Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
When hybrid music goes West
In a conversation this diarist had last week with the legendary guitarist John McLaughlin and master drummer Ranjit Barot, they had both dismissed the term "fusion music" with disdain as simply a marketing ploy that record companies had created to boost profits.
So, we will not use that nomenclature for an upcoming gig that combines Hindustani classical with elements of jazz even if we are tempted to. Instead, we will just employ the phrase "hybrid music" to describe the concert that legendary Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam will travel to London for. She is set to collaborate with UK-based sarod star Soumik Datta, percussionists Pirashanna Thevarajah and Cormac Byrne, and pianist Al MacSween.
The Padma Shri recipient will perform with this eclectic bunch of musicians at St John's Smith Square for an event called Back to the Blues. Of them, Datta, especially, has been making waves around the world recently with his album King of Ghosts, which is his take on the soundtrack of Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Satyajit Ray's classic film.
Datta is also in the process of writing an opera for the Royal Opera House in London. We remember watching him perform with Talvin Singh in Kolkata back in 2005, when he was still a prodigy. Clearly, he has come a long way since, having collaborated with the likes of Beyonce and Jay Z, and now with Sairam in March.
Rahul Bhatt, Richa Chaddha and Satish Kaushik have a hearty laugh during the trailer lauch of an upcoming film yesterday.
After Dia Mirza, another face from Bollywood is showing his green side. We don't mean envy, here of course, but care for the environment. Actor Jackky Bhagnani had an interesting take on it by pegging his tweet on Valentine's Day.
He wrote: "This Valentine's Day, break up with plastic straws & fall in love with biodegradable paper straws. Trust me, the planet will love you for it." Now that's what we call killing two birds with one stone! And all for a good cause. Bravo!
Send in the clowns
Last year, in an interview to a leading weekly newsmagazine, stage and film actor Vinay Pathak admitted that he finds clowns eerie. Now he is back with William Shakespeare's classic, As You Like It, at Prithvi to make the audience laugh and cry. He posted this photo of the cast (take a guess to figure who's who).
Directed by Rajat Kapoor (inset), the play that highlights the relationships of a troupe of clowns, opened to rave reviews a couple of years ago. With a "bunch of clowns" as Pathak calls the cast, we're pretty sure it will run to a packed house, all over again.
Eat, read, all that love
Expectedly, social media went berserk yesterday, declaring love in all shades of red, pink and magenta. Apart from the usual suspects, this diarist noted odes and engaging vignettes from pretty unlikely avenues as well. This one took the cake, actually the entire bakery considering it was the brainwave of a popular retail supermart brand. They decided to use a popular middle-aged stand-up comic to explain different stages of a relationship by comparing it with his fave food. A slightly saner way to stretch the V-day idea was a publishing house that made its authors pick their favourite romantic jodis from literature. As they say (and more so in this digital era), necessity is the mother of invention.
Short and sweet
While television programming on Valentine's Day is usually about back-to-back telecasts of rom-com series and movies, the web seems to be taking the original route.
This newspaper had reported on actors Achint Kaur (left), Sushant Singh and Amit Behl starring in the short film, Wrong Mistake, which was released on a digital platform yesterday. Joining the league of Valentine's Day releases was another short, Jutti, written and directed by Mohinder Pratap Singh, with Mukesh Chhabra as casting director.
A still from the video
We noticed a similar trend during Independence Day, with theme-specific online releases. And as consumers, all we can say is it's good to be spoilt for choice!