Posts Tagged ‘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!

The journey continues…



Hilary Swank Flies High With “Amelia”

The Ravi Report's official spot on the red carpet!

The Ravi Report's official spot on the red carpet!


The press lining up for the premiere of "Amelia" at the Paris Theater.

Hilary Swank is gifted. Mira Nair is remarkable, Richard Gere is  incredible,  Ewan McGregor is a star and “Amelia” is a terrific film. Plain and simple. Any more questions?

The recent premiere of the epic film at the famed Paris Theater in NY was proof that Swank, Nair, Gere & McGregor have enough star power to light up a dozen skyscrapers. The A Listers took to the red carpet and were mobbed by their fans, reporters, photographers and The Ravi Report was front and center to get the details.

Acclaimed director Mira Nair talking to the press about "Amelia"

Acclaimed director Mira Nair talking to the press about "Amelia"

Nair,  whose previous films such as  “The Namesake” & “Monsoon Wedding” have become box office sensations , spoke to The Ravi Report about  how she felt now that her most talked about film is  being release. 

 “I am so relieved to be here tonight and I think this film has the force of nature, Amelia, Hilary and myself in it,” states the acclaimed director who looked elegant dressed in a white sequined outfit complete with high heels which the director  rarely wears.

Nair also says that because it’s  an epic film, it required an epic amount of work and  only finished the film a few weeks ago. She  said she gave it “her everything” and in some ways it was  the most  difficult & longest endeavor she had ever engaged in.

“We shot around the world, we shot aerial action in a very real way not just with computers, we also made it an action adventure in addition to showing the world what Amelia was all about,” states the award-winning director.

Ravi Yande and Mira Nair pose for The Ravi Report

Ravi Yande and Mira Nair pose for The Ravi Report

Amelia Earhart really needs no introduction. We all know by now that the courageous and non-traditional woman who disappeared while flying over the Pacific in 1937  had the courage, stamina and guts of more than a hundred people put together and she was the first lady to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928. We knew that the avaitrix was a risk taker, had an open marriage and refused to take “no” for an answer no matter what she tried to achieve in her short-lived life. Her legacy comes to screen via Swank. It’s also uncanny how much Swank resembles Earhart in the film.

The two-time Oscar-winning actress (“Boys Don’t Cry“(2000) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2005) ) spoke to The Ravi Report about the Oscar buzz that has slowly generated for the talented actress and her film.

Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank smiles exclusively for The Ravi Report

Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank smiles exclusively for The Ravi Report

“You know it’s very humbling and it practically leaves me speechless. It’s a great honor just to live my dream and be a working actor and to be in films like Amelia is enormous” she exclusively told The Ravi Report.

The iconic star Richard Gere has entertained the world for decades and critics are praising his role in the film. The superstar plays the role of Earhart’s devoted husband and long time supporter George Palmer Putnam. Gere does a phenomenal job.

Actor Richard Gere gives one of his finest performances in "Amelia".

Actor Richard Gere gives one of his finest performances in "Amelia".

Harry Connick Jr told The Ravi Report that he has been a long time fan of Swank.

“I got to know her a few years ago and man, I am a big fan of hers. I can’t wait until I see her portray Amelia which I think will be ground breaking” states the award-winning actor and singer. He also says that women are getting stronger roles in Hollywood films now and hopes the trend continues.

The film’s writer Anna Hamilton Phelan whose past films include “Girl, Interrupted” and “Chains” and “In Love & War“, says that she has been a fan of Amelia Earhart for years. The research  for the scrip, including reading  several biographies on the hero, was part of the process of writing the screenplay.

Screenwriter Ann Hamilton Pelan poses exclusively for The Ravi Report

Screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan poses exclusively for The Ravi Report

“She was a risk taker and reckless, she took risks she shouldn’t have taken. She had many insecurities.” states the award winning writer.

Phelan says that the first time she saw Swank in make up and costume, it took her breath away.Swank’s mannerisms and character transformation was so identical to Amelia’s that she said Swank was “just extraordinary in the role”.

“She makes my dialogue look great!” laughed the writer.

The film also stars British actor Joe Anderson, a very talented performer but  not quite a household name yet in Hollywood. He plays the role of Bill in the biopic.

Nair has done an amazing job with “Amelia”  and  many will agree that Swank is a true actress to the core with an incredible way of portraying  the legendary Earhart. The talk of Oscar for both Swank and Nair solidifies that both know how to pick and make films. This is one movie you don’t want to miss and it will be a damn shame if you do.

