Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
An actor's car-nama
Ranbir Kapoor keeps it casual as he steps out of his car outside a spa, in Khar on Wednesday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Sonali Bendre is booked for new heights
Sonali Bendre Behl — who turned author with her book, Modern Gurukul: My Experiments with Parenting — has pursued her passion further by initiating a book club on Facebook. Behl's initiative on the social media platform has broken new ground, and she has roped in both Indian and international authors. And by forming a community of readers who can discuss various books online, the actress-author hopes to encourage people to read more often and have an interesting exchange of ideas and thoughts. Given the reach and success of the book club, Behl now plans to encourage regional writers and has already started short-listing books by Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati authors. The actress says, "I am extremely passionate about reviving the habit of reading paperbacks. There have been certain challenges faced by regional authors, who have great stories to tell but do not receive the platform they deserve. I hope to involve them actively in the book club's activities and also talk about their works via the club."
Go figure this!
For most people, maths and fun don't go together. But in the case of Agnijo Banerjee, number crunching brings him such joy that he has written a book called Weird Maths (HarperCollins). A joint effort by Banerjee, 18, a global maths prodigy of Indian origin, and his tutor, David Darling, the book explores fascinating ideas like whether infinity exists, if maths can help us understand chaos and if chess can be solved with maths.
And if you are wondering what an 18-year-old could possibly tell you about numbers, here's Banerjee's brief bio: he has an IQ of 162, the highest a human can have (the same IQ as Einstein's and Stephen Hawking's). He took higher maths in his first year of secondary school, scoring 99 per cent, the following year he passed the Mensa test scoring the maximum possible IQ for the test of 162, and in his third year, scored 100 per cent in advanced higher maths.
This month of Ramazan has been special for celebrity chef Vikas Khanna. He had recounted in a televised interview last year how a certain Muslim family had sheltered him from rioters in 1992, pretending he is their own son and saving his life when potential killers had come knocking on their door. Now, Khanna has traced that family after 26 long years of trying, and broke fast with them recently (in pic) as a way of expressing his lifelong gratitude. Heartwarming stuff, for sure.
Storm over Sabya's post
In the pursuit of artistic expression, how far is too far? Those are questions provoked by a Instagram post on designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee's page last morning.
Known to stage a communion between couture and digital, Sabya has gathered quite a reputation for presenting his collections exclusively on the social media platform, and to enormous fanfare (2.3 million followers). Until, that is, one of the posts was criticised for eulogising Captain Smith and Pocahontas, the said lyrics being part of the fifth verse of Fever, an iconic song originally recorded by American R&B artist Little Willie John, and later covered by numerous singers including Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, Madonna and Beyonce.
This post was one of the many in line to promote his current Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Endless Summer, inspired by "hedonistic excesses and bohemian tendencies".
This post was singled out for being "offensive", "lacking in cultural sensitivity", "inaccurate" and "prejudiced", as seen in 100-plus peeved comments on the post. "Pocahantas was a victim of rape and abduction, and preyed upon by a man twice her age. This is perpetuating harmful negative stereotypes that continue to lead to violence against indigenous women today. This is in extremely poor taste," reads one of the comments. "The problem is that you posted lyrics that glorify colonialism and the assault and abduction of an 11-year-old that culminated in her early death," reads another.
In a global culture jaded by explicit movies, rap songs, and intentionally revolting reality TV, is such an uproar even relevant? One of the users, for instance, rightfully pointed out, "It's a bloody song." That the song's lyrics feature historical invoking is public knowledge (it also comprises verses about Romeo & Juliet), but Sabya's decision to co-relate his collection theme — hedonism — with glorifying the poster child of colonisation (Captain John Smith) seems like a well-composed puzzle. The diarist reached out to Sabya, but he didn't respond until the time of going to press.
A farewell toast
Back in February, we had reported the exclusive news on this page of chef Viraf Patel landing the dual responsibility as the executive chef and brand head of Toast & Tonic in BKC. At the tasting of his first menu for the bar (a seafood special), we remember Patel telling us that it was AD Singh who convinced him to join the brand. And now, a little birdie informs us that Patel has stepped down from his position. Surprised, we call up the chef to get clarity on the news. He says, "I had joined the Olive Group to initiate new brands in conjunction with AD Singh. However, AD's recent illness put things on the backburner. So, we decided amicably that now is not the right time for me to be with the company. I am currently in the process of setting up my own restaurants and am on the lookout for strategic partners and investors." We wonder what's cooking in this kitchen.
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