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Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
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Mumbai Musings

Will MNS again end up playing the spoiler for the BJP-Sena alliance?

Mumbai Musings
Mumbai Musings
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Aaj Kaa Uddhav Raj

Finally the floodgates opened, and how. What had been brewing for many months, now exploded just two weeks before Mumbai goes to polls on April 24. Raj Thackeray, who declared support to Narendra Modi, minced no words while criticising his estranged cousin Uddhav, the present Sena chief. He said it was Uddhav who had stalled MNS joining the grand alliance (which now comprises of five parties). Uddhav on the other hand, has made it clear, once again, through the party mouthpiece Saamna, that they are the true trusted ally of the BJP and nothing else. However, with as many as five defections by senior leaders plaguing the party, Shiv Sainiks are a worried lot. And BJP, grappling with infighting at national level, is trying to figure out a way out of this mess. However, it is either the old but weakening friend Sena or the new but rather strong MNS. And the pundits predict a counter-productive outcome— it only helps Congress-NCP to battle the anti-incumbency wave. A common goal that may just turn into a self-goal?

Senti-Mental Leaders

As the elections draw closer, the speeches are getting louder and the language lousier. And that too not some desperate, lower in ranks leaders but as senior a leader as Sharad Pawar. Call it the Modi effect, if you please, but the usually-sharp and sarcastic Pawar said Modi needs to be treated at a mental hospital because he speaks rubbish things and is "deranged." This was at a public rally at Ghansawangi in Jalna. Nitin Gadkari, like a good Modi supporter (as everyone in the BJP is now required to be) immediately retorted and said they would forgive Pawar because he has become "desperate" and is making such statements because he can see foresee his defeat. Coincidentally, the most appropriate reaction has been put up by former Mayor and activist Nana Chudasama on his placard-like bill boards saying: Election Fever Makes Politicians Sick.

Shakti Mills Case

Recently the Sessions Court held four accused guilty in the Shakti Mills Gang Rape case, which now involves two incidents, including that of a photojournalist, at two separate times. In one case, the accused have been sentenced to life imprisonment and the trial for the photojournalist's rape has begun. The prosecution has claimed that they can charge and try three of the accused, who are said to be repeat offenders, with a stricter section of law that can attract death penalty. That particular matter may be decided by the Bombay High Court but in the meanwhile the case continues in a fast track court. Also, the deserted mill area, right in the middle of the city, is now lit by the city authorities with security personnel as well.

The Poetry Has Stopped Singing

One of the most loved poet-lyricists of Marathi cinema and music form called bhaavgeet (poetry set to simple soothing classical music), Sudhir Moghe, passed away in Pune. He was 75 and is survived by his wife and son. His elder brother Shrikant Moghe was a well-known actor. Sudhir Moghe penned immortal songs for films such as Ha khel Sawlyancha (the game of shadows) and songs such as phite andharache jale, ek zoka chuke kaljacha thoka,saanj ye gokuli. Many of his songs were sung by the likes of Asha Bhosale and Sudhir Phadke and continue to be the most popular evergreen numbers. Several veteran Marathi actors and singers attended his funeral to pay their tribute for the most extraordinary poet-lyricist of our times. One of my many favourites is a song about expected motherhood, ekach hya janmi janu.. which if loosely translated goes like this: "In this one life, I will be born again... hopes of tomorrow, that reside in my eyes, will blossom without withering... know the secret of my heart through this flowing song... " Sheer poetry, sung to perfection.

Trip Down Memory Lanes

Did you know that Opera House in South Mumbai is called so because the area actually houses the only opera of pre-independence era (and also post-independence, since we don't really have operas)? That there is still a lamp post that stands witness to all the happenings since the times of the British Empire. That there is a road named after Khanbahadur Ardeshar A Irani, who made the first talkies Alam Ara and that his nearby studio compound is now stuck in a bitter litigation. Or the gully, called Arab Lane, in front of Alfred theatre is where Manto as well as Namdeo Dhasal lived. These are just some of the nuggets shared by Rafique Baghdadi, a film historian and expert, who took a motley bunch of 20 enthusiasts all around Grand Road, an area sandwiched between the mills, red light area and the docks. As part of special week to celebrate cinematic history, the Asiatic Library had organised a lecture series, film screenings and heritage walks around south Mumbai. And except for making it at very early at 9 am in south Mumbai on a Sunday morning, everything was just perfect.

Win Some, Lose Some

And while we are on the subject of nostalgia and old- Bombay charm, here is some good news and some better news. Even as Mumbai tries hard to cope with frequent Irani hotels, Merwan's that was supposed to close on March 31 has got a tiny two-week extension. the waiters are already going crazy with the extra rush that has happened after the news broke. The building that houses it needs to go for serious repairs and renovation. While there are some reports that say Merwan's will have to go, the staff at the super buzzing bakery, where you get their signature Mava Cake from 5:30 am to 7:30 am only, says it will reopen eventually. Fingers crossed. And on the sunnier side, the lovely Sassanian Boulangerie (Bakery) near Metro Cinema completed 101 years. As with all other Irani hotels, they too have their loyal regular customers, more like family members, who come there every day for their bun maska, salli boti, puddings and what not. And not to miss Meheraban Kola, the plush-looking, food loving partner in the business, who will tell you funny stories, share a joke with you and offer you the best food whenever you walk in.

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