US hacks employ a funny way to ferret out interesting ‘diary’ stories. Sometimes we depend on our sources, sometimes we cull them off the dailies, and sometimes we use our nose to sniff out a priceless anecdote. The delightful one we are going to narrate falls within the last category!
For a few months now, we’ve been hearing about the imminent launch of Epic, the TV channel that Mukesh Ambani and Anand Mahindra have jointly invested in. What’s been puzzling us is that every news report we’ve read, has informed us that its programming head has been our friend, the Delhi-based TV hotshot ‘Ravina Raj Kohli’, whose experience extends from Sony Entertainment Television (SET) to Channel 9 and finally Star News. All good and fine, of course, but we distinctly recall Ravina telling us that she’s working with Anuradha Prakash of Bag Film’s News 24 and E24 as senior advisor.
So we called up Ravina just to set the record straight. And here’s where the plot thickened.
Mukesh Ambani (left) and Anand Mahindra
“Darling, Epic is run by a poor good soul who everyone has made into Ravina Raj Kohli and given her all my credentials and work history, and the press has given me her husband, Kunal Kohli,” wailed OUR Ravina Raj Kohli. “
It’s completely ridiculous: she is Ravina Kohli, nee Mulchandani, married to Kunal Kohli the film director and she used to direct KWK, and worked at Yashraj Films! Please help clear this mess!” wailed (the asli? nakli?) Kohli, adding, “Please do a story saying: “My name is Ravina and I AM NOT MARRIED to Kunal Kohli!” she said, adding, “And for the record, Kunal and his wife were almost neighbours of mine in Pali Hill; and my boss at Sony was another Kunal!”
So there you have it: two women, two TV channels, same name, and much confusion.
And a pat on our back for sniffing out a good story!
Hungama Keith Ishtyle
You know you’re about to hear a great story when Keith Stevenson, the talented Mumbai ad man, theatre actor and consummate wit, now settled on the West Coast, says, “Years and years ago I had the joy of working in Ayesha (Pooh) Sayani’s film Hungama Bombay Ishtyle around the late 70s. Pearl Padamsee was one of the dadas in the film. I was her chamcha. Playing the other dada and his chamcha were two unknown actors; and you might just have heard of them? Amrish Puri and Naseeruddin Shah. Wonder what happened to them and if they made it in the industry!”
Keith Stevenson and Pearl Padamsee. Pic/Pablo Bartholomew
Keith is known for his tongue firmly in cheek, so the last remark ought to be taken with an industrial-sized pinch of salt, but when he shifts gear and turns maudlin, one cannot help empathise with him. After all so many members of the film’s talented cast are no more: Pearl, Amrish, Vik Adarkar, and Bomsi Nicholson… But after this momentary lapse of sadness Keith regains his legendary joie de vivre… “Pooh told me that Hungama is re-mastered on DVD and is available at the Children’s Film Society. If you have never seen it, please buy a copy. It is hilarious. And maybe, if many of you buy many copies of the DVD, CFS will finally pay Pooh and she can finally pay us!” he says.
Beyond sexist labels
Though we carried her pic in yesterday’s column looking svelte head to toe in Dior as she went up to collect her award for Actor of the Year from NDTV, we could not do justice to the lovely Kangana Ranaut’s text messages that came in later at night after the column’s deadline. “I was extremely proud to know that for the achievements in acting field there was only one award ‘The actor of the year’,” she SMSed.
“I feel best actress and best actor awards are so sexist, why should girls just compete with girls? Why can’t there be a common field where artists work selflessly and transcend the barriers of sex, colour and nationalities?” said the star, fast being known as the ‘Aamir Khan of actresses’ for her counter-intuitive career moves. “For the first time I feel that I have been felicitated for being an artist and not a female artist, it’s a beautiful feeling,” she said, adding, “Anyway, I am going for a shower, have to get to the airport.” To which we texted: Bon Voyage!
And for whoever cares about such things: the grapevine has it that Sushmita Sen is seeing the personable Ritik Bhasin, a partner at one of the city’s hottest night clubs Exo.
Perhaps that explains her frequent appearances at the place.