Today, 20 August, is the 72nd birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, and many newspapers are featuring front page in-memoriam ads for the former Prime Minister, followed by first person accounts inside by people recollecting their memories of him. Rather morbidly, most are tending to dwell on the last moments of his life. I have a different story to tell.
Mark Manuel is a senior Mumbai editor with over three decades of journalism in leading publications including the Times, mid-day, and Afternoon. Currently with the Dainik Bhaskar Group, he is respected for his writing, especially his interviews of famous people. His first book, a fictional police procedural crime thriller, will be out later this year. Bollywood has already shown an interest in it. In a tribute to Mark Manuel’s years of experience, every super cop of the Mumbai Police has worked on the book with him.
I am curious to read “Me, The Jokerman”, a new collection of mostly unpublished essays by Khushwant Singh. The essays are bound to be as entertaining as they will be insightful, and each will tell a story. For Khushwant Singh was a master storyteller. Not in person, of course. If he didn’t know you well, or didn’t take to you, he could be decidedly boorish. One winter evening in 2000, I requested a meeting. “For what?” he rudely asked. “Just to have a drink,” I suggested. He reluctantly agreed.
12/08/2016 11:47 AM IST
Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, eat your hearts out. The most searched Indian actress on Google over the last 10 years has been Sunny Leone, never mind that the Indo-Canadian former porn star has been in Bollywood only since 2012. Frankly, I am not amazed at her celebrity, especially after interviewing her.
05/08/2016 1:27 PM IST
John Abraham is back in action today. With Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez in the sleek adventure-comedy ‘Dishoom’ that packs its punch with a cricket-kidnap-drama plot. Knowing John (and I’ve known him since he was a pimply-faced, gangly youngster), he’s not too anxious about the numbers. “The audience should just enjoy the film, let the trade be obsessed with the box office.”
29/07/2016 10:56 AM IST
Long before her impending canonization was announced, I met Mother Teresa by chance, near a gutter in Bombay. I was very young; I had some idea who she was, but not what she did. By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late. I was a journalist by then. And she had no time for journalists. Though that day in 1979, all Mother Teresa had wanted from me was a moment of MY time.
22/07/2016 11:12 AM IST
It was raining when the family announced Rajesh Khanna’s death on the afternoon of 18 July, 2012. Not the kind of heavy downpour that Mumbai’s shrinking lakes would gratefully accept, but a light, continuous drizzle that swept Carter Road in Bandra West and dropped silently on Aashirwad -- the road and bungalow in which Rajesh Khanna lived, as if the Heavens were crying inconsolably for the loss of this great actor, Bollywood’s first superstar.
18/07/2016 5:50 PM IST
Somebody with a lot of imagination put Baba Ramdev on the cover of a national news magazine performing the Prasarita Padottanasana, and the Twitterati has not stopped taking unkind digs at him since then… But I like Baba Ramdev. Ten years ago, before Patanjali Ayurveda took off and all he dreamed about was yoga, I interviewed him in Mumbai.
18/07/2016 2:54 PM IST
Shree Ganesha Namah! It's Bejan Daruwalla's birthday on Monday. That bawdy Parsi astrologer and celebrated Ganpati-<em>bhakt</em> will turn 86. Age cannot wither him nor custom stale his infinite variety. Everybody from Narendra Modi down holds their palm out to Bejan when they meet him, hoping for a freebie. For his birthday, he always makes a general forecast. This time he's made three.
09/07/2016 8:46 AM IST
The shame of this country is that a hundred men will gape in awestruck horror as a jilted lover stabs his girlfriend multiple times on a busy road and then pours acid over her. Not one will come to her rescue. They are more likely to whip out their cell phones and take a video instead. Like what happened on Nungambakkam Railway Station in Chennai the other day when a woman employee of Infosys was "cold-bloodedly" murdered.
01/07/2016 2:05 PM IST
I had my hopes on her. My money and prayers. The Olympic Games was to be Mary Kom's swansong.
25/06/2016 5:04 PM IST
I wish Balasaheb Thackeray was alive to raise a toast to the 50th anniversary celebrations of his saffron-hued, ultra-right political party, the Shiv Sena, today. He would have done it with a glass of French wine. Jauntily puffing on a Cuban cigar. I knew him well. Not only as the Shiv Sena supremo, whose fire and brimstone speeches were legendary, but also as a bon vivant with a taste for good food, fine wines and full-bodied cigars.
21/06/2016 12:14 PM IST
He was nattily dressed in a black tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows. Scarcely the indoor attire for Mumbai. "I have a fetish for jackets," he said defensively, noticing my look. He is like a character from his films. Good-looking in an unkempt, don't care-ish way. Somewhat emotional, dark and extreme. But with a dazzling smile. And he smiled even when narrating the battle he had just lost...
16/06/2016 12:05 PM IST
Christmas Eve, 1990. It is a cold, wintry night and I am at the Holiday Inn, Bombay, knocking on the door to a suite, my heart in my mouth. The door opens. A wizened old Black man, attired in a flowing kaftan, a skull cap on his head, looks at me inquiringly. His is not the most recognized face in the world. This is not the Greatest sportsman of all time. He is not Muhammad Ali. But I am a boxing aficionado. I recognize Jabir Herbert Muhammad, the Champ's manager.
06/06/2016 12:22 PM IST
SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY BRIEF FROM HUFFPOST INDIA