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Media Award 2015
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Royal Holloway, U. of London
B.Sc, Marketing, Management, Computer Science, Upper 2:1 Hons
Marketing, Management, IT
Activities and Societies: Croydon Music Festival - Vocal music winner (singing) - Advanced level - Carnatic (South Indian Classical) Music
The Coopers' Company and Coborn School
A Levels: Computer Science, Maths, Further Maths
Described by Ofsted as "an exceptional school of real excellence", I spent 2 years here, doing my A Levels, in Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science, garnering a well rounded education, preparing me for a top UK university. Popular TV personality Richard Madeley of Richard and Judy & ITV's 'This Morning' is also an alumnus of Coopers'.
Plashet School, East Ham
GCSE's, English language, English literature, Mathematics, Music, French, Geography, Sciences et al
After a stellar primary school education at the University Primary School in Maiduguri, Nigeria and a year at secondary school at the Federal Government College, I joined Plashet School in the 2nd year, studying a broad range of subjects, previously a grammar school, in the 1930s, now a multiple award winning comprehensive. I got A's in key subjects like Maths, French, English and English Literature while studying for my GCSEs there, before heading to The Coopers' Company and Coborn School for my A Levels.
Activities and Societies: Teenage Gold medallist in Carnatic (South Indian Classical) - Vocal Music
Presenter of the Ashanti Omkar show on BBC Asian Network, which can be listened to online from the world over, on DAB digital radio, and satellite TV.
Indian cinema and Bollywood expert for Sunny and Shay's BBC London show, and Arshia Riaz's Midlands Masala, on BBC West Midlands.
Columnist for India's glossy cinema magazine Galatta and London correspondent for Anokhi glossy magazine (on shelves in North America, CANADA and UK).
Consultant for Omkari, SSE Arena Wembley, and the London Indian Film Festival.
Compere at the London Mela & London International Arts Festival.
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
October 2014 – Present (8 months)London, United Kingdom
Ashanti Omkar showcases the latest music, arts and entertainment from South Indian and Sri Lankan communities. She also takes a look at the latest releases, crossover Bollywood and Hollywood film and music, and more...
Bollywood Expert: BBC London 94.9FM and BBC West Midlands 95.6 FM, DAB
August 2011 – Present (3 years 10 months)London, United Kingdom
Bollywood round ups on BBC London 94.9FM and on BBC West Midlands 95.6 FM - also available online as well as on Satellite, DAB and FM.
BBC Music reviews:
Columnist Galatta Cinema Glossy Magazine
Magzter | Galatta Cinema Magazine
2010 – Present (5 years)India
Monthly columns since 2010, on film and entertainment in London and beyond, in this glossy magazine, which is on the iPad | Android platforms worldwide, via the award winning Magzter app, and on news stands in South India - owned by Galatta.com - South India's biggest entertainment portal:
London Correspondent for Anokhi Glossy Magazine
2010 – Present (5 years)London, United Kingdom
Regular features in this decade old glossy lifestyle publication, based in CANADA, with a worldwide circulation of 150,000 a year, in CANADA, UK, US et al. Contributed stories like the following, as London correspondent:
Sexy and Successful list - 2011 - http://anokhimagazine.com/entertainment/sexy-successful-2011-ashanti-omkar
Royal Fever - http://anokhimagazine.com/health-living/royal-fever
The ugly side of beauty - http://anokhimagazine.com/percolator-talk/ugly-side-beauty
Southern crossover - http://www.anokhimagazine.com/story/2010/07/02/southern-crossover-0
View from the top (Priyanka Chopra) http://www.anokhimagazine.com/story/2010/06/30/view-top
Shining bright (Deepika Padukone) - http://www.anokhimagazine.com/entertainment/shining-bright-deepika-padukone
The business of being John Abraham - http://anokhimagazine.com/entertainment/business-being-john
Midas Man (Aamir Khan) - http://anokhimagazine.com/entertainment/midas-man
London Indian Film Festival
2011 – Present (4 years)London, United Kingdom
The London Indian Film Festival (partnered with Cineworld, BAFTA, BFI, ICA, and The Tate Modern and V&A museums in the past) - Europe's number 1 festival for Indian independent cinema: londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk
- 2014: Opened with the high profile movie Sold by Oscar winner Jeffrey Brown, starring Gillian Anderson, with Disney's Million dollar arm as the centrepiece gala, BFI "in conversation" events with ace cinematographer of films like Roja, and film director Santosh Sivan and Bollywood A List star and polymath Farhan Akhtar, and closed with a glittering red carpet event for Hemalkasa, by Indian national award winner Samruddhi Porey, with veteran actor and main protagonist in the film, Nana Patekar, in attendance.
