RAVI M. Khanna
Ravi M. Khanna has just two feathers in his cap. He is a veteran TV/Radio journalist who, because of spending most of his life in the United States, has the insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s perspective on South Asia and this is clearly reflected in his articles and blogs on South Asia. And then he is an award winning actor and Voiceover artist who has acted on stage and television and also in films in India and the United States.
As a TV Producer/Analyst he has written and produced a number of TV packages in English for Voice of America, mostly on South Asia and the Middle East. These analytical pieces provided in depth background and perspective to the “News of the day” and were often used by all 38 services of VOA.
He interviewed a large number of South Asian leaders such as Manmohan Singh, Narasimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Rajiv Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, Pervez Musharraf, Zia ul Haq, Zia ur Rahman, Hossian Mohammad Ershad, Khaleda Zia, Sheikh Hasina, Junius Jayewardene and Morarji Desai to name a few.
He also spoke to and interviewed US experts on South Asia in Washington, from think-tanks such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Carnegie Foundation, SAIS, The New America Foundation, The Atlantic Council, The Heritage Foundation, Brookings Institute, the Council for Foreign Relations, the World Affairs Council etc.
As an actor, Ravi M. Khanna is a natural actor who tries to live the role rather than acting just like his idol Om Puri does and has done running roles in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English. He began his stage acting in his college days when at SRCC where he won the best actor’s award in his second year in college and where he also also took part in debates, extempore contests, and youth festivals and was the Student Editor for both English and Hindi sections of the college magazine “Yamuna”. One of the judges who chose him as the best actor of the year in one of the College drama competitions, was famous playwright Chiranjit who invited him and then encouraged him to take part in a voice test (audition) for radio plays at All India Radio. There he met his contemporaries such as Kulbhushan Kharbanda, T. P. Jain. Ashok Sarin, Laxmi Krishnamurthy, R. P. Sethi, Ram Gopal (known as Ranjit in Bollywood), Om Shivpuri, Sudha Shivpuri, Virendra Sharma, Mohan Maharshi, Ram Gopal Bajaj, Dina Nath, Shailendra Sharat, Satyendra Sharat, Sharad Dutt, Sushma Seth, Madhur Jaffrey, Ashok Rampal, P. Kumar, A. Pratap, Prashant Pandey, Swadesh Kumar, Devaki Nandan Pandey, Pushpa Sohanlal, Rashmi Prabha, Bela Bose, Supriya Ghosh, Kamna Chandra, Sushma Bedi, Surinder Kochar, Manju Maini, Shiv Sharma, Mudra Rakshas and Vimla Raina.
As some of his contemporaries went to Bombay in the 1970’s to try their luck in films, he had to go to the United States for further studies in management and computer technology. But his love for Radio and TV and inclination toward journalism took over everything else and, as a result, he ended up joining Voice of America where he broke several records and broke open several doors. He was the first naturalized US citizen to be accepted as a News Writer in the VOA Newsroom that at the time was dominated by (White) Americans; was the first to become the South Asia Desk Editor; became the first naturalized non-White American to be allowed to broadcast for VOA in English and then he was selected to be the VOA Bureau Chief in New Delhi for three years in 1986.
Now he is back in New Delhi–lock, stock and barrel–to be close to his roots and to do what he loves – News, TV and films in India. He began his return to India with a book in English and Hindi titled “TV News Writing Made Easy for Newcomers”