Posts Tagged ‘India

03
Jun
14

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!
ModiNYT

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.
 
Ravi
28
Apr
14

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

VilleroyBochMothersDay01

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.
 
isabellevonbochwithdisplay02

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 www.villeroy-boch.com.
 
The journey continues and for Mother’s Day, it’s going to be a stylish one for sure!
 
Ravi
27
Jul
13

Jonathan Bricklin Credits The Entrepreneur For Business Success

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

Director Jonathan Bricklin poses for The Ravi Report

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

   

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

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

Academy Award winning STUNNING actress Susan Sarandon chatting with party guests

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

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

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

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

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

Brickin and guest pose for The Ravi Report

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

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

MoviePoster01

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

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

JB: Thank you Ravi

The journey continues folks….vroooommmm!!!

Ravi

19
Dec
12

Charity:Water Brings Generosity To Whole New Levels

CharityWaterInteriorAround the holidays people like to give and boy did they ever at this year’s spectacular Charity:Water Ball.

The annual glamorous event which raises money to build safe and clean drinking water around the world, received a generous 3 million dollar holiday gift, courtesy of the over 2,000 folks that came to the ball attended by some of the most beauty people, sexy supermodels, famous entrepreneurs, celebrities and the NY media.

Charity:Water founder Scott Harrison and beautiful wife Viktoria welcomed guests to the event

Charity:Water founder Scott Harrison and beautiful wife Viktoria welcomed guests to the event

Despite the tough ongoing economic woes, Hurricane Sandy’s devastation and the not-so-exciting Wall Street numbers, folks still opened their wallets and hearts to help people around the world become self-sufficient in getting safe and clean drinking water.

The organization-run by good friend and brilliant businessman Scott Harrison and his team of amazing individuals, has taken Charity:Water each year to new levels of success proving that growth and results go hand in hand.

Some of the famous personalities at the event included the talented comedian Seth Myers, actor David Schwimmer, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey,Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley, award-winning actor John Flattery, the stunning supermodel Anne V.,beautiful actress Sophia Bush, TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, Charity Water devotee and talented actress Jessica Lowndes, Fern Mallis, and Whoopi Goldberg

TOMS founder Blake Mycoski and stunning wife Heather Mycoski pose for The Ravi Report

TOMS founder Blake Mycoski and stunning wife Heather Mycoski pose for The Ravi Report

From the first project six years ago in a refugee camp in Uganda where six water wells were build, to now almost 7,000 water wells in over 20 countries serving over 2.5 million people, Charity: Water CLEARLY cares about the world.

They also know how to throw a great party. Beautiful people+ sexy models+ generous folks+ celebrities+ passion to give third world countries clean water= the annual Charity:Water Ball. Plain and simple folks.

The red carpet was decorated with trademark yellow canisters which paved the way for the captivating and generous folks to make their way into what many referred to as “the event of the year” which was held at the Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan.

Actress Sophia Bush excites the media with her entrance!

Actress Sophia Bush excites the media with her entrance!

“I am going to President Obama’s inaugural in Jan.,” said one stunning model who was Photoshoot ready with her crystal blue eyes, statuesque build and perfect makeup. “But honestly, I’m more excited to me here.”

“I canceled a star-studded party to be here tonight because Scott is like family to so many of us,” stated a tall, gorgeous sari wearing Indian hottie with hazel eyes, flawless skin and enough bling to buy a small country.

The event included the traditional Waterwalk where guests carry a yellow canister filled with water to experience what it feels like for people in poor nations to walk daily to get water. The Waterwalk helped bring clear water to over 19,400 people in India. (a country that loves Scott!)

Scott Harrison and Sophia Bush get ready for Charity:Water action!

Scott Harrison and Sophia Bush get ready for Charity:Water action!

These folks are so passionate about helping the world and because Scott Harrison is such a damn nice guy who cares about the world getting fresh drinking water, that everyone wants to help him in every way they can.

I’ve known Harrison for years and I will say this: the guy would give the shirt off his back to help people get clean and safe drinking water.

TOMS founder and generous businessman Blake Mycoskie who recently got married to a stunning Heather Mycoskie (yes, she’s a ten folks!) has been a long time friend and supporter of Charity:Water and spoke exclusively to The Ravi Report about his involvement.

