Posts tagged cooking
…but a gripping show keeps him hooked, says Akshay Kumar, who’s set to judge aspiring cooks on a reality show starting tonight
Roshni K Olivera | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; October 17, 2010)
Akshay Kumar, whose culinary skills were honed alongside his martial arts prowess in Bangkok, is returning to the small screen in a different avatar with MasterChef India on Star Plus, 9 pm tonight. The channel, in keeping with its new brand promise of ‘Rishta wahi, soch nayi’, intends to attract Indian cooking talent from home kitchens and lead them to stardom. The show, that is based on an international format, tests the culinary skills of 12 creative and passionate cooks under immense time pressure. Joining Akshay are Chefs Kunal Kapoor and Ajay Chopra as co-judges, together they will choose the MasterChef from among the participants of the show. “Great cooking not only leads to great food but also great drama… and that’s what is in store for viewers,” says Akshay. Excerpts from the interview…
How tough are you going to be with contestants?
I am only as tough as I need to be. I’m not a bully, but neither am I here to paint rainbows with them. I encourage and inspire these MasterChef aspirants like you wouldn’t believe! To me they are like my children, I nurture and guide them through the tasks set with love and firmness.
How would you rate yourself as a cook?
Hmmm… I hope by cook you don’t mean a chef because I don’t consider myself a chef. Being a chef is a big deal and an even bigger honour. Cooking is an art in itself, and it is not easy to master. We may love to paint, but that doesn’t mean anyone would want to buy it. I consider myself a decent cook, but I am a great eater with a very experienced palate. However, if you ask my family they love my cooking. Personally I would give myself 6 out of 10.
Big B, Salman Khan and you are hosting shows… how do you react to comparisons?
In this field comparisons are inevitable. However, all three of us are doing shows of different genres. Amitabhji and Salman are great people, brilliant actors and fantastic hosts. We all have something very different to give, but really we just want to entertain our audiences. It’s the channels that have the extra pressure and points to prove. We as actors only have good wishes for each other and I know all of us will be giving our best. Let’s just let people enjoy their evening TV time and be happy at how great entertainment is these days.
How anxious are you about public reaction? As much as you would have been before a film release?
It’s different. In my films I always seem to have much more pressure on my shoulders. There’s a difference between someone flicking the channel over and someone walking out of your movie. Both hurt, but it’s not the same. In fact I myself am a complete channel-hopper, but if something grips me then I am hooked for sure, and I know how gripping MasterChef is. You feel for these guys so much, you learn so much, there are emotions flying. There’s something extra special about this show, so right now I’m more excited than anxious.
In a saucy, hatke interview, Salman Khan unleashes his hilarious, wicked side
I keep an early alarm to wake up on time so that I can interview Chulbul Pandey aka Salman Khan. Zipping past the mad traffic to make it on time, I enter Mehboob Studio. Luckily the star hasn’t arrived. I wait for a few minutes and Sallu arrives with his entourage. The actor has his table-chair set outside his vanity van, where we sit under the hot sun discussing his new avatar as host on Bigg Boss 4. Excerpts from a fun rendezvous:
• If given an opportunity, would you go inside the Bigg Boss house and be locked up with the contestants with no connection with the outside world?
As long as there are no cameras inside, yes, I will.
• For how long can you remain disconnected from the outside world?
Let me see now.
• But will you experiment and go inside?
I have been in more difficult situations than the contestants of Bigg Boss can ever be in! And I have handled them pretty well I guess…So I don’t think it will be that much of a problem. It will be a party place for me. I like people, good people, great people.
• Who would be the first person you would make a call to apart from your parents after getting out?
(Thinks) Apart form my parents, I would call Ashvini (programming head of the channel) and ask her what to do next.
• The contestants discuss everything under the sun about their personal lives. Do you find it right?
That’s good na. It’s entertaining.
• Would you discuss your personal relationships in the house, seen and heard by everyone?
You guys discuss my personal life without even knowing it. That is what I find very amusing. So I don’t even react to it and nobody else also reacts to it. And now the fans have also stopped reacting to it. Now I am on Twitter ya, so whenever something comes up, they immediately tweet.
