September 23 2014
Roll call of high achievers and controversial author Jeffrey Archer auctions unusual prize…
BY Suman Bhuchar
AUTHOR Hanif Kureishi and music producer Naughty Boy were just two of the stars honoured at the Asian Achievers Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday (September 19).
The awards’ night attended by over 600 guests, included peer Lord Navnit Dholakia, singer Navin Kundra, actors, Ray Panthaki and Nitin Ganatra – who also compered – and singer Emeli Sande, as well as businessman and sponsor (Veetee) Moni Verma among the gathering.
The chief guest was the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, who congratulated the nominees and said: “We celebrate the entrepreneurship of the Asian community.
“There are 50,000 British Asian companies in the UK generating more than £60 billion pounds nationwide. It enriches the life of the nation, because many of those businesses support with extraordinary generosity the talented artists, musicians, sports men and women within the community.”
“It means a lot to me, to be here among my own people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to be amongst my contemporaries, friends and to receive this award,” Kureishi commented.
Talking to the media, upon accepting the award, he explained that the challenges for any artist are to do with originality and finding your own voice.
Kureishi added: “As an artist, the only thing that matters is that you are your own person and you work as you have to and tell the stories you have to tell; you can’t tell stories somebody else wants you to tell, so if you want to be an artist you have to be original and that’s the only way you can do it.”
Music producer Naughty Boy (aka Shahid Khan) was given the accolade as a ‘Rising Star’. This self-effacing 29 year old from Watford (now based in Ealing) is an inspiration to many emerging artists.
He began his musical career with a small a grant of £5,000 from The Prince’s Trust, and then he appeared on Channel 4’s hit game show “Deal Or No Deal”, where he won £44,000, and this enabled him to purchase equipment and begin recording music.
Since then Khan has gone on to work with some of the biggest names in popular music, including Sandé, Chipmunk, TinieTempah, Katy Perry and most recently with Zayn Malik of mega global boyband, One Direction. Khan’s 2013 smash hit, “La La La”, featuring Sam Smith was a global summer sensation, with over 386 million views on YouTube, to date.
“To receive this level of recognition from my peers of fellow Asians is such a privilege.
“I’m proud of being a British Pakistani and I’m proud to represent the Asian community. I grew up immersed in Bollywood movies, where music, songs and extravagant dance sequences dominate, and that has really influenced the way I produce music today.”
A fun moment occurred while Lord (Jeffrey) Archer was conducting the charity auction to raise funds for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.
One of the lots was a chance to be a named character in the next novel of his series, “The Clifton Chronicles” – these are very popular in India and were originally launched in Bangalore in 2011.
In this sixth one, Lord Archer has promised to make the lead character fall in love with an Indian woman.
“‘I’ll have Sebastian fall in love with an Indian girl but I am not going to tell you the problems they face. I need a good Indian name, I need a family name, I need a girl’s name for the girl who gets engaged to him, and I need a boy’s name for her brother.”
He reckoned the book would be read by 250 million, so the he might make the Indian family “something interesting like a murderer”. (This lot was bought by £6,000 by a mystery guest).
The auction raised £100,000 for the Cherie Blair Foundation. The 14th Asian Achievers Award was organised by the Asian Business Publication Group Ltd (ABPL) and aims to honour individuals in the field of business, community and culture.
Main picture: (l-r) Nitin Ganatra, Pragnesh Modhwadia (Veetee), Hanif Kureishi, DJ Neev
All pictures courtesy of PR Mediapix
Full list of winners Asian Achievers Awards 2014
Media, Arts and Culture – Hanif Kureishi CBE
Woman of the Year – Priya Lakhani OBE (Masala Masala, Century Tech)
Business Person of the Year – Mahmud Kamani (Boohoo.com)
Entrepreneur of the Year – Dr Richie Nanda (The Shield Group/TopsGrup)
Achievement In Community Service – Wasim Gulzar Khan MBE (cricket charity, CEO Chance to Shine, former Sussex and Derbyshire player).
Professional Of The Year Professor Sir Tejinder Singh Virdee, FRS (Professor of Physics, Imperial College, London and scientist CERN)
Sports Personality of the Year – Dilawer Singh MBE (elected director Sport Council for Glasgow, and first Sikh Scottish police officer)
Uniformed And Civil Services – Nazir Afzal OBE (Chief Crown Prosecutor North West of England)
Lifetime Achievement Award – Sir Anwar Pervez OBE, HI (chairman, Bestway)
Editor’s Awards – selected by CB Patel (founder/chairman ABPL Group)
Rising Star – Naughty Boy Aka Shahid Khan
Bravery and Patriotism – (Late) Flt Lt Rakesh Chauhan (intelligence officer, died in helicopter crash April 2014 Afghanistan)