RR: Blake, always nice seeing you. How did you get involved in Scott’s dream?

Mycoskie: Scott and I started about the same time. I have been a big supporter of his dream ever since the beginning. I am so proud of him, he is like a brother and great friend and we love collaborating and doing these events together.

Ravi Yande poses with Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley

Ravi Yande poses with Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley

RR: What Scott has done with water, you have done with shoes through TOMS. What do you find so satisfying about what you do?

Mycoskie: The great thing about what I do is being able to go to these third world countries and give back to the kids by giving them shoes and sunglasses. Every country I go to is always a different experience and that keeps things exciting and fresh but most of all, helping kids and the world out is really a fantastic thing which is why I started TOMS.

Footnote: You must read Mycoskie’s book Start Something That Matters and trust me, you will want to jump on the band wagon to help Scott as well. Great book!

Harrison’s charity has expanded now into more countries then ever before.


RR: Another amazing event Scott! It’s fully grown into something large and global. Clearly you can see the passion and devotion people have to Charity:Water. What were some of the challenges you faced in 2012?

Illusionist David Blaine poses for The Ravi Report

Illusionist David Blaine poses for The Ravi Report

Harrison: One of the hardest things Ravi is managing the growth. Every year we get bigger and bigger with more wells being built and more people wanting to get involved in helping the world. So it’s been fun but also challenging at the same time because of the extensive growth. We are now working in 20 countries.

Guest experienced first hand what it would be like to pump water from a well

Guest experienced first hand what it would be like to pump water from a well

RR: The more you grow, the more you have to face in terms of foreign rules, regulations, etc. How has that part of the foreign expansion?

Harrison: Well, challenges include some political issues and we’ve had some water quality issues like fluoride that we ran into. But we do have a GREAT team that helps me so we are doing what we can to over come those challenges. The harder it gets, the more passionate and committed the team has gotten.

RR: Despite the ongoing economy issues and Hurricane Sandy effecting so many New Yorkers, Charity:Water had a good year. Your thoughts?

Harrison: We are very lucky. Despite all the ongoing economic issues, we grew in 2012. People have been responding, have been giving and have been extremely generous to us. The business model of 100 percent going to the building projects really helps and people see all the results for themselves.

Actress Jessica Strup smiles on the red carpet for the media

Actress Jessica Strup smiles on the red carpet for the media

Dedicated actress Jessica Strup has been involved with the organization for years and finds it both fulfilling and gratifying.

RR: Jessica, so glad to see you here tonight. What are your thoughts on the fact that now Charity:Water is active in 20 countries?

Strup: I am so proud of Scott and his team. I got involved in Charity:Water years ago when I wanted to do something for others. They have so much potential to get even bigger and they will get even bigger. I mean, look around you..these people are here just to help Charity:Water grow and at some point there will be safe and clean water for everyone! It will happen!

RR: You have been to Ethiopia and other third world countries and have seen poverty first hand. How has that effected you in your work with Charity:Water?

Strup: It was heart wrenching to see how they live in Ethiopia. I come from a small town in South Carolina so it was a true eye- opening experience for me to go to these countries and see how people live. But they knew that we were there to help them help themselves and it makes you see the world completely differently.

Supermodel stunner Anne V. in between her crazy worldwide modeling schedule, still finds time to help out Harrison and his team.

Special Charity:Water Birthday wish tree showed images of donations from around the world

Special Charity:Water Birthday wish tree showed images of donations from around the world

RR: Great seeing you again Anne. How was being involved with Charity:Water effected your way of seeing the world?

Anne V: I live in NY so we are so lucky to have access to drinking water, bottled water, designer water, every kind of water and flavor. It’s such a simple concept- fresh drinking water and it’s amazing that Charity Water has done something to help the world with it.


RR: What does being involved in Charity:Water personally mean to you?

Anne V: For me it’s not only about the glamorous part, it’s about helping. I come from a middle class family in Russia, so I have seen struggles. I am so blessed to do so many wonderful things and for me honestly, my best achievements are when I do things like getting involved in helping others and that gives me a lot of joy. As with a lot of things, we need awareness and I do hope that more people will support what Scott does.

