Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Fit for a photo
Farhan Akhtar wonders whether he should consider a fan's request for a photo as he exits a club in Bandra yesterday.
Jazzing it up, NYC style
A lot of jazz music that you hear these days has deviated from the Great American Songbook, which is a sort of Bible for the genre. But the Ari Roland Quartet from New York are purists in that sense, sticking to the standards set by old-school stalwarts like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
The band's members - Ari Roland (in pic), Zaid Nasser, Keith Balla and Pasquale Grasso - perform songs from the 1930s to the '50s, considered to be the golden era of jazz.
Now, they are slated to host a masterclass in the city next week, at Furtados School of Music. So, book yourself in if you want to hark back to an era when the genre was not as, well, jazzed up with modern infusions as it is today.
A new star rises
Debut writer from Sri Lanka, Anuk Arudpragasam, walked away as the winner of the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 for his novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, at the just-concluded Dhaka Lit Fest in Bangladesh. His win also meant that he bagged $25,000 as prize money for the award that was instituted in 2010.
Arudpragasam piped Anjali Joseph (The Living), Karan Mahajan (The Association of Small Bombs), Aravind Adiga (Selection Day) and Stephen Alter (In the Jungles of the Night) to the post. Currently, pursuing a doctorate in philosophy at Columbia University, the jury hailed his prose that was a powerful portrayal of a young man trapped on the frontlines between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers.
Mumbai's sweet-toothed population has one more reason to cheer. Joining the many artisanal dessert joints is young chef Nikhil Jain's first venture, Coppetto, that celebrates Italian gelato. Jain trained in the art of making traditional Sicilian gelato in Italy's Emilia-Romanga region.
He recalls the experience, "Learning how to make gelato from raw ingredients has been a beautiful experience for me while I was in Italy." Adding a warm touch to the opening yesterday was the presence of Jain's professor from Italy, Alice Vignoli, who flew down to support her student. "I couldn't be happier to be here in Mumbai, working alongside Nikhil, who I am very proud of.
I met him in Bologna while he was learning to make gelato from scratch, and now here he is, bringing authentic gelato over to Mumbai! Get ready to taste the freshest ingredients mixed with passion, in Bandra!" Vignoli exults. Bravo!
Not quite set in stone
Last week, when this diarist met chef Milan Gupta at Taftoon, whose menu celebrates the Grand Trunk Road from Kabul to Chittagong, he shared an interesting nugget.
"Most chefs from North India use this typical lingo that drives me up the wall. When they are making a gravy, they say, 'Isko set kar de.'
What they mean is to give it a treatment of cream and milk. This would cloak the rest of the flavours, but Indians have been fed this for years. This term and its use has been barred in my kitchen," Gupta says.
Of books and beauty pageants
Unless you're living under a rock, by now you'd know that Manushi Chhillar has brought home the Miss World crown after a gap of 17 years. If you're interested in delving deeper into beauty pageants, watch out for an upcoming book, titled Beauty Queen: The Pathway to Pageantry (Amaryllis).
It unravels the evolution of beauty pageants from the 1950s and promises to be a comprehensive guide to all the preparation that's required to bag the crown. What's interesting is that its author, Anvita Sudarshan, a writer-filmmaker, spent her early days in the pageantry and modelling world, including being the first runner-up of Miss India Worldwide 2012.
About the research that went into the book, she shared, "However random our appreciation of beauty and intelligence might seem, they both follow certain templates relevant to the time period, and place you are living in. Understanding that took a lot of study of human biology, all of which is included in the book. I've also learnt the most from my interaction with the other contestants at all the pageants I have taken part in."