Friday, April 21, 2006

‘The writer is the first star of the film’

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Interview/Kamlesh Pandey, writer/Rang De Basanti

Shevlin Sebastian

Rang de Basanti has taken the country by storm. And, as is always the case, the media spotlight has fallen on the stars, the director, the lyricist and the music composer and almost none on the writer of the story: Kamlesh Pandey.
Pandey is a veteran screenplay writer, having penned such hits as Tezaab, Dil, Saudagar, Khalnayak and Jalwa. At his tastefully furnished flat at Andheri, the silver-haired writer seemed resigned to the low status of writers in Bollywood. But he did not mince words about the situation.
Excerpts from the interview:
Are you surprised at the stupendous response to Rang De Basanti?
I am surprised because it has gone beyond all our expectations. When I narrated the story to director Rakeysh Mehra in 2001, he said the script was brilliant and original but you have seen what kind of films are succeeding at the box office: the designer films and the candyfloss films shot in Switzerland by big production houses. Who is going to watch Rang De Basanti? So I said, ‘Rakeysh, if and when this film sees the light of day and if just one boy or girl comes up and shakes my hand, our efforts will be worthwhile.’
Did that happen?
Yes. I was invited to a convocation a few days ago, at National College in Bandra. I am not a celebrity, I am just a poor writer and I did not expect to be recognised. But this student volunteer, who was at the gate, shook my hand and said, “Sir, thank you for giving us Rang De Basanti”. That, for me, was the ultimate reward.
Can you analyse why it has made such an impact?
I am a citizen of this country, and the concerns of common people are also my concerns. I have the same issues regarding politicians and bureaucrats and the powers-that-be. I am concerned about my country. The idea was simple: if Bhagat Singh had been alive today, what would he have done? I was trying to bring Bhagat Singh into our period to wake up the young generation.
Are they sleeping?
See, everything is fine. They are enjoying their lives: MMS, SMS, anti-dandruff shampoos, girlfriends, cell phones and international brands. I am not against all that. But, please open your eyes. Thirty per cent of the MLAs and MPs are history-sheeters. Tomorrow, they will be fifty per cent. They are making the laws of our land, my dear friend, which you and I will be obliged to follow. What will happen then? Are you blind? The government, the politicians, the bureaucrats and the businessmen, they all want to keep the status quo, so that they can exploit us as much as they can.
What else?
Let me give you one more insight: The youth in India were never allowed to be young. That is why there was this system of child marriages. Before a boy could become a young man, he was married, he was the father of two kids, so how can he be a rebel? All ancient cultures become very cunning and it was a clever device to maintain the status quo, so that exploiters can have a free hand. Conformity went into our DNA. The Indian youth surrendered itself to the monolith of the family, the corporation and the society. They were never allowed to have a free mind or ask uncomfortable questions. It was only during the freedom struggle, that, somehow, the spirit surfaced through Bhagat Singh and his friends.
Would you agree that, without a good story, a film is nothing. The story is the bedrock.
The writer is the first star of a film. And it is not me who is saying this. Steven Spielberg said this. If writers don’t write, Hollywood will not have a job. Alfred Hitchcock said, ‘I need only three things to make a good film: Script, script and script’. In Bollywood, they don’t understand this. Producers would rather wait outside a star’s bungalow, begging like a dog, to get a commitment. They will not come to me and say, “Kamleshji, do you have a great script?” That is how the system works. And that is why 95 per cent of the films flop in Bollywood. We claim to be the largest filmmaking country in the world and we make crap. This happens because you do not give the writer what he deserves.
Any new writers coming up? Somebody whose talent you are excited about?
No. In the entire industry, there are not more than six genuine writers, who know their job. And I am being optimistic here. We do not have a single institute or a workshop or any place where you can learn scriptwriting. I learned on the job. I learned by my mistakes and from my seniors. In America, every university has a film course. Every city has hundreds of screenplay workshops. Every year, America produces around 10,000 fresh writers to feed the industry. How many do we produce? Nothing. Zero. Most people, who come to Bollywood to become actors or directors and could not get a job, they become writers. Because, in our industry, they believe anybody can be a writer.
Which way is Bollywood going?
However, despite what I have said, the future is incredibly great. An American organisation has found out that, by 2025, Bollywood movies will have the biggest audience in the world. India has never invaded any country, but now we are starting an invasion through music and dance and the stories we have to tell. The world is waiting for us.

