Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

Jan 09, 2016, 08:49 IST | Dharmendra Jore, Hemal Ashar, Dipanjan Sinha and Krutika Behrawala

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

King khan on call

Pic/Bipin Kokate
Pic/Bipin Kokate

Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan seen taking a break in between shooting for an upcoming film at a school ground in Grant Road last evening.

An Indian documentary on Netflix
Even if someone were living in an ivory tower, with Wi-Fi connection of course, they would have known by now that Netflix has officially launched in India, thanks to friends and friends of friends bombarding social media timelines with app screenshots.

Rohena Gera
Rohena Gera

However, before you begin a binge-watch of your favourite TV shows, check out What’s Love Got To Do With It, the first documentary film from India picked up by the Internet television network. Helmed by city-based writer and filmmaker Rohena Gera, the documentary addresses the nation’s preoccupation with arranged marriages in a funny vein.

It will be available on the Indian site as well as in other territories including USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Here’s hoping more Indian talent finds space on the global network.

The fair Bharatiya
This office is different. It doesn’t define power in a sense that visitors to government offices get. And we haven’t seen any other work place in Mantralaya, where sheer power rules.

Shrikant Bharatiya (centre) at the round table
Shrikant Bharatiya (centre) at the round table

Shrikant Bharatiya, the latest entrant in Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’ chosen team of Officers on Special Duty, has set up his office on the CM’s 6th floor complex in a fashion where everyone seated is treated equally. Bharatiya has acquired a round table that is surrounded by chairs of the same design.

He occupies one of the four seats, and makes visitors comfortable in the remaining three, getting the small place rid of its status quotients. “I don’t want my visitors to feel they are less important. I’m here to help them and ensure that they get that sense of importance in the complex system called the government,” Bharatiya told this diarist.

Mandy’s loving it!

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

TV star and hostess Mandira Bedi (left) and Manasi Scott (centre) appear to be paying full attention to the Bunny Chow at NRI, Michellin-star chef Atul Kochhar’s (right) first restaurant in Mumbai that opened on Thursday evening.

Coffee, tea or he?
With just a week to go for the Mumbai marathon (to be run on January 17), there are a slew of functions marking the run up to the big day. The first of these held recently, was to announce the ‘face’ of the 2016 marathon, which like every year, is John Abraham.

John Abraham at the press conference. Pic/Bipin Kokate
John Abraham at the press conference. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The actor strode into a frenzy of flashbulbs at a press conference held a SoBo five-star. For seasoned hacks like this diarist, it was ho-hum time, since Abraham is a staple at the launch conferences of the marathon every year. Yet, it was amusing to spot a young girl who was in charge of the tea/coffee counter at the hotel, shaking with excitement when she saw him.

The girl, who said she was a ‘trainee’ was visibly thrilled as the actor passed the beverages counter and went into the Regal Room for the press conference. “Oooohh! I want to meet John,” she told this diarist, even as the teacup she was holding quivered.

Asked, if she wanted him to come up to the counter, she said, “Yes, ma’am!” In fact, Ms Giddy Head was so distracted that she forgot an order, and first poured tea instead of coffee into a cup, for a unsuspecting guest at the event.

The smart teacher for India’s kids
Abheda Foundation, a West Bengal NGO, is taking the English language to underprivileged kids in the state by making it simpler and relatable through the software, Abheda, that teaches English through vernacular.

Now, this diarist hears that makers of the software have taken another step forward. They are ready with the mobile app, Abheda English, which anyone anywhere can download from Google Play Store for free, after January 12.

Biswajit Mitra, founder of Abheda Foundation, says, “This will be a boon, particularly to the underprivileged children without adequate resources. It will prove to be a milestone in the quest for social inclusion through digital inclusion.”

Though the app is limited to Bengali, Mitra says the Santhali version will be out soon. They are also planning to work on other Indian languages.

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