Desi Hits South Side, Galatta, Anokhi Magazine

What a beautifully blessed few months it’s been – I’m trying to update things as they come, mainly to share where my work is features, as it is a common question asked. I did a series called Rahmania (interviewing people in the UK who work with and have collaborated with AR Rahman, like Reena Bhardwaj, Rashid Ali, Ash King, Simon Long, Karen David Matt Dunkley) for B4U TV, and their Talk of the town show, on the red Carpet of Raavan, at BFI in London. This was the interview with Mani Ratnam and Vikram, for Thamarai – it is a 2 parter, so please click through after this part ends, for the rest.

With over 6000 people on my Facebook Fan-page, from over 68 countries, the top countries for posts and queries is showing on my insights as India, then UK and US. While my base is London, I’m now working on magazines in India and Canada, which cater to the broader diaspora. I set out to help get Thamarai Magazine launched, back in November 2009 an that has flourished into fruition and is in capable hands.I’m moving sideways, by being so busy with things like co-curating the Classical stage at London Mela and being a consultant on AR Rahman’s UK tour and films like Aamir Khan’s production, Peepli Live.The London Mela saw 92,000 visitors, a new record, AR Rahman’s O2 show (where I was given the surprise gift of announcing him on stage – Thanks AMO, Guy, Simon and Amos – you know who you are!), was a huge success and Peepli Live opened to unprecedented numbers in India and worldwide. The UK fans have to wait, to get a special, eagerly anticipated art-house release, on 24th September, via the eminent Curzon cinema company, Artificial Eye.My work in the longest standing publication in North America, Anokhi Magazine (which means Unique) was well appreciated, by God’s grace. The owner, Raj Girn and her editor, Hina Ansari are both inspirational ladies and it was a pleasure being their Bollywood Editor. The Summer issue is on shelves in Canada/US and UK right now. I did the cover story on Priyanka Chopra and also a feature on the elusive Southern crossover, which links to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s picture, also on the cover. A blessed double whammy.In the meantime, I’m also writing columns for Galatta Cinema Magazine, a monthly glossy publication for India and am on my 3rd column already.It’s called London’s filmista and I adore the editor, Shakthi Girish and her wonderful team, who are based in Chennai, South India.We’ve also had a spate of Bollywood people in London, as usual, in the Summer, alongside my work with Cineworld Unlimited Magazine, which I enjoy a lot. I also attended the BMI music industry Summer Party, which was a lot of fun.I’ve been enjoying a little London sunshine and Cineworld opened it newest cinema, at the O2, in North Greenwich, a stone’s throw for me to reach, which has one of Europe’s largest screens (apart from Imax), the beautiful 770 seater Screen 11 – We saw Inception there and I was blessed to see A Team and Karate Kid there also – as the Americans say, it’s ‘totally awesome’! I was also honoured to compère for the Carnatic (South Indian Classical) festival for the centenary celebration of one of my favourite musicians of yonder, GN Balasubramaniam, a man who was a writer, who revolutionised the music world. His most prominent heir and student to my Dad’s favourite singer, the late great ML Vasanthakumari, the very famous Sudha Ragunathan, graced the London stages with her fabulous singing. While I had met her before, it was fabulous to announce her on!And the question on many people lips (translated as emails in this instance), was when I would re-start the very popular South Side Show, on Desi Hits. Well, instead of a show, I have gone for a column with them – with their branching out into being a record label (Desi Hits/Universal) and all, it was a good time to jump back in and join the amazing team, led by husband and wife, Anj and Ranj, their editor Anita, and music industry icons like Jimmy Iovine, who are part of the mix. What’s next, well a lot more work, of course. I’m especially looking forward to a documentary called The Rajini Effect, which 2 young chaps are making, to coincide with the massive movie release, Shankar’s Endhiran, featuring Superstar Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. I met Abbas Tyrewala and Madhu Mantena, who have an awesome sounding new release, Jhootha Hi Sahee, with the gorgeous John Abraham. It is set in London and is eagerly anticipated. Aficionados will remember that Abbas was the magical director who brought us Jaane tu ya Jaane na and his magic with AR Rahman’s music is going to be a treat, no doubt. I’m hoping to take a bit of a break, but I think I’ll be fitting in a spa day or a day trip here and there, as opposed to flying off, but perhaps, at the end of the year, when things quieten down. This is the sort of place I’d like to be at! God bless, all and I’m sending out a big Thank you to a few lovely folks – Akin Aworan, Anne-Marie O’Sullivan, Ara, Ajay Chhabra, a young lady called Priyal who snapped the candid shot with AR Rahman, the man himself, and my lovely Parents and extended family (Egbons, Tok, Ren)! Keep smiling, all and I’ll be praying for you, for good health and lots of joy!


Author: Ashanti OMkar

Tri-national wordsmith, broadcaster, taste maker, music and film consultant, programmer, curator based in London, UK, presenter of the Ashanti Omkar show on the BBC.

2 thoughts on “Desi Hits South Side, Galatta, Anokhi Magazine”

  1. Hi! Shanti thanks for sharing this excellent article. When a man offer this kind of information I feel great,
    And you done excellent job which explains that biology and social! Personal backgrounds in bollywood will most likely continue
    To communicate in different manners style and all the best
    Please re play and I need your help.

  2. Wow!.. yet another glamorous post, after a long time a post,So this what kept you busy all these days.
    It’s always a great feeling reading your experiences, it takes us,the readers, very close to the celebrities, as if even we have been with you throughout 🙂
    Wish you all good luck and health. Keep posting.

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