Bollywood stars either hated him or loved him but they simply couldn’t ignore him! Former Editor-In-Chief of Stardust and former Vice President of Pritish Nandy Communications Ram Kamal Mukherjee, who has worked with many leading publications including Mumbai Mirror and Mid Day, took to writing at a tender age of 24, when he penned down his first coffee table book ‘Hema Malini: Diva Malini.’ While his first book could be termed as his labour of love (it was an ode to his favourite star Hema Malini), he means business with his latest writing venture ‘Long Island Iced Tea,’ which is inspired by Bollywood dark secrets. In a conversation with Nation Next, Ram Kamal Mukherjee lets his guards down and speaks about his book Long Island Iced Tea, his way? of journalism and why hes in awe of one of the most controversial Indian columnist and novelist Shobha De. Excerpts:
Usually journalists narrate their real experiences in Bollywood in their books. But you chose abstract fiction? genre for your book Long Island Iced Tea.’ Why?
I have never believed in doing ?usual? stuff. While most of my scribes preferred the conventional path, I preferred to walk the rocky terrain. As far as ‘Long Island Iced Tea’ is concerned, it’s not abstract. It’s a compilation of eight different stories. Each one is completely different from the other. I think we all love to tell stories. And the germ of this book was born out of that common passion we all have.
Your book carries stories ranging from sober to slut and dark love to wild lust. How and why did you choose a title like this
This sober to slut? is a coinage that my publicist decided to add on. I don’t think that my book deals with sluts. In fact, one of the veteran book critics Saheli Mitra has recently stated that my book treats women as equal gender. They don’t succumb to situations or decisions made by patriarchal society. The title of the book happened by fluke. Actually, you need eight vital ingredients to make Long Island Iced Tea, which happens to be my favourite drink as far as cocktails are concerned. My book comprises eight different stories. And, life is nothing but getting high on emotions. So, I decided to name the book on my favourite drink.
You are tagged as hard-nosed journalist. You have been famous for writing scandalous articles on Bollywood superstars. Do we get to read some real stories garbed in fiction in the book
You have to read to know that! Hard-nosed, notorious, mischievous and scandalous – these adjectives adorned me for years. I am proud that I am considered as a fearless journalist and even after that, I am lucky to have made friends with my fellow colleagues, stars and their publicists. Some of the stories will definitely give you a trench of Bollywood, but that would be just the surface. This book is all about relationships and exploitation of the same.
You had once said that few journalists had accused you of writing fictional interviews in tabloids…
Ha ha! Let bygone be bygone. I did my job. As a journalist with Mumbai Mirror, some of my colleagues tried to pull me down and would often complain about my aggressiveness. Thankfully, my editor Meenal Baghel always stood beside me and never let anyone harm me. She was protective of me because I would churn the maximum number of Bollywood stories seven days a week.
Your biography on Hema Malini titled Hema Malini: Diva Unveiled was widely appreciated. If you were to write a biography of today’s stars, who would that be?
Yes, my coffee table book on Hema Malini remains one of my biggest landmarks. I was just 24 years when I wrote that book. I am eternally grateful to the then editor of Stardust Sonali K Jafar and the owner of Magna Publishing Nari Hira for entrusting me with the responsibility. And of course Hema Malini, who is a legend, yet she supported me in my endeavour. If given a chance, I would like to write a book on either Ranbir Kapoor or Varun Dhawan. They excite me as subjects.
Unlike few journalists, you seem to be in complete awe of Shobha De. Why do you think she heavily gets trolled online for her opinions
I adore Shobha De. She was the first editor of Stardust and my last job as a journalist was heading Stardust as an editor. I have interacted with her a lot and she is extremely witty. Social media reacts to anything and everything. It’s like a parliament. They have opinion about everything. Shobha is known for her upright statement and that’s why she is the most loved and at the same time the most hated author in town. Only when you interact with her, you will know what she stands for. In fact, people talk about her because they gain free publicity out of trolling Shobha De.
Usually journalists prefer becoming a scriptwriter or handling a creative department. But you chose to work as a producer at Pritish Nandy Communicatons. Why?
As I mentioned in my very first sentence that I have always preferred to take the tough route. I am thankful to Pritish Nandy and her daughter Rangita for giving me this opportunity to explore different avenues of movie making. It’s not that I have not dabbled in writing a screenplay or being a creative head, but first I wanted to understand the core of cinema. Once you know the heart, then you can operate the body.
Pritish Nandy once said that he liked your cheekiness and lack of awe. Is that what made you a successful Bollywood journalist?
Oh yes! That was a classic interview. He rarely speaks about his colleagues. I was never in awe of any celebrity. I admire them for what they are, but that doesn’t mean that I will have to become their shadow or a replica. I always wanted to carve my niche as a journalist, author and a creative producer. I am a learner, a student of cinema… and I am sure I will be able to achieve my dream. In fact, Pritish Nandy is one of the rarest examples of what a poet can achieve in life. He came to Mumbai with Rs 15. And today, he runs an empire! Nothing happens overnight, it happens over several nights.
