Posts Tagged ‘Bollywood

19
Jun
14

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

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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, www.njpac.com. 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!

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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 !

Ravi

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

 

 

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!

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
29
Dec
11

Tom Cruise &Anil Kapoor Rock Mission:Impossible Ghost-Protocol NY Premiere

Hollywood A Lister Tom Cruise greeting reporters

Always front and center to get the story!

What you need to know about International star Anil  Kapoor is that besides being an award-winning actor, devoted father producer and writer, the in-demand Indian actor  is one of the most versatile and talented entertainer you are ever going to see. His 30 year acting journey in Bollywood as a the lead actor in over 150 Indian films, has made him one of the most sought after Indian actors today, not to mention one of the nicest!

The A-lister of Bollywood  Anil Kapoor has made a journey into the world of Hollywood via “Slumdog Millionaire”, the television series “24″ and now the highly anticipated “Mission: Impossible Ghost- Protocol.” The movie rocks by the way folks!

Bollywood A lister Anil Kapoor speaking to the press

Kapoor  52, (born on Christmas Eve)  is being coined  as the only Bollywood star to be linked up with names like Tom Cruise, Kiefer Sutherland, Danny Boyle and Clive Owen while becoming  an international sensation. Hollywood is taking notice at the man with millions of fans around the world and Kapoor’s talents have lead to many Hollywood  projects.  Kapoor is repped by the talent agency ICM, home to many Hollywood A-listers and will be seen in the coming film “Cities” with actor Clive Owen in 2012.

Anil Kapoor poses with Ravi Yande

The millionaire’s Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” is still one of the most popular films of all times  and is watched even more enthusiastically today by fans around the world.

But enough about the Bollywood Kapoor,  let’s talk about  international star Kapoor who with Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise had women screaming as they recently entered the red carpet premiere of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in NYC at the world-famous Zeigfeld theater in Manhattan.  The celebrity assemble attending included Katie Holmes, (who is just beautiful in person!), co-star  sexy Paula Patton with  husband Robin Thicke (the talented singer and son of actor Alan Thicke), Josh HollowayJ.J. Abrams, director Brad Bird and the brilliant  actor Simon Pegg.
 
“We love you Mr. India ” screamed a very  attractive Indian girl wearing a sexy black designer dress and referring to Kapoor’s 1987 first Indian sci-fi film “Mr. India” which broke all box office records in India.  The film was directed by the brilliant and acclaimed Shekhar Kapoor (no relation) and there are  strong rumors in Bollywood  that the director  is in talks with the superstar Kapoor to make “Mr. India 2”. 
 
 “I waited for three hours just to get a glimpse of Anil and Tom,” said another  gorgeous Indian girl with hazel eyes and high cheek bones clinching  Kapoor’s photo as if it were a winning lottery ticket.
 
The Ravi Report caught up with youthful Kapoor  who looked amazing for being jet lagged (he flies back and forth from Mumbai and LA several times a month) and  spoke to him about the movie and his role in bringing Hollywood’s attention to Bollywood.
 
RR: Congrats Anil on another great film and it’s great  to see you again. Hollywood, particularly A-listers are looking to Bollywood now for collaboration thanks to you and your Hollywood journey. Your thoughts?
 
AK: We (Bollywood) are very proud, excited and very happy about it and I think it’s time it’s getting it’s due!
 

Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise listens to a question from The Ravi Report

RR: Tell me if you will, what your experience was like working in such a major Hollywood production with Tom Cruise for the first time.

AK: You know, honestly, when you start thinking about a huge movie, huge stars, etc, you get stressed out. I just had a lot of fun and you know what?  I went with the attitude of having fun and that’s what I did. I hope the audiences enjoy  watching the film.
 
RR:The international media and film critics are saying that Anil Kapoor is the first major Indian star  to gain notoriety in Hollywood and is now representing both India and the Bollywood around the world. What are you thoughts on such an assertion?
 
