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I’ve named my book on my favourite drink: Ram Kamal Mukherjee

Ram Kamal Mukherjee
Ram Kamal Mukherjee

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.

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Ram Kamal Mukherjee named ‘Best Director’ for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at IWMBuzz Digital Awards

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Ram Kamal Mukherjee (R) whikle receiving the ‘Best Director’ trophy at IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony in Mumbai

Filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee won the ‘Best Director’ award for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at the recently held IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony at Taj Lands End in Mumbai. The film is produced by Esha Deol Takhtani and Assorted Motion Pictures. Apart from winning the award, it was a special occasion for Mukherjee as two other films he directed also got recognized.

Esha won the ‘Best Actress’ award in the popular categories for her critically acclaimed performance in ‘Ek Duaa.’ After accepting the award, Esha said: “This film is extremely special for me, because I turned producer with this film and I would like to give entire credit to captain of the ship Ram Kamal Mukherjee for bringing such a wonderful subject to me.”

Avinash Dwivedi won the ‘Most Promising Debut’ award for his acclaimed performance in ‘Rickshawala,’ a film directed by Mukherjee. Avinash, who was accompanied by his wife and actor Sambhavna Seth, said: “This is beyond my expectation that today I am getting this recognition as an actor amidst all Bollywood celebrities for my role in Ram Kamal sir’s film Rickshawala. To get honoured for a regional cinema amidst such Bollywood biggie reinforced my faith in good content.”

Gurmeet Choudhary won the ‘Most Popular Actor’ award for his performance in Mukherjee’s film ‘Shubho Bijoya.’ Choudhary said: “Ram Kamal is an amazing story teller. When he narrated this story to me and Debina, we knew that this film will click instantly. I am honoured to receive this award, though the competition was really tough. I thank my fans and jury members who voted for me.”

Other winners at the award ceremony included Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Rakul Preet, Raveena Tandon, Huma Qureshi, Dino Morea, Sikander Kher, Sonu Sood, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Manish Paul and other popular names from the Hindi film industry.

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JUST MARRIED! Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt tie the knot | Check pictures

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai

The much awaited Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt wedding fans had been eagerly waiting for finally got solemnised today afternoon in the presence of close friends and family members at Ranbir’s residence ‘Vastu’ in Mumbai. Check out some pictures of the same…

Alia took to her social media to write, “Today, surrounded by our family and friends, at home … in our favourite spot – the balcony we’ve spent the last 5 years of our relationship – we got married.

With so much already behind us, we can’t wait to build more memories together … memories that are full of love, laughter, comfortable silences, movie nights, silly fights, wine delights and Chinese bites.
Thank you for all the love and light during this very momentous time in our lives. It has made this moment all the more special.
Love,
Ranbir and Alia ✨♥️”

Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt

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The Kashmir Files should be declared tax-free in Maharashtra, says BJP spokesperson Rajeev Panday

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai

 

BJP spokesperson for Maharashtra Rajeev Panday, while speaking to Nation Next, said the controversial movie ‘The Kashmir Files,’ which grossed over ₹240 crore in India, should be made tax-free in the state. 

 

Panday told Nation Next, “The movie has managed to depict, if not all, the brutalities on Kashmiri Pandits. It is a bold representation of truth. Kashmiri Pandit community was forced to leave their own homes in the country. Imagine their plight! Maharashtra government should make it tax-free in their state like the BJP did.”

 

The movie, which is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s, has been made tax-free in at least BJP-run eight states namely Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Goa, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had also received requests asking him to exempt the film from entertainment tax in the state.

A lawyer and an actor, Rajeev Panday was appointed as the spokesperson for BJP in Maharashtra in 2017. Besides practicing in The Supreme Court of India and Bombay High Court for around 15 years, Panday has also been a name to reckon with in the entertainment industry.

 

 

 

Rajeev Panday

 

Rajeev Panday

 

 
Panday, who’s acted in Bollywood grocers like Amitabh Bachchan’s starrer Pink and John Abraham’s starrer Madras Cafe, has given many terrific performances on stage. He started doing theatre in 1998 with famous theatre group Act One in Delhi. After shifting his base to Mumbai (in 2003) to practice law, Panday continued to dabble in theatre and films. His recent performances at Ibsen Festival at Prithvi Theatre were appreciated well by the audience and critics alike.
 

 

A law graduate from Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre, Panday has also been actively involved in legal activism. Through his Public Interest Litigations, Panday has raised many pertinent issues like regulation of television content and charitable hospitals not providing free treatment to the poor people.

 

In his longstanding association with the BJP, Panday has served the party as the convenor of its Mumbai Human Rights cell and the convenor of the Election Cell of its Maharashtra unit.

 

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