Author Archive for Ravi Yande


The Enigma author Andrew Hodges talks Alan Turing brilliance on The Ravi Report

Hodges_AlanTuring movie tie inAs most of you may already know, the highly acclaimed film, The Imitation Game and the gifted cast which include the superb Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew William Goode and Downton Abby star Allen Leech have been winning a slew of awards over the past few months topping it off with eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture. After seeing the film twice, I can tell you that it has a great shot at winning!

The movie is based on the astounding book, The Enigma (Princeton University Press)  written by the brilliant author Andrew Hodges. The book goes profoundly deep into the life of brilliant mathematician Alan Turning who with his natural intelligence and relentless efforts, broke the highly secretive and seemingly impenetrable Nazi Enigma Code during World War II.  In addition to cracking the code, the mathematical genius was known as the founding father of the computer  and the first to introduce the concept of artificial intelligence. The world owes him BIG according to Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, who recently profiled Turning’s contribution to the computer field  in The Hollywood Reporter.
Turing came to Princeton University from 1936 to 1938 where he was a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics at Princeton. He wrote his dissertation under Professor Alonzo Church (1903-1995)  and earned his doctorate in 1938 at the age 25.
Turning  was then offered a position as a research assistant at the Institute For Advanced Study at a salary of $1,500 a year but he declined and returned to England where he subsequently joined the effort at Bletchley Park to break secrete code with the assistance of the electro-mechanical machine Bombe developed during WWII by Turing.

<Alan Turing received his PhD from the world famous Princeton University in Princeton, NJ>

Alan Turing received his PhD from the world famous Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

When I finally finished reading the book (it’s about 700 pages long folks!), I was simply amazed at what a genius Turing was and how much he contributed to the world of computers and math. From his life as a young scholar to cracking one the most difficult codes in the history of wars to the brutal behavior he faced from the British Government because of his personal identify, was all immensely interesting to me. The Enigma is a book that  everyone should read  to get a closer look at the historical aspect of such a brilliant man who left his mark in the world in more ways than one.

The Ravi Report was fortuitous enough to interview Hodges recently in Princeton at the wondrous Princeton Public Library  where the famed author came to discuss his book and personal thoughts on Alan Turing.

<Ravi Yande with acclaimed author Andrew Hodges>

Ravi Yande with acclaimed author Andrew Hodges

RR: Many people know more about the personal and intricate life of Alan Turing because of your detailed and wonderful book.  Please tell me if you will, how you felt when writing about such a brilliant man?

AH: I have always conceived the book of  having many constituents of interests. That was in my mind from the very beginning. That it would combine consistency from mathematics and science during the World War II and what happened before and after. It’s a story of the 20th Century of triumph to tragedy. The narrative style moves through from one subjects to another with images which link all these things together.

RR: What was one main component that stood out the most during the research process of the book?

AH: Well, the thing that actually made me keep going during the difficulties of interviewing and research I think is the positive response of all his real friends.  In other words, the legacy that he had personally left behind in 1954 which came through to me which I benefited from.  Also, everyone who he really knew him and people who loved him wanted something  to be done that would do justice to what he had been like and what he had achieved in his life.
<Andrew Hodges signing copies of The Enigma in Princeton, NJ>

Andrew Hodges signing copies of The Enigma in Princeton, NJ

RR: The Enigma took years of research, writing and of course countless hours of transcribing interviews, academic papers and personal notes. Was there a moment that you felt that it was a bit overwhelming at times?

AH: I think if there had been serious opposition to what I was doing  from people who counted, these central people,  I think it would have been very hard to do. I was not a pushy figure in interviewing, just drew people out in what they wanted to tell me and I didn’t try to probe or manipulate it where they didn’t want me to know things. The book is an expression of what people wanted me to know and that came through to me as something that really he himself (Turing) would have seen as a close to legacy that he left. So that is the central thing kept it going as I discovered as I kept going.