- 2013: Book-ended by the Cannes hits, Monsoon Shootout and Bombay Talkies, with Life of Pi/Slumdog millionaire star Irrfan Khan who did a BFI (British Film Institute) 'in conversation' event
- 2012: Opened with Gangs of Wasseypur, by Anurag Kashyap
- 2011: Opened with the world premiere of Delhi Belly from Aamir Khan Productions/UTV
Monocle 24 Radio
2013 – Present (2 years)London, United Kingdom
I comment about various aspects of Asian culture from the Indian subcontinent, with presenters at Monocle Magazine Radio - Monocle 24.
The Globalist Asia - Will Olive Oil production in India take off? Ghee vs the new production of this healthy oil in India, and if it will work for the Indian market: http://monocle.com/radio/shows/the-globalist-asia/102/
Live from Midori House - A discussion about Chennai Express - Eid 2013 Bollywood blockbuster with Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone: http://monocle.com/radio/shows/midori-house/459/
Contributing Editor - Bollywood - Cineworld Unlimited Magazine
Cineworld Cinemas Ltd
January 2007 – Present (8 years 5 months)London, United Kingdom
UK's biggest circulation glossy cinema magazine, with ABC accreditation of around 1/2 Million copies a month with an award winning online and Apple iPad offering too.
In this video, which was a part of the digital magazine, Ashanti Omkar speaks to Pat Reid, the editor of the Cineworld Cinemas Unlimited Magazine, about Indian cinema and Bollywood at multiplexes at UK's biggest cinema chain.
Consultant at Spice UK
2010 – Present (5 years)London, United Kingdom
From its inception in 2010, as an extension to Spice in India, which was incorporated in 2004, Spice UK has already emerged as one of the leading players in UK's Bollywood landscape.
Spice are the only communication agency that seamlessly integrates the Indian and UK markets, after proving their Indian communications space with films like Ghajini and 3 Idiots.
Spice UK has handled Peepli [Live] and Guzaarish in 2010, Dhobi Ghat and Delhi Belly in 2011 and also Bodyguard, which got the biggest opening in UK's Bollywood history.
Commercially, Delhi Belly and Dhobi Ghat set trends in the UK, being independent, unique films, within UK's traditional family film oriented market, in 2011.
Talaash in 2012, followed, as a trail-blazing off-beat film, that captured the UK market, despite being a non-holiday release, with campaign articles featuring in the Guardian, Metro, Huffington Post UK, Digital Spy, Bolly Spice, Desi Box, Eastern Eye, Asian Today et al.
The Spice One vertical handles the individual brands of Aamir Khan, Anil Kapoor, Imran Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Rajkumar Hirani and many Indian film talents.
In 2012, Spice in India handled hugely successful films like Yash Chopa's last, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Ek Tha Tiger, and also critically acclaimed films like Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur (which began its journey at Cannes and had its UK premiere at the London Indian Film Festival, and continues to make waves in the worldwide festival circuit, screening in the 'spotlight' section of Sundance 2013) and Gauri Shinde Balki's much lauded English Vinglish, which brought about the come-back of the legendary actress Sridevi and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Social Media: www.facebook.com/SpicePR
Comments, Quotes, Interview excerpts
2011 – Present (4 years)London, United Kingdom
Expert quotes, comments, interview excerpts at Digital Spy, Bollywood:
2003 – Present (12 years)London, United Kingdom
Omkari and Ashanti Omkar came together as a brand partnership in 2003, marking 2013 as a decade in the world of UK media.
