Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Smita on our mind
Smita Patil's death at the tender age of 31 was such a tragedy that it sent fans and the entire Bollywood fraternity into a state of collective shock. But her memory endures to such an extent that there was a sentimental outpouring of good wishes on her 63rd birth anniversary on Wednesday.
Everyone from Madhuri Dixit to film historian Aseem Chhabra to Prateik, Patil's son, posted heartfelt messages, as did her fans from all walks of life. Such was the talent of the "actor with a thousand expressions" that they just don't make them like her anymore.
What an idea
Ever since the media organisation TED started putting up videos of expert talks for free online viewing, its popularity has grown leaps and bounds. Such that the company allowed independent parties to use its name for similar events, while following certain guidelines. These ancillary talks are titled TEDx Gateways, and they will return to the city in December for the 10th edition. The speakers this year include a mix of child prodigies and people who are veterans in their field.
For instance, while Raghu Rai might not need any introduction, Haaziq Kazi is a 12-year-old innovator who aims to clean all plastic waste from our oceans. There will also be a unique musical collaboration between Indian folk rock band Maati Bani and Mongolian musicians Anda Union, which is in keeping with the TED theme of "Ideas worth spreading".
A view of the city from Down Under
James Fergusson was the Governor of Bombay from 1880 to 1885. But he seems to have been an absent-minded sort of bloke. For, the old fellow missed two trains in that period, forgetting that back then, Bombay had three different time frames it followed — Bombay Time, Railway Time and Port Signal Time. This is the sort of delightful historical insight that James Cosmas Masselos gleaned from the painstaking research over five decades he has conducted about this city.
And in doing so, the Australian proved that sometimes, it takes the eyes of a foreigner to shed fresh light on your own country. Now, a new book — Bombay Before Mumbai — pays fitting tribute to the historian who made Mumbai his home from the 1960s onwards, casting an empathetic eye on its past, present and future. The text involves various contributors engaging critically with Masselos's scholarship. We can't wait to get our hands on this one, because when it comes to the history of this frenetic city, we are always on the lookout for new things to learn.
A tall claim
These are such ecologically sensitive times that even Raavana, possibly the ultimate symbol of evil in Hindu mythology, has taken on an environmentally friendly avatar. The JJ School of Arts students have made an effigy of the mythical figure, with nine heads representing nine social evils, such as polythene bags and noise pollution.
It's also 15-feet tall. That makes it the tallest such effigy in Panvel's history, which is where it will be burnt on October 19, the second day of Dussehra.
As the #MeToo movement continues to take in its fold new cases of survivors sharing their stories of trauma and oppression, calls for resignations and boycotts of names involved in it are growing louder. Now, we hear that a petition has been sent to the organisers of the popular Jaipur Literature Festival requesting them to set up processes to deal with outed names before finalising their itinerary.
In fact, some sections of Twitteratti are requesting other literature and cultural festivals to consider the idea, extolling authors and artists to support this cause. After all, #MeToo can become a historic movement in India only if it gets backing across all quarters and platforms. We will be keeping a close watch on these lists to see if this request is taken into consideration or not.
Kiss ko kya kahun?
Rekha and Esha Deol seem to have something secret to share at Hema Malini's 70th birthday bash, celebrated at a Juhu restaurant this week. Pic/Satej Shinde
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