Starry, starry nights
Guruvandana music event
Where: Yashwant Natya Mandir, Manmala Tank Road, Near Star City, Matunga (West)
When: Saturday, 8.30 pm
Cost: Tickets start at Rs 100
Call: 98709-63748, 98208-93285
Bansuri Utsav 2013
Where: Dr Kashinath Ghanekar Natyagruha, Near Hiranandani Meadows, Pawar Nagar, Thane (West)
When: Saturday and Sunday, 7 pm and 8 pm respectively
Cost: Tickets start at Rs 300
A tabla master in matunga
He is one of the most important tabla players of our generation. His mastery is such that the Farukhabad gharana to which he belongs should be proud of him," said tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, of Anindo Chatterjee. "He is also a wonderful human being. That is why I went to Calcutta to play on the occasion of his 50th birthday."
Chatterjee, 57, belongs to an elite club of three outstanding tabla players from Kolkata, the other two being Kumar Bose and Swapan Chaudhuri. He will perform at the Guruvandana music event in Matunga on Saturday.
The Farukhabad gharana to which Chatterjee belongs was influenced by erstwhile players of the pakhawaj, a two-headed drum.
A solo recital thus features stages such as peshkar (a compositional type presented at the commencement of a solo recital) and qayada (a piece played after the peshkar, characterised by its close relationship with the basic design of the taal being presented).
Chatterjee is likely to play the teentaal (16-beat rhythm cycle) in this solo recital. Vocalist Kaushiki Chakrabarty, 32, the newest star on the classical-music horizon, will also perform at Guruvan-dana. Chakrabarty is the daughter and pupil of Ajoy Chakrabarty, a leading singer of the post-Bhimsen generation.
65 flautists in thane
An ensemble of 65 bansuri (flute) players will perform at this year's Bansuri Utsav or flute festival, to be held in Thane over the weekend.
Young artiste Vivek Sonar, 38, has steadily built up this group of flautists over the years, assembling, training and grooming them - an unusual feat in the Hindustani classic music scene, where performances are usually solo presentations or, at most, jugalbandis of two or three artistes.
Sonar, a resident of Thane, has himself trained at a gurukul run by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. He has also performed with the bansuri maestro at concerts.
"In this, the sixth edition of Bansuri Utsav, we have also instituted an award in the name of my mentor, Pandit Chaurasia, which will be given to a nationally recognised musician each year. The first recipient is Carnatic flautist N Ramani," says Sonar.
Chaurasia himself will perform at the utsav, accompanied by Kumar Bose on the tabla and Bhawani Shankar on the pakhawaj. There will also be a Kathak performance by Rajendra Gangani and a jugalbandi of Ronu Majumdar on the bansuri and Kadri Gopal on the saxophone.
- Amarendra Dhaneshwar
Sex and spirituality
What: Sense and Sensuality, an exhibition of graphic-art works based on the Kama Sutra
Where: Design Temple, 2, Churchill Chambers, 32, Mereweather
When: January 15 to February 15, 11 am to
Entry Is Free
In an exhibition that examines how the context of sexuality has changed over time in India, Divya Thakur of design store and gallery Design Temple has created and put on display 12 graphic-art works as part of an exhibition titled Sense and Sensuality.
The art works are recreations of sexual positions as originally charted by the sage Vatsyayana when he compiled the work of several writers into what he laid out as the Kama Sutra (Sanskrit for 'Treatise on Sexual Pleasure'), in the 3rd century AD.
In each of the 12 works, Thakur combines the central graphic-design image with two types of geometric backgrounds, using silk-screen printing as a finishing effect.
"Right till the colonial era, we were open about sex and celebrated it," says Thakur. "We looked at it as an act of spiritual sensuality and not something to be shrouded."
As a designer, Thakur adds, she was fascinated by how the original writers elucidated, simplified and named each position.
Another set of the limited-edition prints are currently on display at New Delhi's prestigious Nature Morte gallery, till February 24.
- Riddhi Doshi
Tadka with a twist
Take the plunge The décor is ghastly, but the novelty dishes are a treat. Be sure to try the Oreo lassi, potato-pomegranate raita.
The Funjabi Tadka: ***
Where: 164, Hill Road, 1st Floor, C'est La Vie Building, next to Nature's Basket and Ray's pizzeria, Bandra (West)
When: Noon to 4 pm, 7 pm to 12.30 am
COST: About Rs 1,700 for a meal for two with one drink each (only beer and wine served, liquor licence awaited)
Opened On: January 10
The Funjabi Tadka is the sort of place where you step in, look around, look at your dining companions, then choose to skip it and go elsewhere. But wait. Don't be daunted by the décor, which is equal parts boring and ridiculous. The room and the furniture look like a bad banqueting decision from the late 1980s. Look upwards and it gets really strange: From recessed squares of light in the ceiling dangle faux rocks and clapper-less tiny bells.
Against better judgement, give the wooden-framed orange menu a chance. The curiosities there are worth at least one shot, if not more.
Eliciting bewilderment and wonder are items such as cappuccino lassi, chilly-spiked sugarcane juice, beetroot-amla kebabs and (non-spicy) green chilly halwa. They are interspersed, of course, with the familiar - tandoori pomfret, baingan bharta, paneer hariyali tikka, cucumber raita. This is why the name has 'Funjabi' in it. (It helps to know that the chef is Harpal Singh Sokhi, of the TV show Turban Tadka on FoodFood).
We started with the lassi sampler, where you can pick any four of the nine flavours. Try the lemon-apple (lemony as promised, and light), and the Oreo (my Bengali dining companion said it reminded him of mishti doi), and then stick with the classic sweet/salted ones. Skip the pudina-mirch and the banana-pepper. They are nowhere as playful as they sound.
