Sundeep Bhutoria

Welcome to my blog. Do share your views and thoughts with me. Request visitors to keep their comments brief and to the point. I shall respond to you to the extent possible.
Thank you.
ess bee

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Personal touch

Yesterday evening Aparna Sen and Kalyan Ray came to my home for dinner. I was an enchanting evening in which I was deeply impressed with the knowledge of movies and literature of Kalyan Ray. He told me that he used to watch 300 movies in a year. He also shared with us some very interesting stories about International cinema. As a professor some of his quotes are remarkable.
I received a gift yesterday from one of our family friends celebrating the birth of their grandson. It was a huge finely crafted wooden box with a toy horse embossed on the top (picture). Full of curiosity I opened it and there was an icebox made of thermocol. When I opened the cover of the icebox it was full of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream of six different flavours. I was pleasantly surprised and was amazed by the personal touch behind the effort. Ice cream on the occasion of newborn baby. wow!  ....  what else could have been a better choice.
Getting an item that needs refrigeration delivered to so many friends and relatives during summers in India is no easy job and reflects the person touch behind the gesture. Ben & Jerry’s is a premium ice cream brand that is not yet available in Kolkata.
Listening about this gift while Aparna di savoured the ice cream, Kalyan da commented that it was sweet in every sense of it.
Today evening I shall attend the film premier of Shukna Lanka in which I have an appearance as Sundeep Bhutoria in one of the shots (picture: Sabyasachi Chakraborty in one of the scenes from the movie). I remember while shooting that scene in St Xavier’s
College I got a first hand opportunity to see for myself the making of a film (picture: Arindam Sil and Mithun da at the sets of Shukna Lanka). 
ess bee

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Hindi films and old songs connect....

Indian films and old songs connect Indians in ways like no other. I have heard in South Africa a boy settled in Tanzania humming Kabhi Kabhi…. though he and his family has had no direct connection with the Indian sub-continent for many years and neither did they have much idea about their place of origin.
I have always of believed that the Indian cinema is the best medium of spreading Indian culture in the world, not just among the NRIs or persons of Indian origin (PIOs) but among the people of other languages and culture across the globe.
One such incident was in Syria. While walking on streets I noticed a poster of Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala outside a small theatre. When I saw it carefully I found it was a local language poster of the film Mann 
(picture).  Wow! It was unexpected and I really felt good and much at home though I failed to see any Indians, apart from that restaurant chef, in the locality. The chef informed me that since the previous year not a single Indian visited his restaurant where he had been working for the past 18-months. 
In Syria, I visited the world famous majestic ruins of Palmyra - known to the Arabs as Tadur. Palmyra was once a thriving desert metropolis that was made famous by Zenobia – the legendary Empress of the East. The desert in Syria (picture) was yet another beautiful experience of my life after ones in Jaisalmer, UAE and Chile. The ruins are en route to Baghdad. During our drive, deafening sounds of shelling and bombardments pierced our eardrums every five or six minutes. 
I couldn’t go up to Iraq but I did go till the Baghdad Cafe close to the border. At the ruins of the desert civilization I came across 10 to 12 year old boys, who provide camels and other services, fluently speaking in French, Spanish, German and English as they went about seeking custom from the tourists. It is a lifetime experience to see the ruins. 
Riding on camels makes it all the more wonderful and transports you to another era
Recently Sunil da visited Syria as a part of a literary delegation. I asked him if things have changed there. He said, “Yes.” One positive change has been the lifting of the government restriction on television programs.
ess bee

Monday, June 28, 2010

Being in Syria

From Lebanon we drove down to Syria – the land of the ancient civilisations. Syria was another kind of experience. It was really difficult to get a visa and that too a tourist visa as neighbour Iraq was on the boil. I had to use my connections and contacted the Syrian mission in New Delhi a number of times for nearly a month before I got the visa.
On way to Damascus from Beirut we faced problems at the Syrian borders getting clearance. Things were messy with a huge queue, few counters and thorough checking of identities and vehicles. I had a trying time convincing the custom and immigration officers that we were just tourists from India. I had no answer to their question as to what interest we had in touring Syria as non-Muslims. A large number of Muslims visit the world famous Grand Mosque of Damascus aka Umayyad Mosque each year.
Thanks to my local Assembly entry ID card that convinced the officials of my bona fides. That was also the time when Syria was being used as a terrestrial passage to enter Iraq illegally.
I stayed at
 Hotel Sheraton in Damascus and the Hotel arranged a good tour guide for me. Then, Syria was a very conservative country and I heard that even the television programs were controlled by the government. The local people had lots of hopes from their young and dynamic leader who was about to take charge.
We visited the huge
 souk market through which we entered the mosque. The souk was huge and you get everything from crystals to cotton. We saw a group of Pakistani and Bangladeshi tourists, settled in Europe and America, who were there to pay their respect. We also went there. My wife and mother wore a niqab-like cloak with a hood to enter the Mosque. It was mandatory to cover the hair out of sight. 
It was a true picture of faith, respect, history and belief (picture).
We managed to reach the only Indian restaurant (owned by a Syrian businessman) with a lone Indian chef and some other support staff as well. He was at the sight of Indians visiting his restaurant and treated us with fabulous food.
ess bee

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Life in Lebanon

During our last visit to Lebanon we had stayed at the ancestral house of Joseph where his father and mother live. His house is in a village called Chekka with a population of about 21,000 and 60 kms from the Beirut airport.
Life in Lebanon is very different. Every house or family has one person working abroad to support the family at home. The way Kolkata is used to bandhs, rallies and power outages, the Lebanese are used to the sniper gunshots in the streets and periodic bomb blasts from the conflict with Israel.
In fact the house where we stayed was once bombed. While walking on the streets of Beirut I saw bullet marks all over the walls of big buildings and gaping holes on the road caused by bomb blasts. House owners repairing their balconies or putting up new glass panes every morning due to the previous night’s blast is as common a sight as vendors delivering newspapers across Kolkata.
Joseph told me that there is nothing to be scared of as the attacks are so meticulously planned that only the person who is targeted is killed. Joseph gave the example of a recent killing of their senior minister who was shot dead in his car while the whole cavalcade, including his chauffeur and security personnel, were not harmed. While travelling in a place like Lebanon I learnt a lot about many historical fact thanks to the then Indian ambassador to Lebanon Mrs Nengcha Lhouvum.
I had also met some prominent Indians and visited a Gurdwara. I was shocked to hear the history of the head of the Gurdwara who told me that he had come to Lebanon as a labourer and when he saw that there were no Gurdwaras in Lebanon despite the presence of a modest Sikh community, he went back to Punjab, learnt Gurubani and became a religious man. He came back and became the head of the Gurdwara in Lebanon.
At present, there are over 10,000 Indians in Lebanon who are mostly labourers. There is a strange social equation. Men from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh marry the women from China, Philippines and Thailand as they all are immigrants on work visa and many of them have their life partners as well back at home.
he well-to-do Indians are the African Indians who came here after the turmoil in Africa. One person I had met told me his story on the condition that I wouldn’t disclose his name that how he paid money to the personnel in the US diplomatic mission and some UN officials to get 30 of them out of Africa in a ship bound for Lebanon.
During my visit, I was mesmerised by the beauty of the place. I also met the members of the Indian Army deployed by the UN out there.
Joseph’s father and mother spoke Lebanese only and we communicated through gestures. Their hospitality was full of affection. The Lebanese vegetarian food that they cooked for us is still I think the best Lebanese food I have had in my life.
The house of Anna’s mother was 30-minute drive from Joseph’s village. We met her mother who ran the most prestigious upmarket furniture shop.Two months after my visit I heard that the shop had been bombed and now no longer exists.
While driving to the Lebanon-Israel border we were stopped 16 km from the border. Foreigners were not allowed beyond this point. 
The places that I had seen in Lebanon are amazing and it is my personal view that it is such a loss not only to the country but also to the global tourists who have a taste for visiting beautiful places of great historical interest.
(File pictures top to down: Pre-historic Jeita Grotto caves which has the largest stalactite in the world;
 Qana of Galilee, the town where Jesus Christ performed his first miracle turning water to wine; 
Memorial of the Fijian Soldiers who died in south Lebanon. Site of the 1996 Qana massacre when Israel bombed the UN compound killing 106 Fijians;
 Baalbeck, Unesco World Heritage site, has the most preserved Roman ruins in the world;
Baalbeck in a museum underneath the Temple of Jupiter;
Remains of ancient ruins along the way).  
ess bee

