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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Lights, Camera, Kashish

mumbai Updated: Jun 17, 2019 08:38 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,malavika's mumbaistan,kashish film festival

Parmesh Shahani (left) and Pirojsha Godrej. (HT Photo)

As expected, the opening ceremony of the 10th edition of KASHISH, Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, got off to a scintillating start on Wednesday evening at Liberty Cinema, Marine Lines. The evening, which had all the bells and whistles of a big-ticket event (red carpet, high-profile hosts and performers, and OTT, blingy outfits that could put this year’s MET Gala to shame) saw the likes of actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui; executive chairman of Godrej Properties Pirojsha Godrej; executive director of The Lalit Suri Group of Hotels and gay rights activist Keshav Suri; Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai Ulrika Sundberg and singer Rekha Bhardwaj, in attendance. The evening also saw pioneer activists of the LGBTQA community like Ashok Row Kavi, fondly referred to as ‘Amma’. Though there was celebration and even a feeling of triumphalism in the air – as it was the festival’s first edition since the decriminalisation of homosexuality last year – and though the evening’s hosts – Sacred Games’ Kubra Sait and Miss Gay World India Sushant Divgikar, who goes by the name of Rani Ko-He-Noor – had the audience in splits with their delightful gender-bender act and risqué jokes, speakers like gay rights activist Parmesh Shahani of Godrej Culture Lab urged caution and a girding of loins for a long struggle ahead to overcome further obstacles in the community’s quest for equal rights. As Sundberg said, “We, in Sweden, are celebrating the 75th anniversary of decriminalising homosexuality this year. I hope India also legalises same sex marriage.”
Onwards and upwards then.

The Gentleman’s Club

Bombay Gymkhana - ( HT File )

For long now, South Mumbai’s leading recreational clubs have been seen to be defined by more or less the following demographics: Mumbai’s top industrialists, city fathers and Old Money can be found at the The Willingdon; the city’s top executives and leading professionals at the Bombay Gym; its expats, Eurasian hipsters and new-age entrepreneurs at the Breach Candy Club; and its golfers and services personnel at the United Services Club in Colaba. Of course, this is a generalisation: industrialist Ratan Tata, for instance, is known to be a regular at the US Club; Kumar Birla has been spotted at the Breach Candy Club occasionally, as are members of the Kapoor clan like Randhir and Kunal Kapoor, and as for the Willy, there have been enough instances when new money has elbowed its way into its genteel verandas than we care to recount. But this following nugget was brought to our attention which pointed to a different era: the latest issue of the Bombay Gymkhana’s magazine carried an article about how three of its past presidents – MK Swaminadhan, BR Sule and Madhav Dhume – happened to be senior executives with the same corporation, Mahindra Group, proving that there was a time, not too long ago, when the demographics of Mumbai’s Clubs were more homogenous. Of course, it goes without saying that all three men had also, besides hailing from blue chip backgrounds, been avid sportsmen and had embodied the culture that the Club espoused perfectly. Interestingly, the headline of the article about this read: ‘Coincidence or design?’

Towards 24X7 fun?

NRAI members with Aaditya Thackeray.

This week saw a delegation from The National Restaurant Association of India meet Mumbai’s newly appointed municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi at the BMC headquarters. On taking charge Pardeshi, the newest incumbent of what is described as Mumbai’s hottest seat, had promised to help the cause of the restaurant sector and had launched the association’s Food Services Report this week. Interestingly, the delegation, which featured prominent restaurateurs like Riyaaz Amlani and Anurag Katriar, also featured Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray. As is known, the Thackeray scion has been propagating a 24-hour license for restaurants in designated areas of the city, to bolster tourism, employment and customer ease. And we are informed that it was his proposal which was on top of the agenda for the discussion. And if this was not cause for celebration enough, sources say that soon after the meeting, Thackeray was joined at home by his close friends and family as he cut four cakes to bring in his 29th birthday.

A Candle for Vicckey

Bikram Vicckey Goswami and Sandra Steppe.

The passing of musician Bikram Vicckey Goswami yesterday, due to advanced stomach cancer, cast a shroud of gloom on an already overcast and rainy day. The gentle creator of soulful hits like ‘Happiness’ and ‘If I had a way’, a resident of Bandra, Goswami had been a much loved figure in showbiz and social circles. Apparently, Goswami’s ailment had only been diagnosed a month ago and by then it had been too late. Originally hailing from Tezpur, Assam, the talented musician had made Mumbai his home ever since his Wilson College student days. His musical acumen had taken him far in the world of show business and this, along with his recent marriage to Sandra Steppe, daughter of the family that owns a successful restaurant brand in Thailand, had added to his overall happiness and joie de vivre. Indeed, his recent Facebook timeline had been full of pictures of the obviously madly-in-love and delighted-to-be-together couple. “I believe the hospital he was in saw a flood of almost 150 grieving friends and family,” said his friend restaurateur AD Singh.

“I was in the States for the past two months and was devastated to hear the news this morning,” said fellow musician and performer, Ash Chandler, who penned a poem to his late friend:

‘It’s so loud this silence, knowing it is now a real thing. Your tune quiet forever, even as you pull our heart strings.

How shall we mourn him, With whom we only remember celebrating?...”

“His family is thinking of arranging a tribute to him at Olive tomorrow, post the funeral. It will be a moment to celebrate him and his life…” said Singh, adding, “You know, play his videos and remember his music....”

First Published: Jun 14, 2019 01:03 IST