Facades: Aurora (1942)
Vincent Road, King’s Circle, Matunga.
When Aurora was declared open on 12th March 1942, Matunga’s South Indian residents were relieved. They already had their cultural sabhas and gymkhana but were lacking a cinema. Resident Iyers and Iyengars would have to go to Dadar’s Broadway cinema on Sundays for special screenings of Tamil talkies. So, when Aurora’s doors were first thrown open (thanks to our B. D. Bharucha), Matunga’s residents had even less reason to leave their suburban sanctuary.
i. A Deco Wonderland
Aurora was a stately Art Deco cinema in the Deco wonderland of Matunga. Here in two- storeyed Deco structures like Kanti Mahal at Tejookaya Park, South Indian migrants to the city, experienced the novelty of living in flats, with the toilet attached!
The migrants quickly made Matunga their own South Indian suburb, far away from chaotic and cosmopolitan South Bombay. They established typing and shorthand institutes, messes and restaurants like Sharda Bhavan near Matunga Railway Station.
ii. Udipi + Irani
Have a filter coffee at Sharda Bhavan, which has all the charms of an Udipi restaurant and Irani café and hark back to the 1930s, when its founder Mr. Raghavendra Rao made his way from Udipi to Bombay.
iii. The Bombay Canteen
Drawing on Matunga’s original South Indian flavours of coconut and puli (tamarind), the team at The Bombay Canteen has created a cocktail with housemade coconut syrup and green tea infused tamarind juice. They named it Sikandar, after the spectacular historical picture that was screened at Aurora when it first opened.
This Monday, The Bombay Canteen was crowned India’s Best Restaurant at the Condé Nast Traveller & Himalayan Sparkling Top Restaurant Awards 2018. Whoopee, Whoopee Whoopee!!