Peter Mukerjea finds unwavering support from Star colleagues

Jan 20, 2017, 06:00 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Even as their former colleague, Peter Mukerjea faces what must be the most challenging periods of his life, word comes in of strong and unwavering support from a section of his former colleagues at Star

Peter Mukerjea
Peter Mukerjea

Even as their former colleague, Peter Mukerjea faces what must be the most challenging periods of his life, word comes in of strong and unwavering support from a section of his former colleagues at Star. Mukerjea, in his role as the entertainment and media company’s CEO is said to have been a charismatic boss, and a thorough gentleman to boot.

No surprises then, that a ‘Friends of Peter’ group is said to have been created and that it tries to ensure that a couple of its members show up at every of his court appearances. Of course this is a private initiative and does not have the official sanction of the international media juggernaut. But when you consider that currently the top echelons of practically every important media company is peopled by former Star executives as this office reunion party picture proves, that adds up to some pretty formidable support.

Former and current Star executives
Former and current Star executives

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and smiling ear-to-ear at the farewell of a beloved colleague hosted a couple of years ago by Uday Shankar, CEO Star India, are the likes of Raj Nayak (CEO Colors) Sameer Nair (Group CEO Balaji Tele Films) Monica Tata (COO, BTVi) Ajay Vidyasagar (Regional Director APAC Google) and Jagdish Kumar (former MD Hathway) who at some point in their career had all worked for the Mother Ship. For his sake Mukerjea must be thanking his stars that he’d been a good boss.

Very special screening
Gurinder Chadha, whose latest offering, Viceroy’s House, the Indo-British historical drama, which will be released in cinemas in the UK and India on March 3 is reported to be gearing up, to host a very special screening in Delhi in the following weeks, for no less than President Pranab Mukherjee (said to be an an avid film buff) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Gurinder Chadha and President Pranab Mukherjee
Gurinder Chadha and President Pranab Mukherjee

The film starring Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayak and Huma Qureshi that follows the final months of British rule in India, is said to be one of the director’s finest works, and also features the late great Om Puri in one his last performances.

Girl uninterrupted
Anushka Rajan, the young entrepreneur, and graduate of Babson College, is certainly on a roll. The vivacious daughter of Abhijit (Chairman and Managing Director Gammon India) and Karuna Rajan, she launched Acmeshka, a lifestyle and accessories brand with a social and environmentally conscious outlook as a starter.

Anushka Rajan and (right) Abhishek Bachchan
Anushka Rajan and (right) Abhishek Bachchan

Post this, she decided to pursue her other interest, which is Bollywood (Her parents are related to the Bachchans family and she ties a raakhi to Abhishek). And now news comes in that the young lass’ first Bollywood project, the film ‘Iraada’, which she has co-written, and is a creative producer on, starring Naseerudin Shah and Arshad Warsi is only a month away from its theatrical release.

And co-incidentally, this is not the only good news for the Rajan family as the scheduled release date is only a few days after Anushka’s upcoming wedding to Abhishek Doshi, to be held in February in the UAE.

Homing birds
Word comes in that the 30-year-old Jay Kila, and 28-year-old Sean Kilachand, the two New York-based brothers, who are the grandsons of the late industrialist Lalitbhai Kilachand, will both be in Mumbai next month. Jay, an alumnus of Stanford, is an upcoming hip-hop artist from NYC, and will be in town to perform at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, and is going to be shooting a Bollywood style music video for his new single while here.

Jay Kila and Sean Kilachand
Jay Kila and Sean Kilachand

Sean, an alumnus of Brandeis is also going to be in town, in connection with his start-up in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in the education technology space that develops affordable adaptive training software for English language proficiency exams for the internet. This is not the brothers’ first trip to India of course.

They are said to have visited India every year of the first 18 years of their life, as their parents Judi and Kartik, though divorced, had wanted to make sure they got to know their family in Mumbai; as a consequence, on their own volition they both opted to intern in Mumbai during their university years - Jay at UTV and Sean at Citibank.

The Kilachands were a joint family and on their yearly visits, the brothers used to live with the rest of the clan at the original Kilachand Bungalow on VP Road behind the quotidian Prarthana Samaj and opposite Sicanagar. “It was a wonderful, warm and welcoming family and an incredible experience for all of us to live as locals when we were there,” says mom Judi a strategy consultant in NYC.

“It was a lively and full household, as it was a joint family — so there were always a lot of relatives around. Kartik’s cousin Sudhirbhai used to live there along with wife Shobhaa (De) and their children, and Jay and Sean grew up visiting their cousins Aditya and Avantika. They are still close to their first cousins,” she says. Nice!

Cause for concern
His legion of friends and fans are worried about the well being of this handsome, former Bollywood superstar, whose rare public appearances have given cause for concern.

The maverick hunk, something of a free spirit, had seen a rise in his fortunes post retirement after he had throw in his lot with a political party. However bad luck struck when it was discovered that he’d fallen ill and his continued absence from the social and public scene had not passed unnoticed.

“Last we heard he had recovered, but a neighbour who ran in to him recently says he was looking poorly again,” says a SoBbo grande dame. We pray that he’s back to his sparkling and handsome self,” she adds. Indeed.

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