Mumbai is a fascinating city with diversity in religion and architecture, and in this interview, Vikram Chandra talks about the colonial impact of the Portuguese and British, as well as the Zoroastrian, Muslim, Hindu and Christian holy places in the city.
It’s also a feast for the senses, as Vikram evokes the taste of seafood from the harbor and the chaat street food on the beaches, the clang of ships in the dock, as well as the action spectacle of Bollywood films, and the multi-lingual speech of Hindi, Punjabi, English and Bombay slang.
We discuss how Vikram feels at home both in Mumbai where he grew up and in the Bay area, California, where he now lives and teaches, and he gives some book recommendations if you want to read more about the city.
Vikram Chandra is the multi-award-winning author of Red Earth and Pouring Rain, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book as well as Love and Longing in Bombay and Sacred Games, adapted into a successful Netflix series set in Mumbai, which has just been listed on ‘The New York Times’ list of the 30 best international TV shows of the decade.
- On the cultural history of the name Mumbai — and why some still call the city, Bombay.
- Impact of colonial history — Portuguese and British — on the architecture of Mumbai
- Religious diversity
- Bollywood and modern Indian films
- Influence of the coastal environment
- Food and restaurant recommendations
- Tips for getting around the city
- The challenge of representing the multilingual nature of India in fiction
- Recommended books set in Mumbai
You can find Vikram Chandra at VikramChandra.com.