RR: The success of the book has led to the making of the movie The Imitation Game which of course has been nominated for eight Oscars and has won numerous other awards so far. Even after the Oscars, the story of Alan Turing will live on and be told by others.  Did you expect such profound success from the book? 
AH: It’s a historical process and not just a one moment thing.  It’s a changing world in which the book came into being and even in writing it, at the end of the book I express that fact that history will continue to develop and when I was finishing it in 1983 without even a word processor, it was apparent to me that computer technology will change the very nature of books and indeed it has. And the fact that I have a website backing it up is an aspect of the way technology has changed.  The way I communicate with people now is computer driven so that part is Turing, mine and the book’s history.
RR: If Turing were alive today, do you think he would have been engaged in today’s massive explosion of social media and technology?
AH: He would have been an online chatter for sure! (laughs) Oh yes, he would have been an online dater as well. He would have loved anything like that, I am sure of that. He would have been a bit old for that but that won’t have stopped him.
A funny anecdote here. One of the letters Turing wrote to Robin Gandy, he did as a computer print out and posted it which is the nearest thing you can get to an email in 1953. It’s the sort of nerdy thing that people did with computers in the 50’s before computer communications was going. He would have been into that kind of stuff. He would have found great fun in all those things.
RR: Thank you very much Andrew. It was indeed an honor and  a privilege to speak to you. I truly enjoyed the book.
AH: Thank you.
The journey continues…

The Ravi Report Travel Diary: Paddington, London is birthplace to brilliant mathematician Alan Turing


The famous and beautiful Norfolk Square Garden was a perfect place for afternoon tea with my friend.

Since the famous town of Paddington, London is mentioned often these days in the media, I thought it would be an opportune time to share some memories of my recent trip to the well-known central London historical place that I found to be both fascinating and compelling.

For all of you who have never been to the famous town, it is SO worth the trip. From beautiful historical buildings to world-famous iconic structures to the best cafes & restaurants, Paddington is one of those towns that you are going to want to visit again and again. Trust me on this folks!


Downtown Paddington was full of amazing cafes that served famous tomato and cheese sandwiches!

 Paddington has been in the news lately because the world-famous scientist and brilliant British mathematician Alan Turing was born in the famous town. The biographical book Alan Turing: The Enigma (Princeton University Press)  written by the accomplished Andrew Hodges served as inspiration for The Imitation Game, a motion picture based on the life of Turing and his mathematical gifted ability to crack the Enigma code. The films  stars the refined actor Benedict Cumberbatch  and the beautiful Kiera Knightly. Based on the recent reviews of Cumberbatch’s performance, this film is buzzing Oscar worthy already.
Hodges_AlanTuring movie tie in

A wonderful and detailed look at the life of gifted scientist Alan Turing written by the famous Andrew Hodges

Cumberbatch portrays the brilliant computer genius Alan Turing, famously known for cracking the Enigma code during World War II.
Turing was born in Paddington and went to Princeton University where he obtained his PhD in 1938. His dissertation introduced the concept of ordinal logic and the notion of relative computing.
Turing made a tremendous contribution to the world of science and technology and he is often credited for being the first to invent the concept of the computer and artificial intelligence.
Without giving to much of the movie away, Turing’s inner conflicts of who he really was, played a key role in how the astute mathematician ended his short life.
Turing’s strong influence and contribution in the world of science and technology has also served as an inspirational factor for many young scientist around the world including Jack Adraka. The 17-year-old (yes, he is only 17!) gifted scientist and researcher  is accredited for his work in developing a fast new and  inexpensive way to detect an increase of a protein in humans that indicates the presence of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer during their early stages.


Met up with some friends at Fountains Abbey, a traditional British pub which opened in 1894. It’s one of the most popular social places in Paddington often filled with beautiful locals.

One of many highlights in Paddington is a unique statue of Turing located on St. Mary’s Terrace which is about a ten minute walk from the Paddington train station. The statue is constructed of steel and in 2D design making it unique in structure and was voted by the local residents who chose Turing based on this historical and scientific contribution to society.

Popular celebrity hotspot for both Hollywood and Bollywood stars!

I found Paddington easy to get to. From the London Heathrow airport,  you can take the Heathrow Express  underground tube which takes you directly into Paddington Station in  about ten minutes. The scenic view is awesome!

Paddington Station is clean, filled with exotic stores and great places to eat with high-end shops.  Think NYC Grand Central Station mixed in with a  bit of Vogue and GQ influence.

I was lucky enough to venture out with a beautiful friend of mine who has been living in Paddington for about a year. She gave me a tour of the town and says she never wants to leave. I can clearly see why.
Paddington is filled with stunning hotels, popular cafes, world-famous pubs, stylish vintage clothing stores and of course the best food from every culture.


World famous St. Mary’s Hospital founded in 1845 is considered one of the iconic structures of Paddington

Jewish, Greek, Middle Eastern and Asian communities fill the mix of people living in Paddington so visitors are fortunate enough to experience all kinds of ethnic cuisine. I just say that the Indian food was pretty delicious!
While I didn’t get to see everything that Paddington (I was only there for a few days) has to offer, my friend did manage to show me some of the historical places and sites that will be featured in coming posts.
The journey continues….and cheers!

