Archive for the 'International & Entertainment News' Category

14
Apr
14

Fashion icon John Varvatos talks life, fashion and family with Fern Mallis

Fashion devotees of John Varvatos recently had the chance to see the iconic designer up close and personal in an engaging conversation between the exemplary designer and the world-famous fashion personality Fern Mallis at the historic 92Y venue in NYC as part of the well received series “Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis”.
For years, the 92Y has been known as a world-class nonprofit community and cultural center that has served as a place for NY audience members to experience personal interviews with some of the leading personalities and celebrities from the world of film, fashion, business, entertainment and publishing.92YEventr
The Ravi Report was front and center to bring all the details.

Varvatos menswear fashion and accessories are globally known for their  stylish, stunning and alluring designs that are sought  season after season. I have a shirt and trust me, the man is a genius when it comes to fashion.

Over the past several years, the designer’s passion for music and writing had turned Varvatos  into a leading author and somewhat musical talent scout as he brings very talented musicians to his Bowery Store in NY to perform for rock music fans.  I’ve been to a few concerts and it is a great concept and the musicians are very talented!

Varvatos’s new book Rock in Fashion, (which is selling like hotcakes) is  a collection of his own rock style designs and personal notes from his years of designing memorable clothes. You are definitely going to want to get this book folks!

But despite the designer’s immense fame, fortune and massive following, the Detroit born Varvatos remains humble and grateful to those that have helped him achieve his fame and success.JohnVarvatosbookjacket

The creator and organizer of NY Fashion Week, Fern Mallis is to the fashion world what curry is to rice- you can’t have one without the other.  Known as the “industry game changer”, Mallis has been the backbone for many iconic designers and the main organizer of their runway shows for years. The successful and well-liked iconic business personality is now president of her own company, Fern Mallis LLC and continues to create Fashion Week around the world in major cities.  Mallis also hosts her own show on the SiriusXM flagship celebrity talk channel, Stars called “Fashion Insiders with Fern Mallis.”

I will also on record saying she is one of the nicest and most helpful people in the fashion industry I know.

During the on stage conversation, Mallis , who is an excellent interviewer, gets Varvatos to open up about his family, his humble beginnings in Detroit, his career in fashion and of course his passions which include music, writing and designing cars!

The Ravi Report caught up with Varvatos after the talk to find out what keeps the world-famous designer going and what kind of outfits would he design for Bollywood stars.
RR: John, great seeing you again. We learned so much about you during the discussion. You just keep going from one project to another. How do you manage it all?
JV: I feel like I have to learn something new everyday. I am a sponge for learning things. I want to know everything and anything that pertains to my world and I go for it.
 
RR: A lot of your followers are saying  that “John has done so much and continues to reinvent his passion.” Your thoughts?
JV: Well, that is a nice complement. I think the word you use  is passion and that is the reason you keep going. I don’t even think about it...it’s the stimulus in life that is your passion that keeps you going and keeps you motivated and keeps you  looking for the next adventure. I would be bored if I was not looking for the next adventure. 
RR: Everything you explore and do seems to have a tremendous successful outcome with no room for failure. Has that always been the case?
JV: (laughs)…there are always bumps and road blocks in the road that people don’t see and if you have this attitude that you can climb over the road block and you can knock it down, you can do it. A few years  (in 2008) the economy for all of us was a bump in the road. No matter what you did, it was a bump in the road. You had to figure out how you were going overcome it and come out stronger and better than before.  For me it was not going to let me down just because we just got punched in the stomach. What can we learn from this experience? What is going to make us stronger? So if it happens again, we can be in a much better place.
 
RR: You have a large following almost a cult like one in Bollywood for your fashions and accessories with many stars wearing your clothes to parties, red carpet premiers and events.  If you had to design an outfit for the leading men of Bollywood, what would you design?
JV: (Pauses)That is a really an interesting question. Today we  were talking in our meeting on what the next inspiration would be for our runway and we are planning on going to India this summer for an inspirational trip. There is a culture out there from everything from the intellectual flourishing artesian culture to amazing fabrics  and  it’s one of the places where people take pride in what they do. I would design something that would be inspired by Indian culture.

RR: Thanks so much John. Always a pleasure and hope to talk to you again soon.
JV: Thank you so much.
The journey continues and for John Varvatos and Fern Mallis, it’s one full of fashion, design and adventure for sure!
Ravi

 

 

28
Feb
14

Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman left us too soon

The Oscars will be a bit bitter-sweet this year.

Not because some of the most amazing films or actors were not even given a nod nor will it be because some of them were given one.
 
It will be because a leading member of the Hollywood film fraternity will no longer be among his peers cheering them on as they sit in hopes of winning  the most prestigious honor in cinema.
 
By now, many of you already know who I am talking about but I will be more than honored to mention his name just in case some of you may not know. I’m talking about Academy Award winning  Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest American actors that Hollywood will ever see.

Hoffman won an Academy Award in 2005 for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the film "Capote"

Hoffman won an Academy Award in 2005 for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the film “Capote”

 
The 46 year-old brilliant and gifted film and theater actor passed away on Feb. 2, 2014  from an apparent drug overdose.
 
It was sudden. Shocking. Tragic and of course disturbing.
Hollywood lost a great actor and three kids lost their loving father.
 
I’m not going to sit here and write about what has already been written about the late gifted actor over the past several weeks including everything from drug abuse to the details of Hoffman’s will. However,  I will say that the actor’s death has brought serious attention (again) to the ongoing issue of the dangers of  drug addiction and how prevalent and on the rise it has become.
 
According to a recent New York Times editorial written by the well-known and astute NY ER physician Dr. Robert S. Hoffman, heroine-related deaths have increased 84 percent from 2010 to 2012 in New York city.  Dr. Hoffman also  states that the actor’s sudden death was more of a “wake up” call for society to try to help prevent the hundreds of other unknown deaths that are never mentioned or talked about.
 
Philip Seymour Hoffman took Hollywood  by storm with his innate ability to dig deep into the core of his being to bring to surface the kind of immense talent that only a few privileged individuals are blessed to achieve in a lifetime.
 
