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Boulevard of dreams

Making a splash Making a splash: Marine Drive | Janak Bhat
  • Marine Drive is a favourite with fitness freaks. One can see many people walk, jog and run along the breezy stretch. It is a routine followed by many, including business tycoon Anil Ambani.

Marine Drive, despite being featured in every travel magazine, has managed to retain its charm. A tour of Mumbai seems incomplete without a walk on the boulevard. Over the years, the Queen's Necklace, as it is also known, has changed a lot. What remain same, however, are the Arabian Sea and the constant buzz. For the aam janata, the 4km stretch symbolises freedom and possibilities. It also provides temporary refuge from the maddening rat race that has become part of Maximum city.

Marine Drive is also a favourite with fitness freaks. One can see many people walk, jog and run along the breezy stretch as early as 4am. It is a routine religiously followed by many, including prominent personalities such as business tycoon Anil Ambani.

Recently, two open-air gyms were inaugurated at Marine Drive by Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray and actor Jacqueline Fernandez. The gyms, one each in wards A and C, are owned by actor Dino Morea’s company DM Fitness. Similar gyms have been installed at Shivaji Park, Worli and Bandstand.

On July 16, however, C ward officials objected to what they said was an “illegal” gym, and got a lot of exercise by dismantling and reinstalling the equipment.

As it turns out, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had given the nod for both gyms, but Sangita Hasnale, assistant municipal commissioner of the ward, was unaware of the approval. The officials undid the damage when they realised it was Thackeray's pet project. Now, to clear the air, Mehta's letter of approval, which somehow failed to reach the C ward office, is expected to be resent.

The dispute, it seems, will soon be resolved. Marine Drive, however, will continue to attract people as well as controversies. In fact, it was the primary source of Bollywood gossip a few decades ago.

One of Hindi cinema’s greatest actors, Nargis, lived at Chateau Marine with her mother, Jaddanbai. Singer-actor Suraiya stayed on the ground floor of Krishna Mahal, a beautiful building further down Marine Drive. Fans would throng the buildings to catch a glimpse of the stars, not unlike the scenes outside the homes of actors today. Many glitzy parties took place at Chateau Marine and it was from here that the gossip reached the media.

It is said that, during their time together, actors Dev Anand and Suraiya would often meet at Krishna Mahal. And, when they parted ways, Suraiya threw her ring into the sea. How filmi!

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The Week

Topics : #Maharashtra | #offbeat

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