The Incredible Joan Rivers will be missed in more ways then you think!

I still can’t believe she is gone.

As most of the world is still coping with the famous comedian’s death and as media stories surface almost daily regarding the circumstances of her recent and sudden passing, I have been trying to avoid the fact that Joan Rivers,  actress, comedian, talk show host, businesswoman and the winner of  “The Celebrity Apprentice” who made millions of people laugh around the world and who dared to criticize the A listers for their red carpet wardrobe,  is no more.

I still can’t believe it folks.

I first became a fan of Rivers’ as a youngster when in 1987, I decided on a whim, to write her a letter after seeing her talk show.  I wanted to let her know how much I enjoyed her comedy, her interviews and the writing.

To my surprise, she wrote me back! I was shocked!

Joan Rivers responded to my letter in 1987 about her talk show

Joan Rivers responded to my letter in 1987 about her talk show

I first found out about Rivers’ illness when I was recently in India. I was coming back to my hotel room in Mumbai and in the lobby, I saw a crowd of people looking at a wide-screen TV. All I could see from a distance was Rivers’ face.

“The famous American entertainer is very sick,” said a beautiful, tall  Indian lady as I approached the TV screen.

I got up close to hear that Rivers’ had in fact gone into sudden cardiac arrest from a simply outpatient procedure done at a medical clinic in NY. I stood there almost in disbelief not wanting to believe what the reporter was saying.

Then came the horrific and unbelievable news as I arrived back in the US on September 4th.

Almost every single newspapers at Newark airport had front page coverage that Joan Rivers had in fact died at the age of 81 from her sudden medical crisis.

I was in shock (and jet lagged) when I saw the news.

Joan Rivers, the quick-witted pioneer of comedy and world-famous iconic figure to women comedians, had died on September 4th in NYC due to medical complications stemming from a routine throat procedure as reported in the news. It was distressing news since no one was expecting to hear that the active, driven and energetic entertainer has suddenly died.

The memories and personal anecdotes will be flooding in for months to come if not longer. I mean after all, Rivers DID have a strong presence in the entertainment and business world with her gifted ability to make people laugh and sell them jewelry at the same time.

FYI folks, I gifted my mom a necklace a few years ago from The Joan Rivers Collection and she gets praises all the time when she wears the necklace. (Thank you Joan!)

I recently attended a little get together with some close friends in which we all shared something in common- we  had met Joan Rivers over the years and wanted to share our memories of the iconic entertainer with one another.

I started telling the group that my first personal encounter with Rivers was back in 1999 when I was at CNN in NY and Rivers was a guest on a show I was working on.  The comedian came to the studio in full make up, looking elegant, professional and very classy. She had her hair pulled back a little and was wearing a stylish black dress carrying a very fancy expensive hand bag.

After her appearance on CNN,  Rivers had another TV show to attend to and I had ordered her a car service to take her home. I walked downstairs with Rivers to the lobby and waited with for her car.

And waited.

And waited.

When I found out that the car service was running late due to the horrendous ongoing NYC traffic, I explained to Rivers that the car was on its way and would be a late due to the heavy city traffic.  I kept apologizing to her for the lateness and she was ever so gracious and said “no worries” and gave me a goodbye hug and hopped into a cab and headed to her other appointment.

Now that my friends is an example of a classy and refined lady.

Thank you People Magazine for doing an excellent and respectful  Joan Rivers tribute. A classy magazine all the way folks!

Thank you People Magazine for doing an excellent and respectful Joan Rivers tribute. A classy magazine all the way folks!

Other celebrities (and I won’t name any) would have, how shall I say this nicely, performed in the lobby if their car service was late or did not show up. Trust me when I say this folks. I have seen it first hand. But not Rivers. She was ever so gracious and so humble that you can’t help but feel sad that such a well-loved famous celebrity is no more.

But the question that many are asking and that has been presented in the media, is this. Did Joan Rivers’ celebrity or rather VIP status help or hurt her in the end with her medical treatment? A terrific article recently written by the famous NY plastic surgeon Dr. Elan Singer brings up a very good and crucial point about famous individuals and their medical care as celebrities. Dr. Singer deals with celebrities and understands the dynamics of “VIP Syndrome” extremely well.

With Rivers gone,  the upcoming awards season will have a strong void on the red carpet. I personally know celebrities and fashion designers will miss the way Rivers critiqued (and praised)  their fashions and accessories while adding her own take on how Hollywood celebrities should dress on her show at those events and on her show “Fashion Police”.

