Get your list of what to read, listen, eat and watch from the proven experts in the field:
Read: Annie Zaidi, co-author, The Bad Boy’s Guide to The Good Indian Girl
Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham: I read this novel as a teenager and was shaken to discover that we are all slaves to our dreams. Also, this love story never stops hurting, even when the protagonist finds a happy ending.
Everybody Loves a Good Drought by P Sainath: This This book presents India at its most vulnerable (and its most vicious). Sainath is a Magsaysay-award winning journalist. The research is astonishing and the writing is deft.
Saadat Hasan Manto Ki Kahaaniyaan by Saadat Hasan Manto: His stories are an empathetic, insightful, funny mix of the amoral and a moral critique of subcontinental society. I recommend this version rather than an English translation.
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood: I love anything Atwood writes, but I pick Cat’s Eye because its protagonist is an artist who confronts a lot of questions we’re still struggling with. Also, it reminds us that little girls aren’t always safe company.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor: Dostoevsky A criminal returns to the scene of the crime, a given in most crime novels, but what makes him return? This novel is both a tunnel into the mind of an unexpected killer and a spotlight on circumstances that drive people to crime.
Listen: Nigel Rajaratnam, singer-saxophonist-composer
Secret Story (1993) and We live Here (1996) by Pat Metheny: Each is in a different sonic space, and yet, the inherent style is so distinctly the music of Pat and Lyle. Pat totally rocks my world.
Delhi 6 (2009) by A R Rahman: I must have heard this album a hundred times. I think this is easily one of Rahman’s best. Nearly every track has something completely new and insane going on. There are some crazy ideas running around quietly in the back and yet everything comes together so seamlessly.
Details (2002) by Frou Frou: I first heard this album at a friend’s place in Goa while I was barely conscious. It’s got several layers of mixed acoustic and electronica sounds. I think it’s so great that we get to live in a world that has Imogen Heap and Guy Sigsworth in it.
Feels Like Home (2004) by Norah Jones: This album, for me, is the definitive Norah Jones album. I find the songwriting extremely honest and effortless. The songs have so much personality and depth.
Riot On An Empty Street (2004) by Kings of Convenience: It's such an incredible listening experience. Their texture is so minimal and the songs have great melodies. Their sense of arrangement is just bizarre. Songs like the ‘Girl from back there’ are unforgettable.Eat: Chef Arunava Mukherjee, Courtyard by Marriott
Bungalow 9 (Bandra): This place has a great ambience. You’ll also find the interiors quite beautifully decorated. Their food presentation can be quite dramatic at times, which I like.
Salt Water Café (Bandra): This is the perfect place to chill out, given its informal informal vibe. Luckily, the service is quick and efficient. It also has a fairly good choice of cuisines to pick from. For meat-eaters, I’d recommend trying the steaks here.
Barbeque Nation (Bandra): This remains one of my favourite joints. Numerous kebabs and starters coming to your table, all served hot on skewers, makes a great start to the meal, especially if you throw in some chilled beer. You can graduate to the buffet, which offers a neat spread.
Busaba (Colaba): This space is refreshing and eclectic. You will also get a chance to sample some authentic Burmese and Thai cuisine, and can kick back and relax in the cozy lounge after a good meal.
Veda (Lower Parel): I visited Veda at the Palladium recently. We sampled myriad dishes from a sumptuous menu, opting for Rogan Josh, Gosht Nihari, Galouti Kebabs and Spiced Prawns. Chef KP Singh is a true master.
Watch: Hazel Keech, actor
Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959): I loved this Guru Dutt-Waheeda Rehman film. It was ahead of its time, but such things do happen in real life. The way it was shot was amazing and the acting was relatable and subtle.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995:) One of my friends has watched this film about 100 times. I have watched Taal more number of times though. But it’s a very sweet and feel-good film. It’ll always put a smile on your face. Plus, the music is catchy.
Taal (1999): Aishwarya Rai has acted like a dream in this film, while Akshaye Khanna was terrific, yet understated in his part. Plus, the music of this film was the highlight. Since I love to dance and its music makes me move. The best part is that I didn’t even know AR Rahman was the composer.
Lagaan (2001): I love this film because it’s very dynamic and realistic. It tells the story of the underdog in a way that everyone can feel the emotions that the characters are going through. The way the story has been structured and shot makes it a classic.
Dev.D (2008): Anurag Kashyap’s film is a classic in many ways. The way he has contemporarised the old story of Devdas is amazing. The film, like Delhi belly, comes across as being completely unapologetic. It has been packaged very nicely.