The Khandwa Guy

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Kishore Kumar has sung in every Indian language and honored with innumerable awards which include 8 Filmfare awards and a special Lata Mangeshkar trophy.

Born in Khandwa, the Madhya Pradesh government instituted a special award in his memory after his demise that continues till today.  His last song was sold at an auction for 1.56 million. He was a rare talent, not just a brilliant singer but an energetic actor, competent composer, crazy writer, and director.

This week’s blog is not about Kishore Kumar’s supreme talent or success but about his eccentricities. All artistes are slightly eccentric but Kishore Kumar’s idiosyncrasies often bordered on self-indulgence which in retrospect sounds entertaining but was exasperating for the person on the receiving end.

Wait for a day for me to fill you with details on the genius who drove the film world round the bend.


Documenting Baba

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Amit Kumar, legendary singer Kishore Kumar’s son appeared on Kapil Sharma show and proclaimed that he was writing a book on his father from a son’s perspective. He said that there so many stories associated with his father that the w a single book on him may not do justice to his genius and will have to include the entire family and their stories as well.

According to Amit Kumar what made his Baba different from other actors was that while other actors worked for entertainment, his baba was 24 X 7 walkie-talkie entertainer.  And which is why on Kishore Kumar’s birthday and death anniversary the media has much to celebrate via his songs and eccentric stories from the past.

Over the next few days I will be sharing anecdotes of the versatile singer who was also a composer and a filmmaker.



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Shabana Azmi signs Spielberg’s 9 part web series Halo directed by Otto Bathurst. ( Robin Hood)
Halo is one of the most popular video game franchises in the world, having sold more than 77 million copies since its initial release in 2001. The series comes from Showtime, Amblin Television and Microsoft.
Halo, which Showtime has described as its “most ambitious series ever,” is set to begin production in Budapest in the fall.
Natascha McElhone, Shabana Azmi Bokeem Woodbine, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac and Kate Kennedy — have signed on to the drama based on the mega-popular video game franchise, which will dramatize the conflict between humanity and an alien race known as the Covenant in the 26th century.

Pablo Schreiber,plays the iconic Master Chief role.

McElhone (Designated Survivor, Californication) will play Cortana, the most advanced AI in human history who may be the key to the survival of the human race.

Acclaimed Indian actress Azmi will play Admiral Margaret Parangosky, the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Emmy nominee Woodbine (Fargo, Spider-Man: Homecoming) plays Soren-066, a morally complex privateer at the fringes of civilization.

Says a visibly pleased Shabana, “It can’t get bigger than this! Asian actors have been fighting for color-blind casting for years .. finally, its become a reality! This is completely new territory for me – I’m both excited and nervous which is a good place to be in “

Ask how she bagged the part she replies, “ It just fell into my lap! I had to give up on 2 projects I was scheduled to do here but I figured it would be worth it”.

Some for the Album – Day 1624

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Ronak bhai had organized an early Jain dinner post the function and all of us were led to Bollywood Lounge a  newly opened restaurant very close to the theatre where the anchor of the evening RJ Pooja Dal Dholakia, the authors, their relatives and close friends joined for a post party.


Everyone was tired and everyone was hungry and in a mood for posing pictures. Pooja took a selfie of all and I managed to grab Raonak in a frame finally, he had been avoiding coming on the stage or participating in a single picture all through the event. In my opinion the credit of a super successful evening goes to publisher Ronak and his wife Aanal. The couple worked quietly and tirelessly to make sure that the event went smoothly and everyone was happy.


I leave the city with warm memories of the book release and Navbharat Sahitya Mandir.


An author and a Publisher – Day 1623

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It is true that book lovers come to listen to the author at a book release but are they seriously interested in knowing about the book? I am not sure, I feel genuine readers like to discover the books on their own without spoon feeding and would rather be told about the process of writing or the person behind the mask of the writer. I hesitate to talk about my books at the launch because quite frankly I’m exhausted with the process of writing it and would rather indulge them in some easy chatter. It has always worked. I tell them stories about myself and I think they find it more engaging.

An important lesson to learn at all book release is to never indulge in long speeches, nobody is interested, keep it brief. And to know you are on the right track watch out for smiling faces, if they are not smiling, you are not making an impact!




Some Entertainment, some surprises – Day 1622

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There are two kinds of authors, the first who likes to be involved in everything the publisher plans, the second who submits to the flow. I fall into the latter. When Ronak bhai asked me if should send me the event flow. I refused to participate, said it is your city and your event, I will object to nothing and enjoy myself as a guest. So it was as much a surprise for me as for Aruna Irani that Navbharat had planned a surprise tribute for our chief guest, an audio visual spanning her life and her career after which everybody got up to offer a standing ovation.

Post the speeches and before the Question Answer session there was a surprise for all of us as as Prateik Gandhi and team of Dhunki walked on to stage to meet the esteemed speakers and to seek blessings for their  film Dhunki to be released coming Friday.


A film release in between book release, where there are so many people on stage can only happen in Ahmedabad.




Ahmedabad v/s Mumbai – Day 1621

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I discovered that there is a vast difference between book launches in English as compared to book launches in Gujarati. In Mumbai the book events are crisper and shorter as compared to book events in Gujarat where the audience comes prepared to spend an entire evening listening to their favourite authors and to others discussing the author and the new book.

It is not easy to fill up JB Auditorium at AMA in Ahemdabad on a rainy day but Ronak of Nav Bharat Sahitya Mandir apparently has a reputation of having a house-full show every time he releases a book in the city. Authors clamour to be published by him and other publishing houses look at him to green light subjects so that they can plunge into choices without apprehensions. More on Ronak bhai in the upcoming columns stay tuned for details on a refreshing launch.