Last year was a year full of celebrity encounters for me – more so than any other year has been. I would like to say all experiences were good ones but sometimes as a part of the media industry, the waiting takes over the actual experience. I’m very glad to say that this was not the case last year with most of the meets and I enjoyed meeting some very well-known names as my professional self. As Showbiz Editor of BizAsia (www.bizasialive.com), the year has been a very successful one and one where I think the opportunities that have come our way have been truly special in every way. In this first of two parts, I am going to give you an insight into meeting the ever-so-lovely Shreya Ghoshal, the dashing Ranbir Kapoor and of course the ‘Chennai Express’ duo Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
Because BizAsia was official online partner for the Shreya Ghoshal UK tour, I was able to not only meet the gorgeous Shreya Ghoshal but also be there at a very special presentation where she received recognition at the House of Commons for her work as a singer. I remember the room being filled with eager people, some of whom were her family and others who were a part of the entourage of her tour. When she entered the room, it’s almost as if the whole room sighed in excitement. Wearing a beautiful cream Anarkali suit with red design, her presence seemed to literally light up the area. As various Members of Parliament spoke about her and to her, asking her questions about the privilege of the award and her feelings about being in London, the smile on her face to be there to receive such an honour was instantly evident. As she stood up, she spoke about h
emory I will hold in my heart forever. I don’t think there could be a singer any more deserving or talented than her for it.er family’s support and how she would be nothing without them. The experience of seeing Shreya receive such an award was the first of its kind for me and, surprisingly, a m
Following on from that, along with one of my team, I was incredibly lucky to be given the chance to interview the lady herself. I was, understandably, amongst a long list of media personnel to get a moment and interview with Shreya and in the short amount of time was able to have a lovely conversation with her. I was totally overwhelmed at the time with the support from her fans and I simply had to mention them in the interview to give them a little back for the support they were continuously giving me. Thankfully, Shreya seemed a little excited at the question because I am sure not many have asked her this before. She was great to interview and I was a little disappointed I didn’t have much time to ask some more. Hopefully in the coming months there will be another chance… and another chance for me to payback to the SG family!
In a turn for the books, in the same week as all the Shreya specialness took place, I also interviewed the hot Ranbir Kapoor when he was in London for press interactions for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. The surprise for me on the day was that I didn’t know I was down for a one-to-one interview but more for attending a press conference where he would be. However, when I was informed on my arrival that an interview was scheduled for BizAsia, I remember my colleague and I sitting and making our list of questions. That day was truly unforgettable for both me and my colleague. Having met the Kapoor before and being totally mesmerised by his eyes, I was a little nervous at the thought of carrying out this interview myself which was my very first with him. However, as soon as the day progressed and our first glimpse (of many) of him took place, I knew that this was another opportunity of a lifetime. When sitting opposite him interviewing, it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment. Ranbir is the kind of guy who never makes you feel as if you’re interviewing him. His answers are sincere, his vibe is humble and his eyes do much of the talking. Aside from the really witty and outgoing character he puts himself across to be, in the two meetings I’ve had with him, he’s been nothing but a shy and down-to-earth interviewee. During my interview with him, I felt like I was talking to a friend and not the most respected and promising actors of this generation. The magical moments that I have memories of when I interviewed Ranbir last year will always remain with me… and in a weird way they make me even more in awe of him than I already am.
Just a few months later came the opportunity to be a part of the Chennai Express London promotions which saw my ultimate favourite actor Shah Rukh Khan and the beautiful Deepika Padukone grace the capital and feel the London love. This promotional event was a huge deal for me. This was the very first time I would be interacting with my one and only SRK in a professional capacity. Many times in my life I have interacted with him as a fan and as an admirer but this was the first time it would be different. With my professional hat firmly screwed to my head, I remember sitting in the hotel auditorium with much anticipation and almost butterflies in my stomach. When Siddharth Roy Kapur, Deepika and SRK walked out introduced by the host, it almost felt surreal. I knew then that I was in a very privileged place and that this would be yet another day that would be etched in memory. The one thing that I remember about the day which is somewhat a realisation is that I had a notion in my head of what SRK would be like in person. His answers were just as I imagined them to be and when he was looking directly at me when answering my question, I could have died with excitement but with a professional hat on, I felt more lucky than anything else. I mean, this was the man who had taught me (almost) how to fall in love… he should get the creditness for the filmi-ness of my personality! When the moment came after the event that he walked past, I remember scrambling around in my bag for my phone to be able to get a photo with him. He knew that’s what I was doing and patiently stood where he was waiting for me even though one of his team were shouting to move on from the front. I never thought he would do that and I’m not really sure why. I think perhaps it had a lot to do with the fact that he recognised me as one of the media personnel and therefore didn’t mind waiting for me to be able to have that photographic memory of him. It’s got to be one of my favourite moments… but then came yet another realisation. The realisation that I felt like I knew him inside and out just from having watched him in on celluloid, in interviews and in award functions. However, it dawned on me that perhaps so many in the world felt the same about him. It’s evident that none of us know him really but in a weird way we all think of him as our own and as someone special to us as if a member of our family.
Being able to interact with Deepika Padukone was in many ways a very different experience than what I had with SRK. Here was an actress whose beauty was indeed something I admired but I hadn’t really held any of her characters close to heart or in memory up until her previous release before that… before she played Naina in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. As she entered the auditorium, she said a very bright ‘Hi!’ to the eager journalists waiting for her and almost instantly it was obvious that she was just as I imagined her to be. When asked to give her initial thoughts about being in London to promote Chennai Express, she simply said ‘I’m just happy to be in London, yay!’ With such humility, it’s hard not to turn into a fan of hers even if you weren’t before. Again, when I asked her a question, she was very sincere in her answer and it was extremely heartwarming for me to be able to tell her how much a loved Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and her performance in it. My memory of Deepika is a short and sweet one but no doubt the next time I meet her, I will hopefully be able to interact with her more to be able to gauge the person behind that stunningly beautiful model-turned-actress.
So my part one comes to a very reminiscent end. As I continue to remember the days on which I met all of the above, I also find myself in thought of those who I will include in part two: Sonu Nigam, Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra. 2013 really was a special year and because of that 2014 has a whole lot to live upto. I’m confident it will be bigger in so many ways. Stay tuned for part two next week!
Ranbir Kapoor – Shyama Sudra, Shreya Ghoshal – Ricky Raithatha, Deepika/SRK – Shai Hussain