At Sooni Taraporevala‘s endearing exhibition of photographs of Parsis, chronicled since 1977, the very first exhibit is of Rashid Irani.
On the left is Irani last year; on the right is Irani 25 years ago.
Both pictures show Irani, the working partner of Brabourne, the eponymous Irani restaurant on Princess Street in Bombay with which his family has been associated since 1934, behind the cash counter.
But in his other life, in front of it, Irani is a cineaste, a connoisseur of poetry, and a long-time critic of English films—for The Times of India for the longest time, and lately for the Hindustan Times.
A trained accountant, who worked in a shipping company for 17 and a half years, Irani took his position at the till after the premature death of his father in 1965.
Sooni Taraporevala, who wrote the screenplay for the much-acclaimed Salaam Bombay, writes:
“Rashid has a remarkably international outlook entirely from his reading. He has never left India.”
The exhibition is on at the national gallery of modern art (NGMA) in New Delhi.