• Tell me five actors you would like to see in the Bigg Boss house together?
I would like Sanju to be here (Sanjay Dutt), Govinda, myself, Jackie (Jackie Shroff), Akki (Akshay Kumar). We all will have a blast.
• Five actresses?
Five names you choose. All are good.
• Five directors?
All the directors should remain outside and keep directing
• If you were locked in the house with Vivek Oberoi, John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan, who would you eliminate?
Do I have to answer this question?
I have to? What if I don’t, then?
• You just have to say one person’s name!
I would eliminate myself.
• And if you are not in the house with them, who would you choose to eliminate?
(Loudly) If I am not in the house, I am not the Bigg Boss, then I don’t have the right to eliminate anybody. They can be in as longgg as they want.
• If you had Sangeeta Bijlani, Somy Ali and Aishwarya Rai in the house, who would you eliminate?
I would keep them all.
• You wouldn’t eliminate anyone?
(Long pause) I really really like Sangeeta and Somy. They are my friends.
• Which actresses, if inside, will have cat fights according to you?
I think the actresses nowadays are pretty chilled out. Because I have worked with most of them. They all get along. The way the heroes get along, the actresses get along.
• You mean actresses only get along on screen?
No, off screen also. Nobody is into each other’s work. They are all in their spaces.
• Every contestant is given a household duty to do? What duty would you take up?
I would take the duty of cooking.
• If given a chance, what would you cook?
Nothing! I’ll make such bad food for everybody that they will run away from my food.
• What is the hatke lingo you plan to use on this show?
I would use a lot of beep wali gaalis.
• Among the Hollywood celebrities, which star would you like to see as an inmate inside and why?
I have no idea. I don’t know anybody in Hollywood. I know my friends from here. This industry is Hollywood for me.
• Aren’t you disturbed that controversy never seems to leave you?
Doesn’t that disturb you guys?
• No, it doesn’t disturb us.
No? Then why should it disturb me?
• Why do people see you in a film and want to copy your style?
You are seeing what I am wearing (points out to his clothes). It is very easily affordable. Jeans, t-shirt, ek joota hai and my bracelet, kabse pehen raha hoon.
• Do you have any regrets from the past?
No, not at all.
TV’s most loved, most deranged family is readying itself to be unleashed on film. And if our conversation with all its actors is anything to go by, it might just be as riotous
What began as a joke is now… well, a bigger joke. Khichdi, the TV series christened after the ubiquitous rice-lentil dish of the subcontinent, will be served on a larger platter — the big screen, this week. The promoters are relaying this from the rooftops, and with good reason.
After all, no other product of our TV heritage - Hum Log, Malgudi Days, CID et al has made it to 70mm, a trend the West adopted years ago.
The sitcom, a brainchild of writer Aatish Kapadia and then Gujarati film actor Jamnadas Majethia opened in 2002 amidst a wave of expensive game shows and melodramatic soaps.
It took self-deprecating humour to a new high (or low, as some might feel) and grabbed TRPs. Its second season wound up at its peak in 2005, but not before beginning a trend of Gujarati characters in TV serials, earlier set only by ‘Malhotra’-esque Punjabis.
The serial’s Parekh family, played by veteran actors of the vernacular stage is now etched in telly history: Anang Desai, aka ‘Babujee’, the timid head of the family, ‘Jayshree’; his gossip-loving daughter-in-law (Nimisha Vakharia); the idiotic couple, ‘Praful-Hansa’ (the endearing Rajiv Mehta and Supriya Pathak) while producer Jamnadas Majethia himself is Himanshu the buffoon. The two kids (of whom the girl is being played by Majethia’s real life daughter Kesar) are the only level-headed characters of the family.
We caught up with the actors at their loudest best at the studios of their production house for a freewheeler, albeit in Gujarati.
MM: What makes you think the audiences will bear you for three hours?
Aatish: (Laughs) On the contrary, it’s tougher in the 20-minute weekly capsule. Our 8 pm slot was a time when children would be studying, the cooker whistle going off and other noises. In a film, it’s easier to get attention.