Hoard now, get a windfall later

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By storing paintings, a trust wants artists to get a better price for their early work

Shevlin Sebastian

Here’s a chance for artists to have an experience like Rip Van Winkle. Put a painting away every year for several years and forget about it. Then wake up decades later and find that you have become a multi-millionaire. Sounds crazy? Well, that’s what the Artist Pension Trust (APT) wants to do: makes artists rich people and also get rich in the bargain.
A tall, lean man, with clear eyes, David A Ross, a former director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, is in town to establish the Indian branch of the APT. This is how the trust works: Over a five-year period, with the help of a selection committee (gallery owners Sharan Apparao and Shireen Gandhy, collector Czaee Shah, dealer Peter Nagy and Jai Danani, director, APT, Mumbai), 250 artistes will be selected. In the first year, however, only 50 will be selected. Every year, the artists will supply one work to the trust and this will be done over 20 years. The paintings will not be put into the market immediately. Instead, the trust will wait for the artist’s value to appreciate, which usually happens over a period of time and then the painting will be sold.
Once a sale is made, the artist gets 40 per cent and another 40 per cent is distributed pro rata among the other 249 artists. The remaining 20 per cent will be distributed as management fees to Mutual Art, the holding company. “The idea is to provide artists with a stable, long-term economic future,” says Ross, the APT president.
What usually happens is that when artists are at the beginning of their careers, in order to survive, they sell works very cheaply. However, a decade later, when the prices appreciate remarkably, they cannot partake of the windfall, because the concept of resale royalty is not practised anywhere in the world. So, the collector and the gallery owner laugh all the way to the bank while the artist gets nothing. “For example, if a Tyeb Mehta was selling for $500 in 1962, imagine the financial windfall for Mehta today if he had 20 unsold works,” says Ross.
So far, trusts have been set up in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin and London; trusts are also being set up in Mumbai, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Bangkok and Istanbul. All the paintings will be housed in museum-like conditions; it will be sent to exhibitions for display and publicity will be generated online and through the print media.
It seems like an idea whose time has come. One who is enthusiastic is Sharan Apparao, the owner of Apparao Galleries. “This is a fantastic concept and a great financial product,” she says. “I liked the idea of supporting artists and that is why I have joined the trust.”
In Mumbai, there is a long list of 100 artists and the short-list will be announced in June.
Each member of the selection committee nominates an artist. “We discuss the work, and give our reasons as to why we think the artist is heading in the right direction,” says Jai Danani. “Maybe, they are ambitious or are doing interesting work, or have superior talent or technique, to not only compete here but on the international level.”
However, not everybody is excited. Painter Sameer Mondal says, “Art should be unconditional and therefore this concept is not suitable for me.” But painter Shimeen Oshidar says: “It will be nice to have a windfall in later years. Since we always try to set aside a couple of works for the future, this is something which we are doing anyway.”

Becoming street smart

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Street furniture is making its presence slowly but surely in Mumbai