AK: Well, I think it’s huge  responsibility on my shoulders to be honest and  frankly  I think too much is being said about me being an ambassador of Bollywood to the outside world. However, I do tell my colleagues that it is a great opportunity for all of us and to be honest here, it is fun to be on the global stage. (laughs)
 
RR:  Would you like to share  some  thoughts on  the recent passing of Bollywood legend Dev Anand ?
 
AK: He is immortal. I never felt he was gone us even after his passing.
 

RR: Regarding future projects, would you ever consider setting up shop in Hollywood?

AK: (laughs) I think I got the best of both worlds and today, you CAN have the best of both worlds.
 
RR: You were the catalyst behind Tom Cruise coming to India. What were his thoughts?

Anil Kapoor listening to the NY media

 
AK: He loved India very much. The people, the warmth and the culture all appealed to him.
 

Actor Josh Halloway is always in good spirits!

In “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol”, Kapoor plays the role of a rich Indian businessman and womanizer Brij Nath, who owns  a defunct Soviet military satellite that could potentially be used to transmit the order to fire a nuclear missile. His character role is small but essential to the movie.

 
The film had its premiere in Mumbai in early December with all  kinds of fanfare and a gala reception with the entire cast.  Kapoor played hosts to Cruise and the cast of the movie and posed in front of the historical Taj Mahal with Cruise before they left for the Dubai premiere. My contacts in Mumbai who attended the premiere said the streets were filled with people literally screaming Cruise and Kapoor’s names while they were walking the red carpet.  “It was pure mayhem” said one reporter.
 
 

Gorgeous model Tanya Callau and hubby Alan Thicke smile for The Ravi Report

 
“Mission:Impossible- Ghost Protocol” already broke box office records by clearing $161 million in box office receipts  over the Christmas holiday weekend proving that international powerhouses like Cruise and Kapoor can bring both Hollywood and Bollywood audiences together on an international level.
 
For more information on the amazing film, please visit http://www.missionimpossible.com
 
 
The journey continues….”impossible” and all!
 
Happy New Year everyone!
 
Ravi
11
Nov
11

The Ravi Report Hits The Hamptons- Part 2

The dining table was an Indian masterpiece complete with golden chairs!

Once in a while, we get invited  to a stylish and  glamorous  dinner that we  talk about even after it’s over. Well, that’s just what I’m going to do here folks.  The Ravi Report was recently  invited to an exotic Indian dinner hosted by the captivating  Kelli Delaney-Kot of KDHamptons.com  and her husband, the charismatic and well-known  Dr. Mark Kot at their beautiful and historical  house in Water Mill, a hamlet of the town of  Southhampton.

India Night At The Kots”  spared no details in making it one of the most enduring and glamorous dinner parties  ever to be seen in the affluent town of beautiful people.  Gorgeous ladies dressed in silk designer sexy saris, the aroma of Indian food coming from the kitchen (later served by the wait staff) and traditional Indian music playing,  all were a part of the cultured event. It felt like home people!

The special invited guests mingled and nibbled on tasty vegetarian samosas and bajias catered by one of the top celebrity attended restaurants in NYC called  Chola and drank  champagne while getting to know each other.  I have to be honest here, I felt like I was at back in Mumbai  at one of those fancy Bollywood dinners that are attended by Bollywood stars, dignitaries and famous politicians.

Honored guests include Chris Clarke, the stunning Kelli Delany Kot, Dr. Mark Kot, Bernard Schwartz and his sexy wife Kimberly

Jennifer Lancaster, Ravi Yande, Alyssa Heim, Dr. Kot & Marie Caroline Caiola wore their best Indian clothes for the event!