Working with the likes of the London Indian Film Festival and the London Mela in the UK:
And curator and compere at festivals like Alchemy:
Ashanti Omkar at the BAFTA, introducing the Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa audio launch. She also conducted the Q&A after the music launch in London, with double Oscar and Grammy winner AR Rahman (Kadal, Rockstar, Slumdog Millionaire, Dil Se, Bombay, Roja), Gautham Menon (the film director behind films like Vaaranam Aayiram, Kaakha Kaakha, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, Minnale), actress Trisha (Saamy, Unnakum Ennakum, Kireedam, Bheema, Abhiyum Naanum, Khatta Meetha, Manmadhan Ambu, Mankatha) and Tamil actor Silambarasan (Manmadhan, Thotti Jaya, Vallavan, Silambattam, Vaanam).
Journalist at BollywoodLife.com (sister site to HollywoodLife.com)
India.com | BollywoodLife.com
2012 – August 2014 (2 years)London, United Kingdom
Interviews with Bollywood stars like: Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Imran Khan et al
BollySpice Magazine (Metro | IMDB) partnered with IndyBrown.TV | OMkari
2011 – 2014 (3 years)London, United Kingdom
Media Partner: http://www.indybrown.tv/category/exclusive/
Kochadaiyaan featuring Superstar Rajinikanth and AR Rahman: http://www.indybrown.tv/kochadaiyaan-international-press-launch-exclusive/
Ra.One featuring Shahrukh Khan: http://www.indybrown.tv/ra-one-uk-premiere-shahrukh-khan-kareena-kapoor-arjun-rampal-i-exclusive-1/
Partnered with BollySpice - the biggest Bollywood site outside India, also partnered with UK's biggest morning newspaper, the Metro:
Best exotic marigold HOTEL AND red carpet interviews with Dev Patel, Dame Judi Dench et al http://bollyspice.com/37305/world-premiere-of-the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel
Life of Pi London premiere and interviews with Ang Lee and Suraj Sharma - http://bollyspice.com/52913/in-video-life-of-pi-premiere-with-ang-lee-suraj-sharma
Incredible India Magazine - Editor in Chief
India Tourism Development Corporation
2009 – 2011 (2 years)London, United Kingdom
Created the glossy Incredible India magazine, for the World Travel Market (WTM), held at Excel and published for travel agents around Europe. This was a commission from the Indian tourism board, in London.
The masthead for your perusal:
Editor in Chief
2009 – 2010 (1 year)London, United Kingdom
South Asian Portal, with a focus on the 1/2 Billion South Indian and Tamil diaspora around the world, filled with news, interviews, cinema, music, fashion, books, art and entertainment. The portal is owned by British Tamil entrepreneur, Ara Vetharajah.