Ten Interesting facts about Joan Rivers

1. Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky  in Brooklyn, New York on June 8th, 1933.

2. Rivers was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1984 for her album What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?

3. Rivers was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her title role in Sally Marr…and her escorts.

4.  Joan Rivers co-hosted the popular show “Fashion Police” on the E!Entertainment Network for four years.

5.  Rivers was one of four Americans invited to the wedding of her close friend, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

6. Her career lasted over 55 years.

7. Rivers authored 12 books.

8. She acted in 21 films, the most famous being her own documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) which premiered at Sundance.

9. Rivers won an Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1990 for The Joan Rivers Show.

10. Rivers donated thousands of dollars and personal time to her favorite charity God’s Love We Deliver for over 25 years.

The journey continues for many of us, but for Joan Rivers it abruptly ended leaving a void in the world of laughter,

fashion and comedy.

RIP Joan.



Gifted Actor and Comediane Robin Williams Left Us Too Soon

Robin Williams

Robin Williams being interviewed at The Stand Up For Heroes event in NYC

Robin Williams left us too soon folks.

I cried with the rest of the world when the extraordinary, gifted and beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams decided to end his life on August 11, 2014.

At the young age of 63, Williams, despite having decades of love and admiration from fans, family and friends, decided that it was time to go out on his own terms.

Like most of us,  I was shocked and sadden when I heard that such a talented human being who made the world laugh with his creative comedy, funny lines and humorous personality, decided that it wasn’t enough to keep himself going.
From stand-up comedian to Academy Award winning actor, Williams was one of the most versatile and well-respected entertainers in the world. His penetrating performance as the therapist Dr. Sean Maguire  in Good Will Hunting earned Williams an Oscar and still to this day, fans around the world talk about his flawless performance.
It’s hard to believe he is gone.
Makeshift memorials filled with flowers and personal notes were set up at iconic locations across the country from the actor’s television and film career and many more will be set up in the coming weeks.

I’ve been a huge fan of Williams for years. His memorable performances in films like Good Will Hunting, Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, One Hour Photo and of course the incredible Mrs. Doubtfire, made me a life long fan.

Most of you may already know that Mrs. Doubtfire is based on the novel Madame Doubtfire written by the gifted writer Anne Fine. What many of you may not know is that Fine recently wrote in The Guardian that it took over ten years to option her book and that Williams finally made it happen. The movie has almost a cult like following and is till this day, considered to be one of Williams’s top grossing films.

With so many countless news stories written about the actor’s inner struggles and personal issues, fans around the world are slowly beginning to understand what the troubled actor had been going through.

Williams was a true genius when it came to entertaining people. He made the world laugh while struggling internally with depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

I first met Williams years ago on the red carpet in NY at a charity event and I do fondly remember the actor being polite, funny and of course full of energy.  I also remember that whenever he stepped foot on the red carpet, a blast of  paparazzi flashbulbs would explode.

That’s the kind of magnitude Williams had with the press.

Next to Oprah, Williams was in fact the most popular person on the red carpet I have been told by many reporters and celebrity photographers.

Over the years, as I continued to see Williams at press events, red carpet galas or charity shows, he was always polite and assuming in nature.

As the news of the actor’s death’s continues to spread around the world, additional information about the actor’s health issues continue to surface.  We are now exposed to the fact that Williams was diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s disease, adding another shocking piece of information about the Oscar-winning actor but also bringing awareness to the progressive disorder of the nervous system that prevents your brain from making an important chemical called dopamine.
Recently quoted in the LA Times, Dr. Jeff Bronstein, a famous neurologist in the Movement Disorder Program at UCLA says that Parkinson’s disease can be linked to depression.
Williams was known in the Hollywood circles as one of the most hardworking, energetic and creative actors in the industry. A town where most people only connect with those that can help them get ahead, Williams was genuinely a helpful and kind soul who wanted people to succeed.
I know a ton of reporters and writers who have either met or interviewed Williams over the years and no one has ever spoken anything negative about the actor. In fact, many of the journalists that worked with, have said over and over again how much they wished all celebrities behaved as courteous and polite to reporters as Williams did.
As I end the post with a heavy heart, I wanted to share some  facts about Williams that I found interesting:
1. Robin McLaurin Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 21st, 1951.
2. His mother Lauren McLaurin was a former model. His father was an executive at Ford Motor Company. Both have passed.
3. Williams excelled in high school and became president of his class.
4. When Williams graduated from high school in 1969, his was voted “Most Funniest”.
5.  As a child, Williams  told jokes to his mother to maker her laugh and pay attention to him.
6. Shy as a child, Williams did not overcome his shyness until he joined his school’s drama class.
7.  In 1973, Williams was one of 20 students accepted into Juilliard with classmates Christopher Reeves and William Hurt. He became a life long best friend with Reeves.
8. Williams was a huge fan of the San Francisco 49ners and San Francisco Giants.
9. Williams was a fan of professional road cycling and often rode along  on the US Postal and Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team bus.
10. Williams loved Jazz music.
RIP Williams. You made us laugh and cry. Thank you for entertaining us  on your short journey.

