Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

Feb 09, 2017, 09:11 IST | Team mid-day

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

Portrait of Bhanu (1952)
Portrait of Bhanu (1952)

When Athaiya was a muse
VS Gaitonde, whose mastery over light has made a record-breaking artist in the auction market, is back in the limelight with Saffronart's upcoming Evening Sale, its first auction of the year. A rare figurative work from the artist is set to go under the hammer for an estimate of `2-3 crore.

The portrait’s muse is Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya, renowned as the woman who bagged the first Oscar for India with her costume design for Richard Attenborough’s 1982 classic, Gandhi. Athaiya was also the only woman to become a part of the path-breaking Bombay Progressives in the late 1940s, an association that was short lived, as she chose to migrate to the world of cinema.

We are told that it wasn’t a decision that was welcomed by her counterparts, but it certainly seemed like the right decision. A friend of Athaiya tells us that she hails from a family of creative minds and a lineage that traces back to the pandits from the courts of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Her father, Annasaheb, a painter, frequented the home of V Shantaram in Kolhapur, the birthplace of Marathi cinema. Gaitonde’s rendition of Athaiya has her holding a bird, alluding to traditions from the East and West. It is but unfortunate that the 86-year-old Athaiya, who suffered a stroke a couple of years ago is not in the best of health to see this piece sell in the auction. Then again, muses are immortal.

Harvard gets a filmi guest
The decorous Harvard Business School is all set to get a dose of razzle-dazzle, courtesy Bollywood costume designer Manish Malhotra. Scheduled between February 11 and 12, the 2017 edition of the India conference will see him make an address at the school’s headquarters in Boston.

For someone who has had no formal training in design, the invitation to address students and famed alumnae of the prestigious institution is no less than an endorsement of the designer’s 27 year-old legacy. He calls the moment one of pride because Indian fashion is not just a medium of creative expression but also emerging as a profitable industry.

The freedom run
Joining the list of Mumbaikars who have opened up about their battles with depression and dejection is Avani Patel, who runs the popular travel company, Broken Compass. In a video titled, #IMendMe, that launches today on Culture Machine’s digital channel, Blush, she shares her journey from being a marine biologist to quitting her job after marriage and then, suffering emotional abuse from her husband.

Avani Patel in the video
Avani Patel in the video

In the three-minute video, she reveals how she freed herself from his shackles and regained control over her life through cycling, running, trekking and finally, launching her travel company. At a time when we’re bombarded with Valentine’s Day must-dos for your partner, the video that celebrates International Women’s Health Day and urges women to love themselves comes as a refreshing change.

Vote one, vote all
After the youth, it’s the corporate sector that’s being persuaded to vote in the upcoming BMC elections.

Mumbai First, a civil society think tank, has launched a contest, #Vote4mumbai challenge, where institutions that manage to lead their employees to a 100 per cent voter turnout would participate in a round-table talk on challenges the city faces. Some companies that have signed up include Vodafone and Everstone.

Political sorcery, Mumbai style
Poll candidates can stretch their convictions to any level to ensure victory. A ward 80 (Andheri East) candidate who belongs to one of the two main warring parties has sent tongues wagging because of seeking supernatural powers to help him win.

Sources tell us that the man has been seeking advice of a tantrik (occultist), who decided the time and date for filing the nomination and a muhurat to start the politico’s official campaign. He even decides the colour of the clothes the candidate puts on each day.

What’s more, we’ve been told that the workers of this candidate threw a ‘sacred’ lemon and chilly, processed by the tantrik, on the street where his opponent walked in a rally. “The candidate believes that the lemon-chilly will spoil the opponent’s effort of wooing voters,” said a rational among the supporters.

Pic/Satej Shinde

Mirror the model
Model Ujjwala Raut gives her flicks a quick fix at a polo tournament at the Mahalaxmi race course last evening.

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