We reached Café Excelsior on a rain-kissed Sunday morning and were greeted with warm smiles and cups of hot tea. Although the first one was priceless, the manager refused to charge us for the tea as well. All he demanded was a picture with the actor!
The rain had just stopped. Vidya, our photographer, began shooting. Barely five minutes had passed when we saw some people running towards us. It had started raining again. We made a dash for our car. Once inside, Vidya said that she had already got the required shots.
Shahani turned out to be a ‘darling’ and insisted we address him as that. He was sporting enough to pout for us and dressed up to “look Brunch”. In between shots, he would jokingly scream, “Dada, zara make-up retouch kardo please.”
When we land up at Khambatta’s studio, the first thing we spot is his dog. She was Stevo and apparently, rather harmless. But she was quite stubborn too! Even after much cajoling, she refused to pose. “She’s just too lazy,” says her owner.
Amlani looked dejected. “This is sad yaar, nobody recognises me here anymore.” As we begin the shoot at Prithvi Café, a guard asked us if we had all the permissions. Well, you might be the café owner, par permission leni chahiye na!
We braved the rain, the waterlogging and the traffic, only to reach Andheri and discover that the singer’s favourite café did not allow photography. But being a pretty neighbourhood, Lokhandwala had more location options to offer us.
This is where it all began for Monga. And today, even though he travels to more interesting places, it is SGNP that he comes back to at the end of the day. Although he hasn’t set foot in the park in the eight months, as they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder.
From HT Brunch, July 31, 2016
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