Delaney had been preparing weeks for the dinner paying close  attention to every small detail.  “It was such a joy putting this dinner together that it did not seem like a lot of work at all. I wanted the food & the decor to be perfect for our guests.  We  wanted everyone to have fun and have a taste of Indian culture- in the Hamptons!”said Delaney. And boy, did we ever! Kelli told me that I inspired her to host the Indian themed dinner as I am always sharing my culture with her.

“With readers of KDHamptons being cultured, well-traveled and curious about the world, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce a little bit of Indian culture to them by way of our dinner.” added Delaney.

Guests dined like Maharajas!

The dining table was a masterpiece. Plain and simple folks. The table-cloth was made from Banarasi silk saris (heavy, expensive hand-woven silk saris from the  holy place of Benares)  Indian vintage statues served as showcase pieces, gorgeous red and pink rose flower arrangements lined the table and designer dinnerware complete with  gold-plated drinking glasses and light blue silk napkins made the dinner fit for a Maharaja!

The delicious cuisine consisted of traditional chicken and lamb dishes, mouth-watering palak paneer (a spicy spinach and cheese dish), rice,  Naan, (Indian bread baked in a clay oven) and spicy chickpeas called Chaana served with  a yogurt based salad called Raita.

The ladies complemented  the men who were wearing traditional tunics called Kurtas, a fancy Indian shirt made of silk. A sari, has most of you may know, is the Indian dress that is worn by  ladies and consists of 6 years of fabric wrapped around the body and the tail end is then draped over the shoulder. I will be honest here, I was so amazed at the way the beautiful ladies carried themselves since they had never worn a sari before and they walked around like pros! They completed the Indian look  with Bindiyas (the Indian circle shaped mark on the forehead) and an arm full of colorful bangles.

The Kot home was decorated with vintage silks saris, Lord Ganeshes, Indian bracelets placed in trays and traditional fall  flowers both inside and outside the house welcoming people  just as they do in India. The driveway was decorated with white candles lighting the pathway for the guests as they entered the home. A sheer touch of class!

“India Night At The Kots” was one of the most enjoyable dinners I have ever been to and sincere thanks to Delaney and Dr. Kot for  bringing Indian culture into their home in such a stylish and glamorous way.

The journey continues….namaste!

Ravi

04
Jan
11

Lights, Camera & Obama!

  

Gorgeous actress Nandana Sen smiles for The Ravi Report

Films! Hotties! More Films! That’s pretty much what the MIAAC Indian Film Festival was all about recently. Marking ten years of bringing the most incredible Indian films to New York City,  the South Asian  film festival (they introduced “Slumdog Millionaire” to the world by the way) run by the very much-loved and tireless socialite  Aroon Shivadasani and her Indo-American Arts Council  drew new  films, top film stars, directors, producers  and thousands of fans to the SVA Theater in Chelsea, NY where fans and journalists got to mingle & meet with  the rich and famous from Bollywood during the recent week-long festival.

Stunning Padma Laxmi gives a sexy pose for The Ravi Report

“I waited all year for this event,” said a stunning almond-shaped eyed Indian lady wearing a designer hot red sequenced sheer sari.
 
 Town cars pulled up  filled with Bollywood stars and famous personalities from the world of television, film and stage to the theater to sold out shows and anxious people waiting hours to see their favorite actor making an entrance to the theater.
 
The opening night red carpet premiere was truly like a scene out of a Bollywood film. Beautiful women(a ton of them!), gorgeous silk and gold saris and handsome actors wearing designer Indian outfits came  to support what Shivadasani has been doing for the past decade. The festival drew some of the biggest stars from film, TV and the world of literature.
 
The opening night film “Shor” (Noise) was screened to a sold out crowd with the main actor Tushar Kapoor and sister/producer Ekta Kapoor in attendance.
 
 Film actor Rahul Bose, who’s star status in India is equivalent to about several A Listers in Hollywood came for the premiere of his amazing new film  “Japanese Wife” , an emotional film about an Indian man married to a Japanese lady but they never meet during the marriage. I’ve known Bose for years and he has always remained as humble and unassuming since the day I first met him.Ravi Yande with international star Rahul Bose
 
 
“If you do the right kind of cinema, you will get the right kind of audiences,” stated Bose who has been a big advocate of the festival for the past several years.
 
