Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
A police officer takes the help of a civilian to record whether people are self-isolating at Dharavi on Wednesday. Pic/Rane Ashish
It's not just human beings who are under lockdown right now. Nearly 200 horses along with 125 groomers who had come down to the city from Jaipur for the polo season are stuck at the Amateur Riders' Club (ARC) in Mahalaxmi. The international players from the UK and Argentina managed to return to their home countries in time.
But these horses and groomers who couldn't make the return are now surrounded by uncertainty. The club has been taking care of their upkeep and health for almost a month now. "Initially, it was challenging to secure feed and hay for the horses, but the managing committee has organised the same," said ARC president Shyam Mehta.
Focus on lockdown
Filmmaking is an art form that has been severely compromised right now, what with outdoor shoots having come to a complete standstill. But actor-director Shyam Kishore, co-founder of Mumbai-based Rolexplore Studio, has come up with an online film festival with the theme, self-isolation or quarantine. The idea is for applicants to shoot a film within the confines of their homes.
There are different categories that include 30-second long micro-films and documentaries that last five to seven minutes. Kishore told this diarist, "The idea came to me when I was struggling to find things to do during the lockdown, and saw my friends putting up similar posts. We have jury members like Hansal Mehta and Vinta Nanda and it is going to be a regular film festival with Q&A sessions and premieres, except that everything is going to be online. So, no one is actually going to meet anyone." Email firstname.lastname@example.org to participate.
Singing praises of a musical legend
It was legendary sarangi player Ustad Sultan Khan's 80th birth anniversary yesterday, and tributes poured in for him on social media, including from Ustad Zakir Hussain, who shared a throwback photo of the two maestros exchanging notes with Lata Mangeshkar. Khan and Hussain were band members in the fusion group Tabla Beat Science, but he's also had a profound influence on younger musicians, including Bollywood composer Salim Merchant.
Merchant recalled how Khan had once given him a boost of confidence. "I had composed a song called Ali Maula for the film Kurbaan, and wanted Rashid Khan to sing it. But I sang a rough take for Sultan saab while we were travelling to South Bombay in my car, and he advised me to sing it myself so that it retains a sense of simplicity and spirituality," Merchant says. He took Khan's advice, and Ali Maula turned out to be one of the biggest hits of his career.
Publisher Tara Books is known for making unique hand-made screen-printed titles that are not feasible for the current ebook revolution that the rest of the publishing world is witnessing.
They have now started conducting Instagram live sessions to reveal insights into their printing processes. "[In the first one] we showed how we discovered new printing combinations through trial-and-error," Siriguri told this diarist, adding that there are more sessions planned.
Opera house finds a digital answer
As city venues find their feet online, Royal Opera House has taken a similar path. Starting Friday, they will release content by artistes from around the world in three phases. The first will have five-minute sessions by Avid Learning, the second will have pre-recorded 30-minute performances and the third, original performances.
"With Mumbai Opera Online, we aim to democratise the arts for a wider audience through varied programming. Given the situation, we are leveraging digital technology to broaden the reach of our vision and give amateurs and connoisseurs, and established and nascent aficionados access to eclectic programming," Asad Lalljee, CEO, Royal Opera House, told this diarist.
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