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger brings notorious gangster story to the big screen

It has been one of the most talked about and intriguing criminal stories of all times.

Academy Award nominated director Joe Berlinger and wife Loren Eiferman exclusively pose for The Ravi Report

Academy Award nominated director Joe Berlinger and wife Loren Eiferman exclusively pose for The Ravi Report

Notorious Boston gangster and organized crime figure James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger Jr. for years got away with murders and other crimes and as some believed because he was an informant for the FBI, he was never caught.  It wasn’t until in 2013 that Bulger was finally found guilty on 31 counts, including 11 murders and is now serving two consecutive life terms plus five-year prison sentence for  his crimes. He is 84.

Like most of America, I was  fascinated by the story and all the countless films and books that have been written about the famous Boston gangster. The New York Times article  in 2013 “Whitey Bulger: The Capture of a Legend” outlining the famous mobster’s life, manhunt and downfall peaked my interest even more in the dramatic life and times of Bulger.

Whitey film director Joe Berlinger along with Bulger defense attorney Hank Brennan at the NY premiere

Director Joe Berlinger along with Bulger defense attorney Hank Brennan at the NY premiere

And the fascination with Bulger is still going strong today. Hollywood actor Johnny Depp is currently filming in Boston portraying the role of Bulger in the movie Black Mass being directed by Scott Cooper and scheduled to be released sometime in 2015.  And of course who can forget the 2006 film,  The Departed  with Matt Damon. An amazing film inspired by Bulger’s notorious life in South Boston.

But the  new gripping documentary directed by the acclaimed and Academy Award nominated director Joe Berlinger that everyone is  talking about is based on the trial and conviction of Bulger and is called Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger.  Berlinger has been a strong leading voice in nonfiction films for over two decades. The documentary is produced by CNN Films and Radical Media. You are not going to want to miss this films folks! Trust me.

The film focuses on the trial and outcome of Whitey Bulger and the hidden corruption of the law enforcement in Boston. Mr. Berlinger  interviews people from both legal teams and Berlinger scores a major coup when Bulger  calls into his lawyer’s office on speaker phone for the viewers to hear his side of the story.

Berlinger discusses the film with music icon Clive Davis

Berlinger discusses the film with music icon Clive Davis

Berlinger’s other highly acclaimed films Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Metallica: Some kind of Monster were simply fantastic. His film CRUDE about oil pollution, won over 22 human rights, environmental and film festival awards. I became a huge fan of the acclaimed director after I saw Paradise Lost: Purgatory for which Berlinger received an Oscar nomination.

Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger  recently opened in LA and is available on In Demand. The  film premiered at Sundance this year to an exclusive sold out audience and has since grabbed the attention of everyone and anyone who has been following this incredible dramatic true-to-life story.

The Ravi Report recently caught up with the famous documentarian at the NY  premiere where Berlinger celebrated the release of his film with friends and family.

Candice Bergen smiles for the cameras at the premiere

Candice Bergen smiles for the cameras at the premiere

RR: It’s a pleasure to finally meet you Joe. You really did an excellent job with the film. If I may ask, what did you find the most interesting or surprising about Bulger’s dramatic life while making the film?

JB: The degree to which the conventional wisdom of the story might or might not be true. It’s taken as gospel  that Whitey Bulger was or was not an informant for the FBI and a lot of the bad behavior that went wrong is solely the fault of John Connolly (convicted former FBI agent)  who is currently in prison. My investigation demonstrated lots of holes in the conventional wisdom. The fact that Bulger was sentenced to two life sentences at the age of 83 after benefiting from a life of crime and that life of crime was abetted by the FBI and the Dept. of Justice, led to a lot of unanswered questions for me and that was the biggest surprise.