 “I am a big fan of this festival because its off the mainstream radar,” states the award-winning actor with a fan base all over the world. (side bar: during our interview American girls were screaming the actor’s name as he was being interviewed).
 
Bose has been an intricate part of both Bollywood and independent cinema for years. The much in demand actor  has risen from stage to the big screen by carefully selecting roles that have suited him and his talents. His films “English August“, “Everybody Says I’m Fine” and “Before The Rains” (which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008) have all been box office successes.
 
 In between films, running marathons and representing India in rugby Bose also runs a foundation to help fight against discrimination. Check out his site at www.thefoundation.in
 
With President Obama recently back from his trip from India, I asked the acclaimed actor  what he thought of the trip and its symbolism.
 
“His (Obama) understanding of India deepened as ours did of him,” commented Bose. The actor also said it was truly a wonderful symbolic gesture for the President to stay in the same Mumbai hotel that was attacked by terrorists  two years ago.
 
Festival special guest actor Sendil Ramamurthy, the superstar  from the television series “Heros” and popular film actor,  says Obama’s visit was a step in the right direction for both the US and India.
 
“Getting a permanent placement on the UN Security Council is a great thing for India,” said the actor. Ramamurthy’s was part of the lead in the opening night film “Shor”. Great film by the way folks.
  
 The film festival also brought out well known television stars like “Top Chef” host, model and business woman the gorgeous Padma Laxmi. And folks let me tell you, she is STUNNING and shared with the RR her  views on Obama’s recent  trip to India. Laxmi lives in NY but travels to India frequently for work.
 
“I think Obama’s trip was very successful in so many ways,” stated the beauty. ” The UN Security Council is something that India has wanted for a while so the trip was indeed a success,” added the model. Check out Laxmi’s latest updates on www.padmalaxmi.com.
 
 The opening night also included the screening of the multi-talented  Indian director Mani Ratnam’s film “Raavan” which sold out days before the opening night.
 
Ratnam whose Bollywood films have  made millions, is known for having the “midas” touch when it comes to making movies but says he still gets apprehensive after each film.
 
“People think that once you have a hit movie, its smooth sailing from in on out. But it’s anything but!” comments the director exclusively to The Ravi Report.
 
NY based gorgeous actress Pooja Kumar gets prettier and prettier every time I see her.
 “Pooja,Pooja we love you!” shouted a group of male fans  as she entered the SVA Theater. The sexy and stylish actress spoke about how Indian films are no longer just the “it” factor.
 
“We are here to stay. It’s no longer a curiosity. It’s a full fledge speed ahead,” confidently stated the Indian actress.
 
“Our (Indian)cinema is popular across the world now and people want to be part of it so let’s welcome them in!” smiled the television and  film actress. For more on Kumar check out her amazing website www.poojakumar.com
 
Your heart will definitely  skip a beat when you meet Bollywood actress Nandana Sen. Mine sure did. The stunning & talented actress whose film “Autograph” was being screened during the festival,  spoke about how the event has become a strong platform for the audiences outside of India.
 
“I really like this festival because it gives a chance for people to see Indian independent cinema in a way that they would not have access to.” states the actress. Sen says that the festival supports new filmmakers and give them the much needed platform to showcase their work.
 
Sir. Salman Rashdie has been a long fan of the festival and was one of its biggest supporters from the beginning. He spoke  about the longevity of the film festival.
 
“It was a very small beginning ten years ago and now it’s turned into a large event. You get high quality of films now and the audiences are certainly appreciating it,” stated the world-famous author to The RR.
  
Rushdie also spoke about the importance of the festival. 
 