Beautiful actress Jessica Lowndes, a long time supporter of the charity, got involved because she believed in Scott’s mission from day one.

Captivating actress Jessica Lowndes smiles for The Ravi Report

Captivating actress Jessica Lowndes smiles for The Ravi Report

Lowndes: It’s always been in my heart to help people with needs and Charity:Water does that so passionately. We take water for granted and for Scott to provide safe and clean drinking water to all these countries and people is simply amazing. He is tackling one of the biggest issues going on in the world today.

Tech genius and extraordinaire Dennis Crowley co-founder of Foursquare and Dodgeball and good friend of Harrison, believes constant awareness is the key factor in keeping the charity momentum going strong.

Crowley: I think having events like Charity Water and working closely with the folks from the NY community especially the tech community to help raise awareness it’s so important to tell the story. I was just talking about the Hurricane Sandy victims to some friends and even though people are still suffering from the aftermath, it’s not in the news as much so we’re not reminded of it as much as before.

Check out http://www.charitywater.org for updates on the continued expansion of the global water wells. Tip for next year’s ball: buy your tickets early as they continue to sell out every year.

The journey continues…and let’s make it a safe, peaceful and generous one in 2013!

Ravi

18
Aug
12

Frieda Pinto: A Star Is Truly Born!

Superstar Freida Pinto smiles for The Ravi Report

Frieda Pinto needs no introduction. Plain and simple folks. 

“Oh my God, did you see how beautiful she is?” said one alluring brunette with almond-shaped exotic brown eyes who was lucky enough to get a ticket to Pinto’s recent movie premiere in NY.
 
“I’d marry her in a second,” boasted a stylish male Calvin Klein model who among many models was a  guest at the premiere.
 
Such is the kind of phenomenon that the young, stylish and sought after actress possesses.  And oh by the way, she’s also a  fine actress and when you see her latest film “Trishna”, you will totally agree.
 

Ravi Yande with Freida Pinto at “Trishna” NY Premiere

Pinto  is a star in every sense of the word and over the years, as I have met and interviewed her,  I have found her to be the most well grounded, mature and focused individual. As a child, she has always wanted to be an actress and has reached her dream at a very young age. Born and raised in an academic family in Mumbai, India, Pinto modeled, did some plays and  took acting classes at the famous Barry John Acting Studio in Mumbai before hitting it big.

 
The Slumdog Millionaire superstar who became an instant overnight sensation after the amazing film took home eight Academy Awards, has now become one of Hollywood’s favorite young actresses  working with some of the biggest stars and directors. A chance only a few lucky and gifted actresses get in a lifetime.
 
Pinto 27,  had very little acting experience before she landed the role as Latika in “Slumdog Millionaire” and to be honest, her part in the film wasn’t even substantial compared to the star of the film Dev Patel. But when Pinto made screen time, you noticed. The captivating facial expressions, the on-screen chemistry with Patel combined with her innocent beauty, all catered to making her role an integral part of the movie. In other words, she had arrived.

Friends of The Ravi Report at “Trishna” premiere

Pinto’s latest film, “Trishna” directed by the brilliant Michael Winterbottom (Yes, THAT Winterbottom) and based on the novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy,  is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking films that I think Pinto has ever done. As the lead actress , Pinto holds the film on her own and one can  see that Latika has grown into a refined  actress.  Winterbottom is a gifted director. Plain and simple.

 
Pinto plays the role of a simple, lower-caste Indian girl in exotic and beautiful Rajasthan, India who meets a dashing handsome man only to be swept off her feet in a short fairy tale romance. When the fairy tale  is over, reality sets in and THAT’s where the drama gets good. Ok, no more on the story line folks.
 

Calvin Klein and friend were special guests at premiere

Pinto does an exceptional  job playing the role of Trishna showing the multiply sides of her emotions when acting. Winterbottom clearly knew what he was getting when he cast Pinto in the lead.

 
Pinto spoke exclusively to The Ravi Report about her journey into stardom and her new film. 
 
 RR: Freida, always great to see you. You look simply gorgeous. It’s been a terrific journey for you so far, your thoughts?

