Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Smiling from year to year
Sonali Bendre Behl smiles for the camera while husband Goldie Behl and Hrithik Roshan keep an eye on her during a New Year's Eve bash that the Behls hosted at their home in Juhu, where Bendre's friends also brought in her birthday, which falls on January 1. Pic/sameer Markande
The write words
Social media is such a cesspool of hate and bigotry that people are often at the mercy of anonymous trolls. So, it brought a smile to our faces when we read some of the comments to a post that American historian Audrey Trushcke recently put up announcing an impending visit to India. Trushcke had written a biography of Aurangzeb that painted him as a leader who was handicapped by the political constraints of the time, as opposed to the religious zealot that the Hindu right accuses him of being. This had led to an uproar from that same group of people, with a talk she was scheduled to give at Hyderabad getting cancelled in the process. But most of the people in the comments thread had only words of encouragement for her, with some apologising for the response at Hyderabad. There were a few trolls too, who had a go at Trushcke. But who cares about them, right?
Performance venues put up a good show
If 2016-17 was about a host of intimate performance spaces opening up in the city, 2018 will be remembered as the year some of them truly came into their own. The hitherto unexplored area of Aram Nagar in Versova is a case in point. It now has at least four dedicated performance spaces that run with a fairly packed calendar. Harkat Studios, for instance, hosted about 120 shows including three festivals in 2018, many of which ran to a packed house. The number of tickets sold, the founders say, almost doubled from 2017, while the venue was looked up, mapped and contacted by 1,74,000 people according to Google metrics. Patrons at Si Bambai, an intimate performance space in Fort, had to be turned away for lack of space for a Flamenco night held recently. And in other good news, Gillo Theatre Repertory, a Mumbai-based organisation that works for children and young people took theatre to schools located in remote parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, and staged over 100 shows this year, a first for the team. Let's keep the momentum going in 2019.
Online streaming platforms have altered the way we consume entertainment. And after announcing a set of nine new originals in November - fuelled by the success of Sacred Games (in pic) - Netflix has leased an office space spanning 1.5 lakh sq ft in Bandra Kurla Complex for nine years. With the much-anticipated release of Selection Day on Friday, a sports original based on Aravind Adiga's novel of the same name, India clearly seems to be special for the American media-services provider.
Vishal Dadlani sails into 2019
Musician Vishal Dadlani ended his year on a high note, literally. His Instagram was filled with him trying out paragliding at Kamshet, two-and-a-half hours away from Mumbai. "No, this isn't PubG or any such game where you sit indoors in front of your screen, pretending to do things. This is real, and I recommend it to all of you," he wrote, thanking the company that organised the adventure for him. While another post has him pictured up in the air and is accompanied by a muhavara, he also ended up making it the ideal way to start the New Year. "You wanna play? Get out of your house, and get in the wind," he signs off, and we agree.
Celebs say it's time for Africa
If summer holidays are about languid afternoons in the European countryside for the city's famous faces, the wild side of Africa is what's been beckoning them during winter. Theatre personality Sanjna Kapoor is off to her annual African sojourn, with husband and naturalist Valmik Thapar and son Hamir. And this time, the family picked Tanzania, where they might just bump into host and presenter Gaurav Kapur, who is ringing in the New Year in Zanzibar. Not too far away is chef Vineet Bhatia, soaking in the sun in the company of lions, giraffes and zebras on Kenyan safaris. And that's just about enough to stoke our wanderlust.
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