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Having starred in both British dramas and Hollywood blockbusters, Martin Delaney has had a career as diverse as his new film! As well as popular shows such as Family Affairs and The Bill, Delaney has mingled with Hollywood heavyweights such as Clint Eastwood in the acclaimed hit Flags of our Fathers and Kathryn Bigelow in Zero Dark Thirty. The young actor now plays one third of the trio in his new comedy Amar, Akbar and Tony. His character, Tony, is on the hunt for his new love in the Asian community, the question is will he succeed? Delaney talks to us about diversity in film, working with an amazing cast and how to find the one!

 

Tell me a bit about your character Tony.

 

Tony is a Londoner with Irish heritage on his dad’s side, he’s lived in Southall all his life and been friends with Amar and Akbar since he was a kid. Tony’s a softie with a heart of gold, he tries but he’s not the brightest or most charming of the three. Living in a largely British-Asian community he’s become obsessed with Asian women. The question is will he find the Asian girl of his dreams? Or more to the point is the girl of his dreams looking for her “Caucasian prince”?

 

What drew you to this project?

 

The thing that drew me to the piece was the script and role, it read like a really fun script with room for light as well as moments of heart and weight. Of course the role was great fun. Tony being described as ‘the honorary Asian’ reminded me of moments in my life that were important. I worked in New Zealand some years ago and I was taken under the wing of the Maori boys, there were elements of the character that reminded me of this time. The fact that Tony would be my first comedic lead in film was of course exciting, not to mention that I am British Asian myself. I don’t look it as I’m Caucasian but my mum is Burmese and my dad is Irish. I identified with the strong family and friendship themes running through the piece.

 

Do you feel this film is an accurate representation of London today?

 

The piece represented London and in particular Southall very well. London is a melting pot of different cultures and communities and it’s used as a backdrop in a very positive light in Amar, Akbar and Tony. When I grew up in South East London/Kent border, culture didn’t keep me away from my friends of different race or faith and the movie echoes that.

 

You’ve starred in Hollywood blockbusters such as Zero Dark Thirty and Flags of our Fathers. Do you enjoy working on these big movies as well as local films such as Amar, Akbar and Tony?

 

I have and yes, they are incredibly enjoyable. I managed to do a few Hollywood movies now and I’m particularly proud of being part of the two you mentioned. Not only because Clint Eastwood and Kathryn Bigelow are wonderful directors and not to mention charming human beings, but because both those movies were nominated for Oscars with Zero Dark Thirty winning one. It’s lovely to be involved in all that! Zero Dark Thirty had some great cameos which lead to it also winning ‘Best Ensemble Cast’ at The Critics Choice Awards. Winning over fantastic movies like Les Miserables feels incredible and I’m very grateful. In those big Hollywood pictures I also tend to play American roles which I love to do where possible.

 

Did you, Sam and Rez become close friends during filming?

 

Sam, Rez and I got on so well during filming, I love those boys! I read somewhere that directing is 60% casting, well Shakyra Dowling along with the director Atul Malhotra did a top job with this piece because we all had such a blast and bonded in a truly natural and believable way. The girls are all fantastic too; it’s been a real pleasure and honour to work with them. I had worked with Laura Aikman and Amrita Acharia before in television and it was a joy to spend time with them again.

 

As well as comedy, are there serious moments the audiences can relate to?

 

There are serious moments of course, every story needs drama and conflict and Amar Akbar and Tony doesn’t avoid this. There’s a moment in the early part of the movie that puts strain on their relationship as friends. Not to mention the dramas involved with trying to find the girl of your dreams, I think everyone can identify with that. Love is never easy, but it’s always worth it!

 

What was it like working with such an ensemble and multicultural cast?

 

As I mentioned earlier, the cast were just incredible, every single member. We all had such fun together and were a really great team. It was a delight to work opposite Meera Syal and Nina Wadia too. Not only are they super talented ladies but really beautiful and generous people. You mentioned it being a multicultural cast, but it didn’t stop there. Amar, Akbar and Tony had the biggest multicultural crew I’d ever worked with and that was inspiring. In a time where diversity in British film is a huge negative talking point, Amar Akbar and Tony really did prove that there are no reasons why film can’t be more diverse.

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Not long after going solo, ex-One Direction band member, Zayn Malik, is to release his first solo single with close friend and music producer, Naughty Boy.

Producer Naughty Boy tweeted a link to the track along with the words “let the music do the talking”.

The track on SoundCloud includes the caption, “There is nothing but love for what was left behind. That’s why we don’t mind. ;) #zaughty #zinabad.”

The producer tweeted the song hours after having an argument with Zayn Malik’s former One Direction bandmate Louis Tomlinson. Louis accused the producer of “trying to wind the fans up” after he retweeted a video saying “Zaughty will rise”, a reference to working with Zayn.

