Ankur Tewari, Hindi rock musician and screenwriter
One by U2 (Achtung Baby): I used to get extra tips, when I sang it in restaurants as a student of hotel management. Listening to the song keeps me grounded to reality. It is also currently my ring tone.
O Sanam by Lucky Ali (Sunoh): It used to be my college cafeteria anthem. And I have special memories with this song, because it’s saved me from ragging many times. Also, singing it got me more than a dozen dates.
Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke): The song is simple, and minimalistic, with a pure melody. And it has awesome lyrics.
Something (George Harrison): This is one of the first songs I fell in love with during my walkman days. I had made a mixed tape, with this song recorded on both sides. I have played this song over and over again a lot of times. Cheesy but true.
FoodPhilip Gomes, Executive Chef, Villa 39
Punjab Grill: For Indian cuisine, the best bet is Punjab Grill. I worked with Jiggs Kalra a long time ago. Everything is perfect — food, ambience, service. I love their Dal Makhani, Dahi Ke Kebab. Jorawar, Jiggs’ son is the chef-manager, and is doing a great job. There’s also a lot of fusion cooking.
Stella: If you love Italian, Stella is the place to go. I have worked here before, at the Leela Kempinski. They have over 1,200 wines. Their Spugnole with Porcini Cappucino is awesome.
Indigo: Very casual place, nicely done. Relaxed set up. Great variety of wines to go with the food. Their fusion can sometimes be confusing, like using curry leaves in Risotto. They like experimenting and it’s working for them. They’ve been going strong for 12 years now, and keep changing the menu. Have their Prosciutto Pizza and Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches.
Martins: My wife is Goan, so sometimes I like taking her there to give her a break from cooking. It’s very homely and down to earth. I like their Goan sausages that are doused in vinegar. It can be had with Pav or Sannas. It’s a very small place but the food is really great.
Aatish Taseer, Author of Stranger to History and The Temple-goers
Language of the Gods in the World of Men (Sheldon Pollock): Once you get past the academic language, it’s riveting. An account of Sanskrit breaking out from its function as a strictly liturgical language in the Vedic era into a 1000-year spring of literary achievement and Eastern domination. Satisfies some of our most basic questions about what our literary past contains. Difficult, but rewarding.
The Witches (Roald Dahl): I never read anything more intently. And then magically, while I was reading the book, I met an English lady who was to be one of the witches in the film-version of the book. I think it is a terrifying book for a child, all about women concealed in society who are really witches and turn boys into mice.
Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust): A book that teaches aspiring writers to trust the impulses that might one day release the books that lie within them. I don’t know another writer who has written with such penetration on those little snatches of experience that become embedded in our memory. A wonderful read for a picture of pre-war and wartime Paris.
The Works of Majrooh Sultanpuri: He was introduced to me by my mother and one of the poems I first learnt by heart was also his most famous: Hum ko junoon kya sikhlate ho.
Rohit Roy, Actor
Rebel Without A Cause (1995): I feel every 17-year-old can relate to its theme. Personally, I love James Dean and have tried to emulate his acting style so much so that people actually call me James Dean.
Deewar (1975): As a child, my dad took me to watch this film. This is Salim Javed’s best work. As for Amitabh Bachchan, need I say anything? I related to the brotherly angle, but I am glad Ronit and I do not face the problems as the characters in the movie.
Ran (1985): What stood out in this movie were its opulence and grandeur. It is an unbelievable movie by Akira Kurosawa. No comparison can be made with this film and big budget ones like Avatar, today.
Lagaan (2001): It’s one of the most realistic films I have watched. Aamir Khan’s performance was amazing. Storytelling in India is usually dramatic but this movie felt so real.