NY Police commissioner William Bratton and his beautiful wife Rikki Kleinman smile for The Ravi Report at the movie premiere

NY Police commissioner William Bratton and his beautiful wife Rikki Kleinman smile for The Ravi Report at the movie premiere

RR: So much already has been written about Bulger in books and his life has even inspired a few Hollywood films. But your film has been getting such strong attention and praise from people and critics all over the world despite so much out there already on the famous gangster’s life.  Your thoughts?

JB: I am proud of the film. There was a desire to exhibit this film at Sundance this year  because that is the premiere place to debut a film.  I’ve had 5 other films premiere at Sundance already so this was my 6th. I started shooting the film last June (2013)and finished it up this January(2014) in time for the festival.I am proud of the film and you can never look back…what’s done is done.

RR: Thank you Joe. It’s been a privilege indeed.

JB: Thank you

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger  is available on In Demand and is currently screening in major cities across the United States.

The journey continues and for the Academy nominated Berlinger, it’s been an interesting ride so far.



Spoonfuls of Summer: Raspberries for Baby

Congrats Leena!!! Please save me some jam!!

Masala Baby Food

20140712_120918 Freshly picked!

Hi everyone!

Oh my gosh, before I even get started with this spoonfuls of summer business, I have to tell you all (well, all five of you reading this thing) something:  I MADE JAM! Yes! Me! Canning-challenged and fearful ‘ol me successfully made jam this morning! So many leftover berries from our farm picking adventures I had to try something new:

20140716_101216 Omg jam!

I know to most of you this sounds ridiculous, and yes, smart people have been making jam and canning things for eons.  But I suppose I’m excited because I was never one of those smart people.  For whatever reason the whole process seemed really intimidating.  But my dear friend Amy, who always sends us the MOST divine strawberry jam, inspired me to try and make some.  I didn’t use pectin, or do anything complicated because I was too scared, but did a lot of research…

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Bollywood Dream Girl & Politician Hema Malini comes to US for dance tour


Bollywood superstar and politician Hema Malini addressing the NY media


When she appears on the movie screen, her large, captivating brown eyes and hypnotic beauty entertains millions. When she dances on stage in her countless mythological dance dramas portraying Hindu Goddesses Durga, Laxmi or Parvati,  audiences are spellbound and believe that an actual Hindu Goddess has prevailed down from the heavens to bless them.

Such is the phenomenon behind the Dream Girl of Indian cinema and popular politician, Hema Malini.

With more than 150 Hindi films to her credit, the Bollywood actress, trained classical Indian dancer and now popular politician is all set for her much anticipated world tour of the famous dance ballet “Durga” to be performed throughout the US starting in June.

Malini and her troup of classical trained dancers will kick off their world tour (and summer solstice!) of the famous dance ballet on Sat. June 21, 2014 at the NJPAC, The dance group is also scheduled to perform at the Colden Center Auditorium in Flushing, NY on July 12th at 8pm.

The beautiful actress has been performing “Durga” all over the world and the show is considered to be one of her best performances. The dance ballet is presented by Malini’s dance company, Natyavihar Kalakendra.

The ballet is based on the Hindu Godess Durga, the wife of Lord Shiva and will be filled with beautiful custom-made costumes, stunning  dancers and classical Indian music. Not to be missed folks!


Hema Malini dancing as Goddess Parvati

Hema Malini is considered to be one of the most accomplished Bollywood actresses today. At the age of 65, she shows no signs of slowing down in work or popularity. Her recent win in the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) seat in Mathura-making her an MP in the state of Uttar Pradesh,shows the kind of love and adoration that her fans still have for her after entertaining them for over 40 years.

The superstar is married to the former top star of Bollywood films Dharmendra and they have two daughters, Esha and Ahana, both also trained dancers.  Both daughters were  recently married to much fanfare making headlines in the Indian media for their lavish weddings.  Hema Malini was the brains behind the stunning marriages and received praise and adoration from mother-in-laws to be all over the world for her efforts.

But despite being in demand in politics, movies and charities, classical Indian dancing still remains Malini’s first love.

“I have always been a dancer first and an actress second,” Malini once told me at a NY press conference. “My gift to God is to entertain people through my classical dance which I have been doing since the age of 16.”

With over 150 Bollywood films behind her, the ageless and busy actress spends her time as politician, dancer, mother, actress, singer and writer. But despite having a hectic schedule , Hema Malini continues to bring interest to classical Indian dance around the world through her ever so popular sold out dance ballets.

The journey continues…and for Bollywood superstar Hema Malini, it’s one filled with dance !