“It’s a platform for the non-commercial cinema from India and it’s a platform for Indian people in this country,” stated the award-winning author.
  
When you see sexy. You know it. Plain and simple. That’s what hot actress Sarita Choudhury breeds when she walks into a room. Any room.
 
“I waited two hours to see her tonight” stated a young sharply dressed Indian male who told me he has seen all her movies- twice.
  
Choudhury was  very vocal about Obama’s recent trip to India.
 
“How do I get to the White House?” stated the beautiful actress whose film “Mississippi Masala” (1991) is still talked about in the media circles today.
 
“I’m serious. I need to speak to Obama about  so many issues here that   I am dealing with in terms of the misrepresentation of muslims and south asians and the lack of language to talk about these issues to Americans. I feel that we (south asians) are being misrepresented  by lack of information. I want to talk to him about that,” stated the concerned New Yorker.
 
The actress also says that things have changed for South Asians actors- for the good.
 
“I think the difference now is that if you don’t want there to be a barrier, there isn’t one but you have to be super courageous, talented and you really have to know how to act.”
  
 The journey continues…
 
Ravi
20
Aug
10

The King of Bollywood Continues to Rein

Bollywood superstars Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan entering NY press conference

Hope you all are having a great summer! Got sidetracked with some new projects and travel so my apologies for not posting anything new for a while. But now, I’m back so here goes! 

 
The summer has been good for the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan.  The A-lister who continues to be the biggest star in the Indian film industry with millions of fans, is basking in the successful of his film “My Name Is Khan” which recently  had its DVD release in the US  and the recent honor of being immortalized in the world-famous Madame Tussauds wax museum in NYC recently.
 
Khan, 45, who was named one of Newsweek’s ’50 Most Powerful People in the World’ in 2008 continues to be one of Bollywood’s highest paid actors making millions in brand endorsements, stage shows and hosting television specials in India.
But he has also remained as humble by his mega success and is so  appreciative of his fans who he believes have kept him going strong in the Indian movie business for almost 20 years!
The actor’s latest film “My Name is Khan” has done very well at the box office this and was the highest grossing Indian film in the US so far this year. Released earlier in 2010,  the iconic actor co-stars with one of the most sought after actresses in Bollywood today Kajol and the duo came together on-screen after almost a decade. Fox Searchlight was the distributor for the film and from what my sources tell me, they are pretty happy with the results.
 
My Name is Khan”  tells the story of Rizwan (Khan), an Indian muslim living in the US and married to the beautiful Hindu Mandira (Kajol)  whose lives are transformed into anguish after the Sept. 11 attacks. Rizwan has Asperger’s Syndrome and is often mistaken for a terrorist after the attacks . To save his marriage and reputation, Rizwan insists on seeing the President of the United States to proclaim his innocence and clear his name. The film with a combination of love and a quest for truth will make you route for the underdog as is most common in Bollywood films. 

Ravi Yande and Shah Rukh Khan at the NY premiere of "My Name is Khan".

Khan and stunning actress Kajol have returned to the screen after many years and their on-screen chemistry is even stronger than before. They  have worked together in many films (most of them being box office hits) and are termed the “Royal Couple” of Bollywood due to their regal on-screen presence and loyal following. 

 
It’s interesting to note that I first interviewed Khan on Sept 10, 2001, the day before tragedy struck America. He spoke about the incident during our interview and the sadness that comes over him  when he talks about it.  He also points out that the film is clearly not about the attacks.
 
“I keep getting that question asked of the film” he told The Ravi Report recently. “the movie is about prejudices people go through solely based on who you are as a person or what you look like or for that matter, what your last name is” stated the actor.
 
