Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Centre of attraction
Asha Bhosle arrives at a road renaming ceremony in Juhu with daughter-in-law Anuja (right), as actors Shakti Kapoor and Poonam Dhillon look on.
Global audience for devdasis
From a cameo in Slumdog Millionaire to pivotal roles in Bollywood (Fugly and Singh Is Bliing), running an indie production house, and being a Cannes regular, Arfi Lamba (in pic) has come a long way. Now, he's set to debut in Paris and Berlin with the play, The Devadasi — Nothing Is Everything, in June. Directed by Sunny Bhambhani, the period piece (1300s in South India) is set against the backdrop of the Bhakti movement of devdasis, where Lamba plays the lead. "While Indians are aware of the devadasi system, it is a novel concept for foreigners. We performed it in Ahmednagar recently and received a standing ovation. More than half of the audience included foreign tourists," shared Lamba.
Karan Johar reads from the book as Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Suhel Seth look on
Maestros, movies and a SoBo release.
Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's second title, Master on Masters, was introduced to Mumbai's literati at a SoBo five-star last evening. The 71-year-old music icon had launched it at a literature festival in Dehradun last week. The book is an ode to 12 legendary names from Indian Classical music, which includes Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar and Pandit Ravi Shankar. The title had a Bollywood-style opening; Karan Johar released it and read extracts from it, while Suhel Seth moderated the session. Spotted in the audience were Milind Deora and Pankaj Udhas. A power-packed session, this.
A crowd-sourced protest, this
Recently, many banks have increased their charges on almost all banking services. Going digital is fine but it is soon going to cost us. To this end, we recently received an email exhorting us to consider giving our support to No Bank Transaction day on April 6. If they don't rollback the changes, then April 24, 25, and 26 will also be treated as no transaction days. The plan is to continue this until there is a roll back on service charges. The email asked us to spread this message every five days to all our contacts. This, we are told, is a protest against transaction fees and decreasing rate of interest on deposits. The email ends with a tongue in cheek verse: Earning is a crime/ Saving is a crime/ Spending is a crime/ Donating to Political Parties is the only good act.
Looking for an Aadhaar-verified partner?
Ever since the Aadhaar card has been put on the path to becoming the most important document to own in India, a slew of jokes has taken over the internet. So, when this diarist came across an ad for a matrimonial website promising to help users find their perfect partner through its inventory of Aadhaar-verified profiles, she thought it was a funny forward. A closer look, however, revealed that the website meant business. While we are not sure how owning an Aadhaar card guarantees conjugal bliss, the document's rise to fame has certainly stoked the entrepreneurial spirit.
Devyani Khobragade. Pic/AFP
She's bullish about a book
Remember the former deputy consul general, Devyani Khobragade, who was in the news for all the wrong reasons back in 2013? She was charged by US authorities for engaging in visa fraud, and even accused of paying her Indian maid less than minimum legal wage. The controversial diplomat's arrest in the US had far-reaching implications, leading to a freeze in Indo-US ties at the time. On her return, she was also embroiled in the Adarsh Housing Scam, and ran into rough weather with her bosses at her new posting due to a few interviews in the media. Last December, Khobragade made headlines for a different reason, when she debuted in fiction writing with The White Sari, a love story set in a caste based society. Now, we hear that she's back with another short story, The Mahar Bullock. We checked out the preview chapter of the short story that is based on Bhima, a brave bullock that kills a tiger but cannot compete in a race because it has a Dalit owner.
Intrigued? Well, we'd rather hold on to our verdict until we get our hands on the full story by Ms Khobragade.
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