Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

When Yusuf Saab came calling With the world no longer graced by Dilip Kumar, I recollect some interviewees sharing encounters with the thespian. Photo: Movie Poster of Anokha Pyar (1948) – featuring Dilip Kumar with Nargis and Nalini Jaywant In La Kozy Mansion, the 1891-designed Chowpatty seafront gem with a sparkling white jharokha-and-jaali facade, I learnt that filmmaker MI Dharamsey once occupied a top-storey flat. Dharamsey directed Dilip Kumar for Anokha Pyar, with Nargis and Nalini Jaywant. That casting coup inadvertently brought the matinee idol to perfumer Shishir Mehta’s home a floor below.…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Camera, lights, action! Some precious nuggets can hit a writer casually. As I left the Chowpatty flat of Shailesh Sheth in Stone Building, with delicate balcony grilles and Italian marble interiors, he said, “My maternal grandfather, Dayaram Shah, was elder brother to Chandulal Shah of Ranjit Movietone.” Delighted, I stepped right back again into the apartment. How hadn’t he mentioned this while chatting for an hour? The Sheths understate an exciting cinema legacy. Ranjit Movietone was a great institution of the studio era, along with Bombay Talkies, New Theatres and Prabhat Films. Dayaram,…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Photo : "Detail of the ornamental fountain base of the cast iron Khada Parsi statue, showing water nymphs" by Viji Venkatesh A statue, a school and a moment cool With the school year changing, I’m reminded of a conversation about one of Bombay’s pioneer educationists, on Clare Road, Byculla. The north end of this street – named after John Fitzgibbon, 2nd Earl of Clare, Governor of Bombay from 1831 to 1835 – is marked by the Khada Parsi statue. I chatted with Vali Mohamed, sitting at Patel Newspaper Stall since 1971. As I…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Betting on Barsaat Mumbadevi tank and temple, neighbourhood of 19th-century barsaat ka satta. Photo courtesy: Farooq Issa/Phillips Antiques This is the time of year everyone starts guessing when the monsoon will finally arrive, to relieve us of the heat. Do you know, 1880s Bombay had an elaborately organised monsoon gambling system called “barsaat ka satta”? Here’s a fine description from one who got the story from close quarters. I hear it on a very rainy evening (sipping the cutting masala chai a Gujarati kitchen brews best) from Chira Bazaar resident Dilip Shah, sharing…Read more