Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Life’s a Beach
Actress and VJ Shruti Seth recently tweeted to tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray about the lack of beach culture in Mumbai.Updated: Feb 13, 2020 00:57 IST
“I’ve grown up in Mumbai and most coastal cities worldwide have a beach culture which is woefully lacking here. I can’t imagine getting a tan on the beach or taking my daughter Alina to splash around and play in the sea water. I don’t know why this is so,” said actress and VJ Shruti Seth about her recent tweet to tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray about the lack of beach culture in Mumbai.
“There’s a huge gap in basic recreational facilities in the city on the whole. Places where one can have fun with one’s kids without spending a great deal of money – such as Central Park or Hyde Park – almost don’t exist in our city,” the feisty actress said, when we spoke recently.
Thackeray had responded with alacrity to her tweet, saying that he had plans for a beach lifestyle, not only for Mumbai, but for the entire state of Maharashtra.
Incidentally, another issue on which she appears to be on the same page as the minister is the state government’s recent initiative to keeps malls, eateries and multiplexes open 24x7 in certain parts of Mumbai.
“I’ve worked as an actress and also as a hotel executive, so I know that for people working at odd hours, this could be a boon. How else is it possible for one to get a coffee after work or shop for basic amenities for the household when one is working night shifts?” she says. But she’s certainly optimistic of improvements. “As more and more young people are involved in the care-taking of our country, such as tourism minister Thackeray, I feel we stand a greater chance for progress in the times ahead,” she signs off.
So you think it’s only Bollywood awards that are fixed? Think again. The top guy at a leading pink paper was overheard complaining bitterly about the kind of pressure that’s brought on his enterprise every year during its annual award ceremony, considered one of the Holy Grails of India Inc.
“Last year was particularly awkward with this ambitious chairperson of a family-run business entering his group into every award category and what’s worse, threatening us with a withdrawal of advertising if his wishes were not ‘accommodated’,” he was overheard saying, on the fringes of a recent cultural event in the city. According to the media maven, so insistent was the tycoon on receiving an award, that when the august jury had come to hear of his behind-the-scenes activities, they had disqualified him from the entire awards programme altogether. “Thankfully, this year we are not expecting such pressure from him,” said the media maven.
“Well, because this year, thanks to the economic slowdown and its effects on his particular industries — this patriarch will certainly not even qualify for any awards,” he sighed.
And to think there was a time when India Inc. leaders would recuse themselves from jury duty if there was even the slightest of conflict of interest with those in the running.
Mumbai, the Muse
“The reason I keep coming back to Mumbai as my muse is that it has so much drama in its DNA. There are more stories here per square inch than perhaps in any other city in the world. Only Manhattan perhaps comes close,” says theatre producer, playwright and adman Rahul da Cunha on the eve of the premier of his latest initiative ‘The Best of One on One’.
According to the playwright, ‘The Best of ...’ has been in the making for the last 10 years, first produced in 2010, and followed by a sequel in 2014/15. The latest version combines the best of the earlier productions and features eminent theatre personalities such as Anu Menon, Rajit Kapur, Neil Bhoopalam, Vrajesh Hirjee and Zafar Karachiwala among its nine actors.
To premier at the Prithvi soon, the play features seven directors and seven writers with dialogues both in English and in Hindi, with da Cunha himself writing two of the monologues. “All the seven mini plays were created and directed in separate spaces and only came together in the last week,” says the writer of such hits as Class of 84 and Pune Highway.
If anyone has epitomised lad culture in Mumbai, it is sports entrepreneur and erstwhile IMG and IPL honcho Ravi Krishnan, who, along with his mates Ash Chandler, AD Singh and Martin Da Costa, was the pioneer of an urbane, metrosexual lifestyle. Now, another lifestyle trend appears to have prevailed.
“The best way to recover after 6 flights, 5 cities, 3 countries and 6 time zones in 4 days?? ‘Take Off’ again,” posted Krishnan from the salubrious climes of Seminyak Bali about his embrace of ‘Bleisure’. Coined in 2009, the term is a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure”, and it refers to “the activity of combining business travel with leisure time”. As chairman of The Racing League and other sporting enterprises, Krishnan’s social media posts are full of enviable instances of his Bleisure travel, as he circumnavigates the globe on his various assignments.
Incidentally, an offshoot of Bleisure is the term ‘Bizcation’ which refers to the extension of a business trip for personal purposes, which sounds nice, but not as much fun.