Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

Updated: Dec 29, 2016, 09:53 IST | Team mid-day

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

President Mukherjee with PV Sindhu and Sania Mirza (left) at the dinner. PIC/PTI
President Mukherjee with PV Sindhu and Sania Mirza (left) at the dinner. PIC/PTI

President’s southern sojourn
President Pranab Mukherjee is in Hyderabad for his annual southern sojourn, where the historic Rashtrapati Nilayam will be his home till December 31.

Though not as grand as the presidential abode in New Delhi, the estate is spread over 90 acres and can accommodate about 150 visitors. President Mukherjee was recently seen taking a morning walk in its landscaped gardens.

He also attended a dinner hosted by Governor ESL Narasimhan in his honour. The chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Pullela Gopichand, PV Sindhu and Sania Mirza among others attended the dinner.

When the mayor was floored

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

Mumbai's mayor Snehal Ambekar (extreme right, seated on floor) and Aaditya Thackeray seem to be enjoying the push-up contest between Jackky Bhagnani (second right) and Irshaad Siddiqui at an event in a BMC school in Worli.

Bond is back
As we recovered from the avalanche of mails from our acquaintances in Dilli’s publishing world announcing new releases of the year, we missed this one name. Well, almost. If there is one writer in English after Khushwant Singh whose prolificness defies logic as well as age, it has to be Ruskin Bond. The octogenarian author who resides in scenic Landour, off Mussorie, is back with another book.

In Tree Lover, he reintroduces his readers to his semi alter-ego, Rusty all over again. In this book for children, Rusty narrates the story of his grandfather’s unique relationship with the trees around him, and his belief that they loved him back. Clearly, the treasure chest of this storyteller never seems to get empty. Not that we are complaining.

The year that was
If you think 2016 keeps getting worse by the day, it’s likely that half the world would agree with you. To record this all-pervasive sense of despair, UK-based artist Chris Barker recently created an artwork that aims to give space to the famous personalities who passed away this year as well as the major events of the last twelve months.

Taking inspiration from The Beatles’ iconic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, Barker has paid tribute to George Michael, Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Robert Vaughn, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Leonard Cohen among other celebrities. His creation also features events like Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidential election victory. Given that it’s still a couple of days before 2016 ends, seems like the artist has kept his artwork open to additions.

Art at the airport, on a buggy
We recommend afternoons like these — buggy rides, the endless corridors of the Mumbai international airport’s T2, and artists, Meera Devidayal, Papri Bose and Sheetal Gattani. It was a long, leisurely private walkthrough — or should we say ride-through — with the artists, their friends and Shanaz Sarin, who leads art projects at Jaya He, the airport’s museum.

In the front row of the buggy, artists Sheetal Gattani and Meera Devidayal, whose works are part of Jaya He, the airport’s museum
In the front row of the buggy, artists Sheetal Gattani and Meera Devidayal, whose works are part of Jaya He, the airport’s museum

Much bonhomie was seen as we stopped to look at the works by Devidayal, Bose and Gattani at various levels of the museum. We put the artists on a rapid fire round, asking them a dozen questions each about their work, that drew some rather candid answers. A little part of us wished that more show openings in galleries were like this.

And, what a sight to watch artists go “wow!” when they see others’ works. When we encountered Dilip Chobsia’s Silent Ways and BM Kamath’s Collective Nouns, we couldn't help but slow clap. Sarin says that Jaya He will soon have artist talks like these for the public — once the intense security passes are cleared.

Remembering Farooqbhai
It’s been three years, but it still comes as a shock to many that the benevolent, smiling actor, who was a significant part of Indian parallel cinema for decades, is no more.

Shabana Azmi and Farooq Shaikh in the play, Tumhari Amrita
Shabana Azmi and Farooq Shaikh in the play, Tumhari Amrita

It was Farooq Shaikh’s death anniversary yesterday, and Shabana Azmi, his co-actor in several movies and the popular play Tumhari Amrita that ran successfully for 20 years, remembered Shaikh with fondness.

She sent her love to Shaikh’s wife Roopa — who was also her classmate at St Xavier’s College — and the couple’s daughters, Shaista and Sanaa. The actor was also a philanthropist, who supported various causes.

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