 
FP: Thank you so much.  The journey so far has been fantastic but honestly, there is a lot more for me to learn and I have a good feeling that it is going to be upwards for me in terms of what I am going to learn from now on.
 
RR: You are the lead actress in the film, carrying it completely on your own and you did an outstanding job. What kinds of pressures did you face working as the lead and with a brilliant director like Winterbottom?

Pinto shares a laugh with The Ravi Report

 

 
FP: This film (Trishna) is really my genesis and I never thought that I could carry a film and this is the first one. Michael (Winterbottom) really believed in me…and I am so happy that I took on the project.
 
RR: One thing that is known in Hollywood, is that you do in-depth research when you accept a new film. How has your past performances in films helped with Trishna?
 
FP: What’s really interesting for me is that I had such a good team and I have worked with the best in the film (Hollywood) industry and if I didn’t work with any of the directors like Danny Boyle, Woody Allen, Julian Schnabel, and Rupert Wyatt, none of this would have happened and I would not have had the understanding of how different directors work and how you can mold yourself into whatever character they envision you to be and understanding different nuances that I would not have understood.
 

RR: You always speak so graciously to me about your projects Frieda. I will say you are one of the most well- grounded and humble stars I have ever met and it is  always a pleasure to meet you.

 
FP: Thank you for saying that, it’s kind and I am so grateful for it all. I really and truly am.
 

Gorgeous models attend premiere

The non-stop working and jet setting actress still makes time for family and friends. With parents in Mumbai and close friends in Hollywood, the captivating actress is constantly on the go.  Now, with the tile of Global Brand Ambassador of Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign, the actress has added one more project to her already full plate embracing it with that million dollar  smile!

 
“Trishna” is now showing in selected theaters across the country and in India. For more info, visit http://www.ifcfilms.com/films/trishna
 
The journey continues…and for Frieda Pinto, it’s an AWESOME  one!
 
Ravi
 
04
May
12

Retirees Find Hope, Love & Adventure in Romantic Comedy

Dame Judi Dench posed for The Ravi Report

Dame Judi Dench poses for The Ravi Report

What do you get when you mix a powerhouse of gifted British actors, a brilliant director and an exotic Indian hotel? You get one of the best films you will ever want to see!

Academy Award-winning actress (and “M” persona) Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie are thrust  into a world that is so foreign yet so familiar in the new romantic comedy “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” directed by the ingenious John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) The movie also stars super talented “Slumdog Millionaire” actor Dev Patel and beautiful  newcomer, actress Tena Desea who plays Patel’s love interest. The story is based on the novel “These Foolish Things,” written by Deborah Moggach.Dame Judi enters wearing her new Indian accessories!
But first, let’s start with the basics here folks, Dame Judi Dench rocks. At 77, the captivating actress has NO PLANS of retiring anytime soon. And why should she? The silver-haired captivating lady is one of the most sought after and versatile actresses in the world today and after you see her latest film, you will see why. And what would happen to Bond? He needs “M”!
When Dench enters the room, it’s as if an aura of royalty has trickled into the air trailing behind elements of grace, sophistication and beauty. “Judi is beautiful, classy and a gifted actress whose work is  such a privilege to see,” said a gorgeous, tall, blue-eyed British lady to The Ravi Report  as she  waited hours just to get a glimpse of the star at the recent NY premiere held at the world famous Manhattan Ziegfeld majestic theater.
Tena Desea, John Madden and Penelope Wilton at NY press eventWithout giving much of the story line away, the film focuses on a group of recent retired British folks who decide go to India for a life of tranquility, serenity and relaxation. What they get in return is anything but and the glamorous hotel that they all had signed up for, turns out to be well, NOT what they signed up for. Dench plays the part of Evelyn, a recent widow whose character is an “independent soul” who takes a chance on exploring a new life  and comes to India  and faces uncertainties and unexpected incidences along with the rest of the group. OK, that’s it folks. No more giveaways. You must watch the film. It is a terrific movie full of hope, dreams, desires and beauty.

The cast recently attended a “yellow carpet” premiere in NYC with marigold flowers laced along the walkway bringing a bit of India to the premiere.  Dressed in a shimmering blue jacket matching her captivating blue eyes, Dench spoke about her love for India. “It’s an assault on your senses” she tells reporters “and I loved every bit of it,” she added.

