BBC World’s new show looks at famous Asian personalities

MUMBAI: News channel BBC World's senior foreign correspondent Michael Peschardt is launching a new 13-part series on BBC World next month. Peschardt's People will give viewers a chance to take a look at the lives of some of the most famous and infamous people in the Asia-Pacific region.

He spends an average of three days with each of his guests, interviewing them about the people, places, and issues that really matter to them, in a relaxed and informal style, encouraging them to open up and talk sincerely and passionately about their lives. On 1 April, his guest is actor Sam Neill (The Piano). He travels to New Zealand to visit Neill's private country estate, who talks about his relationship with Steven Spielberg and the frustrations of dealing with Hollywood. Neill is married to a Japanese and talks openly about his multi-racial family living in a country, which he says, has sometimes been slow to embrace multiculturalism.

Attempting to explain the success of the New Zealand film industry which has recently produced the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, he says: "It is the isolation. We have had to do things for ourselves. There's never been a mentality in New Zealand that just because we are small, we can't do it. In fact, it's quite the reverse. We just get on and do things. It's in our nature."

On 15 April he visits classical violinist Vanessa Mae. She has brought glamour and youth appeal to classical music. She talks about the pressures of being a child prodigy on the violin. Michael spends the day with her on tour in London. She talks about the decision to wear provocative costumes on stage and of her loneliness, as well as about growing up as the child of a Thai father and Chinese mother. Born in Singapore and raised in London, she tells Peschardt about the racism she's encountered, and what it is like to fall between several different cultures.

She reveals the price she has also had to pay for her fame, telling Michael about the fears for her safety from one fan in particular who became a stalker. "There was one guy who was stalking me continually. Very recently he had had been hanging around a lot more, coming to the front door. And it really became too much. I thought he needed help and I needed help. We called in the police and he was put away for six months and banned from coming anywhere near me ever again."

Giving a desi touch to things, on 22 April is Bollywood actress Preity Zinta. She shot to fame as the model in the Liril advertisement. He takes a behind the scenes look at Preity's life as she takes him on a personal tour around India's most celebrated Bollywood film studio. She talks about the pressures of her fame, and says she really doesn't want to become more famous than she is now, ruling out any attempt to break into Hollywood. "Why would I want to go there, when everyone knows me already?" she says.

Zinta shows Peschardt some of the colour and action that she believes has made Bollywood such a success, and tells him how she thinks India can change the world. "There are half a billion young people in this country and that makes it possible for change to happen and very fast. Most older people in India believe that everything about Western influences is bad but young people see things differently, though they still want to hold on to their Indian culture and sense of family values."

On 6 May, Peschardt catches up with author Shobhaa De. She has succeeded in breaking down many of the sexual taboos in today's India. She takes Peschardt around Mumbai in her chauffer-driven vintage Mercedes explaining why she believes it is so important to bring sensuality and sexuality back into Indian literature.

"I wanted to show that women should have the same rights over their lives, bodies and sexuality. Remember, India first produced the Karma Sutra. So there has been a long tradition." However, as De shows Peschardt around her city centre apartment, it becomes clear she feels that many young Indians are going too far in embracing liberal sexual practices.

She has recently finished another best-selling book about the importance of marriage. "I have never advocated promiscuity. Marriage is important to me, and people must either show commitment to it, or not do it at all. Some people watch birds, I watch marriages," she says.

Another guest of Peschardt will be Dr Vijay Mallya. Peschardt meets Dr Mallya, the flamboyant entrepreneur and the tycoon behind Kingfisher Beer and Kingfisher Airlines. His firm, The UB Group, focusses on alcoholic drinks, life sciences, engineering, agriculture and chemicals, information technology and civil aviation.

A recognised orator and sportsman, he has won trophies on the professional car racing circuits, is a keen yachtsman and aviator and leads an extraordinarily frenetic life.

Michael meets him at his office at six o'clock in the evening, and watches as meetings continue through to half past two the following morning. Dr. Mallya reveals to Michael his plans to expand even further internationally. "We are looking at new acquisitions," he says, and is happy with comparisons between himself and British owner of the Virgin Empire Richard Branson. "I definitely want Kingfisher to fly internationally in the near future," he adds.

Dr. Mallya is a man who doesn't like to take no for an answer and expresses his frustrations with Indian bureaucracy and red tape, but he believes India's economic boom will certainly continue. He keeps a 24-hour check on his sprawling business empire from his bulletproof Mercedes which he uses as a mobile office, and takes Michael on a tour around the city of Mumbai. "I don't read books, and I don't watch movies," he says. "For me, work is fun. It's what I do. I've installed a 'can-do' attitude throughout my companies."

Latest Reads
TV is story-teller's new novel; audience is Bharat, not India: Banerjee

MUMBAI: Since five to six years, television has become the talking point. Th series such as 'Breaking Bad' to Transparent to Narcos to 'Game of Thrones' to 24, and now POW (Prisoners of Wars) has changed the experience of television viewing.

Television TV Channels GECs
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
Saregama returns to film music acquisition with Pen pact

Saregama India has inked a two-movie deal with Pen Movies. With this agreement, Saregama has acquired the music rights of upcoming Bollywood releases of Pen which includes Kahaani 2 -- Durga Rani Singh, featuring Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal.Kahaani 2 is slated for a release on 2 December.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Q2-17: Zeel numbers, PAT up on higher Ad and Subscription revenue

The Subhash Chandra led content and broadcast player Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a 23 per cent hike in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Television TV Channels GECs
Best Deal TV appoints Hari Trivedi as COO

MUMBAI: Best Deal TV has appointed Hari Trivedi as the chief operating officer with immediate effect. Based in Mumbai, Trivedi will be responsible for overall sales and marketing. He would also be initializing lowest price offers and deals on Best Deal TV.

Television TV Channels People
Disney announces successor of MD Siddharth Roy-Kapur

MUMBAI: Walt Disney International has announced the successor to its former managing director Siddharth Roy-Kapur. As a second stint with the organization, Mahesh Samat has made a comeback and will lead The Walt Disney Company India as the managing director. He will pursue his new responsibility...

Television TV Channels People
Life is more imaginative than fiction in a story like POW, says writer-director Gideon Raff

MUMBAI: Sometimes, coming back home after 17 years is not always a happy ending. "Prisoners of War" is the story of three Israeli soldiers, who were held captive for that many years following their kidnapping while on a secret mission with their unit.

Television TV Shows Thriller
IPL media rights bidding postponed sine die

MUMBAI: The BCCI has made it clear that the media rights auction cannot take place till the time it gets a concrete go-ahead and a formal approval from the Justice RM Lodha committee. Till the evening of 24 October (Monday), BCCI did not receive the okay from the committee which said, "it is in...

Television TV Channels Sports

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories