Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

Updated: Nov 19, 2016, 10:59 IST | Team mid-day |

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

Driving luxe art
It's a busy time for artist Sudarshan Shetty. While he is closely associated with the upcoming Kochi Biennale, he also recently became the first Indian artist to join the Rolls-Royce Art Programme. His artwork was unveiled at the Maker Maxity in BKC yesterday.

Sudarshan Shetty at the installation in Bandra Kurla Complex
Sudarshan Shetty at the installation in Bandra Kurla Complex

"It is a matter of privilege and also a challenge to create a new commission for the programme. Through this work, I hope to find a meeting point between innovation and my imagination as an artist," he explained. The work, a two-channel film anchored by two wooden structures, is entitled A Song A Story, and takes inspiration from a popular South Indian folk tale. It will be on view till November 21.

Shuttling for Saina
It's a nation that awards god-like status to its cricketers. By the same measure, it also doesn't think twice before burning their effigies when they lose a match. But looks like, when it comes to other sports we are far more rational. Shuttler Saina Nehwal lost to a world number 13 player from Thailand recently, but warm and encouraging wishes is what she received — not only from the sports fraternity, but also from fans across India.

Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal

It was her comeback game after a severe knee injury, and it was good to see how the perspective was not lost. Should we call this the intangible benefit of the Olympics?

Shashi Tharoor steals the show
We still remember how last year, the ongoing literature festival in the city opened with a rather awkward pair of speakers on stage. While the tall Germaine Greer literally towered over fellow writer Vikram Seth, it was their conversation that veered off in a direction so far away from the brief that it caused many audience members to exchange confused looks. Well, that certainly wasn't the case this year when on the festival's opening day, politician and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor stole the show.

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor

Flagging off the four-day festival with the launch of his new book, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, Tharoor engaged in an engrossing conversation with author Amitav Ghosh on how the empire's so-called modern policies were employed to extract the last drop of profit from India. But that wasn't all. The fiery debates that have come to mark the end of the festival's opening day saw Tharoor speak against the notion that India and Pakistan can never be friends. And from what festival regulars tell us, the kind of standing ovation Mr Charming received, was unlike they'd seen in a long time.

United against terrorism
Selene Biffi was evacuated from Afghanistan after an attack that killed her colleagues from the United Nation. But the state of the nation, riddled with an unemployment rate of 35 per cent and its link with easy terror recruitments, stayed with Biffi. She returned to Kabul to contribute to the development of education in regions that were controlled by the Taliban. Her NGO, the Plain Ink, now educates and trains young people in neglected conflict zones to act as peace builders in their communities.

Selene Biffi. Pic/AFP
Selene Biffi. Pic/AFP

It is in the recognition of this work that Biffi will be honoured with The Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice in the city tomorrow. An initiative of the Harmony Foundation, the event will be attended by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Dr Farooq Abdullah among others.

Funny in her bones
If not an actress or author, there is no doubt that Twinkle Khanna would have been a popular stand-up comic. After all, the successful ones find humour in everyday situations — which is second nature to Mrs Funnybones.

Twinkle Khanna
Twinkle Khanna

Khanna, who is making appearances for her new book, posted a picture with veteran make-up artist Mickey Contractor yesterday. Looking drop-dead gorgeous even with rollers in her hair, she tweeted "The chronicles of the middle-aged model with the mad bawa." May the wit be with you.


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