Shevlin Sebastian

On a Monday evening, the Dadabhai Naoroji Road is chock-full with cars, buses and taxis. The pavements are clogged with people hurrying past, heads down, all heading towards Churchgate station. So, it become a little difficult to note the unusual street furniture: the black iron railings, Victorian style dust bins and a red glass-paned telephone booth, which seems to have been imported straight from London. But thankfully, there is an Indian touch: a white piece of paper which is stuck on one of the panes has this hand-written legend: ‘Phone out of order’.
“D.N. Road is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city,” says architect Abha Narain Lambah. “So, you need something of a particular scale. Historically, and architecturally, the scale is more Victorian and Edwardian. The aesthetics has to conform to the cast iron. Otherwise, there will be a disconnect between the street and the furniture.”
The idea to have street furniture that conforms to the historic sensibility of an area was first mooted by Lambah, in 1998, to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which had set up a heritage conservation society. “We felt the beauty of the heritage should be maintained in the existing fashion,” says G. S. Pantbalekundri, who was secretary of the heritage conservation society and has since retired. Adds Lambah: “Till then, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had a standard system all over the city. So, if they were putting penguin litter bins or concrete benches, they would do it all over the city.”
Using the catalogue of the Westminister City Council in England, as a reference point, Lambah prepared a pilot project of 100m of D.N. Road. “She made a presentation and the MMRDA produced a beautiful brochure and we were convinced about the project,” says R.H. Mendonsa, the managing director of Lawrence & Mayo, which has their headquarters on D.N. Road. Following that, The Citizen’s Association of D.N. Road took it upon themselves to make it a stakeholder-driven project; the shopkeepers contributed for every stretch of railing or litterbin along their stretch. “There are about 20 banks on this road, and they were all keen in the beautification,” says Mendonsa. So far, for 500m of renovation, it has cost Rs 30 lakh. To complete the western side of D.N. Road, the MMRDA has promised to defray 25 per cent of the expenses while the rest will again come from local fund-raising.
However, when you look at the railings and the dustbins on D.N. Road, it is clearly fading and losing its attractiveness. “In five years, it has not been painted once,” says Lambah. “The BMC should take up some responsibility. In other parts of the world, the municipal corporation gives a coat of epoxy paint on street furniture every six months. How long will the citizens keep pitching in?” Interestingly, the street furniture has won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit for 2004 because it was one of the earliest street furniture done by a private agency in Asia.

Further away, in Walkeshwar, on the stretch from Chowpathy to Raj Bhavan on Marine Drive, steel benches, some with a back-rest, some without, have been set up. On the evening of Republic Day, there are plenty of people who are sauntering about on the promenade, their spirits high because of the mid-week holiday, and quite a few who are sitting on the steel benches. The steel gleamed in the evening sun and the words Jindal Foundation could be seen on one side. “Earlier, there used to be concrete benches and it had completely rusted. The seats were all broken and damaged,” says Lambah. “Every time, the government would install something, they would use low-quality material and it would corrode within six months because of the high salt content.”
Lambah received support from Sangita Jindal of the Jindal Foundation. “I wanted to set an example to the government that street furniture should not always be of a low quality,” says Sangita. So Lambah was encouraged to go in for high quality stainless steel in combination with slame-finished granite. “We wanted to put up something which would last,” says Lambah. Three years have gone past and the benches still look as good as new.
Bespectacled Vipul Rane, 27, an IT engineer, is sitting on one of the benches. “The design looks good,” he says. “It is comfortable and durable. When people see concrete benches, they always try to chip off part of the cement.” Rane suggests that these benches should be replicated all over the city. “However, the BMC should keep an eye,” he says, “as drug addicts will try and steal them.”
A little ahead of Rane sit two young PR professionals, Arushi Agarwal and Poonam Nikam, both 24, leaning back and placing their legs on the parapet. They are, however, not too excited by the design. “The concrete benches were better because they had a different feel,” says Arushi.
Agrees Poonam: “These steel benches give a very upmarket look but this is actually just a place to chill out. I guess, we have been so used to the other type of benches, it is going to take time to get used to the new ones.”

What is street furniture?
Street furniture is a collective term for objects and pieces of equipment installed on streets and roads for various purposes, includingbenches, post boxes, phone boxes, streetlamps, street lighting, traffic lights,bus stops, taxi stands, fountains and waste receptacles. An important consideration in the design of street furniture is how it affects road safety.
Street furniture itself has become as much a part of many nations' identities as dialects and national events, so much so that one can usually recognise the location by their design; famous examples include:
The red telephone boxes of Britain
The residential post boxes of the US
The street lamps and metro entrances in ParisSource: Wikipedia

Hello, hello, please come

Permission to reprint this article has to be obtained from Hindustan Times
Audiences are wooed assiduously to participate in the numerous shows on television

