Global Voices Online
‘India: Mumbai Calling’
by Kamla Bhatt
Mumbai, or Bombay, as some prefer to call, is the financial and entertainment capital of India. Here is a special post about Mumbai, a city that grows on you and if you stay long enough you will finally “get it,” on why Mumbaikars are so fiercely proud of their city. The city is famous for its “bindas” or “ubercool” attitude. “Chalta hai,” or anything goes is another common refrain that you will hear on the streets of this bustling city.
Australians appear to have some karmic connection with Mumbai, and are making news, specifically in the movie business. Gregory David Roberts, author of the book,
“Shantaram,” spoke at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival in Mumbai earlier this week. Maya has a write-up about the event, but with some tongue-in-cheek remarks. The book is being made into a film starring Johnny Depp. Roberts escaped from an Australian prison and fled to Mumbai, India, where he lived for a few years and recreated a whole new identity and lifestyle for himself. But, eventually he got caught while visiting Germany, and spent time in prison. After he was freed from prison, Roberts wrote a gut-wrenching and gritty account of his life in Mumbai ,where he re-discovered himself and also re-discovered what love and warmth meant.
Roberts is a self-declared Indophile and a big fan of Bollywood films and music. Edwin Lynch is an Australian film-maker and writer, who is currently visiting Mumbai to attend a film festival. He has an interesting account of his visit to a local “chai” tea shop.
Alongside the new and vibrant Mumbai, there co-exists an old Bombay that reminds you of the time when it was the primary port of entry to India for those who came in search of their dreams to make it big in India. One of them was the Sasson family, a Baghdadi Jewish family who came to India in the late 19th century and rose to become a well-known business family in British India. Akshay has some nice pictures of Bombay’s David Sasson library located in downtown Mumbai. Besides the library, the Sasson family also built a couple of synagogues that still exist today.