My first introduction to Hoffman was from the powerful  film Magnolia. The deep and emotional 1999 movie centers around 9 individuals with various levels of dysfunctional issues. Hoffman stars as the hospice nurse Phil who tries to reunite a son (played by Tom Cruise) with his dying father. Although it was clear that Tom Cruise was the protagonist in the film, Hoffman gave the kind of performance that not only made Hollywood take notice, but also gave the world the kind of versatility and  gut-wrenching performances that only a few gifted actors can achieve.
 
Magnolia was the reason I watched all of Hoffman’s films and I, like millions, was able to see  how over the years, the simple and unassuming actor transformed into a megastar by portraying versatile characters that quite frankly, were tailor-made for him.
 
Hoffman won an Academy Award in 2005 for his brilliant performance in the movie Capote. Who can forget that heartwarming speech afterwards in which he thanks his human rights lawyer mom, Marilyn Hoffman O’Conner for taking him to his first play as a child. Not a dry eye in the house when he spoke.

Hoffman with cast members and good friends Laura Linney and Philip Bosco

Hoffman with cast members and good friends Laura Linney and Philip Bosco

 
I was privileged to have met and interviewed Hoffman in 2007  at the NY premiere of  Savages.  Hoffman along with the stunning Laura Linney play brother and sister in the movie who end up caring for their  abusive and ill  father played by the brilliant Philip Bosco.  It’s an emotional family drama that is certainly a must watch. I’ve seen it twice.
 
Hoffman was indeed one of the most sincere, humble and intelligent actors I had ever met.
 
RY: How did you prepare for this role? Did you draw anything from your own life experiences?
 
Hoffman: You prepare for it like you prepare for any part….it’s always different yet always the same and you know that’s a long conversation..it really is…it’s not something you can just sound bite…it really is..there is a lot of questions and a lot of thought that goes into preparing for something.
 

RY: What did this role do for you artistically as an actor?

Hoffman: Wow..(pause)…I have no idea…very deep question. Probably nothing…(laughs)..well it’s just another opportunity to explore something that I find pertinent that interests me now …do you know what I mean?… which I hopefully think artists are about.

RY: What attracted you to the role?

Hoffman: It was a great script….it’s never just the role…it’s always the role and the story…they have to go hand in hand and this is a really a great script and it’s a role that pertains to where I am in my life…where being 40 is in your life….and I do think it’s interesting and I do think that’s the answer to your first question…it’s interesting to explore something that you find pertinent to life at this time in your life…you find that your interest and curiosities change over time. There are things that I did ten years ago as an actor that I would not want to do now as an actor.

RY: How did you prepare for this role? Did you draw anything from your own life experiences?

Hoffman: You prepare for it like you prepare for any part….it’s always different yet always the same and you know that’s a long conversation..it really is…it’s not something you can just sound bite…it really is..there is a lot of questions and a lot of thought that goes into preparing for something.

After the interview, Hoffman gracefully shook my hand and headed into the theater with good friend Linney and the rest of the cast.

What has been written about the past several weeks and what will continue to be written about the late actor has opened up new conversations about drug overdose, addicts who try to fight their inner demons and personal struggle with rehab.

When Hoffman tragically and suddenly passed away, the media compared his death to those of other talented actors who battled drug addiction including River Phoenix and Heath Ledger. The premise seems to be the same.

When the 86th Academy Awards begins on Sunday, March 2, 2014, millions will be watching the broadcast around the world while Hoffman’s spirit will be lingering among the  actors as he sends his congrats to the winners from above while fixing his trademark uncombed hair.
 
The journey continues….and for Hoffman, it was indeed a short and unfinished one.
 
Ravi
 
24
Jan
14

Bollywood Awards Get Ready To Make America Debut

Global superstars Anil Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra pose for The Ravi Report

Global superstars Anil Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra pose for The Ravi Report

Lights, camera and Bollywood!

If there is one single event that will give you a complete picture of the magic behind the largest film producing industry in the world complete with all its leading components, then you DO NOT want to miss the most talked about and highly anticipated event of 2014  soon to happen in the US for the first time. This folks, is a VERY BIG DEAL!

The International Indian Film Awards known as iifa is the biggest Bollywood event produced out of India (think Oscars) and is bound for Tampa Bay, Florida April 24-26, 2014.

Beautiful A List Bollywood celebrities, stunning exotic dancers, gorgeous actresses and choreographed spectacles with singers and superstars, will entertain thousands upon thousands of fans from all around the world that will come to see the live extravaganza.

As someone who has been covering Bollywood for almost two decades, trust me when I tell you that iifa is the most magnificent event ever to come out of India.

Now in its 15th year, the event will bring over  800 people set to perform in numerous events during the three-day celebration.

“Think Bono, Springsteen and the Superbowl all wrapped up with a  bit of Moulin Rouge mixed in,that’s how iifa can be best described,” stated a stunning and statuesque Indian model attending the recent iifa NY press conference. “For those folks that want an up-close and personal  experience of what the magic behind Bollywood is all about, they need to come to this event. Plain and simple.”

Kapoor and Chopra chatting before the press conference

Kapoor and Chopra chatting before the press conference

In just one week since ticket sales have started, over 10K tickets have been sold for the event!!

Why Tampa Bay? Glad you asked.

“Tampa Bay is family oriented and doesn’t have the craziness of Miami and has all the assets of the big cities,” said Santiago Corrada, President & CEO of Visit  Tampa Bay. “Tampa Bay is also very sophisticated and welcoming of cultures and of course you ready know how much of a terrific culture Bollywood has to offer to the world and Tampa Bay is the perfect place to launch that fascinating culture.”

Dr. Kiran Patel, a well-known cardiologist and philanthropist is the brains behind bringing iifa to Tampa Bay. Dr. Patel has been a life long Bollywood fan and is one of the most respected individuals in the state of Florida.

International superstar and iifa representative actor Anil Kapoor spoke to The Ravi Report  during the New York press conference that he and the ridiculously gorgeous  Bollywood actress, Guess girl and Pitbull favorite Priyanka Chopra co-hosted.

Priyanka Chopra and Anil Kapoor take to the stage to talk about iifa significance in the United States

Priyanka Chopra and Anil Kapoor take to the stage to talk about iifa significance in the United States

RR: Great to see you again Anil!  The NY media is buzzing saying  that both you and Priyanka, two well-known Bollywood stars outside of India with a strong international following,  will draw a huge non-Indian audience to the iifa event.  Your thoughts?

