Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 07:34 IST | Team mid-day | Mumbai

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

We caught SRK shooting in the balcony of his Bandra home Mannat
We caught SRK shooting in the balcony of his Bandra home Mannat

Kuch Kuch ho raha hai

We caught SRK shooting in the balcony of his Bandra home Mannat. We wonder what's coming up? Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Beat it to win big


Mumbai boy and frontman of the blackened death metal band Demonic Resurrection, Sahil Makhija, has put together the Demonstealer Drum Cover Contest, where the winner stands to receive $200 USD in cash. All participants have to do is cover any one song from Makhija's most recent solo album The Last Reptilian Warrior and video record it.  There's something in store for the runner-up and participants, too. "As a musician, you spend a lot of money on promoting your work by paying for ads. The pandemic affecting musicians sparked an idea to do something that also gives back to the community. I posted a query on social media to check if drummers would be interested in covering my songs, and received a good response. Then, drum companies also came on board and so, the prize money was increased," Makhija told this diarist. Entries close on July 31. Visit if you'd like to give it a shot. 

Halsey, the poet


Global pop sensation Halsey will be coming out with her first book of original, autobiographical poems titled I Would Leave Me If I Could. The title will be published by Simon & Schuster (S&S) on November 10 this year. "Halsey's lyrics show her gift for prose. We're delighted to be a part of her continuing journey as an artiste," Rahul Srivastava, MD, S&S India, told this diarist. 

Of late night sign-offs

SignAjoy Mehta; Sitaram Kunte

It's a hard feeling when you don't get what you want. And it's even harder when you are supposed to preside over the handing of 'what you aspired for' via someone else, who is possibly a competitor. If you delay the process or try to block it, you are subjected to accusation. This is what seemed to have happened to Additional Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, who was a top contender for the post of Maharashtra's Chief Secretary. A batch junior to Sanjay Kumar, also Additional Chief Secretary, who ultimately replaced incumbent CS Ajoy Mehta, Kunte had to face a similar experience earlier this week.

When the CS appointment was announced Wednesday evening and a note was sent to the Services Department, ironically headed by Kunte, the ACS had wrapped up for the day. Kunte was asked to issue the orders without further delays. So, after checking who was in his office, he found a deputy secretary who was working late, and requested that the officer notify the order and also sign it. There was another order to appoint Mehta as Principal Adviser to CM Uddhav Thackeray that had to be signed and issued by Kunte's office. Finally, both orders were signed and issued by a deputy secretary, which isn't the norm or tradition. Conventionally, the head of the Services Department signs such important transfers/appointment orders.

Later, Kunte clarified that there was nothing in his action that suggested a split in the bureaucracy or a sense of personal loss. He had asked a deputy to sign things off because of the urgency, and that there would have been more problems (read: loose talk) had he delayed the process.

To be or not to be?

Kalki Koechlin with her baby in the video. PIC COURTESY/ Atul Kumar on FacebookKalki Koechlin with her baby in the video. PIC COURTESY/Atul Kumar on Facebook

We've all felt the uncertainty that the lockdown brought with it. In order to channel this edginess, and make sense of it, theatre practitioner Atul Kumar got together with Kalki Koechlin, Suchitra Pillai, Rasika Dugal, Ira Dubey, Sheeba Chaddha, Shivani Tanksale, and Manasi Parekh to take a re-look at the soliloquy To be or not to be, from Hamlet. The result is a montage of snippets of the actors reciting lines from the speech in their own realities. The video has been edited by Asawari Jagushte, with art and design by Gaurav Ogale. Kumar elaborates on the idea with this diarist, "I've been feeling claustrophobic since the lockdown began.


We've all been feeling this edginess and experienced some tragedies. My only way out of this was to make work and I looked for a way to experiment with the digital medium. Because we were feeling like this, I picked the Hamlet speech. The actors shot in their homes, in their everyday environment to express their own mental state and immediate reality, so you'll find Kalki reciting the lines while tending to her child, while Manasi is working out, etc. It has been a cathartic process." 

The troll turnaround


We had reported in these pages this week that comedian Kajol Srinivasan decided to call a troll out on social media tagging Mumbai Police after receiving threats following her joke on Coronil. After the piece was published, Srinivasan received a private apology from the troll who also took down the abusive tweet. "It is important to call this out because you do give people a chance to modify their behaviour," Srinivasan told this diarist. 

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