Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Looks like it went well, son
Neena Gupta and Ayushmann Khurana walk out of a theatre looking pleased, after a visit to gauge the public reaction to their film. Pic/Satej Shinde
So long, Homi Dastoor
For 94-year-old Homi Dastoor, learning a new skill came easy and age was just a number. Especially if one goes by the fact that after his retirement from Bombay House, he decided to learn to play the violin at 75, from 25-year-old tutor Kenneth D'Souza of the Bombay Philharmonic Orchestra. The nonagenarian passed away yesterday in his home in Pali Naka, leaving behind an archival legacy in western classical music.
Meher Marfatia, Dastoor's daughter, mid-day columnist, city chronicler and author, shared the news. This diarist recalls her last interaction with Dastoor in 2014, when he had released Musical Journeys, a tribute to the all-time greats of western classical music. The book echoed his endearing love affair with the genre that opened with a glowing foreword by maestro Zubin Mehta. The book, we learnt, was the culmination of his handwritten notes from 70 years ago. "After 70 years of listening to this music, it took me two years from start to finish. From 2012, when I accepted my children's suggestion to share with readers young and old my encounters with classical music. I began when I was 88 and today, I have just celebrated my 90th birthday," he had told us then. Later, in 2016, Dastoor's inspirational life was documented in The Ninety First Symphony, a documentary by Rafeeq Ellias. With his passing, the city has lost a jewel in its vast and diverse music-scape.
One for mental health
Ananya Birla, a platinum record singer and mental health campaigner, is in The Hague to conduct a panel discussion on the stigma around mental health for the One Young World Summit, 2018 where she will be joined by global icons such as Naomi Campbell, Akon, Amber Heard and Rosario Dawson. The event, which unites 1,800 young leaders across countries, is working to accelerate lasting positive change around the world. Birla, who earlier launched a charity with her mother for those battling mental health, will be speaking about her work for the organisation.
"I am excited to join young leaders from over 190 countries and discuss the solutions to the most pressing issues around the world. It is the responsibility of our generation and young leaders around the world to ensure that we make the greatest positive impact on society. I want mental illness to be treated like any illness is," Birla told this diarist.
Canteen call for Lanka
The Bombay Canteen's Thomas Zacharias recently shared an illusionary gif on his social media in which he appeared to be sailing off on a paper boat. It seems this boat is wafting off to Sri Lanka where a part of the restaurant team will be hosting a pop-up at the Botanik Bistro Bar.
Speaking on what purported their overseas sojourn, Yash Bhanage, founder at the eatery, said, "We met Nadeem [Rajabdeen, co-owner at Botanik] when he was dining here last year. We were discussing Colombo and Mumbai, and realised there were more similarities than differences. We discussed the idea of collaborating and creating a series of dinners in Colombo."
Can the subaltern write?
Sujatha Gidla, who grew up in Kazipet, Telangana, and in a Dalit community, currently works as a conductor for the New York City subway system. Roughly 20 years ago, when she completed her education in physics from IIT Madras and moved to the US at the age of 26, the author probably did not know that in 2018 her book, Ants Among Elephants, would go on to win the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize.
But yesterday Jeet Thayil - who co-curates the prestigious award that celebrates debut writers, along with Arshia Sattar - announced that Gidla did in fact beat Sanam Maher, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Shreevatsa Nevatia and Preti Taneja to win first place. The book, which deals with subaltern communism has been touted an effortless account on "poverty, patriarchy, and rebellion".
Recess and Devvarman
Friday recess for Thane's Sulochanadevi Singhania School children took on a whole new meaning as the authorities opened the doors to their brand new sports academy, one of the biggest in any school in the city, and roped in former top tennis player Somdev Devvarman for the inauguration ceremony. The school which was also celebrating their 50th anniversary, arranged for Devvarman to interact with the school kids as well as underprivileged children from Life is a Ball NGO.
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