India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi brings excitement and hope to world’s largest democracy

Most of you already know that India,  the world’s largest democracy,  recently held their elections and elected to the position of Prime Minister, the popular and very charismatic  Hindu-nationalist Mr. Narendra Modi  who defeated the Indian Congress Party in an overwhelmingly win against the party that ruled India for more than 67 years. This was huge folks!  For those that follow Indian politics closely as I do, this election was the most intense, exciting and globally covered event ever to come out of India.
Cover story in The Economist about Narendra Modi before the elections.

Cover story in The Economist about Narendra Modi before the elections.

The Congress party, lead by Sonia Gandhi, the daughter-in-law of the late Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, and her son Rahul were defeated in an election that left many Congress supporters disappointed and to be honest, a bit embarrassed.

Mr. Modi, a 63-year old former Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat and leader of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) was clearly the people’s choice and by judging from the numbers and the support from the millions of votes he received, Modi was indeed a clear winner in becoming the 15th Prime Minister of India. Some devoted followers say that Modi’s  track record as the CM of Gujarat, where he implemented change for the people, set the precedent for the kind of work he will do as Prime Minister.
Modi, with no political dynasty to back him up or a trust fund to fall back on, came from extreme humble beginnings. The son a tea seller, Modi rose in the ranks of politics by joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, (RSS)  a Hindu nationalist organization. In 2001, he came the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, similar to that of being elected Governor of a state, and increased the economy and infrastructure  of Gujarat under his leadership. Politicians, powerful business leaders and world leaders saw what he was capable of doing and began to praise his organizational and communication skills and way of governing.
Thank you CNN! Finally!

Thank you CNN! Finally!

So, the one burning question that keeps on coming up again and again in the media is this- is Modi good for India?
“Of course he is,” said one stunning Indian girl dressed in a designer dress at a Modi celebratory party in NY. “India needs change and the country needs a person who is going to bring those changes and who is not afraid to take any risks.”
“Modi is good for India because he has a vision of where the country should be in terms of economy and international status,” said an attractive Indian doctor who said her relatives voted for Modi back in India. “He is with the times. He is social media savvy and is going to bring India to new heights. Besides, Bollywood loves him!”
Enough said! If Bollywood loves him, he has got to be good for the masses!
Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanking his supporters on his home page the day he won the elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanking his supporters on his home page the day he won the elections

The day Modi won the elections, India’s stock market hit a record high, the Indian rupee strengthened and business leaders began to see hope in India’s heavily regulated economy. Unemployed workers saw light at the end of the tunnel after hearing promises of new job opportunities and local workers embraced the hope of getting out of living paycheck to paycheck and for once, many saw a bright future for their families.

In his election speeches, Prime Minister Modi  has also promised to focus on development in the country, open doors to foreign investment and strengthen ties with the U.S, which of course for a while were a bit rough.  In other words, he has his hands full!

Modi made the cover of the New York Times the day of winning the election

Other areas of focus that the Prime Minister wants to cover is the improvement in  the manufacturing sector, labor laws and making India a more “investment friendly” place  with foreign countries.

Of course no politician is without controversy and Modi unfortunately didn’t escape what critics wrote about his past and personal life.  For example Modi is a married man. It is not something that is talked about in the media and Modi himself almost never mentioned the fact that he in fact is a married man. His wife Jasodhaben Modi, whom he married as a teenager stayed out of the limelight and away from the media for decades. They never lived as husband and wife as Modi has set his eyes on a political future and never looked back.

The other controversy was the  2002  communal Hindu-Muslim riots that occurred under Modi’s leadership while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.  The out of control violence took many people’s lives and the city of Ahmedabad was under curfew for days due to the out of control violence in the city.

The Financial Times shows Modi seeking blessings from is 95 year old mother after winning the election as the cover story

The Financial Times cover story shows Modi seeking blessings from his 95-year-old mother after winning the election

But despite the riots, Modi’s ability to govern and make changes got the votes and the needed confidence from the millions who voted for him. They believe that he in fact will bring change and new hope to the billion plus people in the world’s largest democracy.

Media critics are saying that India will have to wait and see the kinds of changes that Prime Minister Modi will bring.   But he is certainly off to a good start and he has the backing of many top politicians and powerful business leaders including the world-famous billionaire Anil Ambani who have supported Modi from the very beginning.
The journey continues and for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it’s going to be a challenging but rewarding one.

Isabelle Von Boch of Villeroy & Boch shares inspirational tips for Mother’s Day


Villeroy & Boch Mother’s Day gifts bring elegance and grace together!

My mother has for the past several years, always asked for one thing (other than a silk sari which she gets anyway) for Mother’s Day- an additional piece to her amazing collection of Villeroy and Boch products.