JD (Jamnadas Majethia): …and we had to make it, Aatish and I had been thinking of it all the while. We’re sure the audiences would love our comic timing in a film format too. After all, it’s near-perfect after knowing each other for so long. Now if you wake me up at an odd hour and throw me into a situation with either of them, I’ll still react like (snaps).
MM: You sound like you’ve been in Bollywood all this while.
JD: I have been… only struggling! I was under contract for five years for two big banners - Sharman (Joshi) and I were together - and no film materialised. Then the production firm happened and acting took a back seat. In Khichdi, we had a Dubai schedule which Deven Bhojani refused. Then, Aatish insisted I do the role. As the producer, I thought it would save costs too! The channel loved the subsequent TRPs and Himanshu can’t leave the family now! Meanwhile, I have undergone a great disciplinary change. My friends circle has shrunk, all my habits, I quit drink… whatever… baddhuj bandh!
MM: So is Himanshu of the TV series the ‘hero’ of your film?
JD: Well, mostly… he has retained his innocence but some things, like his embroidered costumes had to be changed!
|KHANA KHA KE JANA: (From top left, clockwise) Anang Desai, Aatish Kapadia, Rajiv Mehta, Nimisha Vakharia, Markand Soni, Jamnadas Majethia, Supriya Pathak, Kesar Majethia|
MM: Thankfully! What is it with Gujarati men and embroidered shirts and floral prints? (At this, the family erupts in laughter and spontaneous chatter)
Aatish: Arre, of course! Lagna ma tamari pase embroidered shirt na hoy toh tamaro koi class nathi! (If you walk into a wedding without an embroidered shirt, you’d be frowned upon).
Rajiv: Aney havey toh ema heera ni ladi aava madi chhe! (Nowadays they’re diamond-studded) And some have these floral prints which make me wonder if they breed honeybees!
Aatish: Amuk loko toh Swarovski pehre chhe! I suggest they put a pallu too!
MM: Obviously, your characters are inspired from such real-life people. Who all are the people who influenced creating this family?
JD: (points at Aatish and begins chatting about how one ‘Ranjan bhabhi’s brother Atul’ is totally a Himanshu)
Aatish: 60 per cent of Gujaratis, when they speak Hindi, do not use the ‘anuswar’: (the ‘n’ pronunciation) ‘Ayege-khayege-karege-jayege’, they say!
JD: Even the ‘Ae-Bappu’ comes from how I used to speak while growing up in Saurashtra. Many relatives in Jamnagar used to call me ‘Aa-Babul’!
Aatish: Gujaratis, especially vepariyo (businessmen) have this ‘thai rehshe’ (will get sorted) attitude about everything from cooking to business deals… which makes them say things like ‘kisi ko pata nahi chalega,’ several times without reason!
MM: Okay, now for rapid fire. Supriyajee, what would Hansa want with her if she were stranded on an island?
Supriya: Obviously, Praful, gajras and all my jewelery.
MM: And not anything which would save your lives?
Nimisha: Arre ganda thai gaya chho? (Are you mad?) Why would anyone want to save Praful-Hansa if they’re left on an island! (laughs)
MM: By the way, how much of a Hansa are you at home?
Supriya: There is no Hansa in me… she’s totally an antithesis! Though I am a very proud Gujju, my husband is as Punjabi as it can get!
MM: Next. If your Parekh family were to take over the CWG management, what do you think would happen?
JD: Entertainment thashe, corruption nahi!
Supriya: I’d get everyone to dress prettily. Small shorts won’t work! Gajras and sarees will be mandatory for female athletes!
Aatish: But you’ll have trouble understanding ‘Commonwealth’ itself!
Rajiv: (laughs) Yes, we’ll have to make all announcements in Hindi and Gujarati! There will be extended lunch hours too.
MM: Lastly, just in case of an accident, if your movie wins the Oscar… how would each one of you react on its stage?
JD: I’d reason that since I have got my ‘Parmidar’ from this film, and would request the Academy to call my extended family to the Oscars too… and join me on stage. (There are only 60 characters named Parmidar in the TV series).