Shevlin Sebastian

The moment Amitabh Bachchan steps onto the Kaun Banega Crorepati 2 set, at Filmcity, on a Wednesday afternoon, the audience bursts into sustained applause. And what an audience it is: they range from giggly teenagers to excited middle-aged men and women to stoic elderly folk. For most, this is the first time they are seeing Bachchan in the flesh.
Like the effervescent airhostess, Shivani Bandekar, who says, “I have only come to see Amitabh Bachchan.” Or the smiling banker Kishore P., who says, “A friend in Star Plus gave me a pass.” Or Dilip Kumar Jadhav, who has come all the way from Jharkhand: “My brother is a cook on the sets and gave me a pass. It is an easy quiz. Till Rs 3.2 lakh, you should have no problem.” Or the calm TCS software engineer T.S. Prasanna, who says, “The set is really good.”
But KBC2 is an exception, when it comes to audience participation. “Three years ago, people were dying to participate in any show,” says Nisha Kothari, a freelance coordinator who arranges audiences for shows. “That has changed because there are so many shows now and lots of people have gone for them. The novelty value has worn off. People have become choosy.”
Says Bindu Harmishah, another coordinator: “Earlier, those coming as studio audience were curious to see artistes at close quarters. Now, they want to be paid.”
So channels, nowadays, to woo audiences, provide transport and snacks and pay the audience if the shooting is for several hours. “If the studio gives us money, we pay around Rs 500 a day but they have to work a minimum of eight hours,” says Harmishah. “Most of the time, the demand is for younger people.”
For Nach Baliye, the show needs a lot of clapping and screaming, which young people do with √©lan. Says Pinky Thakkar, (21), an audience participant in Nach Baliye, “Even though the hours are long, we don’t feel tired at all. I go for the fun of it.”
So how does one become a member of the audience? One way is to get in touch with the channel and express your interest. Then they will pass your name to their coordinators. Or you can send an e-mail. Says Smita Sharma, a coordinator at a business channel: “When people respond to our shows, we build up a database. We call them and ask whether they are interested in taking part.” She gets in touch two days in advance and if there is a group of people coming from a particular place, transport is provided.
Harmishah goes to the various clubs in the city and puts up advertisements. “When people show an interest, we interview them and do a final selection,” she says. She has several categories of audiences: a dancing audience, a smart audience, an intelligent audience and an audience, which can speak in English.
Coming back to KBC2, Karun Prabhakaran, director, operations, Synergy Communications, which is producing the show for Star Plus, explains the audience break-up: “During the weekends, we have a good mix of MNC executives, college students, NGOs and similar organisations. During the weekdays, we have a lot of members from housing societies, women’s organisations, airforce groups, pensioners, widows and students from mass communication institutes.” Memo to other channels: get clones of Bachchan as presenter, if you want strong audience participation. I can understand how you can feel low.

Blue skies, open spaces

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Nature has a big say at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

Shevlin Sebastian

When Palash Nath, (name changed), a resident student of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research at Goregaon stepped out one night, he saw a leopard near the glass-paned entrance. Before he could shout out for help, the leopard, who seemed to be more scared of him, leapt through the panel, shattered the glass and escaped. “They would come regularly from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivili,” says T.V. Subramanian, the registrar of the institute. “So we had to raise the boundary walls.”
When you step into the institute, you are enveloped in a cocoon of silence; the cawing of crows is like a shout. Most blocks are connected through several layers of steps, and open corridors; the sunlight splashes on the floor and the breeze flows uninterruptedly. A plaza in the middle accentuates the sense of openness. Set on a hill, there are research and administrative blocks, a seminar complex, a library, an auditorium, a canteen and a hostel. Spread over 14 acres, the built-up area is 1.25 lakh sq. ft.
“The original site had an elevation of 30 metres and we wanted to retain that,” says architect Uttam C. Jain. “We have cut the earth to a minimum. Nowadays, people bulldoze everything and make it flat. But I have always respected nature.”
Asked about the brief given by the owners, the Reserve Bank of India, Jain says, “I was told that the institute was not for Mumbai or Delhi, but for the whole country. So, I thought of India’s culture, history and heritage.”
For inspiration, he borrowed from the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. “The chaitya arches, which we used in the auditorium, are an inspiration from the Ajanta Caves. In chaitya arches, both sides are balanced. But in the arches we used in the auditorium, because of technology, we could use non-symmetrical arches. In our thinking, we were traditional but in our working we became contemporary.”
On a sultry Wednesday morning, students Abhinav Thakur and Soumyadeep Mukhopadhyay are sitting on a low ledge outside the canteen during a break in classes.
“The interaction between the buildings and nature is superb,” says Mukhopadhyay. “Most buildings in the city have a closed-in feeling. That is absent here.”
Says Thakur: “This is an unique design. “When you go for a walk at 8 pm or when you go into the library, you can sense it is a different type of environment.”
However, not everything is hunky dory. Diana George, the administrative officer, who has been working at the institute for two decades, says that since the institute is open on all sides, the water falls on the corridor during the rainy season and it becomes very slippery and dangerous. “Sometimes, the water enters the rooms,” she adds. “Also, the central plaza is covered with fungus and moss and is unusable throughout the rainy season.” Despite these hiccups, the institute is regarded as Jain’s best work and it won the Journal of the Indian Institute of Architecture award for institutional buildings in 1991. At 72, Jain still puts in the hours at his fourth floor office at Nariman Point. His eyes shine with integrity and passion; he is a man driven by moral values and love for architecture. In his four-decade career, he has built primary schools, lecture theatres, a printing press, university buildings, beach resorts, libraries, hotels, tourist complexes, swimming pools, railway stations, apartments and a cloth market. A winner of the Indian Institute of Architects Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal in 1991 for outstanding contribution to architecture, he is also a keen photographer and has had held several exhibitions. Recently, he published a book, Manyness of Mumbai, which are photographs and thoughts about the city; the love for Mumbai comes through clearly.

