A Week’s Worth: From Screen To Ice Cream

Indian actors and flavours rock the Cannes 2024, desi mangoes find the limelight and the anticipation of Coppola’s Megalopolis, here’s something from the week that just ended.

Published On May 17, 2024 | Updated On May 17, 2024

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A week has lost its meaning. The seven days in it have no meaning for the Alpha generation immersed as they are in luminescent screens that measure time by hand speed x posts scrolled x post read divvied by posts commented on – fairly simple. For the rest, it’s a sigh of exasperation at the immensity of change that has teflonned itself – making the subject a mere passive spectator. And yet, in the midst of this seeming swamp there are things that stand out. A Week’s Worth will try to isolate and make sense, in brief.  So, here we go. 

Marketing doesn’t always get you the footfall. Look at The Fall Guy numbers. A star-studded affair with the ever-youthful Ryan Gosling and the sparkly Emily Blunt failed to enthuse the ticket buyers. Its storied history as a popular TV show in the 80’s, the millions spent on multiple impact promotions, many rightfully paying homage to the Stunt people and their rarely acknowledged bravery and overhang of last year’s Barbenheimer box – office bounce, none of it mattered when the turnstiles opened. Did excess Marketing rub people the wrong way? It became an obvious product rather than a story. In spite of crawling to USD 100 million two weeks from its launch and a later uptick in sympathetic word of mouth, in the end it will be a loss for Universal and a stagnant start to the summer.  

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Chef Varun Totlani, the man behind the Indian menu at The Cannes 2024

How the humble menu, dog-eared and often dirty and nowadays perennially under threat by the ‘QR code’ mania has still managed to hang by the page is a delectable story in itself, especially the menu from India at the Cannes Pavilion. Each year has a story that sparks conversations and makes people type in search engines. This time it is the ‘shankalu’ in addition to Khud cooking, the legendary Ver Masala from Kashmir and representation from the northeast of India – go dig in! 

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The yearly debate lands on all tables, large and small, every summer! For some years now, the mango has been warmly adopted by the bar fraternity. From elegant mocktails to more adult drinks that can shake a solid tree, the yearly romance with all-things-mango continues to provoke and thankfully, inspire all things culinary. What is more heartening is the growing realisation that big ‘Al’ is not the only mango worth celebrating. Even the western Indian mango mercenaries are realising the amazing world of Indian mangoes. 

‘When is 4th June?’ is now as popular as ‘Holi kab hai, kab hai Holi?’ dialogue from the seminal movie, Sholay. The festival of democracy in India surely can have a smaller run time in the future. The stress, the messages, the cacophony, the road blockages and traffic diversions – it is a spell that overstays its welcome. There are few who will not welcome a shorter period, and truth be told, a milder season, to be inspired to vote after wading through the bewildering options and crippling heat. 

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The maestro is back! Long live the Coppola! While Cannes and the fawning world of cinema is eagerly giving extended ovations to the movie, singing encomiums heralding cinema’s resurrection, the actual cinema goers are awaiting its commercial release with bated breath – is it a genuine masterpiece or the fluttering of a candle that wants to rage at the world one last time or a muddled mess, more klutz than Colonel Kurtz as some are already proclaiming, almost a bit scared of the opprobrium from fandom? Of course, Coppola can sip his own wine and say cut when he wants to. He has, his fans would vehemently proclaim, won the right to do so. 

Who doesn’t want to have a slice of that buttery chill washing our burning insides these months, but who dares to, now? Palm oil and other chemical fears have superseded the innocent joys of impulsively buying a stick, a cone or a cup of cheer. Not helped of course by the lax standards of food safety in the country exemplified by the multiple bans on Indian masalas - although the jury is out on the strictures imposed. Does this suggest a return to hand grounding your masalas at home like we used to, giving patronage to smaller family enterprises where the element of trust still persists because of personal connections? Social media promotions have also helped to buttress credibility by showing the ingredients, the process and more importantly, the people who are behind the products. Go, grab that spoon. 

And will Arsenal win?


Photo: IMDB