Mid-day has been synonymous with Mumbai for over four decades and is one of the most trusted and credible sources of journalism for the city.
With the idea of using new technology in audio form, Mid-day launched two podcasts in 2021 — one focusing on the entertainment industry and the other on the country’s most-loved sport. The guests for both podcasts include legends of their time — sharing moments from their prime.
Capturing film on audio
Bombay and cinema are synonymous with each other, as the city houses one of the world’s largest film industries — and therefore is home to a wide array of technicians and craftsmen, storytellers, and artists. The Bombay film industry, colloquially called Bollywood, is itself about 110 years old.
The Bombay Film Story podcast by Mayank Shekhar, staying within the ambit of journalism, showcases people in show business through the story of Bombay itself. We go back in time to map the people who were and are not — the world that existed but no longer does, making this an anecdotal history of sorts told by those who are still around.
And so you have the veteran Sham Kaushal, telling how he went from a mechanic in a Mumbai suburb to arguably India’s greatest action director. You discover facets of Bollywood’s 1970s party scene through the eyes and words of the top on-screen villain of the day, Ranjeet.
You get into the Bombay underworld as director Ram Gopal Varma discovered it to spawn the city mafia as a realistic genre — establishing a “new wave” within popular cinema, mentoring fresh protégés in the late 1990s in Versova, the city’s showbiz neighbourhood.
You learn about how Bollywood’s great comedian, Paintal, was also one of the city’s most accomplished acting teachers — with a lot of present-day actors training under him. We go through the journey of Kabir Bedi, an active member of the “Juhu gang” of artists (in Mumbai’s western suburb), and how, from there, he became an icon in Italy, playing Sandokan in the 1970s. He takes you all the way from interviewing the Beatles and dabbling in theatre and advertising to working with thoroughly oddball producers in Bollywood.
Actor Neena Gupta shares how she acquired notoriety by having a child out of wedlock with West Indian cricket sensation Vivian Richards. And yet the conversations remain centred on Bombay and films, all through. They capture the person, show business, and the city that shaped both.
Having gained a strong foothold into the world of podcasts with our Bollywood podcast, Mid-day decided to dive into the Mumbai cricketing world.
Inside the sport of cricket
There is more to cricket than just runs, wickets, and catches. Each practitioner of the game has a story to tell as it has never been told before. This is what Mid-day aimed to target and has done so with success, thanks to Mid-day’s Mumbai Cricket Podcast with Clayton Murzello.
Each cricketer endures a fair share of struggles. And while that is important and gets well documented, little is known about the reasons cricketers developed in a particular manner.
For example, former Mumbai fast bowler Vighnesh Shahane developed a slinger action because he played in a narrow lane, which didn’t allow much room for movement. He revealed this in the podcast.
Similarly, Sairaj Bahutule, the former India and Mumbai leg-spinner, took to cricket because his father, brother, and sister played the game. All this points to how cricket can become a way of life.
As in any conversation, stories are paramount, and the cricket podcast does justice to this need. Listeners were surprised to know that Karsan Ghavri, the former India all-rounder, spent his early nights in Mumbai (after arriving from Saurashtra) in an office space at Dadar. On waking up each morning, he had to get his “bedroom” back to office mode and then leave to work at the Associated Cement Companies.
The cricket podcast also provides an insight into other cricketers in addition to the guest. Ghavri revealed how his Mumbai captain Sunil Gavaskar asked him to use a bat that didn’t belong to him because that piece of willow would facilitate big hits off opposition captain BS Bedi in the 1976-77 Ranji Trophy final at Delhi. The fact Gavaskar and Bedi didn’t see eye to eye was well-known throughout the sport, and this was probably Gavaskar’s way of getting back at Bedi.
If you are intrigued to further know of the stories of these Bollywood and cricketing stalwarts, give these podcasts a listen.