Delhi’s Dolly’s Journey into Mumbai’s Changing Cultural Life

WHEN Dolly Thakore moved to Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1969, she had no idea that the city would become her home and part of its vibrant cultural life. As she looks back on her eventful life and recounts it in her recently published memoir, Regrets, None (HarperCollins), Thakore offers readers a gripping portrait of a woman who has chosen to live her life on her own terms, a worked with several amazing people. and forged remarkable associations. Its history also offers insight into what contributed to the city’s exciting cultural past and glamorous social life.

True to the title of the dissertation, Thabokore recounts his life and his unconventional choices without any excuse or justification. “My life has been an open book. And I have always shared my choices and decisions with my head held high. It’s wonderful that my life has found its way onto the page, ”said Thakore, who was born Dolly Rawson to a Christian family in Peshawar in 1943.

Co-written by Mumbai-based theater director and lighting designer Arghya Lahiri, Regrets, None is Thakore’s witty, humorous and, above all, outspoken account of his many adventures and accomplishments. It’s also about finding love and surviving heartache.

Regrets, None had been in the works since 1982, following his split from his partner Alyque Padamsee, a prominent advertising guru and theater personality. “That’s when Alyque changed my life and left. My story was on the cover of Savvy and signs for the magazine’s issue were put up across town. I started writing about my life around this time, but I quit because of other commitments, ”Thakore recalls. After several stops and starts, she started working on the memoirs again four years ago when her son Quasar Thakore Padamsee, Mumbai-based theater director, told her that she should finish them. That’s when Lahiri intervened.

After growing up in Delhi, Kanpur and Lucknow, Thakore came to Mumbai after her three-year stint with BBC World Service in London. Even though the young Thakore once insolently introduced herself as “Dolly of Delhi” to actor Simi Garewal at a party, she has become a well-known cultural personality in Mumbai. Over the years, she has held a variety of roles – that of a model coordinator, news anchor, social activist, actress, casting director, and most importantly, a stage artist. All of this helped Thakore to create his unique identity.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the comedian describes Bombay as a city that “embraces everyone”. Thakore says, “No one discriminated against anyone. This is what was beautiful in Bombay. Everyone’s life was theirs and they continued to live it their own way. Shobhaa (De), Protima (Bedi) and I had lives that were not accepted by the conservatives. We have succeeded in our own way. Protima created Nrityagram near Bengaluru, Shobhaa contributed to Bombay society with his writings.

Thakore, who worked as a presenter on DD for a few years, has worked extensively in media and theater. She has dabbled in theater since her school and college years. She continued this with performances in several notable pieces, including A Streetcar Named Desire and Death of a Salesman.

Over the years, the social fabric of the city has undergone some changes, says Thakore, when “ghettos have appeared” and “riots have taken place”. Some changes over the years have become more glaring. “Many of Bandra’s quaint bungalows are gone. The atmosphere changed as we became aware of belonging to a particular community or

religion, ”says Thakore, who has lived in the same house on Pedder Road for nearly five decades.

Thakore is however delighted that the city’s theatrical scene has opened up and left behind the “classification” between English theater and Marathi theater. “Before, there was a kind of snobbery among the spectators. For example, watching Adi Marzaban’s play Parsi was looked down upon. All that has changed and the theater has become a happy place… ”

The city offered exciting opportunities for the multi-talented Thakore. “While working on the book, I realized that I had homework. I didn’t have to look for them even though I didn’t come from a privileged background. If people were looking for me, it meant that every girl could overcome her disabilities or insecurities. It was another reason for me to write the book, ”says the 78-year-old.

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