AK: Thanks so much  but honestly, there are many more accomplished actors who have done so much more in Bollywood than me and Priyanka that will be at iifa, so I really look to the iifa association as more of a family event and not really one that is showcased by me or Priyanka.

RR: Is there a lot pressure from Bollywood for  this massive event to go over well for the first time in the US?

The entire iifa 2014 Dream Team poses for the media

The entire 2014 iifa Dream Team poses for the NY media

AK: Well, we do our best to entertainment those that come to iifa and try to do the best job we can as  entertainers.

During the press conference, Kapoor pointed out he would never bestow his name to anything that he does not believe in.

“I have never endorsed any products…I never endorsed anything. I am very choosy and fussy about things. I don’t give my name just to anyone. So for me to come to NY and speak about iifa to the media is very important to me and I believe in iiffa and I believe in the folks of Tampa Bay.”

Press conference was held inside the legendary New York Plaza Hotel

Press conference was held inside the legendary New York Plaza Hotel

Rajan Singh, head of International Business for Star Plus  UK, has been a strong force behind iifa since the very beginning and is responsible for the million  of viewers in 108 countries  that will get to see the program.

RR: Mr. Singh, the iifa event is being compared to the likes of the Superbowl combined with Rolling Stones concerts in terms of viewership. Is that a pretty accurate description?

RS: Well, if you talk about the television exposure one will get with iifa with the biggest network in Asian television like Star Plus, then it certainly does fall into that kind of area.

RR: iifa has been staged around the world but never in the United States. What are some of the concerns you might have with such an intense undertaking?

RS:It’s going to be a quality event that is the most important thing we need to focus on.We have to produce quality events so people around the world can see  how far iifa has come in the past 15 years of global exposure.

RR: With leading Bollywood stars starring in big budgeted Hollywood films, popular television shows and international modeling campaigns, is Bollywood finally coming to a mainstream level in the United States with iifa?

RS: I am surprised it has taken so long with America having such a huge Indian population,that it has taken 15 years for Bollywood to officially come to the US through iifa.

For more information on iifa and ticket sales, visit www.iifa.com.

The journey continues….in Bollywood style! Jai Ho!

08
Dec
13

Actor Noah Emmerich Brings Prestige To The Americans

Star of The Americans, actor Noah Emmerich addresses the media on the red carpet

Star of The Americans, actor Noah Emmerich addresses the media on the red carpet

The Paley Center For Media http://www.paleycenter.org in NY recently held their 2013 Paley Fest featuring top stars and producers from popular television shows that have gained nationally attention and following.
One of the events  was an up close visit with the cast from the extremely popular and prodigious FX show The Americans.  The show  created by a former CIA agent himself Joe Weisberg, is based on  the marriage of two undercover Soviet spies and takes place during the Regan eighties.  The all star cast includes Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and popular actor and friend Noah Emmerich.
Emmerich, 48, is a New York born, Yale educated character actor who has over the past 25 years acted in some of the most memorable television shows  and box office favorites. Who could forget his role as Marlon  in The Truman Show with Jim Carey. Or his role as the helpful neighbor Larry Hedges  in Little Children. And don’t forget to look for the talented actor in the upcoming Jane Gotta Gun playing Natalie Portman’s husband.
Emmerich television appearances are to many to name but the few that do come to mind are The West Wing and White Collar.  But his most recent exciting and talked about role is that of  FBI agent Stan Beeman in the critically acclaimed hit series The Americans. 
Exciting and full of espionage drama, The Americans has captured audiences attention around the world for its brilliant writing, award-winning cast, strong character development, dramatic marital relationships and scandalous undertones.
Noah Emmerich poses with Ravi Yande at the Paley Media Center, NY

Noah Emmerich poses with Ravi Yande at The Paley Center for Media, NY

The Ravi Report recently had the opportunity to meet up with Emmerich and the entire cast and show producers at The Paley Center for a special sold out panel discussion.
RR: Great seeing you again Noah. Congrats on the success of the show. How does it feel to be part of something so amazing?

NE: We are gearing up for season 2 and it was amazing to come back to a job.  I’ve never come back to a job in my entire life. You star in a movie, then it ends and you say good-bye to everyone. This is great.

RR: Everyone loved Season 1. Are you at all surprised at the kind of prominent reaction that the show has gotten?

NE: I am amazed and in my wildest dreams I did not anticipate such reaction and praises we got from the audiences. It’s like a dream.

Actors Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys share a joke on the red carpet

Actors Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys share a joke on the red carpet

RR: You’re known in the industry as a very talented and versatile character actor  in both film and television.  What specifically attracted you to your character  Stan Beeman on the show?

NE: I like the ideas of the layers of the character. They sort out infinite possibilities in the world of espionage, false identities and false selves. I like the ideas the writers had, that was really the area of interest. Another part is that it is always interesting for an actor to deal with  more layers of character because the more interesting the work becomes, the more you really don’t know who these characters are to some degree.  That is quite exciting for me and hopefully the audiences as well.

RR: If your role in The Americans was offered to you say 10 years ago, would you have been ready to take on something so intense?

NE: It’s hard to say…egotistically, I’d like to say I could have done it but I certainly feel better prepared and more suitable to play this role here today.  I think everything happens for a reason and this is happening now and I am grateful.

RR: What sort of research did you do for your role as the FBI agent Stan Beeman? 

TheAmerciansGroupShot

Noah Emmerich, show creators Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys pose for the media on The Americans red carpet arrivals.

NE: I’ve done a lot of reading about the period when the show takes place and I’ve talked to some FBI agents and some CIA agents as well. I somewhat immersed myself in that world to understand what the dynamics and reality was for those people during that time which certainly helped develop my character.

RR: The world of television series has changed dramatically over the years with audiences getting more finicky about what they like to watch and follow. Do you think The Americans would have gotten the same kind of acceptance it has gotten today vs  five or ten years ago?

NE:  I don’t think we could have seen the Russian heroes working to bring down America as viable as ten years ago. I think the audiences have gotten more and more sophisticated over the years in viewership and I think we, as actors, have expanded and embraced cultures and characters along the way.   I also think it’s a beautiful moment that we can explore different points of view other than our own..I think there is a strong appetite for that.