Anang: Babujee’s never got a chance to prove himself. Here too I think he’d be tormented by these people hogging the stage and Jayshree shouting me down.
Supriya: First of all, I’ll wonder about the meaning of ‘Oscar award’.
Rajiv: …and I’ll obviously explain after saying ‘Main hoon na’: “Oscar Hansaa! Woh Andheri mein theatre nahi the - Ambar-Oscar? Oscar! Aur award matlab woh hospital mein wards nahi hote… A-ward, B-ward… award!”
Supriya: (laughs) And then Hansa would insist they must ban all kinds of English usage from the Academy awards!
Nimisha: I would thank them for giving me this ‘world-best’ award but request another one the day I do Babujee’s kaam-tamaam.
Aatish: I’d say, at least after the Oscar, we’d be able to argue with those who’ve said ‘Bas kar’ to our mad humour!
|Pic: Nilesh Wairkar|
The secret of the sitcom’s success, Aatish Kapadia on the science behind the characters’ chemistry…
You’ve written many gems (Ek Mahal ho Sapno ka, Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai) in your 20-year-long career. Why get into the risky film-making business?
There comes a time when you feel your work isn’t giving you space… and I felt I needed a break in the said 20 years. Also, JD and I had always been keen on making this… and had faith in our content.
Explain the deranged Khichdi family. Why don’t Jayshree and Babujee have spouses?
See, there a science: Jayshree is a widow. She loves dominance and behaves that way. Had there been a husband, she wouldn’t have been a control-freak.
Also, I’m a rebel by nature… I wanted to portray a very different widow from those being portrayed in our media. Babujee too is a widower, a father-in-law who behaves like a mother-in-law!
Tell us about this science which goes behind creating funny characters.
While writing, you have to create a double helix which meets its logical conclusion. Also, every character has a logical reason about its behaviour. Sometimes I write mathematically… all arguments must have their sensible counter-arguments.
All Gujjus love self-deprecating humour, don’t they?
Of course! We don’t take ourselves too seriously! All we want in life is good food, entertainment on weekends, kharcha on Diwali and good clothes! The world may laugh and we’d care a damn! And this works for writing comedies… it’s very easy to laugh at others, I can write that with my feet!
Akshay Kumar set to judge new reality show starting in October
Roshni K Olivera | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; September 10, 2010)
From whipping up recipes to giving nuskas, cookery shows have done it all. But there’s something different cooking here! Star Plus is set to take cooking beyond the four walls of the kitchen with MasterChef India, a show that will be judged by none other than Bollywood star Akshay Kumar along with two other chefs, Kunal Kapoor and Ajay Chopra. After breaking rating records in UK and Australia, MasterChef is coming to Indian television for the first time.
The show, slated to begin on October 16 at 9 pm, will see 12 contestants from all walks of life with a flair for cooking being subjected to intense pressure and real life challenges. From cooking for huge crowds with minimum equipment to whipping up recipes at a moment’s notice, the show will pose every cooking challenge within your imagination! Akshay’s all set for television once again, ready to reach viewers through their stomachs this time. At a press conference held to announce the show, he regaled everyone with an Indian adaptation of the internationally-acclaimed group Storm’s performance. “I am very happy to be returning to my roots after so many years,” he smiled. “My two favourites — cooking and camera/entertainment are coming together and I’m excited to be a part of it. I have been following the international version of this show regularly and I’m glad that Star Plus is bringing this great and interesting challenge to the Indian audience,” said the Khiladi No.1.
Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India, said, “Star Plus has been a platform for mega stars. Akshay Kumar is the reigning superstar and one who is very close to the core of this show. This is not a cookery show; it has an exciting format which shows that great cooking not only leads to great food but also great drama! It’s packed with a gamut of emotions, excitement and cutthroat competition, which is easy to connect with and will keep the viewers at the edge of their seats. It is a category breakthrough in that sense. And we are delighted to have Akshay lead this innovative show.”
