The trance visarjan
>> We have a particular appreciation for dancing on the streets. Carnivals, weddings, street fairs of all nature charm us no end. Which is why amidst all the other visarjans the one that most caught our attention was the Trance Ganesh Visarjan organised by DJ Asad Zaidi, dancer Dodo Bhujwala and friends.
In its 13th year now, the Mahalaxmi Bal Sang Mandal attracted a huge number of fans some of whom had flown in from different corners of the world (a far cry from the first one that had around 20 young people).
Zaidi who in his day job dons the hat of a techie was keen to emphasise the procession’s kosher character.
“We take great care to maintain the devotional sanctity of the occasion,” he said, “And make sure it doesn’t degenerate in to a dance party. For instance, we only play devotional bhajans (as against filmy tunes) mixed with a 135-145 beats per minute; there is a truck for women and children and many families and elders also join in,” he said.
Winding its way from Mahalaxmi, the procession ends at the Eden Hall sea front at Worli. Yesterday’s celebration of Mumbai’s most loved deity had the likes of Manasi Scott, Suchitra Pillai and Karan Khanna joining in the dancing. We like!
>> How do I love Mumbai? Let me count the ways. Freshly returned from Delhi and its highbrow artsy people, it’s rolling boulevards and strolling politicians it’s easy to be a little biased towards the Capital. But then we come to Mumbai and find one more reason to fall in love with it all over again: An ex-colleague, the talented Bulgarian journalist Mila Gantcheva who has been married in to a Mumbai family and has made the city her home has come up with one of the most unique ways to add sparkle to the city’s party scene.
Known as ‘Ladies who Lunch’ it consists of a group of 15 or so well-heeled Mumbai denizens who meet every month at each others homes to pay tribute to various legends.
A few months ago, for instance, the afternoon’s theme was the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and not only were the ladies required to dress like the beautiful painter (flowers in plaited hair, unibrows and extravagant skirts) but they actually prepared her favourite recipes! “I have always adored Kahlo, and then recently I came across a compilation of her favourite recipes by Diego Rivera’s daughter,” says Mila. Coming up is a Burmese lunch where the hostess will cook an old family recipe of khawswe, and in December a global feast — pre Christmas potluck celebration with traditional recipes from our respective countries / communities (we have members from Bulgaria, Portugal, India, Mauritius, USA etc). We told you, Delhi can keep her gardens and her garden-variety politicos, Mumbai’s got soul!
>> Many moons ago, when we were rookie journos, one of our earliest jobs was on Aroon Purie’s Bombay Magazine, a terribly clever and hugely successful magazine that he had launched to capture Mumbai’s effervescence. That’s when we had met and worked with the charismatic Mohini Bhullar who steered the magazine to its success.
Bhullar was its publisher, moving spirit and nurturer, and her striking visage, quick wit and innate sophistication had contributed considerably to the magazine’s numero uno position as the last word on Mumbai high society. So, it was with a sense of particular delight this Sunday that we happened to speak to Mohini almost four decades later and after she had migrated to Delhi when we chanced upon her daughter in-law, the redoubtable Rashmi Uday Singh on the phone with her. “We must do lunch when you’re next in Delhi,” said Mohini. An invitation we are hugely looking forward to. After all, we chroniclers of Mumbai always like to exchange notes!
Barfi and the crabs
>> What a pity that Barfi, India’s official entry to the Oscars has got embroiled in a plagiarism issue. A suspiciously well-made video circulated on social networking sites meticulously captures the half a dozen films that Anurag Basu’s film has allegedly lifted scenes from.
Now, whereas we take a dim view of plagiarism what we find here is that it appears Barfi’s rivals are out to besmirch it for their own reasons; because there is a huge difference in a tribute and a lift.
Whatever we saw in this expose points to the fact that the film’s makers have deliberately incorporated some of the world’s most iconic funny scenes in to the movie knowing that film buffs will appreciate the sly salute to their makers. We don’t call that plagiarism, we call that a tribute. Some of the world’s cleverest directors have done the same and been admired for it. Poor Barfi, obviously, a victim of the famous Indian crab mentality!
The DaCunhas abroad
>> Every year, one of Mumbai’s most talented families — the DaCunhas — extricates itself from its various commitments and takes time to bond in London.
“London in September is bonding with parents’ time — it has that ‘chill in the sun vibe’ — light sweater and soft light to replenish the tan,” says screen writer, photographer, adman, director and soon to be novelist Rahul daCunha who along with his writer mom Nisha and columnist and director dad Sylvie are in London as we speak, doing what all civilised people do: walking, watching plays and going to restaurants. “We experimented with Spanish food, tapas and sangrias! Watched Jonathan Pryce as King Lear. And took lots of fun street photo ops!!” said the director of I’m not Bajirao. We present some pix from his recently shot ‘Streets of London’ series: “September in London is also when the fashions are at their funkiest, whether it’s shop windows or vehicles,” he says.