RR: Thank you so much Noah. Always a pleasure and good luck in season 2!
NE: Thank you.
26
Oct
13

Indian Filmmaker Brings Reality To Bollywood Films

Indian filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is a genius. Not in the Einstein sense, but in the sense of how to make great films. He knows what audiences want and goes for it. Come hell or high water.

MadhurBetsy

Madhur Bhandarkar poses with fashion icon Betsey Johnson at the recent Molecule Communications Bollywood event in NY

Bhandarkar, 45, is one of India’s prolific movie makers and one of the most sought after directors in Bollywood today. His reality based subject matter  mixed in with his brilliant way of directing,  all equals great cinema appreciated by audiences around the world. His films are fictional but have a strong sense of realism in the undertones of  each story.

His most recent film Heroine focused on the life of a young Bollywood wannabe actress trying to make it in the tough and highly competitive Indian film industry. The protagonist was played by Kareena Kapoor, one of the top stars in Bollywood. The film played to packed movie houses for months.  Again, the Midas touch of Bhandarkar.

The Mumbai born acclaimed director has won more National Awards (India’s equivalent to the Oscars) then any other director in India today.  In 2009, the acclaimed director also won the India’s Presidential Award for his contribution to Indian cinema.  Not bad for someone who has only been in the industry for 12 years.

Bhandarkar was in NY recently as part of Ticket To Bollywood, a two-day amazing film conference produced by Molecule Communications showcasing Bhandarkar’s work while allowing audience interaction with the director, something of a rarity with Bollywood celebrities.

“You couldn’t meet this guy in India even if you camped outside of his house for days,” said one striking Indian girl carrying a picture of Bhandarkar to get signed.

“I’ve seen every one of his films. The man knows how to make films that people for generations will appreciate,” stated one beautiful Indian girl with stunning features and a statuesque build.

RaviMadhur01

Madhur Bhandarkar and Ravi Yande pose on the red carpet

The Ravi Report was lucky enough to catch up with the filmmaker to talk about  his films, his journey and Hollywood.

RR: Madhur, what I have found out is that  people outside of India love your films. Are you surprised at your global fan base?
MB: I think it’s a great thing. I know people who have seen Chandani Bar, Corporate and Fashion who are not Indians or NRIs who have loved my work.
I am very happy about the kind of reception I have received from these film followers and a lot of American people on Twitter  send me their feedback.
RR: Why do you think so many followers outside of India have connected with your films? Your way of telling a story? 
MB: I think people understand me and most importantly, they understand my cinema. My whole journey has been a great struggle and a compelling  amount of hard work has gone into it. I am happy that my journey from Chandani Bar to Heroine has been great.
RR: Your films mainly deal with issues about reality such as the dark side of the world of fashion, the cut throat corporate business world and an insider’s look at trying to make it in Bollywood. Did you ever feel compelled to try another genre?
MB: A lot of people have told me to stick to the kind of genre that I have been making films in and these are the films that got Madhur Bhandarkar known as the person who shows reality in cinema.  I am happy about that and  I am sticking to the genre and I am not going to change because my cinema..I know what it is…and for me it’s about connecting emotions with the audiences around the world.
Madhur Bhandarkar poses exclusively for The Ravi Report

The stylish and trendy Madhur Bhandarkar poses exclusively for The Ravi Report

RR: You are well-known in NY and were recently  honored with the prestigious ‘New York Citizen’s Achievement Award’ by the Counsel General of India.  Do you have a sense of connection with New York and if so, in what way?

MB: New York has been a favorite city of mine. I have been here twice already this year.  I connect with New York so much because it reminds me of Mumbai in so many ways. The vibrant energy, the people, the fashion, it’s buzzing all the time and very similar to Mumbai. When I walk in Time Square, I meet a lot of people and start talking just like Mumbai.
RR: One of the biggest honors any Indian person can received for his or her work is the National Award of India. Those who receive it often work a lifetime to get this high honor. You have received four of them in less than 12 years for your films and direction and  are the only filmmaker in the history of Indian films to receive so many of them. Your thoughts?
MB: I feel the kind of contribution that I have done with the audience participation and the people liking my work, has all contributed to me being recognized on such a high level in cinema. Everywhere I go, people say “Madhur do a film on this subject, do a film on that subject”, so the love and admiration I get from people who appreciate my work is really most important to me.
RR: Are you at all surprised at the immense amount of fame and recognition that you have received in such a short time in Bollywood?
MB: You see, there is an amazing amount of trust in the people and they believe in Mahur Bhandarkar cinema and they believe that Madhur will show us reality in films. Today when I look back at my journey, here is a person from a typical Marathi background who dropped out of school, sold video cassette tapes to celebrities and who came over here in this journey is huge for me.
RR: Have you ever gotten discouraged on your journey?
MB: I am a very optimistic person and when people ask me “Madhur, where do you see yourself ten years from now, I always go with the flow and don’t want to predict the future. I just want to make the kind of cinema that I believe in..that’s it.
RR: Many top Bollywood actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Priyanka Chopra have attributed their Bollywood success to your films. Thoughts?
MB: I am happy that the audience has given me that power and that they watch my movies all the time. I am happy that my team, producers and of course the actresses  have given my films their best work.
RR: Would you ever decide to head to  Hollywood? They are very familiar with your work.
MB:  Well, I am very busy now. If  an offer comes tomorrow…and it’s right…I would do a film. I am just to busy right now to do anything but as I have said, if you want to work in Hollywood, you have to over there,  park yourself  and try to  understand the process and the same goes for trying to make it in Bollywood.
RR: Thank you Madhur.  A true honor indeed.
MB: Thank you. My pleasure.
Bhandarkar’s National Award winning films are highly recommended for everyone to see:
1. Chandani Bar (2001)- won for Best Picture
2. Page 3- Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Editing
3. Fashion- won National Awards for international superstar Priyanka Chopra and her co-star Kangana Ranaut
4. Traffic – won for Best Director
The journey continues and for Madhur Bhandarkar, it’s indeed a reel-istic one.
Ravi
06
Oct
13

Golden Elephants Welcomed Governor Chris Christie To Indian Event

Golden elephants welcomed Governor Christie to the event

Golden elephants welcomed Governor Christie to the event

The South Asian community sure does like NJ Governor Chris Christie.
At a recent celebration in West Windsor, NJ  Governor Christie was welcomed with golden elephants, beautiful Indian ladies dressed in stunning silk saris and a whole lot of enthusiasm from NJ state registered voters.
“I came today just to say thanks to  the Governor for doing a great job. It’s tough being the Governor of NJ,” said a gorgeous Indian girl dressed in a designer Manish Malhotra chiffon sari laced with swarovski crystals.
The Governor was a special invited guest at  the annual 2013 Marathi Vishwa Ganesh Celebrations, a festive and religious  program that welcomes the “birth” of Lord Ganesh, the popular elephant headed Hindu God known for removing obstacles from one’s path and one in which millions of Hindus across the world pray to. Coincidentally, Governor Christie has a Lord Ganesh idol  placed in the Governor’s Mansion Drumthwacket in Princeton.

