Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

Sep 24, 2017, 13:24 IST | Team Mid-day

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

Juggle in the jungle
Actor Kalki Koechlin fools around as she takes a break during a shoot at SGNP in Borivli East on Saturday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Karene Lawyer and Ashifa Sarkar Vasi. Pic/Sudharak Olwe
Karene Lawyer and Ashifa Sarkar Vasi. Pic/Sudharak Olwe

Put your best point forward

Take the pointy tips of your toes to the very first ballet festival in India. The brainchild of ballet teachers Ashifa Sarkar Vasi and Karene Lawyer, who also owns a dance-wear store, the festival is going to be a three-day intensive event from November 24 to 26. Sarkar Vasi and Lawyer are both products from reputed dance academies, and having had the opportunity to study in-depth in the USA, they wish to channel the same here in India. "We had high quality training overseas and wanted to help fill a gap in India by providing a similar opportunity to students, dancers and teachers here. We want to connect and engage the Indian ballet community and we want to foster artistic and technical excellence in ballet," says Sarkar Vasi. Registrations are now open through the festival's Facebook page, Ballet Festival of India. The festival will have reputed faculty participation, such as The Royal Ballet's former principal dancer and Bollywood celebrity trainer Cindy Jourdain. Did we just see all the young ballerinas in town give each other a fist bump?

A dose of desi jazz
Chicago-based singer-songwriter Subhi Khanna who has composed music for Yash Raj Films, Mira Nair and TVF, is set to go solo with the launch her debut album, Shaitaan Dil. The songs are a product of her experience of living in two cities, Mumbai and Chicago, and her journey as an artist. "A few years ago, when I decided to work on my music full-time, I started spending a considerable amount of time in Mumbai. I did not know anyone in the city. I had no friends. This was the most difficult time in my life. But, that's also the time I began to discover my musical identity," she says. Khanna is one of the few jazz singers to write songs in Hindi. "Ella Fitzgerald is my inspiration. Her Scatting and ability to manoeuvre the song in unique ways has had a big influence on me." For the album, Khanna collaborated with a couple of jazz musicians in Chicago like Joaquin Garcia, who has arranged the music for the album.


Pic courtesy/ Yogen Shah

Connecting with good ol' dad
WE all remember Ritu Nanda as the Delhi businesswoman who clinched the Guinness Book of Records for selling 17,000 pension policies in a single day. Now, this diarist has learned that Nanda, daughter of veteran actor Raj Kapoor and mum-in-law to Shweta Bachchan too, will be penning an autobiography. This book, however, is going to be everything, but about her. Confused? We too were. Nanda, we hear, will not be telling hers, but the story of her legendary father, using his own words, culled from interviews, journals and anecdotes. Titled Raj Kapoor: The Original Showman (HarperCollins), the book, scheduled for a December release, promises to weave an intimately personal tale of one of the biggest movie moguls of Indian cinema. And, with the daughter writing the part, this is definitely something we are waiting to read.

Ellis Achong. Courtesy/WI Cricket Annual 1991 by Tony Cozier
Ellis Achong. Courtesy/WI Cricket Annual 1991 by Tony Cozier

Chinaman was a Trinidadian called Ellis
Cricket enthusiasts, especially fans of India's Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav may be wondering how the term Chinaman came into existence. Some Englishmen reckoned that it all started in Yorkshire. However, the most believable version is what transpired on the 1933 West Indies tour of England. Historians believe that England's Walter Robins coined the term when he was stumped by West Indies wicketkeeper Ivan Barrow for 55 off left-arm spinner Ellis Achong in the Manchester Test.

On his way to the Old Trafford pavilion, Robins reportedly muttered, "Fancy getting out to a bloody Chinaman." Trinidadian Achong's father was of Chinese descent while his mother was an Afro-Caribbean.

The delivery which dismissed Robins spun from off to leg with the wrist coming into play.

In his book, Arm-Ball to Zooter, Wisden editor Lawrence Booth mentions that a Chinese delegation which arrived at Waterloo station in 1933 supposedly to greet Achong, returned disappointed. Probably, they expected Achong to look fully Chinese.

Achong played in the English leagues before and after World War II. Playing for Burnley in the Lancashire League, he claimed all 10 Todmorden wickets in 1945. Achong was West Indies' oldest surviving player till he died in 1986 at the age of 82.

Chinaman Achong figured for the West Indies in only six Tests and his wicket tally was a disappointing eight. That's one less than what Kuldeep has claimed in two Tests!

When a copycat is taught a lesson
Earlier this year, theatre director Roysten Abel's widely acclaimed production, The Manganiyar Seduction, that is based on the Manganiyar folk musicians of Rajasthan, saw a spin-off in Jaipur, by a group called CRI Events. Not only was the content similar to Abel's, they had even retained the title and the unique presentation of the original. Abel had filed a copyright infringement suit and finally emerged victorious. It appears that the defendants have agreed to acknowledge the original work as a source of inspiration, and also pay an amount of R1.5lakh in damages. Abel took to social media to say, "We had to go to court to stop rampant, cheap copies of The Manganiyar Seduction and easily won the suit," read his post.

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