Katrina Kaif is all set to play a goofy female army recruit in her debut production
Remember Goldie Hawn as the spunky girl who joins the army in the 1980 comedy Private Benjamin? After playing a doughty politician in Raajneeti, Katrina Kaif is gearing up to do a film in which she will play a role somewhat along those lines.
The film, which Katrina will also produce, will see her playing a somewhat zany character bumbling though a man’s world using her instincts to rise above gender politics.
“I love doing that,” says Katrina. “I’ve always loved doing things which I’m told girls can’t or shouldn’t do. This is the way it was in our family where all of us sisters grew up with one brother in our midst who would do fun things while we girls were expected to do girlie things like play with dolls and learn cooking. No way!”
In fact, Katrina had another opportunity recently to break gender rules. “In Bhopal I was told by my crew members Prakash Jhaji and Ranbir that the cricket games on location were not for me. So I bought my own cricket gear and forced my way into their games. Who says girls can’t play cricket? Or join the army?”
So as far as playing the odd-woman-out trying to find her way through a gender-biased world is concerned, Katrina seems quite at home. “I’m used to doing that, don’t you think?” she says, tongue in cheek.
This film on army life will get priority over the remake of the French film whose rights Katrina recently purchased.
Hema Malini talks about matters close to her heart, including her new film as producer and why she recently learnt to cook much to the delight of her daughters and husband Dharmendra. Oh, and she is quite proud to be tech savvy
• You are making a film (Tell Me O Khuda) after a long time.
I am making a very pleasant film. Anybody who watches it will feel happy as there is nothing complicated about it. Yes, I took some time to put it together but that’s because I tried reaching out to some directors, but they said that they had no time. It was becoming a time-consuming process, which is why I asked the scriptwriter of the film Mayur Puri if he would like to direct and he agreed. Mayur has been in the industry for 15 years and knows the ropes of filmmaking quite well.
• You have cast your daughter Esha in the film.
Naturally, I would cast Esha na. But I am not relaunching her, as suggested by some reports. Yes, she hasn’t done any film recently and wasn’t seen around much but that’s because she wasn’t getting good roles. Bekar picture karne se accha hai ki ghar pe relax karo.
• You have got your bungalow renovated.
Doing up your house is a very creative process and I am totally involved in it. My new house has one floor each for Esha, Ahana and myself. I didn’t want to renovate my bungalow into a tall building. I still like living in a spacious home.
• We haven’t seen you on the big screen after Baabul.
Koi accha role aayega toh karungi na. It’s not that everybody is waiting to make films with me. If I were producing a film, I would definitely think about acting in it. I was doing a lovely film with Nana Patekar, directed by Deepa Sahi. The film got stalled due to recession.
• You did a TV show Kamini Damini. Would you like to do TV again?
Yes, but not as an actress. I’d like to be the producer. In fact, I have a few ideas, which I am discussing with some channels. I will start producing TV shows soon. Acting on TV is ruled out. I admire those who do it, but I found it quite strenuous.
• Were you disappointed when Amitabh Bachchan turned down Tell Me O Khuda?
He didn’t say ‘No’ per se. Unke paas time hi nahin tha. At the moment, Bachchan is not doing any film. He is taking a little break. But yes, if he was there I would have included the Amar Akbar Anthony angle in the film since I already have Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor.
• How do you usually spend yourday?
I thought I was very busy when I used to work in films. But my life is far more hectic today. I used to do two shifts a day, but it was just home, sets and back home. Today, I am involved in doing up my new house and also have politics and a production house to take care of. I do yoga and dance every morning at home for one-and-a-half hours. Then I make tea for myself.
I learnt how to cook only recently when my cook left and whatever my mother had taught me kept coming back in flashes. Luckily, my daughters and Dharamji love the food I cook (smiles). It’s a wonderful feeling. Life is fun. Earlier, you hung up your boots when you reached a certain age.
Today, times have changed. Even if you don’t want to do a certain thing, you get pushed into it and start enjoying yourself. I love being in the BJP, communicating with people and doing something for them. It’s very challenging.
• What you think about today’s actresses and whom do you like?