India  can be in fact an overwhelming experience for first timers.  The people, the crowds, the colors, the food and the traffic is all part of what makes the country of over one billion people so mesmerizing, welcoming and challenging. I love it!!

The Ravi Report exclusively asked  both Dench and gifted actor Tom Wilkinson  what there experience was like for them during their filming.
RR: India means many different things to people. What did being in India for 9 1/2 weeks mean to the both of you- both professionally and personally?
Wilkinson: For me, being in India was one of the most brain-curdling experiences ever. I couldn’t even begin to guess
what I was going to see when I got there. And if you have never been there, you don’t even begin to know the meaning of the word “culture shock” until you get there. I never quite fully recovered but I recommend it to everyone.”
Dench: I never had a desire to go to India although some of my family lived there for a while. But within 24 hours of landing there, I was completely fascinated and bewitched by the country.  The beauty of the people I thought was astounding, the colors, the noise, the smell everything about it is completely staggering and I can’t wait until I go back there.”
The renowned television and stage actress  also said she made many friends while she was there.
Dench: I made some remarkable friends who are very keen on their mobiles and if my mobile goes off now, it’s probably one of them! (laughs)
RR: You have done a phenomenal job Dame Judi and you are a true delight and privilege to watch on-screen.
Dench: Thanks for that. I’m coming to you for the next part! (laughs)
RR:  How are you dealing with the overwhelming and amazing response from the UK audiences? The film already has cleared over $70 million in box office receipts.
Dench: This is so exciting. But at the same time, you are hopeful  that people will enjoy your work. You know, there is no guarantee of that and that is a plus if they like your work.  I was in India for 9 1/2 weeks with great actors you can’t get luckier then that frankly.
Director John Madden spoke to The Ravi Report on why he choose to show real India to his audience.Director John Madden speaking to The Ravi Report
RR: It’s indeed an honor to meet you sir. Your film is a treasure. You have shown the world the “common man’s India.” Did you have any second thoughts after the film was made about your choice?
Madden:  Thank you.  I really stuck to my guns  with showing  the real India. I shot what inspired me about the place and what I thought was interesting. I had no wish to say anything beyond that. I literally drove around for months before we were shooting. I love the country.
The film opens May 4 in the US and May 18th in India. For more information, log onto www.foxsearchlight/thebestexoticmarigoldhotel/
Don’t miss this one!!
The journey continues…and with marigolds and curry!
Ravi
02
Mar
12

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK SHOWS US THE MONEY!

New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012 Collection  may have come and gone, but the strong economic impact that it left on the city of New York, will be lingering on for a while folks!
Featuring some of the world’s most amazing styles and designs created by ingenious and renowned fashion designers, worn by stunning models and  witnessed by the most influential personalities from the world of fashion, raked in close to $865 million dollars into the Big Apple according to the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). In 2007, New York Fashion Week generated close to $773  million…ah…you do the math folks!

Stunning models welcomed guests to exhibitor booths

Cha-ching!!
Thousands of visitors, celebrities and international media were drawn to Fashion Week that took place at the recently at the majestic world-famous Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Fancy shows, sexy models, after parties, restaurants, hotels, venues, shopping and party after party brought almost a billion dollars into the city- all in the name of fashion. Wow!
The biannual event  attracted over 200 designers including Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs  and thousands upon thousands of devoted fashion fans, photographers, fashion bloggers, writers, reporters and beautiful people who love to get a first hand look at what a new design season will be offering.

Designer Brandon Sun speaking to the press after his show

The Ravi Report was lucky enough to attend acclaimed designer Brandon Sun’s collection called “The Silent Assassins” which included sexy models wearing creations inspired by Kong Fu movies that Sun watched during his childhood. “It’s a combination of elegance and grace but no  signs of violence,” the designer told reporters as they watched his styles created with knits, fur and leather awake the room.

New York Fashion Week is also a great place to meet and connect with some of the most captivating and influential people in the world.
“I saved all year just to be  able to come to New York Fashion Week,” said a gorgeous tall blond with stunning features visiting from California who could have easily passed for a supermodel.