The Journey continues…



MoMA Welcomes “The New India” Film Festival.

The Museum of Modern Art loves Indian films!  In 2007 the  world renowned museum did a tremendous  job with “India Now” a week long film festival showcasing  the best of Indian films & documentaries.  MoMa does an encore presentation this year with many of the top independent, short and Bollywood films from India in “The New India,” a unique and exciting  & ongoing Indian film festival presented by the Museum of Modern Art until June 18 2009

Indian film iconic actor Naseerudhin Shah mingles with guest at MoMA's The New India film festival

Indian iconic actor Naseeruddin Shah mingles with guest at The New India film festival

The festival includes 16 films (8 of them being NY releases) and includes top Bollywood and  provacative and social issues seriously affecting India  including AIDS, political corruption, terrorist attacks & exploitation of child.

 The opening night of the festival premiered with the film  “Yes, Madam, Sir” (  a profile look at Dr. Kiran Bedi, the first woman and high ranking police official and one of the  most revered social activist in India today. Dr. Bedi was present during the screening.

Academy Award winning director Megan Mylan’s  film ‘Smile Pinki” ( a heart wrenching story about a beautiful Indian girl born with cheiloschisis commonly know as cleft lip, whose  life changes dramatically after getting surgery.  Mylan won the 2008 Oscar for Best Documentary.

The selection process was a bit tough say festival officials especially for a country that produces the most films in the world (1000 plus) and  in several different languages.

“It was very challenging to pick films for this festival because we had seen over 200 films and the process is very demanding but at the end,you have to select the best ones you can and hope audiences will be receptive” stated the  guest curator  Uma De Cuhna, an acclaimed Indian film festival organizer for US audiences for the past several years. 

De Cuhna collaborated closely with MoMa’s  renowned Associate Curator Josh Siegel from the Dept. of Film and together they worked for over a year and the fruits of their labor have proven to be successful.   The comments & reaction from audiences and the mostly sold out screenings this year were the results of their hard work and dedication to Indian cinema.  

De Cuhna also stated that despite the immense talent in the art films and independent films, the vast majority of interest from audiences at the festivals  still stems from  where it all beings- Bollywood.

“Where ever our festivals are, people always like to see Bollywood films. I guess it’s the lively human spirit in the films &  the songs and dances  that attracts them these  films and with  so much going on now in the world people are just enjoying Bollywood films even more” says the guest curator.

Beautiful actress & director Nandita Das is all smiles for The Ravi Report on the success of her film "Firaaq" shown at the "The New India" film festival.

Beautiful actress & director Nandita Das is all smiles for The Ravi Report on the success of her film "Firaaq" shown at the "The New India" film festival.

 Personally, De Cunha does believe independent films bring out the raw talent of many Indian actors that often get caught up in the glitz and glamour of a big budgeted blockbuster and says she  even prefers to watch regional & art movies where actors are seen in their finest and more realistic moments then a fantasy filled Bollywood thriller.

The New India”festival so far  included special appearances by top Indian film stars including Nandita Das who presented her directorial debut “Firaaq”  ( which was screened to a sold out audience, Abay Deol,a popular young Bollywood star whose  film “Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye” was received well  and one of the most iconic stars of Indian cinema, Naseeruddin Shah and his amazing film “ A Wednesday!”  (

Shah has won more prestigious awards and has given some of the best performances in Bollywood and art films in his career as a top actor. At 59  and with over three decades of acting in Indian films behind him,  Shah  is one of the most sought after stars in Indian cinema today and the most respected.  His leap into Hollywood with films like “Monsoon Wedding” (2001) and “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman” (2003) with actor Sean Connery has been nothing but welcoming from the western audiences, prompting Hollywood to take a closer look at this National Award winning gifted actor.

Legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Yande at The New India film festival.

Legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Yande at The New India film festival.

Directed and produced by Neeraj Pandey, “A Wednesday!” focuses on the daily hardships & corruptions  the common man in India  faces and the repercussions that happen when his life is threatened.

” I took to the script because it shows the everyday struggles of the common man in India which is so difficult” said the National Award winning star.

Shah said he did a first read without stopping (something  he has never done before  in his career he says) and  knew right away it was for him. The film was made on a “sandal string budget” Shah told the packed audience before the screening and it has done incredibly well in India and abroad. The iconic actor is not modest about the success of the film at all.