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tourism and terror

This weekend things are little easy. Next week again I’ll be in Thailand to attend a wedding of our very old family friend Mr B D Sureka’s grandson. The destination this time is Phuket and the wedding would be held at the J W Marriot Hotel. Sureka ji (picture) has been our family friend for the past four decades and since I could not attend their family functions on last three occasions, this time is a must-go situation for me.
Thailand, a peaceful country in general, is becoming a hot and permanent destination for Indian weddings overseas.
The Thailand tourism industy, in the last three years, has created a new category or vertical `marriage tourism’ in the tourism space and there are agencies specialising in catering to this segment.
Tourists avoid places where the threat of terrorism looms. Lebanon is one such instance locked between states of Israel, Iraq that are in perpetual war and Syria.
I did visit Lebanon with my family the reason being a Lebanese couple Anna and Joseph Maria who were in Kolkata and staying permanently in ITC Sonar Bangla Sheraton & Towers. Joseph, working in a multinational corporation, was on assignment here for more than a year. I met them at the ITC and we became good friends (file picture). Not just with myself, Joseph and Anna gelled well with the Kolkata social circle and often spent their evenings with us. On learning about my perceptions about Lebanon, Joseph made me promise to visit Lebanon and judge things for myself. He was cent per cent right. After visiting that country I realized that the country is so amazingly beautiful with its mountains, deserts and beaches (picture).
Lebanon capital Beirut is called the `Switzerland of the Gulf’. It is tough to get a business or first class seat on any of the flights from the Gulf to Beirut while the economy class seats are usually half vacant. The reason is that the citizens of the conservative Gulf countries, especially the sheikhs, fly in to enjoy the nightlife in Beirut and also spend holidays there. Many such rich people from the Gulf countires have their own holiday homes in Lebanon. It is strange how tourism and terror go hand in hand in Lebanon - a beautiful and modern country - that has learnt to live amid bomb blasts and terror attacks.
Joseph drove us 350 to 400 kms a day on an average for 10 days to almost each and every part of Lebanon. I got to see almost all major tourist spots or areas of tourism interest there.
ess bee

Friday, June 25, 2010

Disha Foundation

Yesterday night went to see the premier of Ekti Tarar Khonje at Priya. I could hardly watch the movie as I was busy outside the hall in the company of the hosts and movie teams who are all my good friends.
Many people from Tollywood were there, including Mrinal Sen and Riya Sen (picture). After the movie went to the lounge bar Gossip near Udita apartments in Santoshpur with the film crew.
Today afternoon I was at a program of Disha Foundation at the Uttam Manch with Shatabdi Roy. The Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen and Dhrittiman Chatterjee were also there. Disha Foundation is an NGO providing care to the slum children. The Foundation adopts children between 3 to 9 years of age and provides care till the age of 17 years. Currently, nearly 2000 children are under its fold.
We inaugurated the function by lighting the lamp (picture: Dhrittiman Chatterjee, Ardhendu Sen and Shatabdi Roy) which was followed by a cultural performance by children who benefited from this NGO. 
In the evening just dropped in at Roxy at The Park for a few minutes.
ess bee

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Old times in South Kolkata

Attended the Shraddh of Tapas Pal's mother at the Chaitanya Institute near Rashbehary Crossing with Debasree Roy. I visited the area after a long time and old memories of school days that I spent there came back to me. I had spent a couple of years there as I used to stay at Dharam Das Row - the lane next to Rashbehary Gurdwara opposite the Sitala temple.
Bang oppose the Chaitanya Institute there used to be a shuttle taxi stand where I used to wait for my turn in queue. The memories of my daily commuting on Mini Bus Route No 117 to my school Shree Jain Vidyalaya (picture) on Brabourne Road are still very vivid in my mind.
Coming back to the Shraddh ceremony, I met Tamal Mukherjee, Sohini Pal, Indrani Halder, Pallavi Chatterjee (file picture: at dinner in my house with footballer P K Banerjee) and few TMC MLAs and MPs. After the ceremony had lunch with Debasree in a restaurant housed in Hotel Metropole near Maharani tea shop. Talking of Maharani tea shop, well that used to be our adda joint in the evenings during college days. 
Over lunch, I and Debasree discussed future plan-of-action for project Karuna. Debasree is really someone who is very passionate about dogs and their well being.
Today evening I will attend the premier of Ekti Tarar Khonje at Priya
Life now-a-days is very busy with often little or no control over time and preferences. I, on an average, attend 3 to 4 public function in a day and work 14 hours and still have to listen to so many complaints wherever I go that I have not attended their function or I haven't spent time with them for a long time. No wonder people say that school and college days are the best time of one's life.
ess bee