RMBRCN celebrates Charter Presentation & Installation, Rina Sinha becomes Charter President
The Rotary Means Business chapter of Rotary Club Of Nagpur (RMBRCN) celebrated their Charter Presentation and Installation of Board on September 17, 2023 in a crisp official ceremony at Hotel Centre Point, Nagpur.
Rotary Means Business encourages Rotarians to support the success of their fellow Rotarians by doing business with them and by referring others to them.
Charter President Past President Rtn Rina Sinha presided over the ceremony. Renowned entrepreneur and Rotarian Aspi Bapuna, Chairman of Bapuna Group, was the Chief Guest and Rtn Namita Sharma, President of RCN, was the Guest of Honour.
The Board of Directors of RMBRCN include Rtn Navneet Jain, Vice President, Rtn Mohammed Master, Honorary Secretary, Rtn Sanjay Aggarwal Treasurer, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia Director Chapter Service, Rtn Rahul Shrivastava, Director Vocational Service, Dr Ruchi Choudhry, Director Membership Development, Ranjana Duseja, Director Attendance.
Past Rotary District Governor (PDG) Shabbir Shakir, Past Presidents- Bharat Goenka , Khushnoor Chugh, Sanjiv Chugh, Akhtar Parvez, Tejinder Singh Rawal, Alok Goenka, Jerestine Watchmaker, Sandeep Dhodapkar, Sanjay Arora, President RMB Nagpur, and Behram Patel and Amitabh Sinha were present.
President Rina Sinha informed that within a short period of its formation already 48 members representing various businesses have joined the chapter and the numbers are increasing . The Chapter has already crossed 5 crores of business amongst their members and RMB will further strengthen Rotary in membership growth and retention .
Chief Guest Rtn Aspi Bapuna lauded the chapter’s success and reiterated that its comfortable and safe to do business among fellow rotarians as all follow the Four Way Test of Rotary. Jerestine introduced President Rina. Aspi Bapuna presented the charter and installed President Rina Sinha . Rtn Namita congratulated the RMB chapter and informed that this is the new initiative at RCN.The Board was installed by Rina Sinha and all members were installed by the Past Presidents. An exclusive digital Monthly Magazine ‘Growth Engine’ was launched by Editor Niharika Chugh Vali.
Navneet Jain and Rahul Choudhry conducted the referral and thank you session where enthusiastic members informed about their successful business details. Nishchay Sinha launched the social media and MYRMB app which connects members to other chapters digitally, Treasurer Sanjay Agarwal gave treasurers report, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia managed the event. Rtn Parag Datey and Niharika were the Masters of Ceremony (MOCs). Secretary Mohammed Master proposed the formal Vote of Thanks .
Nitin Gadkari inaugurates double-decker electric bus availed for senior citizens in Nagpur
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, on Saturday, inaugurated the double-decker electric bus designed for senior citizens in Nagpur. The initiative has been undertaken in association with Ashok Leyland’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Committee and Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan.
Executive President of Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan Datta Meghe, Vice Chairman of Ashok Leyland Limited Yash Sachar, CEO of Switch Mobility Mahesh Babu, and other dignitaries were present during the inauguration.
“I am very thankful to Ashok Leyland’s electric vehicle arm ‘Switch Mobility’ for donating an electric bus for our senior citizens. The bus can hold a capacity of 65 people and will benefit a lot to disabled and senior citizens,” Gadkari said.
“We already have a green Electra bus available to us for the past five to six years. Krishna Reddy has taken the responsibility of repairing and providing air-conditioning to the bus, moreover, he is providing us with one additional bus. A Tata Motor bus will be arriving this month as well, giving us a total of four buses to operate. This will solve the issue of waiting list due to the lack of buses for senior citizens in the city.” he added.
With the help of these buses, senior citizens can avail the benefit of free trips to religious places like Ambhora, Adasa, Shegaon, Mahur, Dhapewada, and Kalamb.
Nagpur: Married man accused of girlfriend’s rape commits suicide on Facebook live
A 38-year-old married man named Manish alias Raj Yadav, on Sunday, committed suicide during a Facebook live-stream after allegedly being accused of rape by his girlfriend and her family in Nagpur.
During the live stream, Manish, who was married and a father to three children, stated that his 19-year-old girlfriend, Kajal, along with her family members demanded a sum of five lakh rupees and threatened to press charges of rape if he failed to do so.
On September 6, the situation became grave as the woman’s family accused him of eloping after Kajal went missing from her residence.
The deceased refused the claims of having any sexual relationship with the woman and identified her, her family, and a photo studio operator responsible for his condition. He, then, jumped into the river.
After the live video surfaced online, Kalamna Police launched a search operation and recovered the deceased’s body from the river. Four people have been detained in the case for questioning. Further investigation is underway.