Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
The fresh menu
Chef Vicky Ratnani has a lot on his plate. Word comes in that he has turned corporate chef and culinary director for The Project series that includes The Bandra Project, and the soon-to-be The Runway Project at Palladium and The Market Project at Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla.
Chef Vicky Ratnani
The fare across outposts will bear a stamp of his signature style where "produce is the king". "The food at Runway will be good-looking and well-plated with influences of global Italian cuisine in small cutting edge plates featuring top quality produce and vegetarian options," he says.
The Market Project, on the other hand, has been inspired by '90s style Italian cuisine, but with a desi twist. "We'll serve biryani risotto, spaghetti kheema mutter masala and kaleji bruschetta," he adds. Ratnani also plans to collaborate with top producers, artisans, and home cooks to push the envelope. Good luck.
For Gauri, my old friend
Even as Gauri Lankesh's death rattled the nation this year, for many, who didn't know the feisty journalist-turned activist, it was the soul-stirring column by her ex-husband Chidanand Rajghatta that offered us a peek into the life she lived, and the legacy she left behind.
Now, we hear that he is all set to release a biography on his close friend and former spouse, titled Gauri Lankesh and The Age of Unreason (Westland), early next February.
While the book is going to be an intimately personal account, it is also expected to be a political exploration of a brave, fascinating woman, who could not be intimidated. With Rajghatta, who knew Lankesh for nearly four decades, penning this one, we can see another moving and powerful story coming our way.
The star who wouldn't watch other stars
Bollywood and cricket seem inseparable. Countless current and ex-actors are cricket fans and vice versa. While reading young author Aditya Bhushan's recently-launched book on CK Nayudu, our in-house cricket buff discovered that India's first Test captain was not a movie-goer and the strict colonel didn't even allow his children to make their way to the theatre.
Bhushan quotes CK's son Prakash as saying, "Going to the movies was strictly prohibited by Colonel Nayudu. A taboo! Only when a religious or good social film would be screened, would we be allowed to go and view." However, the kids would watch a commercial film when the Colonel was out of town.
Cricket duties - playing and selecting India teams - forced CK to be away from home quite often and one can assume the younger Nayudus made many a cinema visit. By the way, has any cricket-loving producer/director thought about a biopic on CK - India's first cricket superstar?
Always a Queen
Actor Kangna Ranaut spotted in bridal wear at the shoot of Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, in which she plays Rani Laxmibai, in Goregaon, on Saturday.
The sunny climes of Goa were the perfect companion to the Serendipity Arts Festival, the second edition of which drew to a close on Friday. This diarist is pleased to report that some of the highlights have got to do with an emerging lot of artists.
The Ground Beneath My Feet at Serendipity Arts Festival
The Young Subcontinent, a curatorial venture by Riyas Komu, was well-received by visitors, especially since it showcased themes of conflict and political change with nuance. While the curatorial approach may have seemed just a tad too predictable, we have been seeing Komu, artist and co-founder of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, in more curatorial roles, and are eager to see more in this direction from him.
New works from Serendipity's first art residency, Dharti, showed a lot of promise among the young names that it has fostered. Also of interest was The Ground Beneath My Feet, which was locally referred to as 'Nikhil Chopra's Barge'. The use of a shipping vessel as an experimental art space, with mise-en-scène by Vishal Dar, was awe-inspiring, even if the local visitors were, at times, mystified by the spectacle of the performance pieces.
Striking a different note was a series on the role of Goan musicians in India's jazz scene - an enriching narrative that livened up the main venue. Overall, the festival's buzz in and around Panjim was felt thoroughly. Also to note is that all the venues came under the management of the local civic body or the state government, and were given to host the festival, a model that is a positive thumbs-up to the festival.
Mandira's pleasure at work
Fitness, it seems, is an in-house affair for actor Mandira Bedi. Just last week, Bedi won a the Health Icon of The Year Award at a summit held in the capital. And now, Bedi will star in a commercial for a fitness brand which will be directed by husband Raj Kaushal. Interestingly, the ad will be shot on the same day that the couple met back in 1996.
Back then, Kaushal was the chief assistant to Mukul Anand and was shooting for a project where Mandira had been called for a screen test. The last time that the much-in-love couple worked together was two years ago.
Excited about the project, Bedi, says, "Over the last year, Raj has been doing some really different and clutter-breaking work. So I was looking forward to working with him. He's put a lot of thought into this commercial in terms of location and making it look different, and me, look good! And, it's always great to have a comfort level when you work. So it has worked out on all counts!"
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