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entertainment Updated: Jan 30, 2011 14:39 IST
HT Cafe

Tishani Doshi
Author, The Pleasure Seekers

Recently, I read Room by Emma Donoghue. It’s a strange and slightly claustrophobic tale about the love between a mother and son. The narrator is 5-year-old Jack who was conceived in the ‘room’. The story, which is really about kidnapping, torture and rape, becomes, in a sense, the story of his childhood.

1 Life and Times of Michael K: I admire all of J M Coetzee’s work for its sharpness and sparseness. But I love this book best of all for its treatment of solitude. Here’s a jewel of a sentence that I’ve been carrying around with me for some time: “It came home to him that he might die, he or his body, it was the same thing, that he might lie here till the moss on the roof grew dark before his eyes, that his story might end with his bones growing white in this far off place.” To me, that’s just perfection.

2 Invisible Cities: I’ve read this book by Italo Calvino several times, and each time I read it, I discover a new layer within its many layers. It’s a book that defies categorisation. It’s a love song to Venice, a conversation between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo, a study in desire, memory and continuity. It’s poetry disguised as prose.

3 The Bluest Eye: I read this novel by Toni Morrison a long time ago when I was contemplating becoming a writer. I remember thinking that I’d never read anything like this before. It was disturbing and powerful, and I think great literature aims to do just that.

4 Love in the Time of Cholera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ greatest gift as a novelist is his ability to create visual landscapes. He’s like an impressionist painter – broad brushstrokes of colour, emotion, noise. It is such a fantastic, weird, beautiful love story. When I visited Cartagena in Colombia, I remember thinking how familiar it all felt – the pink houses, the almond trees, the cobbled streets, and I realised it was because of my intimacy with this novel. Every house could have belonged to Fermina Daza, and the possibility of love was everywhere.

- Manali Shah

Ankur Tewari
Singer-songwriter, Ankur Tewari and the Ghalat Family

I’m currently listening to Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon. I like the idea that these are just a bunch of local boys from a small town in USA. The fact that they are not from the urban hub, yet have a sound that’s very edgy makes them interesting. Though I find their previous albums much better, I’m a loyalist, so I’m giving it another listen for their music to grow on me.

1 White Album (The Beatles): It was one album that broke all norms of recording when it first released. The Fabulous Four created a raw album and even the cover was very unconventional, with just a bare white artwork. The very idea of the album was rebellious and that’s what I like about it.

2 Achtung Baby (U2): Even the caller tune for my phone, the song ‘One’ is from this album. I was fixated with this album back in college, when I was learning to the play the guitar. All the songs have great melodies.

3 Born in the USA (Bruce Springsteen): This was the first cassette I bought with my own pocket money. I remember Springsteen was coming to India that time around, and I was excited about it. I hadn’t heard much of his compositions back then, but I was blown away when I heard this cult album.

4 Sunoh (Lucky Ali): This album was very popular during my college days. All the girls used to be very impressed every time I played songs from this album. And when I played it at restaurants, I used to get a lot of extra tips.

— Megha Mahindru

Mangal Dalal
Director, Restaurant Week
I recently went to Colaba’s newly opened bakery, Le Pain Quotidien. Pre-2 pm, it is hard to compete with LPQ given the freshness of its bread and bread-related products such as the tartines and the bruschetta. The granola is one of the best cereals to be had at this stand-alone, as are the fruit preserves and chocolate spreads.

1 Indigo Delicatessen (Colaba): The chairs may not be the most welcoming and the service at times can be absent-minded, but the food is unquestionably consistent. It serves no nonsense comfort food, which is why I’m there every weekend. The beef burger is one of the best in town, the pizzas are wafer-thin and nothing beats fresh, warm cookies.

2 Don Giovanni, (Juhu): Simple, authentic Italian food, which is rare to find in a stand-alone restaurant. It keeps changing locations, but the menu doesn’t change very much. A great place to be if you want something particular like the ravioli in butter and sage. Dependably good.

3 Ziya, The Oberoi (Nariman Point): For me, Ziya was easily the opening of 2010. Chef Bhatia largely respects the base of Indian cuisine but merges ingredients across cuisines within and outside India creatively, but not frivolously. Although the vegetarian food isn’t as good, the mushroom ‘khichdi’ with ‘makhani’ ice-cream is outstanding.

4 Swati Snacks (Tardeo): Swati’s popularity is its biggest flaw. Turning up after 8 pm often means a long wait. But it is usually worth the wait with their wholesome Rajasthani, Gujarati and Maharashtrian vegetarian fare such as Fada Ni Khichdi and Satpadi Roti with Gatta Nu Shak.

— Rochelle Pinto

Emraan Hashmi
Actor, Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji

I recently watched Sholay again. I love everything about this movie, especially Basanti, Dharmendra, the water tank scene and the song Mehbooba mehbooba.

1 Naseeb (1981): What a masala film it was! The movie was about destiny and fate and it began with a simple lottery ticket and had actors like Shatrughan Sinha, Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Reena Roy, Amjad Khan. Besides the hit soundtrack featuring songs like ‘John jani janardan’, director Manmohan Desai’s film also saw stars like Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra and Simi make special appearances. It was such a novelty at that time.

2 Jaagte Raho (1956): I still have vivid memories of Raj Kapoor’s black-and-white film. It was about a man who comes to a housing colony in search of water and a string of incidents unfold in his desire to quench his thirst. It was a simple film but even at that young age, it had an impact on me.

3 Ram Aur Shyam (1967): Dilip Kumar’s film had some very funny situations. I must have seen it more than 15 times as a kid. I loved the double role in it. The confusion between the characters Shyamrao and Ramchandra, who look similar, was hilarious.

4 Mr Natwarlal (1979): I was mesmerised by the powerful and mysterious character played by Amitabh Bachchan. I simply adored him during my younger days and have grown up on his movies. A kid-centric film, it had some super songs like ‘Mere paas aao mere doston’, which I loved.

— Priyanka Jain