Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Brush with stardom
A make-up artiste works his magic on Vicky Kaushal during an event at a Juhu hotel on Wednesday. Pic/Anurag Ahire
A city-based dance troupe called V Unbeatables is on top of the world. This is because they were crowned this week as winners of America's Got Talent, the wildly popular reality show in the US that's judged by Simon Cowell and Heidi Klum among others.
The group had placed fourth last year, but this time, they sported jerseys with the word Vikas on it while dancing their way to victory, in memory of a member of the same name who lost his life during rehearsals. After Kings United won The World of Dance, another reality show, in 2019, this is the second dance troupe from Mumbai that has recently conquered America.
The right beat from Down Under
A group of underprivileged kids in the city were in for a treat recently thanks to the efforts of an NGO called Sacred Worx. Australian beatboxing phenomenon Tom Thum held a workshop for them where he also performed live. Thum is in Mumbai at present to host a Ted Talk this weekend. But he took time out of his schedule after the NGO got in touch requesting that Thum take part in the workshop.
One of the attendees at the event, Gaurav Gambhir aka D-Cypher, a beatboxer from local hip-hop crew Bombay Lokal, told this diarist, "He initially performed for us, and then started a Q&A session where we asked him questions about his routine. He said that he simply locks himself up in the studio and comes up with a number of beats, before choosing the best ones depending on the project at hand. After the Q&A, he performed again, this time with some beatboxers from Mumbai who joined him one by one."
Setting the stage for an award
The list of nominations for the 15th Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) is out, with the festival dates falling between March 13 and 18, when the winners will be awarded. While Pune's Aasakta Kalamanch dominates the list like last year with a whopping seven nominations for its play Chaheta, Piyush Mishra's Gagan Damama Bajyo comes a close second with six nominations, which include the Best Play category.
There are other Mumbai contenders including Quasar Thakore Padamsee's Every Brilliant Thing with two nominations, for Best Play and Best Actor (Vivek Madan). Talking to this diarist, Padamsee said, "Getting into META is always fun because a lot of people from around the country are watching and discussing, and sitting in the garden and having chai. That's the joy of going to a festival; we also get to watch other greats work." Here's wishing the nominees all the best.
What do Indians desire the most while travelling by flight? A safe ride? Exotic food? No, the answer is comfort. That's what was revealed in a recent survey conducted by a travel company, where 81 per cent of 25,000 participants ranked it higher than value for money (70 per cent) and efficiency (52 per cent).
"People are now also choosing to pay individually for things they may once have waited to earn through a loyalty programme," said Christopher Evans, the firm's joint CEO.
Three cheers for this SoBo bookstore
Kitab Khana at Fort is known to stock a vast collection of regional titles that might be difficult to find elsewhere in the city. And there is perhaps no end to the laurels it keeps collecting, since the bookstore has been recognised as the best bookstore and library in Mumbai by the popular parenting website Kidsstoppress for the third time in a row.
Speaking of what the achievement means to them, Jagath Tekkate, COO, told this diarist, "It is a confirmation of our continued dedication to book lovers and readers, and also making Kitab Khana more than a shop — a place for book lovers to meet, and share their passion for stories, poetry, language, and more."
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