ml bottle. This takes us back to the days when water was for quenching your thirst, and for any added minerals, you turned to the good ol' nariyal paani.
Not as clear as De
Separating the wheat from the chaff is becoming an increasingly difficult task in this era of fake news. What do you take as genuine and what should you dismiss as bogus? That's the question many of us ask when we consume news today. Well, one particular article - in which the headline attributes it to Shobhaa De - almost falls under this category, but for the line right at the end that says, "Just in case you are wondering, obviously it is not written by Shobhaa De.
It is a work of satire." It was published on a website known for its right-wing propaganda, and deals with Imran Khan's emergence as Pakistan's PM candidate. The headline says, "Shobhaa De writes an ode to Imran Khan". And the article, written in a way that tries to mimic De's witty style, extols Khan's physical beauty while at the same time taking a dig at his many marriages. De herself called this flagrant impersonation out on Twitter, not taking too kindly to it. And to be honest, neither would we, had we been in her place.
This diarist was in for a surprise when she boarded the local train at Mulund recently. Squatting under a ladies compartment seat was this doggie, who appeared as familiar with the local train commute as any Mumbaikar. When we checked with Welfare for Stray Dogs CEO, Abodh Aras, he said, "It is most likely a stray sporting an anti-reflector collar provided by NGOs to avoid stray deaths." This fawn guy, he added, is a regular commuter, as is another one who takes the Western line to hop off at Mumbai Central!
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Atal Bihari Vajpayee's daughter, granddaughter arrive at Smriti Sthal to collect ashes