“I was not surprised at all. When I take a film I don’t bother about the box office potential. I  take films purely on instinct. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t but I knew right away this film would do well” states the award winning actor.

Regarding changes in the way films are being made these days in Bollywood,  Shah believes that non-formula Indian films are getting better and the reason being that the younger generation of  producers & directors are not only making films but they are  “living them”.

“These kids nowadays write a good story because they experience it. They live it, they breath it and that is applied to today’s smart script development” boasts the actor.

  “Luck By Chance” which was shown earlier on in the festival,  focuses on the immense struggles & competition of achieving stardom in Bollywood.

“It’s nice to be able to see a Bollywood film and an art film all in the same  festival” said Indian movie  fan Jessica who came from Queens, NY dressed in a bright red Indian tunic.

The New India”  film festival is ongoing until June 18, 2009.  For tickets/shows/special screenings log onto for a full list. The exhibition is made possible by Marguerite and Kent Charugundla from the incredible Tamarind Art Council

The journey continues…




It was indeed a sad day for the world when we learned that talented actress, mom, wife,daughter and activist Natasha Richardson had passed away on Monday. March 18, 2009. It was shocking to many that such a vibrant, beautiful and extremely talented actress was no longer among us. 

Richardson 45, died from injuries sustaining from an epidural hematoma caused by an skiing accident that occurred on March 16 in which the actress  fell on a beginner’s slope in Quebec, Canada.

The talented daughter of Oscar winning actress Vanessa Redgrave  and the late acclaimed theater director Tony Richardson was married to Hollywood star Liam Neeson  and had two children Micheál 14  and Daniel 12.

Richardson had an incredible & enriching stage and film career.  At 23, she had her first major film role in Ken Russell’s “Gothic” and numerous other films followed including “Patty Hearst” and most recently “The Parent Trap”in which she portrayed Lindsay Lohan’s mother.

“I can’t believe it. So young, so beautiful” commented one very pretty girl who was reading the devastating news at a cafe in Union Square.

I first met Richardson about two years ago on the red carpet of an event in NY. She was attending a fundraiser and she was so humble and gracious.  I remember  she was running late and was being rushed into the event but still made time to talk to reporters making sure that everyone was able to speak to her and get some questions answered and she often stayed until she was done. Now, that’s class.

When I interviewed the Tony award winning actress at  The Foundation of AIDS Research (AmFar) event last year, she spoke to me about  how her father, the late director Tony Richardson had  died of AIDS related causes  in 1991. She was so passionate about  being involved in AmFar and said it meant  more then just lending her name. She told me she had lost many friends to the disease and wanted to help out in any way she could. Richardson was actively involved in the organization for more than 15 years. That’s just the kind of person she was.

Always impeccably dressed, the actress had the most captivating smile and dazzling eyes I have ever seen. When she walked the red carpet, she would bring with her grace, charm, style and a whole lot of class that will be  missed.

 Richardson wasn’t a friend but there is still a sense of sadness that I am feeling as if I have lost a good friend. Many people that I have spoken to in the last 48 hours feel the same way.

I will light a candle for Natasha Richardson and pray  for her family and hope they remain strong during this time of sadness.




To understand the magnitude of Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan, you need to do a little arithmetic here. Take the status of Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and George Clooney multiply that by 100 and add singer Bono to the mix and then maybe you have the equation of the kind of mass appeal that Abhishek Bachchan has to Indian films. With millions of fans, world wide releases and being married to the world’s most beautiful lady Aishwariya Rai, the guy is doing ok. Okay!

Indian superstar Abhishek Bachchan poses for The Ravi Report in NY.

Superstar Abhishek Bachchan exclusively poses for The Ravi Report in NY.

Bachchan Jr. 34,  son of legendary Indian film stars Amitabh & Jaya Bachchan has been a top star in the Indian film industry for the past decade pairing up with some of the hottest and sexiest leading ladies in Bollywood. The tall, humble, charistmatic and spiritual actor (the actor’s name  literary means “the process of offering worship to God”)  sat down with The Ravi Report in NY recently to talk about his latest hit movie “Delhi 6″ his marriage and what being part of “Young Bollywood” means to him.

RR: Abhishek great seeing you again. Ok, let’s start with the film. It seems your role of “Roshan” in “Dehli 6” was almost specifically written for you.  You did a great job. In what way did you research the role?

AB: Thanks Ravi. I could relate to the character pretty well  because although I was born in India, like “Roshan” I have lived most of my life outside of the country due to my education  so I could related to the way he saw things differently and often questioned things like faith, family values, etc.