My Name is Khan”  is co-produced by Khan’s  wife Gauri Khan and directed by one of the most prolific and acclaimed young director’s in Bollywood today, Karan Johar.  The magnanimous director usually shoots his films outside of India in foreign locations often picking NY or LA as his favorite spots.  What’s really intriguing and fascinating about his films is how Bollywood looks at America through the movie lens.
But the most enthralling thing that Khan told me was that he hopes their film shows how important tolerance is along with others with different faiths, appearances and of course religion.
The film is first that both Khan and Johar have co-produced together.  Johar is also one fo the few if not only Bollywood directors to enlist the talents of foreign talent for his movies. He is a genius when it comes to knowing what the public wants. All of his movies have been box office hits.
The music for the film scored by the “dream team” of Indian music Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy will bring you to tears.
 
The release of the DVD was in conjunction with the recent installation of Khan at the world famous  Madame Tussauds wax museum in NY a few weeks ago. This is Khan’s second statue. He also has a presence at the London branch.
 
The event included beautiful dancers who danced to the music of Khan’s 2007 hit film “Om Shanti Om“.
 
” I think it’s such a validation for Bollywood to have Khan in with the rest of the world’s prestigious wax figures. He certainly deserves it!” said one beautiful Indian girl who said she skipped work to make it to the event.
The museum also has wax figures of iconic Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter in law, world’s most beautiful woman, Aishwariya Rai.
 
“More and more people are seeing Bollywood as part of the  mainstream,” Rosemary del Prado, director of marketing at Madame Tussauds has told the press. For a complete Bollywood tour, check out www.madametussauds.com/newyork for more info. A must see folks!!
 
“I think Khan being in the museum shows that the world is embracing Bollywood even further” said another very attractive and tall Indian lady who was studying acting in NY hoping to make it to Bollywood someday and star in a film with Khan.
 
As I was leaving the event  I see an American trying to see what the fuss is about.
“Who is Khan?” the young man innocently asks.
“Take Elvis, Tom Cruise, Sting and throw in Jay Z and maybe you will get the kind of magnitude that Khan exemplifies in Bollywood” said one turban wearing proud Indian.
 
 Khan and Johar are back together again currently in London shooting for their new film “Ra. One” due out early next year. Prepare yourself for another hit.
 
The Journey continues…
Ravi
 
 
 
 
 
 
25
Mar
10

Harold & Lee Make “Falling For Grace” Worth Falling For!

Actor Gale Harold smiles exclusively for The Ravi Report

We enter the restaurant and female fans  were already lined up to get his autograph. We sit down and pretty girls start to tap on the window just to get his attention and hopefully a picture. He obliges with a smile. 

That’s just the kind of guy actor Gale Harold is. Respectful and unassuming.  The talented actor was in NY recently promoting his  new romantic comedy movie “Falling For Grace” which he co-stars with the beautiful and talented actress Faye Ann Lee. You want to see  some on-screen great chemistry? Then you have got to see this movie folks! 

“It’s not just a comedy. It’s relevant and culturally meaningful,” states the 40-year-old actor known for his most recent role as Terri Hatcher’s love interest Jackson Braddock  in “Desperate Housewives” and for his provocative role as Brian Kinney in the 2005  Showtime  television series “Queer As Folk“. 

In “Falling For Grace”, Harold plays the role of Andrew James Barrington Jr., a rich, eligible bachelor who falls for the pretty and witty Grace Tang played by actress-writer-director- Fay Ann Lee. Without giving to much of the story away, the two accidently meet and with a few misunderstandings mixed in with a few white lies, you get a  surprised romance that everyone will enjoy.  The chemistry is written into the script so well that both Harold & Lee should do more movies together. Both are terrific actors by the way. 

The LA based actor known mostly for his serious, dark and internal acting, takes on this light and comical  role with ease. Lee is simply a natural born actress. The moment you see her, she lights up the screen!

“To be able to work in NY is a great think and I really enjoyed the script and the realistic aspects of it,” says the accomplished  actor who travels back to the Big Apple whenever he gets an opportunity. 

Actors Gale Harold and Clem Cheung attend the Q&A session after a special screening.

