Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

Updated: May 21, 2020, 07:30 IST | Team mid-day | Mumbai

The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

A spitting image

A senior citizen sits on a pavement off Eastern Express Highway, against graffiti with a timely message. Pic/Sameer Markande

Secure the folk musician

Salim Merchant, Nikhil Arora and Sulaiman Merchant
Salim Merchant, Nikhil Arora and Sulaiman Merchant

Music director duo Salim-Sulaiman, who have been working towards creating opportunity for folk musicians, have teamed up with Nikhil Arora to provide them with a fund that will take care of their monthly expenses during the current crisis. They have also tied up Gunsar Folk School, Jaisalmer, to distribute food packets and ration kits.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a testing time for communities across the nation, but the crisis has hit the ones with least access to a stable income the hardest, including daily wage folk musicians from all over India's rural districts. We partnered with Salim-Sulaiman to start a country-wide fundraiser, to help provide these local artistes with basic amenities every month during this challenging time. Our aim is to help as many small, mini and micro entrepreneurs as possible and deal with the health and economic impact of the crisis," Arora, vice president and managing director, GoDaddy India, told this diarist. To contribute log on to

From Gulzar to Tagore


On Friday, Rabindranath Tagore's 159 birth anniversary, NCPA will showcase a presentation of his translated Urdu and Hindustani poems by Gulzar. The event was first staged in July 2014 as part of their annual festival titled Bandish: Celebrating the Legendary Composers.

The archival footage will now be available for viewing. "On this occasion, we are happy to present some of his evergreen poems translated by none other than the legendary poet, lyricist and director, Gulzar saab, who regards Tagore as his first guru. Gurudev's words are sure to lift our spirits, especially in the present situation," Dr Suvarnalata Rao, Indian music head, NCPA, told this diarist.

Kunal Kamra's big gesture

Kunal Kamra's big gesture

Comedian Kunal Kamra is raising donations for RT-PCR Covid test kits by Maharashtra-based Mylab Discovery Solutions in a zero-profit initiative. He has decided to do this in an innovative manner by letting go of a treasured possession, his YouTube button, to the donor pledging the highest amount.

"I realised that while people were donating PPE and grocery kits, there was no one donating actual test kits to vulnerable zones. I am planning to donate the one I have raised funds for, to the Sion Hospital.

YouTube buttonYouTube button

A single kit can be used to test 100 samples," Kamra told this diarist, and added, "I am urging others now to give up their most prized possession in this time of need and start afresh. Several people are stepping forward to join in." Since his pledge, Vishal Dadlani, Javed Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Varun Grover have joined the pledge with awards, signed copies and even a personal concert. To contribute log on to

Makarand's way

Makarand's way

In a heart-warming video series titled One Way, actor-director Makarand Deshpande has started talking about his journey into the arts. The first episode talks about his early days and how he went from being a sportsman to an artiste.

"I was encouraged by Nivedita and Aaditi Pohankar to start this and talk about my journey. The series is called One Way because it was my only choice. I was never at a crossroads about my entry into the arts," he told this diarist. "In the next episode I will talk about my journey from the age of 17 to 54. I joined college through the sports quota. So, essentially, I went there as a cricketer and left as an artiste," he said.

Music to our ears

Distribution of ration kits
Distribution of ration kits

In the current crisis, circles of solidarity are cropping up around the world. For instance, a city-based group of six musicians has started an initiative to support performing artistes. They have been reaching out to performers to come forward and help their colleagues by donating a monthly ration kit worth R700.

Speaking to this diarist, musician Sheena Thakur, who is part of the group said, "It started when one of our members, Prince Mulla, came across another musician who tried to end his life owing to financial pressure. The incident shook us. Mulla took it upon himself to reach out to people he knew to help them out. Eventually, we started helping our friends and acquaintances out of our own pockets, and before we knew it,this had taken the form of a proper initiative." Log on to donate a kit.

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