Leading from the front

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Ajit Wadekar transformed a has-been team into winners

Shevlin Sebastian

In Ajit Wadekar’s autobiography, My Cricketing Years, there is a picture of Sunil Gavaskar and him strolling down a London street during the 1971 tour. Wadekar, unlike Gavaskar, was impeccably dressed in a well-pressed suit, holding an umbrella above their heads, and the look on his face was one of supreme confidence. He was leadership personified. So, it was no surprise that during that tour, India had its first series win over England in England.
Ajit Wadekar, known as ‘Professor’ in cricketing circles, has always been regarded as a master tactician. Standing in the slips, he would silently plot the downfall of the batsman. And he would, in the midst of all this brainwork, take some splendid catches of the feared bowling quartet of Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, E.A.S. Prasanna, Bishen Singh Bedi and S. Venkataraghavan. When asked about the qualities of a good captain, he said, “A captain has to plan for every ball. Strategies planned at team meetings are all fine but on the field, things are changing all the time. For example, the batsman might suddenly become aggressive. So, the captain has to change his bowling permutations, so that he can get wickets. He should also be able to read the wicket accurately every morning, before the day’s play, so that he can fine-tune his strategy.”
A captain, he continued, also has to get the boys to gel together, as a team. “They come from different cultures and from different corners of the country. You have to nurture the will to win among them,” he said.
Wadekar was a stylish left-handed batsman, and when India arrived in England, during that famous 1971 tour, the players knew the biggest threat was the tall, burly, fast bowler John Snow. And, as captain, he led from the front. The first four bouncers that Snow hurled at him, he struck it for boundaries. The message was not lost on his teammates in the dressing room. And if you want to know how cool he was, under pressure, think of this: on the last day of the pivotal third Test against England at The Oval, he got run out first ball after scoring 45 and when he returned to the pavilion he told Gundappa Vishwanath and Farokh Engineer that they would have to get the 173 runs for victory, come what may. Thereafter, he went to sleep on the massage table only to be awoken by England manager Ken Barrington who told him that India had won. Wadekar’s classic reply: “Who asked you to wake me up? I knew we were going to win.”
It was an epochal triumph. The nation embraced the team in a tight grasp. There were felicitation functions galore and a motorcade from the airport to the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai. “There were lakhs of people on the road,” remembered Wadekar. “It was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. I don’t think any other Indian cricket team received this honour.”
Earlier, under his captaincy, India had defeated the West Indies in the West Indies. Whenever India played in the West Indies, they would get mauled. This time, also, it was expected to be a brownwash. But the captain had other ideas. “We did our homework,” said Wadekar. “We realised that the Windies players loved to play their strokes, so we thought of ways to curb it. We also realised our fielding had to be superb, because dropped catches meant the batsmen would go on to hit big scores.”
Wadekar was also not averse in trying to score a psychological point or two. In the Test, at Sabina Park, he was the first Indian captain to enforce a follow-on. Garfield Sobers, the West Indian captain, looked surprised when Wadekar told him about the decision. “Are you sure?” he asked. Wadekar’s reply was a calm, “I am absolutely sure.” Even though the match was drawn, India had gained that vital mental edge. And they went on to win the series 1-0, with a win in the second Test at Port of Spain, thanks to Dilip Sardesai’s and Sunil Gavaskar’s batting, among other exploits. Later, when India went to England, the players had the self-belief that they could win. In 1972, when England toured the subcontinent, India won the series, 2-1, to register back-to-back wins.
But such is the fickleness of the Indian public, that three years later, when as captain, Wadekar suffered three heavy successive defeats against England in England, during the three-Test series, there were demonstrations outside his home and he was stripped of the captaincy of Mumbai and India. Soon after, he retired from cricket, at 33. Years later, a philosophical Wadekar would say, “When you are playing for India, you have to take all this in your stride.” Incidentally, in the four years he captained the Mumbai team, they won the Ranji Trophy three times, thus enabling the state to win for 16 years consecutively. Wadekar was in the team all along. Thereafter, he had a stint as an administrator in the Mumbai Cricket Association, and was the manager of the Indian team that toured South Africa in 1992, which India lost. But he rebuilt his reputation when India won in Sri Lanka for the first time and in the four years he was at the helm, the team never lost at home. So the man has done it all: player, captain, manager, chairman of selectors, administrator, columnist and an executive director with the State Bank of India. His name is etched in gold in Indian cricket history. He showed us we need not lose whenever we played abroad; it was an indirect lesson in character-building for Indians, still coming to terms with the 200 years of white rule, which had ended just 24 years ago. If there is one thing the 64-year old would like to change in his impressive CV, it would be his birthday: April Fool’s Day.