Harold has an impressive list of credentials. In addition to  “Desperate Housewives” the actor also has appeared on numerous top shows included “Grey’s Anatomy“, “Vanished” and “Deadwood“. This is his first comedy romance film. 

” I would like to try to develope ideas for television involving comedy because I like comedy performance and maybe with the freedom & input to talk developement as well for other shows,” asserts the actor.  

Maybe a little stand-up comedy action also? 

” Oh boy, that’s not me…to me that is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen. I’m not that brave,”  laughs the actor. 

Since he’s done it all (stage, TV and film)  Harold believes it’s all relative and that the quality of work has always been his first priority rather than the medium. 

“I think as long as you are fortunate enough to get an opportunity to get good work at what you love doing, it’s worth it, ” expresses Harold. 

Fond of French and Italian cuisine the actor  likes to travel to places like Mexico and Paris and even enjoys Bollywood films on his days off.

“I would love to go to India and I loved Slumdog Millionaire,”  smiles the actor who recently  finished a limited engagement  of  Tennessee Williams “Orpheus Descending” in LA which opened to great reviews. 

Ravi Yande, top model Richie Kul and beautiful actress Fay Ann Lee pose for The Ravi Report

Television and film actress Fay Ann Lee is driven. Plain and simple. She has not only proven that she can she act but also that she can write  an outstanding script and direct a great film. The multi-talented Hong Kong born filmmaker is proactive in nature and thanks to her dedication and passion, “Falling For Grace” was born.  Lee is hopeful that her film will create oppportunities  other Asian actors who have not yet gotten their major break.  The filmmaker started writing the script almost ten years ago while she was in “Ms. Saigon” because she felt there were no mainstream roles for Asians who are immensely talented actors she says and didn’t stop until her film was made. Not only did she direct, write and act in the film, she also spent years  raising money to make the film then travelled around the country promoting it.

Harold is all smiles for The Ravi Report

Her efforts paid off when it became one of the opening films of the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival with a star-studded red carpet. The film has also been featured at other film festivals including Los Angeles Asian Film Festival and the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. The film also had a special star studded premiere in March at the world famous Asia Society in Manhattan.

The multi-talented astute actress has  been nominated for an Emerging Artist Award by The White House Project so please you vote for this amazing actress  by March 31st!! Time is ticking!! 

http://thewhitehouseproject.org/epic/emerging_artist.php 

Falling For Grace”  continues to play until April 1 at Big Cinema in NY. (www.us.bigcinemas.com) so get your tickets fast! For more information regarding the movie, check out the website at www.fallingforgrace.com.

The journey continues… 

Ravi

27
Nov
09

INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL BRINGS BOLLYWOOD & MELANCHOLY MEMORIES TO NY.

Guests wore sexy saris at the premiere.

Iconic Indian film actress Shabana Azmi being interviewed by the media.

Beautiful Indian women, gorgeous silk saris, legendary  Bollywood starlets…..let’s just say I was a little kid in a candy store folks!

The recent 2009 Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Indian Film Festival red carpet premiere in NY drew many of the biggest names from  Bollywood & the world of Indian Independent cinema.  Sexy actresses, A list actors and legendary iconic names from the world of Indian films all came together at the famous Paris Theater in Manhattan to share with New Yorkers the rich world of Indian films. This was the first time the festival had so many stars attend from India.

It’s no real surprise that the festival would be a huge success this year. With “Slumdog Millionaire” managing to promote the  interest in Indian films even further in the west, it was bound to happen. Incidently, the multi Oscar-winning film premiered at last year’s festival (read The Ravi Report 2008).

Screaming fans waited  hours in front of blocked streets just to get a glimpse of their favorite film star. “I can’t even get this close to them in India,” gushed one gorgeous Indian girl with light green eyes and long silky hair.

Silk sari wearing actress & director Deepti Naval addressing reporters about her film.