Popular fashion blogger Shea Marie(r) and friend smile for The Ravi Report

“You meet all kinds of people from the fashion world and if you want to connect with them or network, this is the place to do it,” said a ravishing tall brunette with striking crystal blue eyes who had flown in from London for FW.
Going inside Fashion Week Headquarters was like  stepping into a world just belonging to beauty and glitz.  Alluring promotion models everyone ( I swear folks, products just seem to move WAY quicker when gorgeous girls represent them),  diamonds and emerald jewelry displayed in miniature curios  laced along the entrances to shows and luxurious 2012 Mercedes-Benz  cars  exhibited as invited guests and press made their way to the  shows.

Naeem Khan's gowns along with video showing him creating the gowns, was a main attraction for guests

Gifted designer Naeem Khan, whose bewitching and enchanting dresses and gowns have been worn by   celebrities including First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce,  Taylor Swift and Penelope Cruz received the 2012 “Mercedes-Benz Presents Title”, a prestigious honor given to a designer that has exemplified passion, talent and dedication to their craft while showing the use of high quality materials, unique style and innovation design. Hundreds of people flocked around to a visually stunning display of Khan’s latest handcrafted and beaded sequenced gowns displayed among an exquisite  2012 Mercedes-Benz that blended in very well with Khan’s designs.

Diamonds and pearls from Circa Jewelry were part of the glamorous week of fashions

Creative inspiration  was clearly seen at the DHL Carrier  booth where  clever “gowns” made out of DHL “fabric” displaying innovation at its very best! Ah Lady Gaga,  you need any ideas for your next tour?
The pioneer behind FW and the person who ran it for almost a decade, Fern Mallis was as usual being mobbed by fans and the media. She knows everyone and everyone knows her! Her SiriusXM radio show “Fashion Insiders With Fern Mallis” is hugely popular with the masses. The savvy business woman is also launching a new line of jewelry called “Ferns Finds” which she says are inspired from her trips around the world including India and Africa. Btw, Mallis is very popular in the Indian fashion industry.

The She Knows team poses with Toni Braxton, Nigel Barker and Michael Costello for The Ravi Report

In terms of fashion events, there were too many to attend but I did manage to go to a few impressive ones.  SheKnows.com  and their “SheKnows Where The Other Sock Went” campaign for autism was one of the best fashion parties I have ever been to folks. Hosted by world-famous photographer, author and celebrity judge Nigel Barker, six-time Grammy Award-winning Toni Braxton and talented designer Project Runway designer Michael Costello, all joined forces  to raise awareness and funds for Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism and science advocacy organization. Braxton’s youngest son was diagnosed with autism in 2003.

Designer Michael Costello's sock gown created for Toni Braxton was hit!

The party took place at the well-known hot spot Gary’s Loft in Manhattan and was full of some of the most elegant people you will ever see who came to support autism. The highlight of the evening was to see couture gowns made out of socks! That’s right folks! Designer  Costello was asked to create a couture gown made from hundreds of pairs of socks for Braxton and what a great job he did!

“I love seeing a flowing, amazing gown on a woman and I loved the challenge of creating one from socks!” Costello said during the party to reporters.
 For more information please visit www.sheknows.com and www.sheknowswherestheothersockwent.com for updated information on this amazing campaign and how you can help in bringing continued awareness to autism.

Renowned artist Jordan Betten and beautiful wife Sue Bae pose for The Ravi Report

Another fashion party was for the pre-launch Twelv Magazine fashion party at Hotel Gansevoort in the Meatpacking area in NYC. Gorgeous models, famous artists, designers and Fashion Week executives attended the classy and elegant affair. The party, co-hosted by acclaimed artist Jordan Betten and his beautiful wife Sue Bae Betten, mingled among the crowed of models and creative geniuses. The Editor in Chief of Hissa Igarashi is planning on building a school for children in Africa once the magazine becomes profitable.

For more info on the magazine, please visit www.twelvmagazine.com for updates in the world of beauty and fashion.
The journey continues…and a fashionable one at that!
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
13
Jun
11

CELEB POLO MATCH BRINGS OUT GRACE, GLAMOUR AND BEAUTY

Polo players about to begin the game!