Governor Christie being thanks by the Indian community for his hard work with Dr. Kulkarni in the background.

Governor Christie being thanked by the Indian community for his hard work with Dr. Kulkarni in the background.

I have been attending the annual Lord Ganesh event for years now with my parents and this year the biggest attraction was the Governor’s appearance.
“Our state is a state that has great opportunity but also great challenges,” the Governor told an audience of 1200 during his pin drop silence speech.
“So many people come to our state for opportunities and when they get here, they are also confronted here with those challenges. What I have done the past four years is to try to move some of those challenges  out of your way.”
A round of applause from the audience.
The Governor meeting children of the community during the event

The Governor meeting children of the community during the event

“As I look out in this audience, I know that besides being successful in business…that each and every one of you has found your own way to contribute to the strength of the fabric of our communities…that is one of the powerful things about NJ.”

The Governor then went on to say that New Jersey residents feel a strong connection to the 566 municipalities and to the town they live in. He also pointed out that folks who have belief in the principles that have made NJ strong like hard work, integrity, honesty, strong families and a deep believe in God, are things symbolic of the community and the state.
He ended his speech with a quote from his mother.
“Christopher, first things first…do the job you have in front of you as best as you can…and your future will take care of itself.”
 
After the Governor’s speech, I spoke to a few of the guests to see what their thoughts were about what he said.

The hand made Ganesh portable temple that my dad made and sets up every year for the celebration

The hand made portable temple that my dad built is used every year to place the Lord Ganesh idol in

“He has a very tough job and he is doing a great one. We need him again in office!” said Dr. Joshi, a physician from northern NJ.
“I think the Governor was right in saying that the South Asian population is the fastest growing one in the state. Our community is attracted to NJ for its jobs, schools and of course temples, which now has  15,” stated one gorgeous  Indian lady dressed in a god brocaded  silk sari and decked in gold jewelry.
Afterwards, Christie  took a walk to the Lord Ganesh idol  to take “darshan” (auspicious viewing & blessings) with the guests. The idol was place in a handmade temple that my dad made years ago as part of the celebration. My dad adds to it ever year and this year he decided to add red lights which looked awesome!
Guests danced and played Indian drums as the procession to build Lord Ganesh goodbye began

Guests danced and played Indian drums as the procession to bid Lord Ganesh “goodbye” began

The  Marathi Vishwa organization, www.marathivishwa.com, a community group of Marathi speaking people was started by my parents started over 30 years ago for the same reason what Governor Christie mentioned in his speech- to contribute to the great community of NJ. The organization which my mom named, is now going strong after 30 years with thousands of members from all over NJ.

The celebration continued outside with the crowd into the evening

The celebration continued outside and into the evening

The Governor’s appearance gave the Indian community  increased hope and satisfaction that he will continue to give his best to the state and its people in the next four years.
The journey continues and for Governor Chris Christie, a one filled with strong support from the Indian community of the Garden State.
Ravi
01
Sep
13

Antonio Sabato Jr. Becomes Wingman & Dating Coach To Millions

Antonio Sabato Jr. smiles for The Ravi Report

Antonio Sabato Jr. smiles for The Ravi Report

Antonio Sabato Jr. really needs no introduction folks. If you have been following his career, the former “General Hospital superstar, model, devoted husband and father and now international celebrity spokesperson, has been one of the most hardworking Hollywood professionals over the years. And for good reason.
“I love to work and be creative in my career,” the Italian actor and former Calvin Klein model  exclusively tells The Ravi Report.
The handsome actor has taken on another role these days- trying to find the perfect match for the thousands of single men out there who haven’t yet found the perfect lady.  Sabato  has  signed on to become  the US-based celebrity spokesperson for the online dating site Anastasiadate.com, a high-end dating site featuring exotic ladies from around the world looking to find Mr. Right. Sabato will also give tips and personal insight into the dating world on his own personal blog called “Under The Sheets: Tips from Your Celebrity Wingman,” which will be hosted on the Anastasiadate.com website at Blog.AnastasiaDate.com.
In person, Sabato looks the same as he did when I first met him years ago on the red carpet- youthful, charming and in great shape.
The recently married actor sat down with The Ravi Report to talk about his new venture, being a parent  and the current state of reality television.
RR: Antonio, great seeing you again and congrats on the recent wedding. Your wife is gorgeous!  You are now part of something pretty exciting- finding the ideal lady for the single guy.  Why did you get involved in the international Anastasia Dating site?
AS: I’ve been with Anastasiadate for a few months now and I do see a very bright future for our collaboration.  They came to me because I am in essence not only helping single guys  find exotic ladies as life partners, but also sharing with them my own personal years of dating experiences that I believe will bring value as a spokesperson. It’s been educational for me as well.

Antonio Sabato Jr. poses with Ravi Yande

Antonio Sabato Jr. poses with Ravi Yande

RR: The entire online dating culture has taken off and millions are using social media as their primary source of finding someone. Why do you think online dating has become the main source for so many singles to meet their potential mate?
AS: Well to be honest,  it  is easy…you can be in the comfort of your home when  finding someone while you are in a relaxed and stress free environment and it can also be a fun experience.
RR:  I personally know many people who have met online and are either married now or in steady, long-term relationships.  Do you think because people nowadays are so social media savvy that they understand the whole dynamics of online dating better than before?