RR: What did you find most captivating about the script?

AB: hmm…I found the narrative part of the film to be a great concept that Reykesh(the director) created. It was brilliant and fit so nicely into the film. It made so much sense to have that element throughout the story.

RR: You’ve portrayed some interesting characters in your decade long career. What is it that you specifically look for when accepting a role?

AB: Well, (pauses for a moment) there is really nothing specific that I look for in a script but I will say that the story has to excite me in some way.  I am open to anything and I like to experiment with something new in the storyline if possible.

Ravi Yande with Abhishek Bachchan

Ravi Yande with Abhishek Bachchan

Experiment indeed. Over the years, Bachchan Jr. has portrayed intense & comical roles that have gotten him international fame such as the recent  hit film “Dostana” which was shot in Miami Beach and did extremely well at the box office last year both in India and abroad. It also earned him a Filmfare nomination (The Indian equivalent to the Oscars). Ironically his legendary father Bachchan Sr. also starred in the same titled film almost three decades earlier which also became a hit at the box office in India. Like father like son.

RR: How do you think you have grown as an actor?

AB: Wow! (pauses) I don’t know how to really answer that question…hmmm let’ s see…well, I think I am more confident now in my abilities as an actor. Trying to deliver your lines in front of about 500 people can be a bit challenging but I think I have mastered it somewhat now at this stage of my career. Plus you pick up alot of experiences during a film and you apply it to your next film so you do know how things are done and what to look for.

RR: Your famous parents Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan have ruled the Indian film industry for decades. How influential have they been in your career and if so, in what way?

AB: Well, they are my parents and they are going to always have a say in something! (laughs).They have been great. They give me freedom to choose the roles  that I want and have never influenced me or told me what role to go for. But I do go to them for advice and they are always willing to express their thoughts when I ask. They are great.

RR: With so many changes now in the Indian film industry in terms of business, marketing and the way films are produced, tell me what some of your thoughts are on the way “New Bollywood” is being marketed these days not just in India but globally as well.

AB: The Indian film industry has drastically changed in many ways and  I firmly believe that the  industry has become the ambassador of India to the world in many ways. When we (the Indian film industry) were recognized as an full fledged Indian film industry by the Government of India a few years ago, alot of fresh funding came into the scene in terms of banks, corporations &  investors so changes  like creating studios, multiplexes and savvy marketing all came into existence creating a more business savvy industry.  

Abhishek Bachchan with the gorgeous Sonam Kapoor, co star of the film "Delhi 6"

Abhishek Bachchan with the gorgeous Sonam Kapoor, co star of the film "Delhi 6"

RR: You are part of what many have termed “Young Bollywood”, a group of talented & young stars that have become box office sensations  with highly successful films.  Your thoughts?

AB: Well, (leans back for a few seconds…then leans forward, pauses then begins to speak). I hope that my generation can make a difference in the industry in some way. I think we have made an impact on pop culture and music in many ways and many of our films are being released internationally so I do hope the trend continues.

RR: Your mother and father had their trademark film “Abhimaan”in 1973 which pretty much launched their careers and made them stars. They portrayed a married couple who happened to also be married in real live. Anything similar in the planning with you and Aishwariya?

AB: Well, Ash and I were offered a film by Rajiv Menon  who is developing something along the lines of “Abhimaan” so we’ll see how it goes. I am also shooting a film with her with my mentor Mani Ratnam who produced “Guru”…so there are few things going on which we like.

RR: Thank you so much for your time. It was great seeing you again. I wish you alot of luck with your new films.

AB: It was a pleasure. Thank you.





"Delhi 6" award winning team being introduced at MoMa premiere.

For a minute I thought I was back in Mumbai at some  glitzy movie premiere when I entered the world famous  Museum of Modern Art In Manhattan on Sunday February 16, 2009 and saw Bollywood movie stars, larger then life Indian movie posters and a line of fans dressed in silk saris and tunics waiting to get into the museum.  MoMa had welcomed  Bollywood for the first time with the  premiere of “Delhi 6″  along with the cast and director of the film, celebrities, Indian film devotees and of course The Ravi Report was front and center to capture all the exciting parts of the movie event.


Indian superstar Abhishek Bachchan enters MoMa for the screening of his film "Delhi 6"

“There he is!” screamed one very pretty Indian girl trying to get a glimpse of the “Brad Pitt” of India, Abhishek Bachchan the star of the film. “Please just one hug” shouted another stunning Indian beauty with almond shaped eyes among the hundreds of fans who showed up for the premiere.

