Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Lost in a moment
Actor Vaani Kapoor is caught by the cameras as she seems to be making a point at the launch of a fashion line at Marine Lines on Friday. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Guha Junior's Potter tale
Where scholar Ramchandra Guha has contributed to literature with his books on Indian history, politics and cricket, his son, Keshava, will deviate a little, to take us into the world of fantasy. Sources told this diarist that Guha Jr, who studied history and politics at Harvard, is penning a new fiction with HarperCollins India, that might make JK Rowling fans happy. Set in Boston and Bengaluru, the book, titled, Accidental Magic, will tell the story of four different people, whose lives are brought together by Harry Potter. His publishers have described his book as a "work of great imagination". We look forward to the new Guha in town.
It's a tie? Yes, it's also a book!
Our in-house cricket nut's new 'find' in terms of old cricket books is one on neck ties, yes you heard right...neck ties, issued by cricket clubs and boards! Cricket Ties by Englishman Vic Lewis was put together in 1984 and it must be stated that cricket memorabilia collectors also preserve ties. Our man has a small collection but nothing as large he says, as cricket buffs like ex-first-class umpire Marcus Couto and Milind Wagle, the sports commentator. The late Suresh Saraiya, who commentated the world over in matches involving India, had an impressive collection as well.
The author of Cricket Ties reveals in his Introduction that he has 3000 in his collection. One of the many interesting facts from the book is the one about the existence of Indian Parliament Cricket Club, formed by both Houses of Parliament. We've read about Parliamentarians indulging in cricket games in New Delhi, but did you know that Parliament CC has a tie? Some Indian cricketers have been very proud to wear their India tie at functions. The late batsman Arvind Apte was one and would wear his India tie even during regular visits to matches at Lord's in London. And Vijay Manjrekar used to be livid if he saw a non-India player dressed with the India tie. We tried to ask our cricket nut if he possessed an India tie. He wriggled his way out by saying he is too "tied up" to answer that.
Sapna's Sindhustan is homeward bound
After showing in New York, Boston and Chicago, Sapna Bhavnani's documentary, tracing the roots of the Sindhi community, returns home to the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Fest 2019.
The evocative Sindhustan started its festival journey last year at MAMI's TalkDoc series before making its world première at the New York Indian Film Festival 2019 and travelling to Caleidoscope Indian Film Festival of Boston and the Chicago South Asian Film Festival.
Through interviews of those who survived the Partition, Sindhustan narrates the story of the community that gets its name from the river Sindhu. Bhavnani says she is a little exhausted doing the rounds of the festival circuit but is excited about MAMI, since it means coming a full circle home. More exciting news follows as she looks at new markets. "Unfortunately, documentary [as a form] is looked down on here but it's big in the US, Canada and Europe, " she says. No wonder she has hired an agent in America to market the film.
No monkey business
Mumbai actor Shardul Bharadwaj's Hindi film, Eeb Allay Ooo, is set to premiere at The Pingyao International Film Festival, China, run by leading Chinese filmmaker Jia Zanghke. The film has been nominated for the Roberto Rosellini Award and the Audience Choice Award at the festival. Shardul's character Anjani, follows the absurd journey of a young migrant as he battles hoards of monkeys in the heart of New Delhi as a contractual monkey repeller.
"I have been fortunate enough to get a role like Anjani's at the start of my career. During the shoot of the film, I would be engaging with real monkeys and real subjects of central Delhi. The coordination between the crew members was so beautiful that we would be almost invisible in the space. We wanted the environment of Delhi to be a character as well. So, we had to innovate each day."
Afghanistan's truth teller
Naseem Sharifi, the recently-appointed Consul General of Afghanistan in Mumbai, has gone where few have dared to tread. "That I'm alive is a miracle," he laughs. After returning from California in 2003, Sharifi, armed with western education, launched Surgar, Kandahar's first-ever independent weekly. The newspaper challenged the powers that be.
"I had to pay my journalists $1,000 when most reporters were paid $150 because they needed bodyguards. There was immense threat to their lives," he says. Sharifi himself has had gunmen trail him and has escaped three assassination attempts. "The paper ran until 2013. The authorities finally put a muzzle on it."
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