Madonna visits Mumbai slums

Pop star Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie, wearing a cap, visit Mumbai’s Ambedkarnagar slums on Tuesday. Author Gregory David Roberts, (behind Madonna) who spent a long time in the slums, showed them around.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Vivek Bendre

Mumbai: Pop diva Madonna sprang a surprise on Mumbai on Tuesday to the delight of her fans. She spent the day visiting a crowded slum and later savoured “idli-vada sambar” and “masala dosa” in a Udupi restaurant.

The 49-year-old star, who is on an extended New Year break with her family, flew in from Udaipur by a chartered aircraft in the afternoon.

She went directly from the airport to the shanties in Colaba, near Cuffe Parade dotted by high-rise buildings.

Wearing a black jacket, T-shirt and jeans, the “Material girl” spent about 30 minutes in the slums, during when she entered a fisherman’s hut along with a woman companion.

She was showered with rose petals and given a necklace.

No questions

Madonna, accompanied by husband Guy Ritchie and their child, came to the western metropolis after spending the past week in the desert State of Rajasthan. She did not take any questions from journalists.

The group was taken around by Australian author Gregory David Roberts, the convicted bank robber who turned his time spent in Mumbai after escaping from an Australian prison into the best-selling novel Shantaram. Mr. Roberts had made the Mumbai slum his home in the early 1980s. The novel is being adapted into a film starring Johnny Depp and directed by filmmaker Mira Nair.

After the slum visit, Madonna went to Hotel Saurabh, a south Indian vegetarian specialty eatery, for a quick lunch.

The proprietor of the hotel, Y.M. Shetty, said the VVIP patrons plumped for “idli-vada sambhar” and “masala dosa.” “Sev puri,” being a Mumbai specialty, was also served.

“They enjoyed the food but whatever they ate, it was in limited quantities,” Mr. Shetty said. — PTI