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Events you can’t avoid

Yesterday after returning from the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce function I went out again to attend the cocktail dinner cum launch party of M K Media Pvt Ltd’s film division at The Park. I have known Chairman Manoj Jain for the past three years now. A very close friend's elder brother had introduced me to him.
Manoj’s success story in the last five years has been quite spectacular and his Jain Group of Industries has forayed into all kinds of ventures from infrastructure, real estate, steel plant, cement, coalmines to media. This has set many wondering about the rapid inflow of cash in a short time. Recently he also became the Honorary Consul of Laos. When he had called on me about a year-and-half back saying he wanted to produce a film and sought my opinion on who’d be the best person for this, I thought he was joking. But when I received this invitation I was pleasantly surprised. I had no plans to go there but when he called on me yesterday morning I informed him about my engagement in the CCC function and also told him that if the program ended on schedule I’d drop in. But again when he called me up at 9:15 pm from The Park I could not refuse him and reached The Park by 10 pm.
Manoj was there with other film party regulars and media persons. Jishu, Arpita, Tony, Dev, Subhasree, Raj, Locket, Rudra, Arijit and others were all there. Met Parno after a long time as she has shifted base to Mumbai (picture: Parno, Manoj Jain). Manoj’s media company has already produced a film Prem By Chance whose promo was shown yesterday.
Sometimes, howsoever tired you may be, you can’t say no to such requests. In fact, a similar thing happened day before yesterday. After returning from a dinner with few friends at The Taj Bengal I again rushed to ITC Sonar Bangla by 11:50 pm. There was a farewell party of Ranveer Bhandari who shifted to Delhi as the General Manager of Maurya Sheraton. I had no intention to be there but Ranveer met me in the morning at the ITC Spa and reminded me that it was his wife Danijela’s birthday the next day and that I had to stay on past midnight when she was to cut the birthday cake.
I could not say no to Sucharita with whom I spoke at around 11 pm and was there at the ITC Sonar Bangla which is more like a second home to me. I have attended marriages and other functions more frequently when held at the ITC Sonar Bangla. I visit ITC almost every single day when I am in Kolkata and I have my life’s sweet memories with that place where
I had stayed for two months after my marriage and also spent many weekends. Ranveer has also been very kind enough to extend his personal care to my events held at the hotel (picture: Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Ranveer Bhandari). I haven’t met the new General Manager of ITC Sonar Bangla yet as I was late for the party but am looking forward to meet him soon.
ess bee

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Prabha Khaitan Award

The Calcutta Chamber of Commerce (CCC) today organised a function at the Horticulture Garden to confer the Prabha Khaitan Award 2008 to Shanu Lahiri
The Governor of West Bengal M K Narayanan (picture) graced the occasion and also handed over the cash award of Rs 1 lakh to her (picture: West Bengal Governor handing over Award to Shanu Lahiri in the presence of CCC President Sushil Kumar Agarwal).
The Prabha Khaitan Award was constituted in 1992 when my mother Dr Prabha Khaitan became the president of the Chamber. Some of the recipients of the Award are eminent Indian women like Shabana Azmi, Medha Patkar, Kapila Vatsyayan, Vandana Shiva and others.
I remember the Award, which was an annual affair, gradually became once-in-two-year and then once every three years due to some reason or the other given by CCC. Though the MoU between Prabha Khaitan Foundation (formerly Prabha Khaitan Sanskitak Sansthan) and the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce clearly states that if the Award is not conferred for four consecutive years, the award money will go to the Vishwa Bharti.
The Chamber has given the reason that endowment alone is not enough for giving the Awards annually but I have always said that money is never an issue for any good work to happen in our society. I personally feel that the Chamber has lost some of its interest in the Award after my mother left interest in the Chamber because she felt that the Chamber was male dominated and being a woman president she had to listen to the male trustees of the Foundation who actually ran the Chamber’s affairs from behind the curtains.
In the past few years some of the Presidents like Manoj Mohanka and Harsh Patodia were very keen and put in their full efforts to organise the Award function. I must thank the current President Mr Agarwal, who was in touch with my office for the past one year for the Award function.
Sometimes I feel that the male ego is hurt simply because the Award was instituted by a woman of independent thinking. I also said in my speech today that it is my utmost desire that this Award must be given every year and my Foundation is willing to extend any support that Chamber may require. Though this award function was held almost after five years and it seems that cold relations between CCC and myself would come to an end. I really did some hard correspondence and because of my letter a judges' meeting had to be cancelled. 
I hope to see the Award gets back to the way it used to be held and in the spirit that the Governor so rightly mentioned in his speech yesterday when he said that “….giving an award to women in the name of a woman is a true way to keep her memory alive.” (picture: Governor M K Narayanan and Alka Bangur)
ess bee

