Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Riz Ahmed Toast South Asians at Pre-Oscars Party – The New York Times

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South Asians in Hollywood celebrate their achievements this year.
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The dirty secret about film industry parties is that they’re rarely fun. Hardly anyone feels like they’re in with the in-crowd. There’s a lot of posturing, peacocking and busying oneself with one’s phone.
The opposite was true at a party to celebrate the achievements of South Asians in this year’s Oscars race on Wednesday night.
Three weeks ago, Maneesh K. Goyal, a New York restaurateur, was talking with Anjula Acharia, who is Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s manager, and Shruti Ganguly, a film producer. “We realized there were 10 Oscar nominees of South Asian descent this year,” Mr. Goyal said. “My immediate response: ‘We should throw a party.’”
Ms. Chopra Jonas signed on as a host, and so did Mindy Kaling, Kumail Nanjiani and Bela Bajaria, the head of global TV at Netflix. The United Talent Agency offered its Beverly Hills offices.
“I wasn’t sure if we’d be in a conference room, or something,” said Richa Moorjani, a star of “Never Have I Ever,” who wore an embroidered blazer and matching pants by a Dubai label named OTT.
No beige carpeting here: Around 5 p.m., guests filtered into an airy courtyard with a gazebo decked out in gold streamers. They were proud to be in one another’s presence. “To have this depth of talent, to have enough nominees to throw a party, this was not the case five years ago,” Ms. Bajaria said. “It’s not just writers, directors and on-screen talent. There are agents, assistants and executives” — like herself — “who have green-light authority.”
As Ms. Bajaria surveyed the crowd of 125, the actress Poorna Jagannathan sidled over and grabbed her arm. “Have you seen the new Indian Barbie?” Ms. Jagannathan said, referring to the limited-edition doll released for Women’s History Month, and who Ms. Jagannathan thinks Ms. Bajaria looks like (“I’m not so sure about that,” Ms. Bajaria said).
Who needs plastic when real world role models abound? At the bar: Radhika Jones, the Vanity Fair editor, in a Falguni & Shane Peacock dress, and Noora Raj Brown, Goop’s head of communications. By the step-and-repeat: Janina Gavankar, of “The Morning Show,” in a fuchsia crop top and trousers, and the comedian Lilly Singh, in a suit with fringe cuffs.
Under the streamers: Aziz Ansari, the comedian and actor who recently released a Netflix special; Manish Dayal, who stars in the medical drama “The Resident”; and Riz Ahmed, the actor and rapper, who is up for two Oscars this year, for the short film “The Long Goodbye” and the animated feature “Flee.”
“It’s really emboldening when you’re surrounded by people who share your experience,” Mr. Ahmed said, addressing the party as pink streaked the sky.
Collaborations were discussed. (“Make business plans,” Ms. Chopra Jonas said.) Trade secrets were disclosed. (“If you need an Indian outfit, Kynah is a one-stop shop,” Ms. Moorjani said.)
Although the party officially ended at 8, dozens of guests lingered for another hour, even though the aloo tikki station and bar had closed.
“A lot of us grew up trying to hide our racial identity and culture,” said the actor Adrian Dev (“Westworld”), who wore a navy blue sherwani. “Now I’m the exact opposite.”


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