Our first starter, mangodiyan naal imli chutney, was deep-fried balls of a perfectly-spiced lentil batter textured quite like kheema. We swathed it in the onion seed-stippled imli chutney. All of TFT's chutneys - the tomato, the mint, and the imli - would make a good meal in themselves, paired with a few rotis.
The tender, spicy botis of our Sucha Singh mutton tikka masala needed no such accompaniment. It was delicious by itself, if a bit too greasy.
Perhaps we were sated already (a lassi sampler will fill you up fast), but the mains didn't thrill us. Not that they weren't exciting - the tomato khajur ka bharta was a sweet and tangy rough mash that paired well with makkai masala roti; the kadhai chicken chhole was well-prepared, but the chhole did nothing for the dish.
As my companion said, a good raita can do a lot for a meal. Get the potato-pomegranate one. Its secret ingredient is tiny flecks of green chilly.
TFT has only had a soft launch so far, and the service is very sincere. Next time, we want to sample the paan rasmalai, the kheema dal tadka, and the nimboo wala butter chicken.
We'll consider takeaway.
No pop, no sizzle
The Big Bang Cafe & Bar: *1/2
Where: Third Floor/Terrace, Kenilworth Shopping Arcade, above KFC, off Linking Road, Bandra (West)
When: Noon to 4 pm, 7 pm to 12.30 am
Cost: About Rs 1,700 for a meal for two, including one drink each
Call: 2600-8833, 2600-8877
Opened On: December 31
Unlike its neighbour Kofuku on the floor below, The Big Bang does not reward you enough for making your way up the grimy, smelly Kenilworth building.
The large space occupies almost the entire roof but is too poorly lit for dining. There is a long bar facing the entrance, window boxes with coloured fairy lights, and the menu is a shoddy stack of printed sheets on a clipboard. None of this helps in any way to define what TBB is trying to be.
The menu offers pub staples such as potato skins, Mexican grub (tacos) and everything in between. Like many eateries in the city, the multi-cuisine menu contributes to misadventure.
Of our starters, the paneer shashlik was the most nosh-worthy, adequately smoky with soft cubes of the skewered cheese. The Mexican beans and tacos were topped with processed cheese and mushy salsa; the sour cream was not sour cream.
The cheese also blanketed our BBQ potato skins, stuffed with rubbery chicken in a sauce that was too sweet. The Thai green curry tasted like it has been assembled from the contents of various cans.
We lost our gamble on the peculiar 'penne masala mafia'. The pasta was overcooked; its cream sauce had no defining flavour. Even as a spoof of that glorious riff, Spaghetti a la Fernandes at The Ambassador, it failed.
If, instead, TBB intends to be a bar that also offers a diverse food menu, then there is no reason why Monin syrup should make up the key note in a fruit-based cocktail. Our passion and curry martini would have taken some of the sting off our meal, if not for this.
- Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
(HT pays for all meals and events, and reviews anonymously)
Singing to an ancient beat
What: Performance by Kutchi singer Murra Lala Fafal (above)
Where: Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel
When: Sunday, 9 pm
Entry Fee: Rs 350
Murra Lala Fafal is from Janan in Gujarat, a tiny hamlet of farmers situated 30 km from the Pakistan border. Most residents rarely leave Janan.
But Fafal, 44, a Sufi singer and father of six with a strong, high-pitched voice, regularly travels to Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata for performances.
"If God had willed it so, we could have been born in a bigger town, been educated and perhaps had a better life," he says, over a poor phone connection. "But this is what He has planned for us and I don't have any complaints."
Fafal belongs to the Marwada Meghwals Hindu community that traditionally sings songs in Kutchi that are passed down as oral heritage. He is now the 11th generation of singer, and the only one in his family to sing. He also plays the santaar, a 300-year-old instrument.
Fafal was discovered four years ago by Shabnam Virmani, a Bangalore-based documentary filmmaker who was looking for folk musicians for The Kabir Project, which celebrates the work of the 15th-century poet.
Impressed by his powerful voice, Virmani asked him to perform at an edition of the Kabir festival in Bangalore. "That was the first time I set foot in a big city," says Fafal. "It was overwhelming. I had never seen so many people, cars and lights at the same time."
Today, as he readies himself for his first show at performance club Blue Frog, his mission is to preserve the heritage of his forefathers. But he has no plans of passing on the baton just yet. "As long as I have a voice, I will sing," he says.
- Suprateek Chatterjee
Listings | also check out
Screening of four short films by the Films Division's FD Zone club. The films explore the inner workings of communities integral to the city's identity - including the Parsis and the East Indians - and how they are constantly reshaping their identities in order to survive in the megalopolis of Mumbai.
Where: RR Theatre, 10th Floor, Films Division, 24, Peddar Road
When: Saturday, 4 pm to 6 pm
Call: 2351-0461, 2352-1421
Entry Is Free
An exhibition of posters curated by literary organisation The Narrators. The posters, created by Berlin-based artist Peter Morcinek, use representative images and designed text from literary works such as Alice in Wonderland, Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice (left) to create graphical representations for each work.
Where: Anemos store, Ground Floor, Krishna House, Raghuvanshi Estate, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel
When: January 18 to February 26
Entry is free
Vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain to perform together in a concert organised by classical music forum Pancham Nishad. Sitar player Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee will also perform with Hussain, for the first time in 20 years.
Where: Sivaswamy Auditorium, Fine Arts Society, RC Marg, Chembur
When: Saturday, 7 pm onwards
Call: 2412-4750, 2418-8494
Cost: Ticket prices start at Rs 100