Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
No sweat, no gain
The key to success is all about staying hydrated. Actor Ranveer Singh shows us how, as he works it at a brand event in Juhu on Saturday. Pic/Satej Shinde
To the poet in him
Lyricist Raj Shekhar, who wrote the songs for Qarib Qarib Singlle, Tanu Weds Manu and Hitchki, was recently awarded the Delhi Hindi Akademi Kavya Samman by the Art, Culture and Language Department, Government of Delhi. "I got a call from the Hindi Academy, and was pleasantly surprised because it is usually given to published poets. Film lyricists are considered too flippant," he laughs. According to the ministry, the reason for choosing Shekhar is "because there is a presence of poetry in most of his lyrics".
Let's talk of Indian cricket's Tamil power
Any idea if it's the first time three players from Tamil Nadu played in the same India XI," a cricket enthusiast wanted to know the other day when Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin and Dinesh Karthik made it to Virat Kohli's line-up for the India v England Test at Birmingham. It happened only recently when the trio played in Afghanistan's maiden Test at Bangalore.
But what about before that? Our in-house cricket nut scratched his head and could cite only one example. Even as something told him that professional statisticians could come up with more instances, he couldn't help bringing up how Mumbai enjoyed maximum representation in the 1960s and 1970s.
Once, he said, during the 1972-73 series against Marylebone Cricket Club (England toured under the celebrated club's banner till 1976-77), there were six Mumbai players in Ajit Wadekar's XI for the Delhi Test — young openers Sunil Gavaskar and Ramnath Parkar, the skipper himself at one-drop, followed by Dilip Sardesai. Eknath Solkar came in at No. 6 before wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer. What a fine tribute this was to Mumbai's cricketing excellence!
Anyway, to satisfy the cricket fan's curiosity, the other match which had three Tamil Nadu players was the 1961-62 India vs England Test at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, where brothers AG Milkha Singh and AG Kripal Singh figured in the batting line-up while VV Kumar was part of the spin pack. Sadly, these three players didn't end up playing a lot of Tests — just 20 put together.
Of other worlds
We are always curious about what's stirring among young Indian artists, and we have been following Sahej Rahal's work over the past few months. Rahal (in picture that shows him wearing a performance costume), who is pretty well-known for his interest in sci-fi and fantasy, says he has been working on sculptures and paintings that refer to a fictional civilisation, but not so fictional that you won't recognise it. Rahal has been picking up from things from Mumbai to make sculptures that belong to this civilisation and is also making a series of paintings.
The latter will be made with materials that have near-historic resonance. Rahal is calling his endeavour a bricolage, and to know more about it, we will have to wait till January next year, when all these will be part of his solo exhibition at Chatterjee & Lal. We shall wait, curiously.
India gets a literary Academy fellow
Back in May, after the Swedish Academy announced that it would not be awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2018 this year, journalist Alexandra Pascalidou announced an alternative to the big awards — the New Academy Prize in Literature. Slated to be announced on October 14, what makes the award most democratic is that you can decide who wins. To up the India programme, the Academy has now appointed writer Manoj Pandey, 33, most known for the Twitter project @TalesonTweet and StickLit, as its India representative. "I will be covering Indian literature, and interviewing several acclaimed authors. The plan is to also reach out to voices in the creative field and get to know their perspective on the academy. There is also a video series that has been planned," says Pandey. Pandey's list includes MP and writer Shashi Tharoor and Snigdha Poonam. "It's a community project, with people contributing to literature from different parts of the world."
The rise of Instagram's female prude
Well, the joke's on you. Breasts, boobs or the bosom (whatever you may call them) are, indeed, a part of a woman's anatomy. So, then why does their slightest peep threaten to eclipse a designer's achievements? Social media seems to be somersaulting in frenzy at the sight of the cleavage in Sabyasachi's latest couture 2018 collection titled, Kesribai Pannalal.
Within the larger collection, Sabya has introduced capsule pieces inspired by Mira Nair's Kama Sutra. "As a young student of design, a film that shaped my aesthetic was Mira Nair's Kama Sutra. The entire presentation, propelled by Mychael Danna's evocative soundtrack was just mesmerising. Notions of beauty and beauty rituals, body confidence and culture confidence were my takeaways from the film," is a note posted by the designer alongside tastefully hued images of models, whose cholis come off as unbecoming of Indian brides — according to the self-righteous comments.
"Itne bade designer ho… I think you know Indian brides dress normally… Paiso ke liye sab Indian brides ka naam kharab kar rahe ho," said one of the many outrageous comments on Instagram. Absurdly, it's the women followers who seem to have taken most offence to the campaign images, calling it a desperate attention-seeking tactic. Isn't it time to stop blaming women for having… umm… breasts?
On another note, this kind of rhetoric backlash is somewhat ironic when you consider that the Kama Sutra itself has a liberal sprinkling of nudity, courtesy VÄÂtsyÄÂyana. Kama Sutra, too, is an important chapter in India's textile and design history, and Sabya, as any creative, open-minded Indian, must be allowed to celebrate these stories.
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