The crowd had waited hours in line just to get a quick photo or hand shake (security permitting) of  Bachchan Jr, son of legendary and world famous Indian filmstars Amitabh & Jaya Bachchan. Dressed in a Hugo Boss suit complete with silk tie and silver cufflinks and sporting a new hair style, (for a role he is currently playing) Bachchan Jr. did the usual signing of autographs, posing for pictures and shaking hands among the well wishers who waited hours to catch a glimpse of  Indian film star in person who on Feb. 5 celebrated his 33rd birthday in NY. Married to global international star Aishwariya Rai, who recently had her own movie premiere of “Pink Panther”in NY,  the young actor whose decade long career in the Indian cinema industry has made him into one of India’s finest leading actors and part of what many term “Young Bollywood”.

Bachchan Jr. came  with the lead actress of the film, the ravishing Sonam Kapoor daughter of Bollywood top actor Anil Kapoor who has become an household name because of  his role as the host of  “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” in the Oscar winning film  “Slumdog Millionaire”. The father and daughter team have reached international fame from their hard work, talent and of course great movies.

Kapoor, dressed in a tradition red and black Indian dress, decked with  Indian jewellery, the stunning and very humble actress spoke to reporters about her role, loving NY and “Slumdog Millionaire”.
“I am so excited to be in NY especially with the film. New Yorkers have always embraced us (Indian films) so I am grateful to be here again” stated the Indian beauty.

MoMa welcomed Bollywood in full swing!

MoMa welcomed Bollywood in full swing!

Although Indian movie premieres  in NY are still few and far in between, they are slowly becoming part of the NY movie premiere culture. Only the  big budgeted films with box office appeal and of course big talent from India make it to NY but now due increased interest from the western audiences,  Indian films are getting global recognization more so now than ever before thanks to brilliant Indian directors like  Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Reykesh Omprakash Mehra and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Acclaimed filmmaker Reykesh OmPrakash Mehra being interviewed at this MoMa premire of film "Delhi 6".

Acclaimed filmmaker Reykesh OmPrakash Mehra being interviewed at the MoMa premire of his film "Delhi 6".

Acclaimed and internationally known director of “Delhi 6″, Reykesh Omprakash Mehra whose previous box office megahit “Rang De Basanti”was India’s official entry for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars in 2006 was heard telling reporters how this movie was extremely personal to him in many ways. More on what the film meant to him and his journey as a filmmaker in my in depth interview with Mehra and the stars  of the film in the next The Ravi Report.

One star missing from the premiere was musical genius A.R. Rahman who was in LA preparing for his Oscar night performance. The world knows by now that Rahman won two Oscars for his musical scores for “Slumdog Millionaire“. The music for “Delhi 6″ is simply awesome.

I really must commend MoMa for doing an outstanding job at the premiere. It was such a pleasure to see the world famous museum have such a strong  interest in Indian films and to embrace it with such style, elegance and respect. You must visit MoMa when you get a chance and membership has many, many benefits.

The special night also included international movie director Mira Nair, beautiful stage and screen  actress Sarita Chaudhury,  actor Manu Narayan from the superhit film “Love Guru” and several NY social personalities and business leaders.




Talk about a film with the Midas touch. Is there anything else really left to say about “Slumdog Millionaire“?  Ten Oscar nominations and other recent  honors include Best Ensemble Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Daryl F. Zanuck Award for Producer at the Producers Guild of America Awards. This  is unbelievable! The film has broken all records at the box office and continues to win award after award in Hollywood and overseas.

Co-director Loveleen Tandan and acclaimed movie director Mira Nair share a joke at the NY premiere.

Co-director Loveleen Tandan and acclaimed movie director Mira Nair share a joke at the NY premiere.

 Just to show you how popular the movie has become,  I recently took some friends to a Manhattan movie house last week and the film sold out!  I thought, what a minute! The movie has been out since last November and it is still selling out? Remarkable.

“The ten Oscar nominations really increased ticket sales” said the gorgeous blonde behind the ticket booth who also told me she has seen it once  and was planning on seeing it again with her friends.

The magic behind the movie besides having magnificent director Danny Boyle and a great team is that the film seems to be attracting all kinds of audiences who have been longing for a feel good film and “Slumdog Millionaire” is certainly filling the void.