Let me  start by saying that The Ravi Report is officially a fan of polo and everything involved. The excitement of the game, the beautiful people, the hats and  stylish picnics have all made The Ravi Report’s  introduction to the classic game an impressive  one.

The Ravi Report was invited  to the recent annual  Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic NY Match party (and it was a LARGE party with over 10K people) at the Governor’s Island to watch one of the of most exciting pre-summer events in NY. The entire island was turned into what I like to call “Hamptons meet Manhattan” with spectators dressed in traditional polo attire topped with fancy and stylish hats complete with classic outfits and  shoes portraying almost an aristocratic look.

World famous polo player/model Nacho Figueras in action!

“I saw more trendy hats here today then the Royal Wedding,” laughed one gorgeous  blue-eyed brunette wearing a designer hat standing in line at the ferry that took the thousands of polo fans back and forth to Governor’s Island.
But before I get into coverage of the celeb filled event (yes, Master of Ceremonies Hugh Jackman had a great time and co-host Marc Jacobs was ever so gracious to the press) I want to share some interesting facts about polo that I found very interesting.
POLO FACTS:
1. Polo originated in Persia and dates back to 5th Century BC.
2. Both women and men play although popularity is focused on the mens teams.
3. Modern game of polo is derived from Manipur, India.
4. Object of game is to get the wooden ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet.
5. Players change horses during a break period due to the intensity and speed of the game.
6. Played in 16 countries but not yet termed an Olympic sport.
7. Players cannot play left-handed.
Now for the  coverage.  The annual VC  Match was indeed something not to be missed. The long lines (the lines to get on  the ferry to and from Governor’s Island was well over an hr long and stretched well over  10 blocks long) the crowds (over 10K according to one NYC cop) and the drama (one stunning  hottie with long legs kept yelling at her boyfriend about the long wait) and the die-hard fans (one gorgeous Brazilian girl with sultry red lips traveled over 4 hours to see the match) was all worth it.
The polo game  brought out the best of the best from the entertainment world including celebs Hugh Jackman, Donna Karan, Vanessa Kay, the president of Veuve Clicquot USA,  Delfina Blaquier, the wife of the polo star Ignacio Figueras, Deborra-Lee Furness (wife of Jackman), the super talented Wyclef Jean, comedian Kathy Griffin and of course the most famous polo player (and Ralph Lauren super male model) Nacho Figueras, Captain of the Black Watch team, who pretty much had the crowd mesmerized when he entered the polo field.

The Ravi Report was keeping score!

The field was laced with a sea of alluring, stylish, champagne drinking (which sold out in minutes) spectators  who embraced the warm weather while enjoying the game looking glamorous while anxiously waiting for their hero Nacho Figueras to come into the field.

The intensity of the game was felt every second!

“I waited two hours on-line just to see Nacho play,” said one striking red-head sporting a white Ralph Lauren dress in honor of the loved Figueras, who also happens to be the face of Ralph Lauren’s  entire mens  fragrance line.

When the superstar made his entrance,  the crowd went crazy with excitement and you could  hear the ladies panting in the middle of clapping. It was quite the scene folks.
A little bit about the acclaimed  polo player if I may. Figueras was born in Buenos Aires and started playing polo at the age of 8 and turning pro at 17.  He then  became a professional  athlete in Argentina and soon  globally famous when he signed on in 2000 to be the face of Ralph Lauren Polo fragrance. Since then, Figueras has used his celebrity status to bring awareness to the game of polo in the US by co-hosting and participating in celebrity matches around the country.  Figueras 37, is married to model Delfina Blaquier and they have three children.

Fighting for the ball!

” I know he’s married,” said one very cute girl dressed in a wavy blue silk dress with a matching decorative hat laced with yellow flowers. “He is simply amazing and well worth the trek in from the city.”

For most of the spectators, it was a day filled with culture, elegance and a chance to see one of the most popular polo players in the world do what he does best- captivate an audience with his gift of playing polo.
So next year folks, make sure you don’t miss one of the most exciting polo games ever to happen in NY and  start hat shopping now!
The journey continues…and in style.
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
 
 
 
 
 
 



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