AS: I think social media has not just changed online dating but the entire world in general. I mean from Facebook to Google Plus, you have everyone interested in and using some form of social media in every aspect of their life so  why not online dating? People are smart, they know what they want in a person and are not afraid to ask. I think online dating sites breaks down barriers and get the ball rolling quicker by asking the right questions and starting an email dialog.

RR: Do you think people are getting tired of the social scene like going to crowded clubs or sexy rooftops trying to meet beautiful people?
AS: It can be predictable at times- you go hoping to meet someone and nothing happens so it does seem to be working in that direction. I also think guys who join will be exposed to more exotic and cultured ladies that they have a hard time meeting at clubs.
RR: Do people often have higher expectations of finding someone online especially when they have a large pool of potential dates to select from?
AS: Nothing is perfect and we don’t say it is.  You have to work on it and people do have choices. Working on a relationship and getting to know each other is a very important and basic step in any relationship whether it be online or in person. Relationships are not easy.

Sabato is now wingman and dating coach to millions!

Sabato is now wingman and dating coach to millions!

RR: You are now a happily married father with three children including a teenager.  How has the transition been for Antonio, the jet-setting single star, to Antonio the devoted dad who gets up at 3am to change diapers?
AS: (laughs) Well, it’s been the best. I met my beautiful wife 4 years ago in LA and we have been married now for a year. It’s not easy and  we work on it, like everyone else. We are blessed and we are connected to each other.  My wife is the first thing in my life. Before it was about me when I was single,  now the commitment is about us and our family. My main goal is to provide for my family and to always be there for them.
RR:  What insights from the dating world will you bring to the millions that will follow your blog  and advice on the site?
AS: I had fun dating ladies from all over the world and  I can certainly bring that experience to the site and help those single guys with tips  from my personal dating experience. I have been both single and now married,  so I know what works and what doesn’t. I can also try to lead them in the right direction in terms of what they should look for when starting out and help them with their relationship.
RR: You became a household name on the  famous soap opera “General Hospital” and went on to films, modeling and other prime time television shows. What do you think of today’s reality shows?
AS: It is off the charts! You can do anything you want today on television. No boundaries.  For actors though, it’s a bit tough because many of the reality shows have taken away from the real dramas and good shows we are used to seeing.  But good scripted TV will never go away.
RR: And if given the choice, what kind of show would you like to be in?
AS:  I would welcome the idea of doing a show on racing cars and what it takes to race them around the world. I love racing Porsche cars and am passionate about racing. Also, any show  related to Italian culture cooking, wines, holiday festivals.
RR: You have led this amazing and privileged life as an actor. Traveling the world, dating beautiful women and living the dream of becoming a Hollywood actor and successful model and now have shifted gears to being a devoted family man opting for selected projects. Would you want your kids to follow in your Hollywood stardom footsteps in any way?
AS: I don’t want my kids following this industry at all and thankfully they have no interest  in it. To have a strong family connection is important to me and them right now.  How you treat each other and the structure you have at home is important to everyone.  It’s been a blessed journey for me as a father and husband and I will continue to be there for my kids both  spiritually and emotionally.
RR: Thank you Antonio. Always a pleasure catching up with you.
AS: Thank you.
In addition to having his plate already full, Sabato is planning on introducing Italian wine from his hometown in Italy in October. The Ravi Report will keep you posted!
The journey continues…ciao!
Ravi

27
Jul
13

Jonathan Bricklin Credits The Entrepreneur For Business Success

Summer is in full swing folks and if there is one documentary  that you need to watch this summer that will inspire you and motivate you to succeed in life,  is  The Entrepreneur directed by the successful entrepreneur himself, Jonathan Bricklin.
 
Brickin  needs no introduction. Many already known him as the co-owner of the popular NYC ping-pong lounge, SPiN, www.newyork.spingalatic.com where some of the most beautiful people in NY come to socialize, play  ping-pong and of course try to meet Bricklin. Co-partnered with Academy Award winning beautiful and ageless actress Susan Sarandon and businessmen Franck Raharinosy and Andrew Gordon, the social club continues to be one of the hottest spots in the city drawing in thousands of people and tourists.  Currently SPiN has social clubs in Milwaukee, Toronto, Los Angeles, Dubai and New York.
Director Jonathan Bricklin poses for The Ravi Report

Director Jonathan Bricklin poses for The Ravi Report

I first met Bricklin a few years ago with his pal, award-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ( no intro needed here folks. The guy is a total household name and his CNN show “Inside Man” rocks!) when both filmmakers were involved in WilliFest, a Brooklyn, NY based film festival that serves as an incredible platform for emerging filmmakers, actors and directors. Fast forward and we meet  again at the premiere party for his well received film The Entrepreneur, a documentary five years in the making  based on his brilliant dad Malcolm Bricklin and his  successful journey in the auto industry.  Bricklin Sr. known for bringing the Suburu and Yugo to North America  is also responsible for the first sports car with gull-wing doors.  The man is a genius folks. Plain and simple.

   

Due to some internal issues, the film could not be shown until just recently (it was completed in 2009) but since the release, it has gotten positive reviews from auto industry fans, universities and film festivals. The Entrepreneur is now available on on-demand cable, iTunes, Hulu, and SnagFilms.

“A lot of people have reacted very powerfully to the movie which is pretty amazing  and I  love it,”  Bricklin Jr.  exclusively told The Ravi Report at the recent sexy premiere party held at SPiN.  The director sat down with The Ravi Report to share his thoughts on directing his dad and how the success of the film inspired his own business.
 
Academy Award winning STUNNING actress Susan Sarandon chatting with party guests

Academy Award winning STUNNING actress Susan Sarandon chatting with party guests

RR: Jonathan, great seeing you again. Loved the film! May I ask, what you found most interesting in working with your dad?

JB: He is such an interesting guy. It was fun putting a story together that happens to star my dad and which happens to be true. But it also very subjective and we know storytelling is subjective. We had over 1000 hours of footage to edit from but we did it and are pleased with the outcome. My dad is one of the most open-minded, non-judgmental people I know.
 
RR: Your father is a brilliant businessman and you clearly inherited his business sense and drive. What role do you think the movie had in your decision to open SPiN?
 
JB: I give all the success to the ping pong club by getting 100% inspired by spending time with my dad. I really value that and owe it all to him. Making the film was indeed a journey for me.
 
