- A pre-Oscars event co-hosted by Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the March 23 event was attended by several Academy Award-nominated actors including Riz Ahmed.
The who’s who of the South Asian American community in entertainment gathered in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles on March 23 evening to raise a toast for South Asian excellence in films and television. The event was hosted by Priyanka Chopra Jonas along with British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed, entrepreneur Anjula Acharia, Bela Bajaria of Netflix, restaurateur Maneesh K. Goyal, and writer and filmmaker Shruti Ganguly.
Dressed in a black sari, the desi girl played a gracious hostess as she made a speech about her journey to Hollywood. “Each and everyone of you are here today because you are excellent in what you do,” Priyanka said.
“I came ten years ago and started looking for work in America,” Priyanka reminiscenced. She spoke about how she and comedian Aziz Ansari were the only two brown people at a Golden Globe party a few years ago. “We went out there and met everyone else. But today, I am not someone else. Today, I stand amongst peers, amongst colleagues, amongst South Asian excellence. I have goosebumps, I am emotional, it makes me very proud.” She added that she’s not been going out much after the arrival of their daughter. “Haven’t been stepping out anywhere but had to come here tonight just to say this that I’m highly proud to be rubbing shoulders with all of you, to be encouraging you.”
Ahmed spoke to the importance of community in both good times and bad times “If we can come together as a community to celebrate our wins as our wins. Let us step up to hold each other suffering as our collective suffering. Let’s use this platform for solidarity as well as celebration.”
Several attendees like singer Jay Sean, Zohreen Shah of ABC and Neha Joy of The Hollywood Reporter posted photos of the event on their social media accounts.
“Coming together with my community in the first event of its kind to celebrate South Asian excellence before the #Oscars,” tweeted Shah.
Ten 10 South Asians are nominated this year. They include Riz Ahmed (“Flee,” “The Long Goodbye”), Joseph Patel (“Summer of Soul”), Suroosh Alvi (“Flee”) Pawo Choyning Dorji (“Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”), Aneil Karia (“The Long Goodbye”), Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei (“Three Songs for Benazir”), Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh and Anurima Bhargava (“Writing with Fire”).
Many of the nominees were in attendance along with Ansari, Lilly Singh, and Kal Penn, Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones, and filmmakers Geeta Malik, Smriti Mundhra, among others.