The nominations for global musical genius A. R. Rahman, who has been nominated for two of the three songs in the Best Song category, has been a tremendous honor for his work and for India. The singer, composer, producer , instrumentalist and song writer has for the past two decades, created some of the most incredible songs and background music for Indian films. His work is known across the globe and now Hollywood as taken notice.  The soundtrack of “Slumdog Millionaire” has caught the attention of the nation with it’s foot tapping melodies and soulful tunes.

NY after party of "Slumdog Millionaire" premiere with Co-director Loveleen Tandan and director Danny Boyle in the background mingling with guests.

NY after party of "Slumdog Millionaire" premiere with Co-director Loveleen Tandan and director Danny Boyle in the background mingling with guests.

My media contacts in India who attended the Mumbai premiere of the film said that the Oscar nominations were announced the night of the premiere so there was a double celebration that night. Guests and celebrities danced the night away to an Indian band playing  on the red carpet when they heard of the nomination news. Co-director Loveleen Tandan dressed  in a beautiful & classic pink silk sari danced the night away with Bollywood top star Anil Kapoor and the beautiful Frieda Pinto and charismatic Dev Patel,  all of whom have become households names .

As The Academy Awards are watched around the world on Sunday, February 22, 2009 on ABC by millions,  all eyes will be focused on a small film with unknown leads that has magnified into one of the most powerful films of the year catching  the attention of the world in the process.

Music Composer/Producer/Singer A.R. Rahman seen here with Andrew Lloyd Weber, has been nominated twice in the Best Song category for the Oscars.

Music Composer/Producer/Singer A.R. Rahman seen here with Andrew Lloyd Weber, has been nominated twice in the Best Song category for the Oscars.


The Oscar nominations for “Slumdog Millionaire” are as follows:

1. Best Picture

2.Best Director

3. Best Adapted Screenplay(writing)

4. Best Cinematography

5. Best Song (2 nominations)

1.”Jai Ho”

2. “O Saya”

6. Achievement in Editing

7. Best Sound Mixing

8.Original Score



A myriad of TV crews and reporters waited anxiously for Tom Cruise and Bryan Singer to enter the premiere

A myriad of TV crews and reporters waited anxiously for Tom Cruise and Bryan Singer to enter the premiere

It was indeed one of the most glamorous and star studded movie premieres I have covered and attended in NY this movie season.  Iconic Hollywood movie star Tom Cruise and acclaimed award winning director Bryan Singer along with celebrities and special guests made their way down the red carpet on Dec. 15 at the movie premiere of their much talked about and anticipated film”Valkyrie”.

Accomplished & talented actor Tom Cruise at the red carpet premiere of his movie "Valkyrie"

Accomplished & talented actor Tom Cruise at the red carpet premiere of his movie "Valkyrie"

The biggest  movie premiere ever to happen so far this year and The Ravi Report was  front and center with details, exclusive interviews and photos that will only be seen on this entertainment news & exclusive event coverage blog. The premiere took place at the prestigious Ross Hall at the famous Time Warner Center amidst  a media frenzy that I had never seen before. NY press, foreign press and almost every major magazine & newspaper outlet were on the red carpet vying for interviews with Singer and Cruise and other celebrities.

 Director Bryan Singer  is my childhood friend so this was indeed a special night for me as well. It is always nice seeing him at his movie premieres and he was gracious as ever with the media and still is  the same smart, talented and personable person I met over 25 years ago. He has never forgotten his friends and his roots in Princeton, NJ.

Tom Cruise and Ravi Yande at the "Valkyrie" NY red carpet premiere.  Photo courtesy Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise and Ravi Yande at the "Valkyrie" NY red carpet premiere. Photo courtesy Tom Cruise.

The film already has generated a great deal of press for both director Singer and Cruise, who portrays the real life  role of German officer Claus Von Stauffenberg who in 1943 hatched a plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

 “I am really thrilled to be here and hoping that it all goes well. My whole family is here tonight” said Singer.

“My mom has seen it already but my dad will see it tonight and alot of my friends from Jersey that still live in Jersey are here as well tonight and for me personally that is a big and very exciting thing to have my family and friends here” the director exclusively told The Ravi Report.

Ravi Yande and good friend Bryan Singer

Ravi Yande and good friend Bryan Singer

Bryan also told me his movies are usually premiered in LA and that very rarely do his films have a NY premiere.  so “Valkyrie”had an extra special meaning to him.The award winning director  also said that it was  especially heartwarming to see that the press and the critics are saying positive things about the film so early in without a nationwide release yet.  The film opens Christmas day and both Singer and Cruise are proud of all their hard work and dedication the film and it’s release.

Acclaimed director Bryan Singer enters the red carpet premiere in style!

Acclaimed director Bryan Singer enters the red carpet premiere in style!

“Tom and I are most proud of that fact that as much as it’s an assassination thriller, it’s all true. It happened. It’s a real story, true story. The characters are true and what happened to them is real and that is just the added bonus” said the “Usual Suspects” & “Superman” director.

Mass hysteria took place when the “Rainman”  & “Jerry Mcguire”superstar took to the carpet. When Cruise entered the room, everything pretty much turned into mayhem with cameras flashing second and second, reporters screaming the actor’s name and security trying to push back the overzealous reporters hoping for a quick sound bite from the star.  It was great to see that after 25 years of being a top movie star, Cruise  commands the kind of adoration and respectablility that Hollywood legends work a lifetime to achieve.  Tom was gracious, unassuming and excited that his movie was being so welcomed by the NY press.

Tom Cruise answering questions from the press.

Tom Cruise answering questions from the press.

Tom answered the basic red carpet questions about his family and life in NY with a pool of reports.

“My kids have the life that I always wanted. They travel the world, envelope different cultures and people, learn about their history..that’s how I raise my kids so they have full exposure to the world and ideas and philosophies and make choices by themselves” said the award winning superstar.

The devoted father  has made NY his permanent home lately due to wife Katie’s broadway debut and is often seen and photographed around town having fun and being a nuturing parent to  his kids.

Tom Cruise speaking to the jam packed press line at the premiere.

Tom Cruise speaking to the jam packed press line at the premiere.

“Whatever they want to be, I tell them to just do it. But I have a thing that if you really want to do it, just do it. Don’t be causual about it” he tells The Ravi Report.

Tom revealed that he has had a place for 25 years in Manhattan and says he loves the theater, going to live performances and the people.

I asked him if he finds it challenging to be such a high profiled family man.

“I am trying man. I am going for it…that is what you got to do!” said the star as he flashed his trademark million dollar movie star smile.

Tom is also spontanous I found out.  After my interview, he politely asked if he could see my camera. I obliged and the superstar then turns towards me and graciously proceeds to take a picture of the both of us on my camera.  I thanked  him for taking the photo and we shook hands before he was lead off the  red carpet by his professional team of  publicists and taken into the screening room with Singer and the other celebrities.

Bryan Singer listening to questions from the press

Bryan Singer listening to questions from the press

NASCAR iconic driver Jeff Gordon who came with his stunning wife Ingrid Vandebousch  told The Ravi Report that he was too busy driving race cars to keep up with all the business of Hollywood movies these days but did appreciate Tom’s and Bryan’s work. The famous race car driver attends movie premieres with Ingrid but due to his hectic and world travels, he finds it hard to see all of the latest blockbusters. But he was he said he was very excited to see Tom’s film.

NASCAR icon Jeff Gordon and his stunning wife Ingrid at the movie premiere.

NASCAR icon Jeff Gordon and his stunning wife Ingrid at the movie premiere.

“We had a conversation with Tom and Katie not to long ago and he is amazing and I am really looking forward to see his new film” states the first ever  NASCAR driver to host Saturday Night Live in 2003.

Since this was a very special premiere and The Ravi Report had exclusive access to interviews with the cast members, there will be follow up in another blog shortly with additional interviews, exclusive photos and a review of  “Valkyrie”.




Flashes of scenes from the box office hit of the 80’s “National Lampoon Vacations”kept coming to mind as I entered the lavish and swanky Audi showroom on Park Avenue on Tuesday night and saw the very tall actor Chevy Chase mingling with the upscale & beautiful NY crowd. It was a private & special book release party for “The Godfather Family Album”a incredible pictorial book compiled by famed photographer Steve Schapiro and his years of photographing the fictionalized characters. Schapiro’s friends, associates and well wishers came to the very classy party produced by publisher Taschen Books and Men’s Vogue magazine. I have been to a ton of book launch parties before but never to one at a fancy car showroom so it was indeed the kind of party that you talk about days after it’s over.

Actor Chevy Chase in discussion with world famous photographer Steve Schapiro at book party

Actor Chevy Chase in discussion with world famous photographer Steve Schapiro at book party

But first about the book. I was impressed. The Godfather Family Album based on Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary film ‘The Godfathers” is simply more then just a collectors item. It’s a piece of treasure (with a $700 price tag) that anyone who ever loved the epic film and their characters must have. Black and white classic images of  iconic actors such as Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert De Niro and Al Picino are all part of Schapiro’s collection. I mean please, who can forget the famous image of actor Marlon Brando holding that cat with that mysterious and captivating grin. Oye!

