Star-studded opening of the 10th Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council film festival.
The non-desi photographers behind the velvet rope furiously scribbled the names the of the people gliding by them, while the rest of the pack gave them the lo-down on who was who. Tusshar Kapoor got out of his car one reporter said “He’s very big back in India” and upon his TV mogul sister Ekta’s appearance, someone else added “And she’s huge over there!”
Samrat Chakrabarti, who is clearly in the lead for the title of busiest NY-based actor was on the SAIFF red carpet less than two weeks ago, then over at the Rome Film Festival, and now back here. He has also appeared as Irrfan Khan’s son in the latest season of HBO’s In Treatment.
Samrat is at MIAAC for his work in Ashes, the directorial debut of his Loins of Punjab Presents co-star Ajay Naidu. A frequent Twitterati, Samrat gave his phone to one of the photographers and asked them to snap his picture, for Tweeting purposes. Not only an actor, Samrat is also an accomplished musician and has done the score for the documentary Natvar Bhavsar: Poetics of Color, also appearing at this year’s MIAAC.
Mr. Naidu soon followed him on the red carpet, and after much greeting and embracing of friends, he worked his way down the line of photographers. Ajay can also be seen in this season of the HBO series Bored to Death.
Sarita Choudhury, who caught everyone’s eye in Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala and Kama Sutra, saw her director arrive at the theater and rushed over to swoop her up in a big hug.
Actor, author (more here) and chef, Madhur Jaffrey tried to slip into the theater with all the other festival-goers, but was coaxed onto the red carpet.
If one were to look for six degrees of separation between Nandana Sen and Ajay Naidu, they wouldn’t have to go too far, as Ms. Sen played the muse Sugandha in Ketan Mehta’s Rang Rasiya the biopic of artist Raja Ravi Varma, to whom Mr. Naidu is related. (If Ms. Sen had turned around, you would see a thin gold chain encircling her waist.)
After a while, one photographer remarked “Now, if I can just get Padma Lakshmi, I could go home.” (She did eventually appear.)