As the band carries on as a four-piece, Zayn Malik has been removed from the video montage which plays at the beginning of One Direction’s shows.

Speaking to The Sun, the 22-year-old Zayn, he “couldn’t do this anymore” and admitted quitting the band was “crazy and wild and a bit mad.”

“But I’ve never felt more in control in my life. I feel like I’m doing what’s right, right by myself and right by the boys.”

He denied there were any rifts between the band members, saying those claims “couldn’t be more wrong”.

He said: “You know, I did try to do something that I wasn’t happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other people. Basically, I’m only upset [because] I feel like I may have let them down.”

“It’s not that I’ve turned my back on them [the fans] or anything, it’s just that I just can’t do that anymore because it’s not real to me.”

Announcing he was leaving One Direction for good, Zayn said, “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”

 

 

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Leading South Asian entertainment channel, COLORS TV have launched a new and unique locally produced show. Named ‘Desi Beat’, the show started late last month with a view to showcase the best of local Asian culture.

 

Desi Beat will showcase UK’s most exotic and preferred trends in food and lifestyle. Celebrity host Raj Ghai will embark upon a fascinating journey of the finest destinations known for their cuisine, apparel and accessories and impeccable travel experiences across the United Kingdom in his truly ‘Desi’ and unmatched style. From the most authentic ‘lehenga’ to the spiciest ‘Indian Curry’, every Sunday, Raj will unravel a new mystery that a new destination presents – its wide array of local & international Desi trends – in his inimitable style. In Raj’s own words, “If it’s made it to my list, it’s a MUST visit!”

 

On the launch of the show, Govind Shahi, Business Head, IndiaCast Media, Europe, says “COLORS TV has been a frontrunner in differentiated content, admired by South Asian audiences across the UK. As a network, we offer broadcast channels such as Rishtey that offers a wide variety of entertainment for the entire family, and News18 India, the world’s window to India. It gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of our new local production, Desi Beat on our flagship channel, COLORS. Extensive research was carried out to deduce our viewers’ areas of interests. Desi Beat has been conceptualised and developed to suit preferences of Desi television audiences in the UK. The promos of the show have already gained remarkable traction on social media, crossing the 5000 views mark in just two days. We hope that our audiences will embrace this fresh and innovative format with open arms.”

 

Desi Beat is produced by Cutting Chai Productions and will be available exclusively on COLORS every Sunday at 7:30pm on Sky, Virgin and Freesat.

Neev Spencer

With a daily audience of 1.5 million listeners, Neev Spencer has become one of the most popular radio hosts in the UK. With a daily show on Kiss FM, regular DJ gigs and voiceover work Neev certainly has a busy lifestyle. However she still spares time for the many charities she supports, some of which she is a passionate ambassador. Contrary to popular belief she claims her life is anything but glamorous, it is a lot of hard work, long hours and perseverance for the famed DJ. Neev talks music, her amazing encounter with Rihanna and why Pilates is the go to exercise for any fitness freak!

6:30am-7:30am: I wake up the “lovely” hour of 6:30am, I used to wake up at 9:30am for eight years so it is quite a leap let me tell you! I get myself ready and pick out something good to wear because you never know what celebrities are coming into the station that day. I also tend to record a lot of stuff for Instagram and Twitter, it is not all about listening to the radio and hearing a voice these days, it is much more visual. I am a health and fitness freak so I always have a healthy breakfast before I leave.

7:30am-8:15am: Head to work via the tube station.

8:15am-9:00am: I arrive at the KISS station and have a meeting with our controller, then I prepare for the show. I will look through the papers, music and competitions which I note down so I know exactly what is going on in the programme.

9:00am-11:00am: The show starts and we have a two hour section which is mainly music driven with celebrity stories, topical conversations or light hearted discussions. At the moment for the first half of the year Starbucks have started to sponsor my show so we have the chance to make your mornings great, we give away money or iTunes vouchers for free to brighten someone’s spirits.

11:00am-12:00pm: We then come to the KISSTORY hour which is the biggest part of the show and has a huge brand, it is where everyone can feel nostalgic and hear their classic tracks that take them back to their favourite holiday, memory or moment.

“I do my best to bring real love, passion and enthusiasm to the music with the way I deliver it. It is a huge musical throwback.”

12:00pm-1:00pm: Then I finish off my KISSTORY show then spend the next half an hour doing prep for the next day, as the official voice of KISS I record voiceovers, jingles for the station, promotional offers and sound bites.

1:00pm-4:00pm: I move to the KISSTORY station, KISSTORY now has a national radio station on digital and Freeview channel 714 and can be listened to online and on the Kiss Kube app that people can use on their Smartphone. It can also be accessed on the KISSFM website and has over 1 million listeners, I have a daily show there where it is the same old thing, old school tunes.

