My Mumbai: Rohan Sippy
Name: Rohan Sippy
Occupation: Film director and producer
Neighbourhood: Khar (West)
The song that best describes Mumbai
My call back tune is perfect for Bombay 2012: the Trickbaby remix of “सबसे बड़ा रुपय्या!”
Your favourite Mumbai movie character
Anthony Gonsalves [from Amar Akbar Anthony].
Favourite Mumbaikar, living or dead
My grandfather G. P. Sippy—communist, lawyer, real estate mogul (who played a part in creating the concept of the Co-operative Housing Societies that so many of us now reside in), and finally one of the greatest film producers this city has seen. Bombay took him and his family in in 1947, like so many others, and he got a chance to give something back. Hope we continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest!
To get away from the city you…
Try to get to Goa quick!
Favourite Mumbai backdrop
The view of the Queen’s Necklace from my sister Sheena’s place in Walkeshwar.
Favourite Mumbai villain (fictional or real)
Favourite Mumbai sound
The sea, raging or tranquil, always seems to be a good echo for my state of mind.
Andheri, Bandra, South Mumbai. Your favourite Mumbai neighbourhood is…
Bandra, because some beautiful old neighbourhoods still exist, it is round the corner from home, I have many friends in the neighbourhood, and parts of it are just congenitally hipster!
The best view in the city
Used to be [the one from Cafe] Naaz, these days I enjoy the view from the terrace bar at Rangsharda, Bandra Reclamation.
Favourite Mumbai restaurant
Don Giovanni in Juhu.
What do you hate most about the city?
Even in a beautiful neighbourhood like the one I live in, the BMC has managed to make walking a single block a genuinely perilous act. Conceding our pavements to their greed is a crippling defeat for anyone who wants any hope of decent life outside those odious gated communities that are spreading.
What do you love most about the city?
That there are still writers here like Naresh Fernandes, who articulate our torment so eloquently! This, from the introduction to his wonderful book on the history of jazz in Bombay, Taj Mahal Foxtrot:
For much of its history, Bombay, like the music I love, encouraged everyone to find their own voices within the loose confines of a stated theme. Contemporary Mumbai, however, is not only doing its best to choke the spaces in which the quirky and the eccentric can survive, it has also lost its ability to agree on a central melody. Taj Mahal Foxtrot is a plea for a new score.
Vada pao or bhel puri?
Luckily, this is not a real life choice!
The last time you called Mumbai Bombay
Today, and every day.
In 10 words or less, who is Shivaji?
My favorite hero from our history books.
Mumbai isn’t like any other city because…
Any other city faced with the perfect storm of crumbling infrastructure, absence of any coherent policy, and blatant disregard for law and civic sense by builders and politicians, would have logically ceased to exist by now, but somehow, Bombay is still here. I used to think that Tom Stoppard’s genius description of the theatre business in Shakespeare In Love applied perfectly to the Hindi film industry of the late ’90s, but of late I feel that it is even more apt for our city as a whole:
Philip Henslowe: The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.