My Mumbai: Britannia Owner Boman Kohinoor Irani

March 25, 2010 12:25 pm by

Name: Boman Rashid Kohinoor Irani
Age: 88
Occupation: Restaurateur and partner of Britannia Restaurant
Neighbourhood: I live in a Parsi colony in Colaba called Cusrow Baug

Best way to spend a weekend in Mumbai
Number one, book a very good movie. Second, go around sightseeing, even if it is the same places over and over again. Or go to the Elephanta Caves. I have heard about but never gone as far as Water Kingdom and all those places because I am an old man. Then go to a nice restaurant for some good food. That is how I would like to spend my weekend.

Favourite Mumbaikar, living or dead
Mr P. R. Vakil, a criminal lawyer. I found him efficient, sincere and honest in his work.

To get away from the city you…
See, this restaurant I am managing is just like a home for me. I don’t like to get away from it.

Favourite place to get non-Parsi food
In the Colaba area, there are some Chinese and some Mughlai places such as Ming Palace and Delhi Darbar.

Favourite Parsi dabha (other than Britannia)
Besides Britannia, I don’t see any authentic Parsi food anywhere.

The one place/thing in the city you can’t live without
Arre, how can I live without my home madam?

What do you think of Bal Thackeray?
I think he was alright; he’s done a lot of good for Maharashtrians and Maharashtra. But now he’s getting a bit old and the youngsters like Raj Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray are taking over. They are also doing what they can, anyone would do the same.

What do you hate most about the city?
Congested public places and the traffic.

What do you love most about the city?
Marine Drive I like the most.

Parsis are slowly becoming extinct because…
Because of a few reasons. Girls are getting better educated. Better education means better jobs and better pay. So they don’t want to marry boys with less pay than them. Secondly, many go abroad and they see life there, then they don’t want to come back to Bombay or Pune to settle down. They marry foreigners there. So as the girls and boys are marrying outside, our population started dwindling. We don’t accept conversion that’s why our numbers are decreasing. That’s the most important reason.

Vada pav or bhel puri?
Both. Sometimes I like vada pav, sometimes bhel puri.

The last time you called Mumbai Bombay
Even today, I mix up. Sometimes I say Bombay, sometimes Mumbai. You see, when old age sets in after 70, Alzheimer’s also sets in. Sometimes there is a slip of the tongue.

In 10 words or less, who is Shivaji?
Big fighter and warrior in western India, near the Pune side. He was the man who used to fight the Mughals and the British. And that’s all I know about Shivaji maharaj.

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Comments (11)

  1. Pingback: Britannia: A Slice of Bombay (Photos) | Emails to Myself

  2. Kiran Sachdev |

    What an God awful set of questions. You had the privilege of interviewing an institution and this was a complete waste of an opportunity. Why were questions about Bombay/Mumbai, Shivaji and Thackeray asked? He managed to answer them with grace and dignity.
    Extremely surprised with Mumbai Boss and very very disappointed.

  3. anushka |

    He is really adorable! I love the berry pulao at Brittania and enjoy talking to him =)

  4. sanjeev bansal |

    sir me ek bar app se milna chahta hu

  5. Parizad |

    Mr. Irani’s Brittania Restaurant has The most authentic, most tasty parsi food ever! we make it a point to drop by at every visit to Mumbai..

  6. Gaurav Desai |

    Nice old gent, apart from a touch of right-wing lunacy and support for western imperialism. Last time I spoke to him (in 2007) he thought George W. Bush “should build the White House here” and, basically, run the country. I was speechless.

  7. |

    We met this man and he is probably the sweetest old man I have ever met, he loved england and welcomed us with open arms!
    Great food, great company, its a must if your in mumbai!

  8. Uday |

    Great restaurant. I especially love their mutton berry pulao. Didn’t like the interview, I’m afraid. It had the potential to be so much better …

  9. Not a Fan |

    Loved the fact that you interviewed him. The place is of course is iconic. But I have to ask you why would you ask him about Shivaji? Or the last time he called Mumbai Bombay? Get some people who know how to interview…Shit piece for such a good person to interview…

  10. Ivich |

    He is an adorable gentleman. Also, Britannia makes the best caramel custard in the city. Period.

  11. Cyrus |

    Thats hilarious! This guy is my idol (and probably exactly what I will be like when I’m 70 plus..).. Three cheers to Alzheimers!