Author, Grit, Guts and Gumption
1 Siddhartha: This novel by Hermann Hesse is a life-changer. It has this mesmeric power of storytelling with a deep sense of what is arguably the core of Indian philosophy, and yet it has a story line that by itself is almost straight like an arrow. It is one of the most powerful books of all time.
2 Midnight’s Children: This unputdownable masterpiece by Salman Rushdie comes as close as any single volume can in capturing the multi-colour tapestry of the Indian experience. A storyteller beyond comparison, Rushdie has the power to suck in almost any reader into the setting of his story.
3 The Great Indian Novel: Shashi Tharoor’s novel is majestically ambitious, totally irreverent, and with a deep understanding not just of 20th century Indian history and its makers, but in equal measure of the dilemmas and contradictions of the Mahabharata itself. It is playful and profound at the same time.
4 The White Tiger: If you want to understand 21st century India, this book by Aravind Adiga is absolutely essential. You meet most of its characters multiple times everyday. For many of us, the setting is way too familiar. It is as contemporary as any book can be, is an absolute page-turner and is yet rare in its sensitivity. You won't look at your driver the same way after you read this book.
2 Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future: The Bird and the Bee is an American indie band that has a female vocalist with a phenomenal voice. The album songwriting is very good. Carol of the bells..., by the band is one of those Christmas gospels songs for me. I love the way the band has played around with harmonies.
3 Delhi 6: Rehna Tu by AR Rahman is one of my favourite songs. It is beautifully composed and I love Rahman’s voice. I love the bass line in the song Genda Phool. The only other music director up there with Rahman is Vishal Bhardwaj, especially for his Dil toh bachcha haiji... from Ishqiya.
4 I Hate Luv Stories: This was Vishal and my first film soundtrack with Puneet Malhotra. He believed in what we were doing. Every single song just has a special vibe whether it’s Bahara..., Bin tere... and Jab mila tu... There was a lot of joy when these songs were being made, resulting in a nice and positive soundtrack. I’ve been getting a lot of emails and messages that everyone loved these songs. We had a lot of fun working on it.
– Nikhil Hemrajani
Executive Chef, Hilton Mumbai International Airport
1 Mahesh Lunch Home, Fort: Seafood doesn’t get more authentic than this. For years, this place has been my pick for fresh seafood prepared in delightful styles. This place serves some signature dishes like prawn pulao and butter pepper garlic crab, which are my favorites.
2 Kailash Parbat, Colaba: The best place for some good old Indian food. From chaat to chhole
bhature, this place is one of my most preferred options for vegetarian food. The simple, comfortable ambience adds to the joy of digging into all the delicious food here. It is also one of the few places in the city where you can get a taste of traditional Sindhi food – mouth-watering dishes like dal pakwaan, aloo
tuk that are specials in Sindhi homes.
3 Bade Miya, Colaba: This place is a legacy. Be it their delicious, succulent kebabs or their famous rolls and baida roti, this place has people coming here from all over Mumbai. It is the best option for a late-night meal in Mumbai. I love their pahadi chicken roll, and their butter chicken, which is served with the softest roomali rotis ever.
4 Golden Star Thali, Charni Road: I am yet to experience a better Gujarati Thali than Golden Star. Wholesome, fresh ingredients and a variety of flavours – sweet, savoury, spicy, all in one plate. The great food and pocket-friendly aspect make it one of the best places for a long, relaxed Sunday lunch with family.
Sarah Jane Dias
1 Dil Chahta Hai (2001): This film changed my opinion of Indian cinema. And it spoke about the contemporary Indian generation, a film like that hadn’t been made until then.
2 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998): I loved it because it’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. If you don’t like this film, there is something wrong with you. I can and will watch that movie any day. I cry every time Shah Rukh Khan shouts out to Anjali (Kajol) when the train is moving out of the station and she is leaving.
3 Godfather (1972): It’s a movie you can’t ignore. I love gangster films and this one redefined the way gangster movies were made. I loved Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in the film. What powerful performances they gave.
4 Lord of the Rings (2001): I loved this epic fantasy film and the world it created. I find New Zealand beautiful, because of this film.