RR: I know you and Morgan (Spurlock) are good friends and have worked on projects before. How influential was he in your first documentary?
 
Ravi Yande with Jonathan Bricklin at NY premiere party of The Entrepreneur

Ravi Yande with Jonathan Bricklin at NY premiere party of The Entrepreneur

JB: Morgan’s support to my movie was so important to me. It was invaluable because  Morgan himself makes amazing documentaries. I am so looking forward to his new One Direction coming out later this summer.

 
RR: I continue to hear great things about SPiN and all the hard work everyone does to make it a successful business. Susan (Sarandon) is also a partner and big supporter of your work. What does she bring to the business in addition to glamor and international fame? 
 
JB: She has such a large fan base and is a great promoter and with all our  business sense, we all had enough confidence to at that time to invest a couple of million dollars into opening a ping-pong lounge with a strong sense of what the social scene would be like with food and alcohol and it paid off.
 
RR: Are you surprise at the success for something so different then what New Yorkers are used to?
 
JB: Well, growing up with my dad, I thought anything was possible so we thought this idea would be possible and it worked out. But it’s a team effort and we are very lucky to have a good team and that’s the important thing here. Just like film making is a team effort, life is a team effort.
 
Brickin with guest smile for The Ravi Report

Brickin and guest pose for The Ravi Report

RR: With the success of SPiN, will you and your partners think of expanding the brand?

 
JB: We are interested in growing the SPiN Galactic Universe Ping Pong club to as many clubs as possible across the country and maybe even internationally.
 
RR: I know you have been to India Jonathan, how did that trip influence your business?
 
JB: I loved India. I was traveling and making this film and was in India in 2004 where I visited a high-tech design company and saw employees playing ping-pong during their lunch breaks and thought how cool is that!
 
RR: How as the journey for both Jonathan, the director and the entrepreneur been so far? 

MoviePoster01

JB: (pauses)…my journey has been miraculous. Life is unexpected and throws you for a surprise and I wake up totally inspired everyday by getting into new adventures. I think my film is an inspirational tool for everyone. It teaches you real life situations and how to handle them while both failing and succeeding along the way.

RR: Thank you Jonathan. Always a pleasure hearing about your amazing life!

JB: Thank you Ravi

The journey continues folks….vroooommmm!!!

Ravi

16
May
13

BROADWAY JOE WINS 2013 SPORTS EMMY AWARD

International boxer Vladimir Klitschko with girlfriend, the stunning actress Hayden Panettiere smile for The Ravi Report

International boxer Vladimir Klitschko with girlfriend, the stunning actress Hayden Panettiere smile for The Ravi Report

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences  34th annual Sports Emmy Awards were recently celebrated  in NY. A major  event that brings out  top producers, hosts,  writers and directors from television networks also included gorgeous actresses and international athletes  from the world of sports.

Celebrities from the sports world including the famous Russian boxer Vladimir Klitschko who along with  his stunning girlfriend, “Nashville” star Hayden Panettiere were among the list of prominent sport figures and celebrities who graced the occasion.

Hayden Panettiere smiles for The Ravi Report

Hayden Panettiere smiles for The Ravi Report

The world of sports has certainly changed over the years with athletes gaining  notoriety for enormous salaries, extracurricular activities off the field and of course dating hot supermodels. Then there are those few gifted athletes who till this day, continue to maintain their legendary status and world-wide fame without being in mainstream sports. One such superstar who continues to receive the kind of respect and fame that most players work a lifetime to achieve is the famous  former NY Jets quarterback, the popular and very well liked star Joe Namath, fondly known as Broadway Joe and one of the greatest athletes known to mankind.

NFL legend Joe Namath being interviewed on the red carpet

NFL legend Joe Namath being interviewed on the red carpet

 
The NFL legend’s HBO documentary Namath won an Emmy for “Outstanding Sports Documentary”. The film displays Namath’s personal sports journey and features close friends, family and influential people who shaped his incredible career. Co-produced by NFL Films and HBO the documentary was executive produced by  Rick Bernstein, Howard Katz and Steve Sabol. It’s a MUST SEE FOLKS!! Incredible film.
 
I have to admit here. I have been a long time fan of Joe Namath. As a journalist,  I follow the careers of a few very talented superstar athletes like Namath who literally rocked the word of sports during their reign. Namath was unstoppable and yet despite after all these years, the  former Jets quarterback continues to maintain a massive following from Jets fans from around the world and he still has that youthful appeal that captured the attention of millions.
 
Joe Namath poses with Ravi Yande at the NY Sports Emmys

Joe Namath poses with Ravi Yande at the NY Sports Emmys

The Ravi Report exclusively spoke to the NFL superstar backstage after his Emmy win.

RR: It is indeed an honor Joe. Congrats on the Emmy win. It was such a terrific documentary filled with personal details about your life and profound career. You  clearly are still well-loved and appreciated for your contribution to the world of sports. Your thoughts?
Namath:
You just said something there that is hard to accept all the time and I so respect that. After this documentary, I would be walking down the street and people would stop and talk to me about the documentary. When I’m in the supermarket to this day, people said they sincerely loved it.
 
RR: The documentary  was very well produced. And you know what is interesting is that those who didn’t closely follow your incredible career or had not been Jets fans, truly loved this documentary and have praised you and the HBO team for their efforts. How does that make you feel?

Emmy winning HBO team

Emmy winning HBO team

 
Namath: Being a former athlete, knowing what it takes to do your part, I had a small part in that sense. The hours and time that the crew put in is mind blogging and the passion that they put into it and of course without all that, it was not going to work. I had  a very small part in this. It was an incredible team that did most of the work.
 
RR: You had a legendary sports life. To this day, new star athletes often try to become the “next Joe Namath” on the field. How does it make you feel that your legendary status still continues  to this day?
 
Namath: Well, thank you. I love life and people! I feel that karma and I like to have that feeling felt by others and want to make sure when I say hello to someone it’s a good thing and it comes from the heart. I insist on feeling good and it came along the way. I learned it. It’s selfish to a degree, but I want to connect with people and  feel good about it.
 
RR: How has the journey been for Joe Namath, the NFL Legend?
 