Below are a few video interviews filmed and edited by Barking Mad Productions and presented by Ashanti Omkar:
Mani Ratnam and Vikram: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IBLc9yw4AY&feature=share&list=UUudjmDorpVGS1YQRa5ezXZg
AR Rahman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJPJTpATdzM&feature=share&list=UUudjmDorpVGS1YQRa5ezXZg
Southern Young Superstar Silambarasan (Simbu): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjlCzgghKs0&feature=share&list=UUudjmDorpVGS1YQRa5ezXZg
Also a long-standing judge for Faceoff by Supernova Entertainments www.snents.com - partnered with Thamarai - since 2007
2012 interview conducted by Thamarai's editor Kavya Rajagopalan, with Ashanti Omkar on Domestic Violence:
Presenter and producer of the South Side show
2007 – 2009 (2 years)London, United Kingdom
Created, presented and produced 63 episodes of the iTunes and internet broadcasted podcast show, South Side, showcasing with the South Indian diaspora of 1/2 Billion, all over the world. It included interviews with double Grammy and Oscar winner AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire), Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Devdas), Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan (Sholay) et al, with a focus on South India and it's culture and cinema, with a micro-focus on Tamil music, Mode based South Indian Classical music (Carnatic) and many live musicians in the studio, like Ash King (Delhi 6, Bodyguard), Pirashanna Thevarajah (who tours with Anushka Shankar and worked with the late sitar legend, Ravi Shankar), Ghatam Umashankar (son of the Grammy winning TH Vinayakram), singer Arjun (who has his first Tamil release with Yuvan Shankar Raja, in Venkat Prabhu's forthcoming film Biryani), the Tamil Timbaland, Charles Bosco and more.
Editor in chief at Henna Magazine
2008 – 2008 (less than a year)London, United Kingdom
Worked as the editor in chief of a high profile glossy publication, Henna, a luxury magazine that was sold at Selfridges, Borders, WH Smiths, airports and all good independent newsagents. More here:
Asian Post Newspaper
2003 – 2008 (5 years)London, United Kingdom
Entertainment Editor for this weekly Asian Tabloid, creating centre spreads on British Asian musicians, film related features and coverage of festivals like BBC Proms, WOMAD and Glastonbury. Worked with a photographer (www.pixpilgrim.com - Akin Aworan Falope) for most of these assignments, to supply high quality editorial and photos.
AR Rahman 2005 UK tour: http://asianmozart.blogspot.co.uk/
Senior features editor
Asian Woman Magazine
2006 – 2007 (1 year)London, United Kingdom
Senior features editor of this Asian women related glossy magazine - created cover stories with actresses like Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif. Wrote book reviews, latest music, film synopses, covered wedding related pages, recipes and home related pages and conducted shoots and interviews, with the likes of producer Rishi Rich, singer Raghav, boxer David Haye (Hayemaker), musician Nitin Sawhney, designer Rachel Roy et al.
My first magazine cover story, as senior features editor for Asian Woman. With award winning Bollywood actress (Barfi, Don, Don 2, Fashion, and singer (now signed to Universal Music Group and DesiHits), Priyanka Chopra (Krrish, Kaminey, Dostana, Agneepath, Zanjeer, Gunday, Mary Kom Biopic, Krrish 3):
Organizations Ashanti supports:
Partnership Against Domestic Violence
Woman's Library Project(Link)
Woman's Library, London Metropolitan University
Women’s magazines have been with us for centuries. they have been both damned and praised for raising women’s expectations, accused of encouraging self- loathing, and criticised for acknowledging women’s sexuality. their content and readers have changed over time, but all of them have at least one thing in common: they allow readers to enter a world in which women are at its centre.
Ashanti Omkar is editor of the new asian fashion and lifestyle glossy, Henna magazine. she also presents the south asian music show, ‘South Side’ on radio station Desi Hits. she has written widely about music and film, and has worked for magazines including Asian Woman, Songlines and Cineworld Unlimited Bollywood, as well as the Asian Post newspaper. her work also features online, on sites such as Total Film and The Score
In the media:
Sexy and Successful
Ashanti OMkar is a major presence in the entertainment media world, with over 1,000 published pages under her belt to date. This British multimedia persona has worked with BBC’s Cineword magazine, India's Galatta Cinema and of course, ANOKHI! OMkar has a popular radio show called Desi Hits! South Side Show and her podcasts have gained a massive following through iTunes....more
Croydon Music Prize (vocalist gold medal)
Croydon Music Festival
Winner of the Carnatic (South Indian Classical) Vocal Music Prize, for Vocal seniors.
Song: Manavyalakinca by Tyagaraja (of the Carnatic trinity), Raga (mode): Nalinakanthi
Teacher (Guru): Manorama Prasad
Photo with award: