Posts Tagged ‘Shabana Azmi



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…


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