The book includes over 400 never before images from the films. It is available through with only a limited edition of 1000.

Ok, back to the party. The last time I saw Chevy Chase, he was at a  red carpet movie premiere in LA just being himself and having fun and that’s pretty much what he was doing at the party. Dressed in a blazer with jeans and loafers, Chase was chatting up a storm with old friends and devoted fans. Chase and Schapiro mingled with the beautiful folks of NYC to speak about the book and the collection of photos.

Chase and Schapiro admire the latest Audi cars at the Park Avenue NY showroom.

Chase and Schapiro admire the latest Audi cars at the Park Avenue NY showroom.

NY businessmen who dressed as Vogue representatives, chatted up beautiful models who lingered around the posh Audi cars as they glimpsed at Chase and tried to get a picture with him. People were friendly, courteous and very much impressed by the talent of Schapiro’s work.

“Seeing Chase brings back memories of high school” commented a guest gorgeous enough to be on the cover of the next Vogue.

Memories indeed. Chase’s character Clark Griswold from the four “National Lampoon Vacation ” films did indeed put him on the map as a star and really have been a strong reminder of his claim to fame in addtion to being the first cast member of “Saturday Night Live”.

Despite being an outspoken liberal, Chase’s popularity hasn’t been effected as you could tell from the 200 plus people that came to the event. It was indeed good to see Chase doing what he does best- being funny.




The next time you pick up a fancy bottle of crystal clear water and are about to quench your thirst, take a second if you will to just imagine that bottle of  water being filthy, muddy and filled with bacteria and other elements dangerous to your health. Not very appealing, huh?  Well, thanks to Scott Harrison Founder and President of Charity:Water organization,, thousands of people around the world  now have safe and clean drinking water. Through his dedication and endless efforts Scott & his team have been providing clean and healthy drinking water to thousands  in underdeveloped countries that are subjected to dirty and unhealthy drinking water.

In  two years Charity:Water has developed 1, 030 water projects in 13 countries allowing 500K people to have clean and safe  drinking clean water. Now that’s incredible!

His annual Charity:Water Gala Benefit scheduled on December 15, 2008 at The Metropolitan Pavillion located at 125 West 18th Street brings out the best of New Yorkers and is a way for people to help donate and help numerous countries including Africa, India and Guyana to have clean drinking water. Tickets for the gala can be purchased online at

Water Benefit on Dec. 15.

Talented Actor and long time supporter Adrian Grenier will co-host Charity:Water Benefit on Dec. 15.

I attended and covered the event last year and let me say one thing. It was simply incredible. 1500 of the most beautiful, elegantly dressed and generous people you will ever meet. Large poster size images of children from around the world are displayed through the venue attached with stories about how their lives have been changed through Charity:Water.  A list celebrities, supermodels, socialites & famous New Yorkers mingled with the guests during the night learning more about the organization and how they can help.  Glamorous red carpet arrivals laced with celebrities and national press all came out to support Scott and his wonderful organization.  Honestly, it’s an event that you don’t want to miss!

 The most rewarding part of the evening is you get to see how your donations are being utilized around the world and how many people are benefiting from the generosity of others. All for the sake of clean drinking water. It’s a great feeling.

For all those “Entourage” fans, the gala this year will be hosted by superstar Adrian Grenier who is as humble as any star can be along side the stunning supermodel and very gracious Jessica Stam. I met and interviewed both of them last year and the passion and concern for people is visibly seen in their eyes.


Co-hosts supermodel Jessica Stam and actor Adrien Grenier are long time supporters of Charity:Water

A  $20 dollar bottle of water can give so many people the drink for life. That’s a price of a movie these days with oily popcorn. Just think, after you watch the movie and eat the popcorn, what do you have? Nothing. A $20 dollar donation goes 100 percent towards building  water wells and providing clean water for the people of Africa and other nations. I spoke to a few patrons last year at the gala who had travelled to the countries where Scott has done work and were so pleased with the progress Charity:Water is doing they continue to support his work.
So the next time you pick up that clean, sparkling bottle of water, you may want to think of Charity:Water and how you can help in spreading the wealth of clean and safe drinking water.  The event sells out fast so for tickets go online at
Hope to see you at the event!


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