In my time, we were just what we were. Aajkal bahut mehnat karke diet karte hain. No excess fat hanging. It’s nice as they can carry off any outfit and not look vulgar. I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I was so shy and conservative. But these girls lose their beauty and freshness so soon and these days it’s all about designer clothes. Films are written for the overseas audience so there are no rural Indians or families on screen. That’s sad. All this is now shown on television.
Thoda bhi acting kar liya saree pehen ke, you end up getting awards. As for my favourite actresses, I like Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Katrina is also nice, but she hasn’t got much opportunity to display her acting talent.
• What do you have to say about today’s heroes?
Sab chhote chhote hai, bahut short hai. That six-foot hero concept has disappeared. The Punjab puttars with lovely complexion like Shammi Kapoor, Dharmendra… woh pata nahin kahaan kho gaya. But today’s guys are good looking and work on their bodies. There is Salman, Shah Rukh, Aamir.
• Who is the best among Sunny, Bobby and Abhay?
Abhay has the guts to do different cinema and I really like him. The best thing about him is that he is so convinced about what he wants to do. And I like Sunny too, he was superb in Gadar.
• You and Dharamji don’t make public appearances together.
I am not shy at all. Why should I feel shy? Maybe Dharamji is shy.
• What is Ahana doing nowadays?
She is a fine dancer and is also a talented fashion designer. She hasn’t yet decided what she wants to do. Esha too has another side to her; she is a very good painter.
• Are you tech savvy?
I am a practical person (laughs). I move with the times. The other day, I saw a few ladies carrying iPhones but they didn’t know how to uses it. I am not boasting, but when I bought an iPhone, I learnt everything about it from my daughters. They have even taught me how to email and surf the net.
Neil Nitin Mukesh and his girlfriend, designer Priyanka Bhatia, have called off their relationship. The couple had been seeing each other for almost two years. This comes as a bit of a shock because Neil had confessed not too long ago that they were as good as married and their parents had heartily endorsed the union.
In an earlier interview to Mumbai Mirror Neil had said, “Priyanka and I spend so much time together, so making it official is hardly going to make a difference to our equation. There’s absolutely no family pressure on either of us. In fact, God forbid, if we ever decide not to carry our relationship further, our parents will disown us.”
So then what went wrong? Neil refused to specify, only saying, “I really don’t want to discuss it but since you’re asking me, I won’t lie. It is true that Priyanka and I are no longer a couple. The parting was by mutual consent and very amicable. We’re still friends and always will be.
Priyanka is still as welcome in my home as I am in hers,” says Neil, adding that there were a number of reasons behind the decision. “I can’t discuss them all but mainly my profession, namely acting, was far removed from her world. To her credit, Priyanka tried to be part of my world but it just didn’t work.”
Considering that they were talking about an imminent engagement followed by marriage, this comes as a real shock to all of Neil’s family and friends.
Neil adds, “I really wanted us to be together for keeps but sometimes destiny has other plans. To compound my problems, I am currently staying alone in our flat in Powai. But considering what happened now, I plan to shift back with my parents.”
The one good thing that Neil’s stint alone has taught him is cooking. “I can make everything from biryani to pasta…but I wish I had someone in my life to make them for me,” says Neil. For the moment though, he isn’t bothered about his single status. “I just want to concentrate on my work,” he says.
Aamir Khan has two immediate plans when for the future. The actor, who was in Kolkata for New Year’s Eve, is expected to go overseas for a holiday. And when he returns, he has plans to enroll for cooking classes.
Says Aamir, “I’m fascinated by cooking. My mother is easily my favourite cook. She can make everything from exotic dishes to regular stuff exceptionally well. And when I feel like home food, I just drive to Pune to eat it.”
To keep the biwi happy as well, he adds, “Kiran is also a fantastic cook and she loves getting into the kitchen.”
The actor, who confesses that his skills are limited to boiling an egg and making a cup of tea, says he has no cooking prowess. “I volunteer to help Kiran with the dishes if she asks me,” he says.
Talking about his determination to join cooking classes, he says, “I admire people who cook well. It is just one of those things that keeps going on in my head.