Namath: Boy, I’ve been lucky and it’s ever changing. But the main thing is the spirituality and health is there.  Life takes some twist and turns health wise and accidents and things and you know if we are fortunate, we need to enjoy it.  I enjoy it and respect it.
 
RR: Today’s NFL has changed so much in terms of players, salaries and talent. What are some of the major changes that you have seen over the years that have transformed well into the NFL?
 
Namath: It’s mind blogging to see how good the athletes are today. We have come a long way and we should. You learn from your past and you are supposed to get smarter. The athletes are better because the coaches are better, the nutrition is better. I think it’s more competitive because  it’s exposed to a far wider audience now then before. When I played, we had three main TV stations, now look at how much access we have to sport programming. We are winning Emmys for our work and we are getting more out of sports.
 
RR: Congrats again Joe on the honor. You and your team so deserve it.
 
Namath:Thank you. I feel blessed.
 
Emmy winning reporter Jeff Verducci speaking to the press backstage

Emmy winning reporter Jeff Verducci speaking to the press backstage

Another Emmy winner included the very talented MLB star reporter and renowned Sports Illustrated baseball writer, Tom Verducci,  who won for Outstanding Sports Reporter. Verducci has been with the MLB Network for years as an on-air reporter and is considered a top and respected journalist in the sports world.

A life long baseball writer, Verducci has gained an enormous amount of notoriety as both an award-winning  writer and reporter among his peers and the public.

“I have always loved sports.. writing about it, talking about it, being in the  center of it, so it’s not a job for me because I love it so much,” Verducci exclusively told The Ravi Report after his win.

For a complete list of 2013 Sports Emmy winners , please  visit www.emmyonline.tv
 
The journey continues….
 
Ravi
28
Apr
13

Oscar Winning Danny Boyle Talks Career, Bollywood & Films on The Ravi Report

Larger than life Oscar statue awaited Oscar winning Danny Boyle's entrance!

Larger than life Oscar statue awaited Oscar winning Danny Boyle’s entrance!

He is brilliant, hardworking, world-famous and continues to give his “midas” touch to films. Oscar winning director Danny Boyle, whose film Slumdog Millionaire walked away with eight Academy Awards in 2009 including Best Director, continues to give a bit of that midas touch to Hollywood with his recent work.

I first met Boyle years ago at the NY premiere of Slumdog Millionaire and we chatted about India, his film and the chances he takes on a good script when he reads one.

 
Now, fast forward five years later and with an Best Director Oscar win, Boyle is still the same humble, kind and personable director I met years before. Immense success has not changed this family man and there has been plenty of successes since Slumdog including 127 Hours, which got six Oscar nominations in 2010, Trainspotting and most recently, the psychological thriller Trance.
 
Academy award-winning Danny Boyle greets the anxious NY press

Academy award-winning Danny Boyle greets the anxious NY press

Trance is one incredible movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The film stars  the stunning  Rosario Dawson  as a hypnotherapist who helps an art  auctioneer (played by the super talented James McAvoy) try to recover memories of where he has hidden a stolen Goya painting. Ok, that’s it no more details. It’s a MUST see folks!
In between working on his film, Boyle was also the artistic director for  the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics which included her Majesty,  Queen Elizabeth II who appeared along with “James Bond” actor Daniel Craig. The ceremony was watched by almost a billion people worldwide and Boyle was offered a special Knighthood afterwards but declined to accept saying it was more of a group effort and not a solo one.

The Ravi Report  recently caught up with  director at the The Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in Manhattan, NY where Boyle was invited to speak after the screening of his first successful film Shallow Grave (1995) which Boyle directed and went on to become a huge success among the masses.

 
RR: Danny, indeed a pleasure to see you again. The last time we met, we were discussing the tremendous success of Slumdog Millionaire and now you have another great film out Trance which I must say is pretty intriguing and intense.  How has the journey from Shallow Grave to Trance been for you so far? 
 
Ravi Yande interviewing acclaimed director Danny Boyle

Ravi Yande interviewing acclaimed director Danny Boyle

Boyle: Well, the journey has been extraordinary and seems like a blink of an eye really. I was very lucky with my first film that went

well and I have learned a lot of lessons from it and have remembered from those experiences as well.
 
RR: What is the one most important thing that you have remembered in all those years of making films?
 
BOYLE: Well….the one thing I remembered is how important it is that you get good actors! That is the most important thing…believe me and let them work and help them a bit and you will be half way home.
 
RR: Getting the right actors is indeed a crucial element to a film’s success but  is there something that as a director you have learned  that you applied to your craft in terms of honing it to perfection?
 
Boyle posing for the NY press

Boyle posing for the NY press

BOYLE: Try to make every film a discovery. Don’t try to go into thinking “I now how to do this”, that kind of confidence is dangerous sometimes. Filmmaking should be full of discoveries that you find as you make them. How you tell a story from the script each day and try to discover and stay a bit naive in the process to learn is very important as a director.

 
RR: Many people, especially those in Bollywood, have credited you for opening up the doors for other Bollywood stars to go Hollywood after the success of Slumdog. The gifted actor Anil Kapoor, who played the game show host in the movie, has gone on to become an international star doing American TV shows and Tom Cruise’s film Mission Impossible. Now Bollywood iconic legend Amitabh Bachchan is set to debut in Baz Luhrmann’s soon to release  The Great Gatsby. What are your thoughts on the fact that you  opened the doors for Bollywood stars to go Hollywood?
 
Boyle is a favorite of the Academy Theater!

Boyle is a favorite of the Academy Theater!

BOYLE:   Amazing actors!  It’s nothing I can teach Bollywood stars. I have said it many times that the range and depth of acting talent there (Bollywood) from the big stars you mention right down  the ranks is amazing. It’s a slightly different taste from ours at times but they can easily adjust

once they know about it and that was one of the factors of the film (Slumdog) being a success is the sheer depth of talent we can draw from a great star like Anil Kapoor right to the kids who had no fear of cameras and filming
felt very natural for them. The sense of song and dance  is so present and the love of movies is felt everywhere.
 
RR: So here is the millionaire dollar question: Would you direct a Bollywood movie?
 
BOYLE: Yes…I mean I tried to do one over there…a version of Slumdog Millionaire!
 
RR: Thank you Danny. As always, it is indeed an honor.
 
BOYLE: Thank you.
 
The journey continues…
 
Ravi



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