Mumbai Diary: Amit Masurkar

Amit Masurkar, Mumbai.In this instalment of our Mumbai Diary series of interviews with Mumbaikars on their experience of living in the city, we speak to Amit Masurkar. The filmmaker, 36, has two movies to his credit. Sulemani Keeda (2014) is about a phenomenon familiar in Mumbai, particularly Andheri where a large part of the film industry lives. In the movie, two struggling scriptwriters try hard to hawk their screenplay. Newton (2017), which stars Rajkummar Rao and which will be released on Friday, September 22, hinges on a government officer on election duty in a volatile area in central India. Masurkar, who lived in Mahim, Andheri and recently moved to Madh Island, tells us about his favourite places to eat, drink and watch movies in the city.

Neighbourhood
Mahim for the first 28 years. Last lived in Versova. Moved to Madh Island this week.

Neighbourhood gems you show off to visitors
From the window of my current home, we can see the (Global Vipassana) pagoda in Gorai and the Arabian Sea. The beaches of Aksa and Manori for morning walks. A true gem would be the prehistoric Gilbert Hill in Andheri, which is 66 million years old.

Neighbourhood haunts you frequent
I often find myself at Leaping Windows in Versova for coffee and comics. Scrumptious (in Versova) has decent chicken parathas. I go to Inch by Inch (in Versova) for a swim in the evening.

If you had to take visitors on a Bollywood tour of the city, where would you take them?
A guided tour of Film City. In the evening, they can walk from Mannat to Galaxy on Bandra Bandstand to check out the assembled fans.

Best place to get a meal in the city
Ah! Several! Madras Cafe and Idli House in Matunga for dosa and jackfruit idli. Aaswad and Gypsy Corner in Dadar for thalipith and kothimbir vadi. For Malwani seafood, Sachin in Dadar. For Bengali shorshe bhapa ilish, Bhojohori Manna in Oshiwara. Smoke House Deli for spaghetti carbonara. Good Luck in Bandra for keema pao. Tawakkal Sweets in Bhendi Bazaar for malpua and firni.

Best place to get a drink in in the city
Yacht Bar, Hill Road, Bandra West is a place my friends and me go to for real conversations to flow.

Best cafe for a struggling scriptwriter to work at in the city
Head to town and explore the Irani joints before they all get gentrified. Start with the basics, Kyani (in Marine Lines), Stadium (in Churchgate), Olympia (in Colaba). Always better to write in a notepad there, as most of these places are not laptop friendly.

Best place to watch a gig/show in the city
NCPA for the serious stuff. Prithvi Theatre, AntiSocial, The Cuckoo Club for the indie stuff.

Best place to shoot in the city
Areas on the Harbour Line. I’ve shot at the Sewri Fort. I would love to shoot at the old dockyards.

Favourite street food and where you go to get it
We head to Chandru’s in Versova for pani puri. I used to binge at Shri Krishna Batatavada in Dadar when I lived in that area.

Favourite Bombay book and film
Books: Bombay – The Cities Within (by Sharada Dwivedi and Rahul Mehrotra), Tales from Firozsha Baag (by Rohinton Mistry).
Films: Salaam Bombay! (1988) by Mira Nair, Satya (1998) by Ram Gopal Varma, Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978) by Saeed Mirza, Mammo (1995) by Shyam Benegal.

Favourite Bombay character (real or fictional)
Saadat Hasan Manto, from his own short stories.

Favourite cinema hall in the city
I love Liberty and Regal for the style. But we mostly end up watching films at PVR in Versova or Juhu. I also love heading to Matterden/Deepak Cinema occasionally.

The word that best describes the city
Hectic.

You know somebody is from this city when…
That person is happily unaware of anything happening in the rest of India!

Who is a son of the soil?
Humans have always migrated from place to place throughout history, so this concept is a creation by politicians who tap on peoples’ insecurities. If all people are treated equally by the state, and their rights are respected, this concept will disappear.

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