In what will perhaps be the biggest political event of 2017, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th US President on January 20. Never mind that his team is having trouble getting A-listers to the all-important day, the political leader, known to be an 'India supporter', will have a Bollywood act as part of the pre-inauguration celebrations. Almost 20 per cent of the four-hour stage show will belong to former Miss India Manasvi Mamgai.
Shalabh Kumar, Donald Trump and Manasvi Mamgai
Speaking exclusively to hitlist from the US, Manasvi, who played one of the female leads in Ajay Devgn-starrer Action Jackson (2014), says, "The inauguration committee is organising a welcome celebration on January 19 for more than a million Trump followers. There will be two stages that will feature artistes from 3pm to 7pm. The President will come to the viewing box at 5pm for less than an hour, when there will be just one active stage, barely 10 feet from him. I have been given the prime slot, from 5pm to 5.45pm, to lead the Bollywood performance." Credit for this honour, says Manasvi, goes to her father, Shalabh Kumar, a Chicago-based engineer and businessman.
At a charity concert in October
The Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), a Hindu nationalist group that galvanised support for Trump during his electoral campaign, was founded by Kumar. This is probably Trump's way of expressing gratitude to RHC. "My father requested me to volunteer for the campaign and I joined him. I also organised a Bollywood charity concert in New Jersey on October 15. It was there that dad introduced me to Trump," she says.
Recalling the meeting, Manasvi said when she mentioned that she was a former Miss India, Trump quipped, "Oh, my bad luck! You should have been in the Miss Universe pageant [which he owned at one time]. He is extremely friendly and quite charming, unassuming and straightforward. He is such a great crowd reader that, at the end of one of his speeches, he unexpectedly came back to the podium to say, 'We love Hindus, we love India'. That became the hallmark of the campaign that point onwards." Manasvi, who disappeared from Bollywood after Action Jackson, is waiting for the right opportunity to return to the 70mm zone; only a content-driven role will interest her.