Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Until we do a movie together
Star kids Viaan Kundra and Aaradhya Bachchan meet at his superhero-themed birthday party in Juhu as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and his father Raj Kundra look on. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Group members visit the site
Small will be big inside this museum
There was a moment in the middle of the daylong event, Think Big to Think Small, held yesterday at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), when Alex Whitfield, head of learning programmes at London’s British Library, shared how over 10,000 visitors thronged the library for the Harry Potter exhibition. They shut access to the general public to allow students their own quiet time, and this idea led to approving nods from the 50-odd participants who met at the city museum.
The terrace of the building shaped around a tree
The group had gathered to brainstorm for ideas for the children’s museum that’s set to open around November within the complex. With senior minds from museums in Singapore and London, to NGOs and children’s festival founders as well as grassroots influencers like schoolteachers, there was an expected excitement in the air as all present realised that they were on the cusp of creating an engaging, experiential space for the young in Mumbai. Backed by the Bank of America, the eco-friendly design by Rahul Mehrotra Architects was presented by Robert D Stephens from his team. Afterwards, they were led to the site by Director General Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
With a giant tree winding its way through the structure, and a leafy canopy surrounding the main building that will include an amphitheatre and a terrace for activities, children have plenty to look forward to.
Indian lit fix
In a bid to highlight how literature helps shape our world, BBC Culture has released a list of the most influential works of all times. The 100 Stories that Shaped the World list is a compilation of nominations from more than 100 authors, literary stalwarts, writers and journalists from 35 countries. India found its way to the map through the nomination of The Mahabharata, attributed to Vyasa, The Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma, The Ramayana, attributed to Valmiki, the controversial book, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and celebrated author Saadat Hasan Manto’s Toba Tek Singh. If you haven’t yet laid your hands on any of these classics, now might be a good time.
Any Bollywood fan on social media will know the popularity of Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s #Sundaybinge videos, where she gives hope to the calorie conscious by promoting weekly indulgence. But this Sunday, it was comedian Jamie Lever’s spoof binge post that made our day. In the video, the artiste pretended to eat a mango cheese cake made from "nakli injection mango, fata hua milk and fungus yoghurt", matching up to the actor-entrepreneur’s level of enthusiasm seen in Kundra’s videos. The clip comes to a hilarious end when Lever is seen coming out of the washroom post the binge. Now we wish for a collaboration between the two!
The urban art quandary
We are all for art in public spaces, be it in Mumbai or in any other city. So, we weren’t exactly pleased as a punch when we heard that the iconic "Sprouts" installation at the AIIMS flyover in Delhi is reportedly being replaced by a water fountain. Now, the aesthetic beauty of the piece invites divided opinion. But the issue here is the impunity with which local authorities decide the fate of artwork put up for public display.
Shouldn’t the public’s opinion be taken? Shouldn’t the artist whose work is being taken down at least be informed about that action? Neither of these things happened in the case of Sprouts. On the contrary, Sprouts creator Vibhor Sogani, who has also redesigned Mumbai’s suburban trains, came to know about it from newspaper reports. Understandably peeved, he says, "This move would have made sense if this was the only location available in the city [for the fountain]. When there are hundreds of roundabouts, public spaces and traffic islands waiting for more artworks, what’s the point in dismantling the one that exists? The one where someone has already invested money and resources?" Good question.
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