For years my mom has entertained hundreds of family and friends with the stylish, alluring and durable dinnerware that she often refers to as “a work of art”.

I remember as a kid growing up how decorative tabletops were common in our household and how mom always took pride in creating them for whenever she would invite family or friends over during the holidays or for special dinner parties. Since my mom loves to cook (and is damn good at!) she entertained a great deal always using the luxurious and colorful brand.
Villeroy and Boch have been around for over 260 years and the German company, known for their bold and vibrant colors, stunning stylish designs and devoted followers (like my mom), have geared up  to help celebrate Mother’s Day 2014 by offering moms all over the world more designs, ideas and choices for creating beautiful tableware for family and friends.
Isabelle Von Boch holding the popular Salad Plate Camel from the Samarkand Mandarin collection

Isabelle Von Boch holding the popular Salad Plate Camel from the Samarkand Mandarin collection

So you can just image how excited I was when I found that  Isabelle von Boch, an 8th generation descendant of the internationally renowned Villeroy and Boch family was coming to Princeton, NJ to share her personal creativity and inspiration  for creating the family friendly dinning table.

The Ravi Report caught up with Ms. Boch to get the story behind the fascination of Villeroy and Boch.
RR: A true honor to meet you Isabelle. You are known as the guru in the tabletop industry and you share with people all over the world such creative ideas when it comes to tableware.  Please tell me a bit about your mission in the ever-changing tabletop generation.

Isabelle Von Boch posing next to the ever so popular & vibrant Mariefluer Dinner collection

IVB: I feel like a missionary that inspires people. My biggest wish or rather desire is to inspire people.

It’s not about selling, it’s about inspiration. People can make it (Villeroy and Boch) part of their lives in so many easy ways. People are sometimes not aware of the personal and immense impact of using a beautiful cup or stylish place setting for their family dinning.
RR: Your travels have taken you around the world where you offer tips, ideas and creative suggestions for the tabletop. In India for example, you are revered for your inspirational ideas when it comes to designing the colorful dinner tabletop. Why do you think there is such a strong brand connection with Villeroy & Boch in the international scene?
IVB: People receive us in the way that they do because they have an emotional impact with us. We speak to the emotions
of our customers and everything we do has an emotional quality. When people connect with our colors or design, they also connect with the European part of the culture. People in India buy Villeroy and Boch because they want to be part of the rich European culture.VilleroyBochMothersDaydisplay
RR: I also think it may have something to do with the strong bond that Indians have with Germans.
IVB:  Exactly. Indians connect with Germans on many levels. They love Germany, they love the people, there is a very strong connection between the two cultures. Our artwork being perfect, the shape being perfect and the technology being perfect is why we do very well in India. Also, when I was in India recently, I saw that color schemes and the strength of colors is what people really relate to in what we offer them. What we make is relevant to people’s lives and we try to make people understand that.
RR: Please if you will, give me an example of your own personal creativity that people have followed and how you think it impacts in the world of tabletop design?
IVB: I think examples like collecting different placements which lead to creating a different atmosphere for each meal is important. Have a different one for lunch, dinner, etc. Just like you change your clothes, placements are the clothes of the table and dinnerware should not be boring. Add some crystal glassware or flowers as well. It’s not about spending money, it’s about the table coming alive during dinner and holidays. Also, I have said that bone china can be used on any occasion, not just for holidays.
The Villeroy & Boch store brings hints of European flair to Princeton, NJ.

The Villeroy & Boch store brings hints of European flair to Princeton, NJ.

RR:  Tell me a little about the stunning color schemes in the products and why they do so well.

IVB: Our colors schemes are bold and strong and we are not afraid to make a statement.
Each one of our patterns has a personality so to speak. People who are afraid to make a statement about themselves, are not our customers.  People want refinement! We are in the business of creating ambiance and creating a way of life for people to communicate, socialize and bring the family together. Dinner is about socialization, connecting the family and not just about beautiful plates.
RR: My mom who has been a life long devoted fan, says your products “keep the family together”. Your thoughts?
IVB: Correct! I am about the family that eats together and stays together. I stress that all over the world when I visit people.
RR: Thank you Isabelle. Such a pleasure and an honor to meet the woman behind such an amazing brand.
IVB: Thank you so much.
The Villeroy & Boch store is located in the Princeton Market Fair Shopping Center. For more information, please visit
The journey continues and for Mother’s Day, it’s going to be a stylish one for sure!

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’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!



Flickr Photos