Earlier, I didn’t bother with it because I always reasoned this is not one of the equities that I as a star am expected to bring to the table. But now I just feel I must learn to cook. I don’t know how soon I can get around to doing it though,” he says.
Aamir, who is also fascinated by the thought of growing his own vegetables, has said, “I’m seriously toying with the idea of organic farming. Both Kiran and I are fascinated by farming. I think it would be really nice to be able to grow our own vegetables and feed people.”
By Virat A Singh and Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 24, 2009)
Hrithik Roshan gets this water. As do hundreds of residents in one of the city’s most posh suburbs. Every day, for over a month now, residents of Juhu’s 12th and 13th Road have been waking up to severely contaminated water flowing from their taps.
|Water sample collected from Hrithik’s Juhu 12th Road home at 3 pm on Wednesday|
Supplied by BMC as drinking water, it is the colour of coal tar, with visible suspended particles, and smells of faeces. And it flows from taps meant for supplying clean, potable water.
This has forced Roshan’s wife Sussanne, a mother of two, to use the family’s good offices to bring the BMC to book. “It is a very bad situation. We are getting drinking water which is mixed with sewage water,” she told Mumbai Mirror.
The Roshans who live at Palazzio building on Juhu 12th Road sent Ashok Vasodia, their secretary to BMC K/West Ward office on Wednesday afternoon to lodge a complaint. Their concerns are shared by the other residents who live under the threat of an epidemic breakout.
Vigilant resident Kishore Gupta remarked, “We have a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter at our house and the reading of the BMC water ranges from 135 to 200, while a packaged drinking water has a TDS of around 70. BMC water should normally have around 75. This shows the extent of contamination!”
“We are receiving dark, brackish water, which smells of faeces and can be used only to flush toilets. We are forced to use packaged water,” complained Sunila Lalwani, a resident of Jasmet on 12th Road, opposite Roshan’s Palazzio. She also added that her 11-year-old son Sachin who must have somehow ingested this contaminated water, had to miss his second semester examination after falling ill.
Rekha Teckani, who runs a playgroup for children in the neighbourhood, says, “If we take a bath with this water we start stinking. The question of using this water for drinking and cooking does not even arise!” Teckani buys packaged drinking water for her playgroup kids.
According to Dr Anant Narde, resident of Girnar building on 13th Road, the problem of contaminated water was aggravated after BMC contractors, appointed for re-laying 13th Road, damaged the existing water pipelines in September this year. “We have been receiving this contaminated water for over a month now and live in constant fear of our children taking ill. Officials from the BMC’s Hydraulic Engineering department assured us they will provide us free potable water. But we will have to bring tankers and it is not possible for us to go scouting for tankers in the morning. The neighbourhood has no option but to call for private water tankers.”
Some residents have even threatened that if the problem is not solved in a couple of days they will fill bottles with the contaminated water and present it to councillor Adolf D’Souza and all BMC officials from the K/West Ward as a Christmas gift.
Local councillor Adolf D’Souza blamed the contractors who damaged the pipelines while working on the road. “After receiving complaints from the residents we inspected the site along with officials of the Hydraulic Engineering department and discovered that the existing pipeline has been damaged at various places, allowing sewage water to seep through the water pipeline throughout the stretch. We have already laid new water pipeline on 13th Road and it was to be connected by March next year. But given the gravity of the situation I have asked officials to connect these new pipes to the main water line near Juhu Church and supply clean water from that pipeline.”
A senior official from Hydraulic department voiced, “We are tired of the sewerage department as their contractors have been merrily damaging water pipelines all around Juhu and neighbouring areas and we have to face the ire of locals. We are repairing the lines and laying down a new pipeline to solve the water woes completely but this will take around a week’s time.”
Juhu residents have been facing the problem of contaminated water for nearly 10 years. And laying down new pipelines may not be the answer. As Sunila Lalwani pointed out, “A new pipe line compounded the problem as it cut down the water flow drastically. We were receiving only one hour of water supply everyday. So laying down a new line without rectifying the water pressure problem is foolish.”