Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Just a girl and a guitar
Ananya Birla, daughter of industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and philanthropist Neerja Birla has amply demonstrated how it is music that makes her world go round. Even though she launched a series of successful start-ups and NGOs in the field of e-commerce and mental health, following her stint at Oxford, the heiress, first and foremost, appears to be a musician at heart. The 20-something guitarist, singer and composer has released four hit tracks in a short span and has already received a platinum plaque for her efforts. And, word comes in that this Saturday night, guests were delighted, when, during a friend’s birthday celebrations, Ananya pulled out an acoustic guitar and impromptu performed the track ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz, which we hear was the highlight of the evening, and ended with a sing-along by the whole group, which included model Gabriella Demetriades.
One more instance of the city’s monstrous sense of entitlement has been brought to our notice. This one emanates from a newly-restored heritage structure, where royal patronage has made it the cultural hub for the cognoscenti. “At a recent cultural event, boasting big names from the corporate world, there was a virtual free for all, when members of the audience demanded to be seated in the front row seats only, come hell or high water,” a source present on the occasion says, adding, “You can drip diamonds (polkis at that), rubies and emeralds and wear the finest and most expensive of clothes! Not to forget - be from some of the known moneyed families of Bombay! But put you in a line of free seating and there will be squabbles and a cross-fire of arguments!” On this occasion, an old lady, with a relative, who was trying to get in, was heckled by those rushing to grab the front seats, while another senior citizen was not allowed in at all. But, the prize for ‘most entitled’ must surely go to the gentleman, who had come in late and shouted and screamed at the theatre staff, when he was led to the balcony, demanding to be seated downstairs! Amidst all of this, we’re told the evening’s guest of honour, a yesteryear actress of considerable dignity, was forgotten by the organisers! “They literally forgot about her and only remembered her presence at the very fag end of the evening and then asked if she would like to say a few words, which she politely declined.” As the source to these embarrassing moments says: “Money can’t buy you class, but it can certainly buy you a sense of entitlement!”
What They Say
“A man visiting the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal, landed in the hospital last week after falling inside an Anish Kapoor installation. The piece, titled Descent into Limbo (1992), includes an eight-foot-deep hole painted black inside, ‘giving the illusion of a depthless void’.”
-Newspaper reports, recently
What They Mean
“However, it is not true that Kapoor has been commissioned by the BMC to come to Mumbai and similarly paint over the city’s potholes; stories to this effect are highly exaggerated.”
First Day, First Show
Speaking to artist-photographer Maxie Cooper on what was the first day, first show of her art exhibition, Now Showing at the Rukshaan Art Gallery, brought home the wealth of talent that Mumbai possesses. Cooper, the daughter of movie mogul Keki Mody (brother to Sohrab Mody) and the owner of the slew of once legendary SoBo cinemas New Empire, Excelsior and Strand, presents a series of abstract black and white photographs, which she has creatively worked on as standalone pieces of art, to convey the magic and mystique of cinema lore, as a tribute to her late father. “I started photographing the New Empire after it had closed, four years ago, and Elite in Calcutta (which also belonged to her family), about a year later,” she says, of the process that led to Now Showing. About the decline and disappearance of single screen cinemas, she says, “It was a struggle ever since videos came along, which led to piracy, then multiplexes. Multiplexes got tax breaks, single screens were and are taxed heavily. People started frequenting multiplexes more and more and our patronage diminished.” Art and photography are not Cooper’s only passions. Steeped in the moving image and the mythology of cinema, it is natural that she is an avid movie buff. Added to that are her abiding interests in tango and travel. “My family has been very understanding about my travel and tango! I photograph everywhere. My camera is always with me,” she says. In fact, Cooper’s sensitive eye and humane approach is often seen on social media, where her frequent posts of every day, quotidian street life never fail to enlighten and delight.
Professor Nilofar Khan, who has 30 years of teaching experience, has been appointed as the first woman vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir, officials said on Thursday. The order of appointment was issued by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha in his capacity of being the chancellor of the university. She will be replacing Professor Talat Ahmad, who completed his second tenure as the V-C of the university which began in August 2018.
Given the spike in terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and threats issued by various terror outfits, the upcoming annual Amarnath Yatra starting June 30 to the cave shrine at 13,000ft in south Kashmir is going to be a litmus test for the government. One of the most revered Hindu pilgrimages in India, the yatra is resuming after two years.
Jammu divisional commissioner Ramesh Kumar along with additional director general of police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh, handed over an appointment letter and ex gratia to the family of Rahul Bhat, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit government employee who was gunned down in the Valley recently. A financial assistance of ₹5 lakh was also handed over to the family. Jammu deputy commissioner Avny Lavasa had also accompanied Kumar.
Following the conviction of banned JKLF chief Yasin Malik by a Delhi court in a terror funding case on Thursday, wife of late Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Shalini Khanna, said she was confident of getting justice for Yasin Malik. “Bad deeds lead to bad outcomes,” said the 70-year-old, while demanding Malik be sent to the gallows. Squadron leader Khanna was shot 27 times with an AK assault rifle.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday claimed to have solved the Baramulla grenade attack case on a liquor shop with the arrest of four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and a terror associate. The police identified the four militants as Shahid Showkat Bala, Safeer Ahmad Mir, Moh Maroof Saleh and Faisal Shaban Gojri, all residents of Baramulla while their associate Hatif Ahmad Sofi was from Arampora.