All’s well that ends well

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The stained glass panels of the Bhikha Behram well have been restored to its old splendour

Shevlin Sebastian

Unless you keep your eyes peeled out, you are bound to miss the Bhikha Behram well, a holy spot for Parsis, because of the overflowing crowds on the sidewalk of Veer Nariman Road. After entering through the small wicker gate, you encounter a row of benches, painted a bright green, a couple of trees with overhanging branches, and the well, which is 280 years old. And, right above, is the stained glass panels, now restored to its former glory.
In March 2004, vandals had entered the well at night and destroyed the panels. No arrests have been made so far. In June last year, the trust decided to restore the panels; a wealthy devotee offered to bear the expenses and the commission was given to Hema Desai, a fusion and original stained glass creator. “We gave her photographs of the images of the original panel and asked her to recreate them,” says Dr. Viraf Kapadia, a trustee of the well.
At her workshop in Sewri, Desai enlarged the photographs on the computer and drew them to scale on a large, white paper. Then artists at her workshop cut the glass according to the image on the paper. “The glass is imported from USA and Germany,” she says. “Between two different glasses, we put in imported copper foil. It is only after that it is welded together.” Because of the danger of vandalism, Desai put a thick glass in front and at the back of the panel.
At the centre of the ceiling, above the well, there was a circular opening. Desai covered it with a glass panel with a painting of the sun. “During the day, the sunlight streams in and lights up the centre of the well,” says Desai. “Since the Parsis worship the sun, I thought this would be nice.”
On the west side of the wall, there is a provision for drinking the well water for members of other communities. “More than 3000 people avail of this facility free of charge,” says Kapadia.
Parsis come in regular intervals to pray at the well. On one of the benches sits Yazdi Daruwala, a businessman from Pakistan. He had heard of the well, even in Pakistan. So, while on a visit to Mumbai, he decided to drop in for a few minutes of prayer. “I did not know it was vandalised,” he says. “The glass panels look wonderful.”

Facts about the well
It is 280 years old.
It is a Grade 1 Heritage structure
It is also used as a wishing well.
Origin: A Parsi gentleman, Bhikaji Behramji, from Broach [present-day Bharuch] had come to Mumbai to seek his fortune in 1715. He was waylaid by some Marathas who were at war with the Muslims. Imprisoned in the Pandeghard fortress, he was set free after he convinced his captors that he was a Parsi, by showing them his sudreh (religious vest) and his kushti (sacred thread). Behramji went on start a business in Angrez Bazaar, now known as Horniman Circle. Being of charitable disposition, in 1725, he sunk a well for the people and it came to be known as the Bhikha Behram well.