‘I got out of work early today just to make sure I could see the arrival.  I even brought some pictures to get autographed,” boasted one very cute Indian girl showing me pictures of legendary actress Shabana Azmi.

The yearly festival is the brainchild of  Aroon Shivdasani, a distinguished NY socialite and dedicated Indian film devotee who for the past decade, has  brought  many of the top Indian stars from  Bollywood & Indian independent films every year to The Big Apple for the film festival.

Legendary actress Shabana Azmi graced the premiere wearing a stunning designer black sari  and came with her award-winning screenwriter husband Javed Akhtar who is responsible for half if not all of all the great Indian films from India. They spoke to reporters about the festival and their latest works. Azmi’s film “Sorry Bhai” (Sorry Brother)was part of the festival line up this year.

Award winning screenwriter Javed Akhtar smiles for the paparazzi

But the event  also brought to light an important issue that many stars who attended were part of- the year anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai that brought the city and the Indian film industry to a stand still on Nov. 26, 2008.

Actor Sanjay Suri, one of the prolific stars in Bollywood, spoke about the upcoming anniversary.

“Mumbai is a very positive city and it does bounce back very quickly. It comes back on it feet because of its’ spirit and films especially are life and breath of Mumbai so we came back fast!” stated the award-winning actor.

Actor Sanjay Suri smiles exclusively for The Ravi Report

Suri also said that  even after the devastating  incident- which consisted of several coordinated shootings and bomb attacks, killed over 173 people and injured hundreds, the spirit of Mumbai and it’s people was not down for long.

“I remember the next day after the horrible attacks, (pauses) despite the mourning and chaos people  headed back to work and started to live their lives again, so it was amazing,” expressed the actor.

Beautiful actress Manisha Koirala, whose  film “Two Paisa For Sunshine, Four Annas For Rain” directed by actress-turn- director Deepti Naval, a former New Yorker debuted at the festival,  shared her thoughts about the attacks.

“That was a horrible, horrible time for all of us and I can’t believe it’s already been a year,” stated the award-winning actress of such box office sensations such as  “Dil Se” (1998), “Mann”, (1999), “Escape From Taliban” (2000)  and “Sirf”(2001).

‘It was a bad time for all of us and we were all shocked with what happened. But we were all worked through it and that’s the important thing, stated the actress with a serious expression.

Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala smiles exclusively for The Ravi Report

Top comedian, actor and correspondent for the “The Daily ShowAasif Mandvi  graced the premiere with his charm and personality.  You could hear fans screaming the actor’s name across the street as the talented  Obie Award winner made his way onto the red carpet. Fame and fortune have not changed Mandvi one bit as he is still the same, humble and unassuming person that I met years ago at an event before he became a star. Mandvi’s  comedy film” Today’s Special” in which he plays a chef wanting more out of life, premiered at the opening night. The actor also co-wrote the screenplay with Jonathan Bines. A must see film by the way folks! It’s pretty terrific.

“I have been a long time fan of Aasif. It’s nice to see that a mainstream South Asian has come to support his fellow peers in the movie business” said one gorgeous Indian girl wearing a black stylish silk sari.

Multi-talented entertainer Aasif Mandvi's film premiered at the opening night.

The  festival which included sold out screenings and NY premieres for many of the first time filmmakers ran for 5 days.  Last year, the main attraction of the festival was the NY premiere of “Slumdog Millionaire” and we know how well that film did at the end. This year’s festival opened with Mandvi’s film.

Shivdasani says that she continues to give a global platform to moviemakers and actor through her Indo-American Arts Council which she started more than 12 years ago. Many of these film have had crucial NY premieres & have gone on to become successes world wide thanks to Shivdasani’s keen eye for good films and her drive to get them screened at her festival.

The MIAAC festival continues to be NY premiere South Asian film festival and next year, the team promises it to be even bigger and better. Make sure you get a head start! www.iaac.us.

The journey continues…

Ravi




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