Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Pals who piggyback
Akshay Kumar and John Abraham take a break from promoting their film for some masti in Juhu. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
When creativity trumps tension
The unique poster for the just-concluded 60th Children's Literature Festival in Karachi, put together by graphic designer Murtaza Irfan Ali, incorporated the works of six artists. And despite the constant tension between us and our neighbours, further aggravated by the ongoing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, it's heartening to see that as far as the creative fields are concerned, there's no rift.
For one of the elements the poster uses — two girls next to a tree — are characters from Pakistani author Rumana Husain's bilingual series titled City Tales, which has been illustrated by Indian artist Priya Kurian. The poster also includes a line drawing of Karachi's cityscape taken from an older poster as well as an array of Pakistani children in regional dresses. High time we stopped frowning upon collaborations between the two countries, and instead took a leaf out of their book, no?
Art for a cause
With the grey skies defining the mood of the city, we can all do with a pop of colour. ConnectFor (CF), a platform which brings NGOs and volunteers together, is aiming to do just that for children from municipal schools in Tardeo and Panvel. The platform made a call for artists to make sketches and help volunteers in wall painting at the institutions this Sunday.
And looks like Mumbaikars wasted no time in signing up for a worthy cause, for the slots are already full. CF team member Vaibhav Buddhadev tells us they have noted artist Brinda Miller to thank, who shared their post and helped the news reach the right people. "I like to associate with causes that take art to people. I came to know of the platform through the Kala Ghoda Art Festival, and appreciate their cause," Miller told this diarist.
Kids get fashionable
There are workshops where children are taught how to paint. There are also ones where they are taught rudimentary cooking techniques. And there are those where they learn how to sing or dance. But hardly are there any workshops where kids are taught how to walk the ramp. Yet, that's exactly what will happen when youth mentor Neeraj Gaba grooms 60 children aged between four and 12 to model clothes.
The idea is to build confidence and teach them how to carry themselves, and also develop social skills, camaraderie and a sense of healthy competition with others their age. Twenty of the children will then be shortlisted for the final auditions, and one girl and boy who win that round will get to walk the ramp at a premier fashion week, which would mean a rather early entry into the fashion world.
A new chapter in Cuffe Parade
The restaurant industry is like a funny, flippant child changing its heart every now and then. Keeping up isn't easy, and the shelf-life of an establishment is typically short. Yet, some manage to exist defending themselves against the forces. Flamboyanté, the 12-year-old multi-cuisine restaurant in Cuffe Parade, is one such example. But keeping with the times, owner Amrish Arora (Hammer and Song, and Fountain Sizzlers being his other ventures) has decided to give it a makeover.
"The new space will offer a courtyard vibe, a separate section which is equipped to host banquet parties and also Café Flam [our coffee shop]. Traditionally as a company, we have always offered multi-cuisine fare, whether it is with our catering business or at the restaurants. We continue to do so, and our kitchens offer these separately without any cross-pollination," Arora told this diarist, speaking about the fact that they have separate kitchens for the cuisines they offer. We're waiting to see what this looks like.
This one's for the archives
Yesterday, the India Culture Lab hosted the much awaited lecture and masterclass by Rahul Mehrotra, where the architect and urbanist spoke about design challenges in contemporary India. But just before the session began, Mehrotra, who is also director of the Urban Design Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, made it a point to visit the Godrej Archives. Chief archivist Vrunda Pathare took Mehrotra through the collection, where he was seen photographing decades-old typewriters and safes.
Seeing his keen interest in the former, the archives gifted Mehrotra a copy of With Great Truth & Regard: A Story of the Typewriter in India, by Chirodeep Chaudhuri and Sidharth Bhatia. A visibly impressed Mehrotra then left for the session, but not before he left a note in the archives' guest book congratulating them on an important collection, which opened the floodgates of many memories.
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