Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The Cultural Provocateurs
As is known, JLF, one of the world’s largest free literary festivals, is spreading its wings with regular outposts across the globe. This week saw the long-running literary extravaganza, founded by Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple and Sanjoy K Roy, set up its tent in New York, where, over two days, a variety of book-related and other cultural programs were held.
We caught up yesterday with Mumbai-based cultural provocateur, AVID’s Asad Lalljee, who had helped organise a preview of the festival, at the 50-year retrospective of artist Madhvi Parekh at her first showing in the Big Apple, which had been attended by close to 200 people. For Lalljee, who’d lived in NYC before relocating to India, it was something of a homecoming. “After living there for 16 years, to go back and experience the art and culture world was interesting,” he said from New York airport, on the verge of catching a flight to London. “NYC is always welcoming, hence it has been called the melting pot…,” he said, adding, “The highlights were the launch of William Dalrymple’s Anarchy and Manisha Koirala’s session. Also, the panel on migration and identity was interesting, especially as most in the audience were migrants.”
Would he say though that the obvious stars of Indo-US writing, such as NYC-based authors like Salman Rushdie and Suketu Mehta (both of who have new books out) were conspicuous by their absence?
“I did not see Suketu or Salman,” said Lalljee. “JLF is a movement of thoughts and ideas through the written word and with its multiple city/country programmes, it is gaining traction. I am a big fan of JLF and Sanjoy (Roy) is my mentor in the arts.”
And then he was off, winging his way across the sky, most likely to another cultural hotspot.
The Oolong Tea Serving Hostess friend was looking chuffed. “Sit down darling, I’ve got some wonderful news,” she said, as Asha, her trusty maid and Raju, her long-suffering ‘house-boy’ attended to her, from head to toe (oil massage and pedicure). “Have you noticed recently how some women have begun to look — how shall I put it — rather different?” she said, fixing us with a beady stare. “Like altogether new people, in some cases even like their teenage daughters?”
Now that you mention it…we said.
“I tracked it down,” said the OTSH. “It’s a clinic in Delhi. Very hush hush and upmarket. All the ‘girls’ we know are booking appointments there. In one day, out the other. Looking half your age. A. Brand. New. Person. Altogether!!”
There was certainly something in what the OTSH said, come to think of it: from the F&B diva, to the good time party girl with the heart of gold, and the fashionista wife of a tycoon, to even the wannabe fashion queen, they all looked strangely…altered…
But there was no time to discuss that. The OTSH was caught up in a flurry of excitement, as she bid her attendants to ‘jaldi se’ start packing her suitcases.
It was best to keep out of her way when she was in such hysteria.
“Ab Dilli Door Nahi!!” we heard her trill, as we made our way out hastily.
‘Perhaps Bono will find what he’s looking for in Mumbai…#U2’
-Tweeted by Sunit Arora
A New Leaf
They say adversity brings out the best in a person and no one appears to be a better example of this than Sid Mallya, the actor son of fugitive beer baron Vijay Mallya, who is currently in London.
Ever since his father’s financial woes began, Mallya Junior seems to be intent on turning over a new leaf; spending time with his beleaguered dad; growing a shaggy beard; smiling more; and displaying a welcoming vein of self-deprecating humour in his social media interactions.
Last month, he proudly announced his one-year abstinence from alcohol. “One year today of no booze!!! It’s not that I was a frequent drinker, but whenever I did, I would feel crippling anxiety the next day — no matter how much or little I drank,” he’d posted, going on to encourage his followers not to succumb to peer pressure at parties. (“Don’t worry about what others will think, just do what’s best for you.”)
This week saw him catch up with Mumbai-based Bollywood producer Tanuj Garg at London’s Selfridges.
“He was his usual fun, adorable, charismatic self,” said Garg.
What is young Mallya doing?
“He’s busy auditioning and also dabbling with content creation for digital platforms in the West. He was off to LA.”
Any chance of the encounter fructifying into signing him for a forthcoming project back home?
“He has an agent in Hollywood” was Garg’s cryptic response.