Maharashtra Governor launches book on life of man who gave Mumbai butter chicken

Parth Khatau
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari with Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde at the book launch. (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)

A book by late Sardar Kulwant Singh Kohli, a Mumbai-based hotelier, and his narration of living in the city for seven decades, was launched on Thursday. The Marathi book, called ‘Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan!’ consists of written work and narrations by Kulwant, who passed away at age 85 in June earlier this year. The book has been penned by Prof, Nitin Arekar.

Known as the man who introduced butter chicken to Mumbai, Kulwant’s story dates back to 1942, when his father, Prahlad Singh Kohli, moved from Rawalpindi to Mumbai to start his own eatery, called ‘Pritam Hotel’ in Kalbadevi. After his initial effort failed, Prahlad decided to give the business another go, and bought a space in Dadar, an area dominated by the labour class. Joining his father at the age of 22, Kulwant is credited with taking the business further, making lasting ties with members of the city’s film industry, as well as politicians. It was not until 1975 that the restaurant got its own menu. In the 1980s, the third generation of the business introduced a dhaba-style concept of seating, where patrons could enjoy authentic Punjabi cuisine. Kulwant also served as the Sheriff of Mumbai briefly in 1998.

The book was launched by the Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, with former home minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Speaking at the launch, Koshyari said, “Looking back, Kulwant Singh Kohli’s (story) is an inspiring one, and he...left his mark on the society we live in today. He established himself as the top hotelier, but he was also very kind-hearted...I also feel that the respect he showed to society was reciprocated when he was made Sheriff.”

”Today is a day of great pride for the Kohli family, and I admire the work put in by Prof. Arekar, who helped put the book together,” he added.