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kolkata’s Raj Bhawan

Went to the Raj Bhawan in Kolkata today to meet the Governor M K Narayanan. It was a courtesy call and I took the opportunity to brief him about my involvement with various socio-cultural events and activities in the city. The Governor made some comments on the book Speaking for Myself: An Anthology of Asian Women’s Writing. I had met him earlier and in the very first meeting he had kindly given his consent to host a dance program of Padmasree Ranjana Gauhar at the Raj Bhawan under the banner of The Bengal – an organisation of opinion makers in the state of which I am the current secretary general. I remember how the guests were touched by his warmth and hospitality.
I have been visiting the Raj Bhawan in Kolkata for many years now. I have met the Governors on many occasions and have also met the Presidents and Vice Presidents of India and other governors and state guests who come over to stay in Kolkata. 
I met Presidents Shankar Dayal Sharma (picture) and Pratibha Patil, Chandrasekhar and I K Gujral as ex-Prime Ministers and over a dozen state governors when they visited Kolkata. Besides, I have also attended many functions at the Bhawan. In fact former Governors Viren J Shah and Gopal Krishna Gandhi, both attended many functions that I had organised and I had shared the dais (pictures) with them several times.
I had once hosted a luncheon meet with the then ex-Governor of Bengal A R Kidwai who visited Kolkata as Governor of Haryana. Many of his friends, acquaintances and well wishers were there to greet him (picture).
Governors are often considered to be just figureheads with a decorative post. But I believe that the Kolkata Raj Bhawan has broken this myth especiallyin the regime of Gopal Krishna Gandhi.
ess bee 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our evergreen versatile Lala da

Received a letter from Lala da Buddhadev Guha (file picture) acknowledging the book I had sent him. He informed me that he was not keeping well and was thus out of circulation. Lala da is a multi-talented and versatile personality full of humour – a ghazal singer, an instumentalist, painter, thinker, writer and a professional chartered accountant. In recent years I think he is the only one in my huge circle of friends and acquaintances who prefers to communicate through letters rather than phone or e-mails or SMSes.
Received an SMS from Joy Goswami. Whenever Joy da sends an SMS I always keep it for many days also write it in my diary. His SMSs are like a limerick or small poetry. Such humble and polite words make you feel so happy and pleasant, no wonder he is such a well-known poet.
I also got a voice message from Biplab Chatterjee that he has some work (file pic: Ritu and Biplab). When I called him back I was so touched by the reason he had called me for. He wanted two more bottles of thandia that I had sent him on Holi as he really liked it. I told him I’d soon have it sent to him. I really like such straight-from-the-heart requests from persons who are very down to earth. These are the traits of real and genuine friendship.
Another friend of mine Agnimitra also called up suggesting we all should meet one day for dinner next week. Let me see how soon that happens as this whole week I am tied up. May be a week later. The last time Agni, Lala da and I had a great time over dinner in my home.
Rituparna’s version of Bongs in Bangkok fiasco is in the media today. Got a few calls requesting me to speak to her and also to Ideas 24x7 to sort things out. But it seems both of them are very annoyed with each other since the matter has become public. Any rapprochement at this point seems difficult.
Problems can always only be sorted out till the time things don’t go out of hand and into the public domain. One it does the damage to the reputation is done and leaves little room for settling things.
Since neither Rituparna nor the organisers have anything in writing, I think beyond war of words there is little scope for legal redress. This mudslinging incident will only tarnish the image of both the parties, especially the organisers. However, Ritu too will not come out unblemished.
ess bee

Saturday, June 19, 2010

`Bongs in Bangkok’ controversy

The recent Film Award Bangla (FAB) ’10 in Bangkok or the `Bongs in Bangkok’ controversy rages on. I got many phone calls. While some are expressing their solidarity with Rituparna there are others who feel she has not taken the right step. Thank God I am off mobiles on medical advice otherwise it would have been rather stressful day.
Many questions are being raised about the Award function.
Why the organisers chose Bangkok?
These days domestic travel and 5-star hotels in India are more expensive propositions compared to Kolkata-Bangkok flights and hotel accommodation in Bangkok which is almost 50% cheaper and definitely offers better value-for-money than Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
This tourist-friendly country is very peaceful. However, last month’s bomb blast did hurt tourism badly. I took a picture from my hotel room window of the building that was set on fire few weeks ago
(picture). Thailand is reeling under civil unrest in recent weeks with many countries, including India, issuing travel advisories. The much-awaited St Xavier’s alumni function in Bangkok was postponed because of the unrest.
How few bomb blasts can hold a country’s economy to ransom is for all to see. If Thailand does not recover from this soon then tourism, the mainstay of Thailand’s economy, would suffer badly. Tourism and terrorism are opposite points on a pole. Tourists shun places where there is no peace though there are exceptions like myself. I remember when I visited Lebanon with my wife and after returning home I read in the papers that the airstrip from where our Emirates flight took off in Beirut had been bombed into disuse a day later.
In geographical terms, I think Lebanon is one of the most beautiful countries in the world apart from being the birthplace of Nobel Laureate Khalil Gibran whose house I visited (picture). I recall the Indian ambassador in Beirut asking me twice if I had come only to tour Lebanon – a country that was and remains largely out of bounds for most tourists and visitors.
ess bee

Big, messy and now murkier

The recently concluded Film Award Bangla ’10 (FAB) affair at Bangkok is getting murkier with allegations and counter allegations flying in fast and thick. Rituparna called up soon after her return from Thailand where she was shooting for a film. She said that the organisers of FAB ’10 had promised her money but did not pay a single penny.
She said that she was given to understand by the organisers wanted the event to be one of the best and requested Rituparna for a Show with her best performance on stage. Accordingly she had arranged for a choreographer, make-up man and other professionals numbering 20 to prepare for the Show. Rituparna also informed me that after they reached Bangkok for a recce and preparations etc., the organisers started bargaining with her on the cost and started pressuring the troupe members in Bangkok to perform the Show without her. She has consulted some lawyers and also talked to some of the police officials on the matter. Further, she called in a press conference at 3 pm to brief the media on the fiasco. Rituparna wanted me to join her at the press conference which I could not.
Whoever is responsible, I feel sad that such an incident took happened in Tollywood. One thing I can vouch for is that Rituparna has attended many of my social functions and other functions on my request where money has never been an issue. Now that a tiff between her and the organisers is on I don’t know where this would lead to but what I feel is that as an artist Rituparna should have asked for something in writing before sending her troupe to Bangkok. Also, as far as money and payment is concerned, the organisers have not paid the bus drivers in Bangkok and one of the drivers had asked a senior artist, whom I don’t want to name, to get down at the middle of the road since he was not paid by the organisers as promised earlier. He even asked for his payment on the spot.
I now feel the Locket (file pic) was right when she told me at the Star Jalsa function of her decision not to go to the program. Yesterday at dinner also she was saying that she smelt something was amiss and that was the reason she backed out.
Today evening I had a Rajasthani dinner at home with some friends along with Shantanu Moitro and Shayan Munshi whom I knew from before as he was cast in a film with Arpita slated for release on 24th June. Though Arpita had told me a lot about him when she was shooting, I met Shayan in person at the Bangkok award function only. I find him a nice person to talk to. As Shantanu has a morning flight to catch, post dinner we discussed our Bangkok experience at length till past midnight.
ess bee