4:00pm-5:00pm: I head out and I will try to get to a Piltaes class which is my preferred choice of fitness and training, it gives great overall tone and strength to my body. I have tried different types of exercises that have never worked for me but have always liked exercises that incorporate a type of Yoga and breathing. With the kind of fast paced life we have now it is important to stop and breathe for a second and Pilates really does that.

5:00pm-6:00pm: I then manage my social media, I am heavily into my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter where I share things and spark conversations with people. I might be working on a mix or on SoundCloud which takes up a lot of time.

7:00pm-9:00pm: I will be coming home and thinking of something healthy to prepare for dinner, the thing about being a fitness and food fanatic is that it takes ages to prepare what you will eat so I take a long trip down my local supermarket. I eat very low carbohydrate and high protein diets with low sugar. Because I like to share my lifestyle I will take pictures of my food and share the recipe which takes up a lot of my time. People who have tried my diets and exercises have responded to me saying it works out for them, I like to share my experiences with people and be real about what I do. I will try stuff out and genuinely tell people what it is like.

9:00pm-10:00pm: Normally on Monday or Tuesday or Friday and Saturday I will be 100% working as a DJ so I will do my makeup, hair and outfit and be out the door driving anywhere where KISS transmits. It could be Cardiff, Norwich or London for example.

10:00pm-12:00pm: Travel to my gig.

12:00pm-4:00am: I will be working at my gig and then return home to get to bed. The only constant thing in my life is my radio show, everything else changes around it and every week is different. I don’t have gigs every day of every week so that means that I do get my lie in. We can all push ourselves to do a lot in 24 hours.

You have been heavily involved in charity, is there one particular movement or charity that is close to your heart?

Two things spring to mind: first is the British Asian Trust started by Prince Charles which I was made an ambassador for. This was a huge honour for me as the money they raise is for people in India with life threatening diseases. Last year they raised approximately £1 million where they enabled people to buy vaccinations.

“I feel proud to be part of this charity as I can give back to India where the poverty is extreme, you don’t know where you can begin to help people.”

The second is Mencap, which I am also an ambassador for, who help raise money for people with mental and learning disabilities. As my younger brother has learning difficulties and special needs I feel emotionally close to this charity and proud that I can attach my name to them. They are fantastic and have helped my brother enormously over the years.

Is there any particular celebrity interview that stood out for you?

It has to be Rihanna, I don’t know why but I thought she would be quite cold and aloof, however she blew me away as she was so loving and wonderful. Rihanna is a beautiful person inside and out, she just wanted to talk to me and hang out and I even had to make her answer my questions because she just wanted to play around, she is a very playful person! I even had Mendhi on my hands as I had just come back from India and she was crazy about it, she kept saying “This is amazing, I want this!” as she was holding my hand. I then said I would take her to have it done and she ended up having her tattoo of the mendhi on her hands which I like to think I influenced as it is exactly the same as mine! She was wonderful.

What can we do to encourage more Asian people to get involved in the media industry?

I started in radio as a hobby when I was 18 while I was studying, at that time there were no Asians in the media except for a few newsreaders. It was socially acceptable to be a newsreader and being a DJ was not at all, so I know a lot of barriers have been broken down. People come to me and say “I can’t believe you are Asian and on KISS FM and a female!” Now more Asian people are integrating into mass media and these professions. I think it is about what our parent’s generations feel, when I started out it was a real battle as my father was very against my career but my mother was for it, but I was very true to myself where I was able to forge a successful career out of it. What I love is that out of our 1.7 million listeners so many of them don’t know I am Asian which I am proud of because I am British Asian and Sikh and very proud of my heritage and homeland. At the same time I don’t feel I have to be stereotyped in any way, I am as much British as I am Asian and that defines me. I think the battle however is not over as I want to present X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and Big Brother, I want to do massive commercial TV entertainment and then we will know that the barrier has been broken as we have not seen that yet. What I would suggest to a lot of people is that if you have a talent you love, your first battle is if you can get your parents support.

“You have to be dedicated and not chase it for the fame, because media is not about the fame, it is about hard work, commitment, dedication and long hours.”

It is not as glamorous as people may think so if you can show them that you are willing to put the time and work in to get somewhere then you should be successful in anything you do. Asians are hard workers, it is in our blood!

Drink that gets you through the day: Green Tea

Person that gets you through the day: Mum

Gadget that gets you through the day: iphone emergency charger

Song that gets you through the day: Blame: Calvin Harris, Fatman Scoop: Be Faithful and anything from DJ Fresh

Food that gets you through the day: Almonds

Favourite time of the day: Kisstory hour at 11:00!

Catch Neev at 9-12 Monday to Friday on Kissfmuk and 1:00-5:00 Monday to Friday on the Kisstory channel on Freeview 714.

Get the Kiss Kube app for more KISS!

Indiraa

East meets West Brit Pop/Club Singer Indiraa is a darling among many of the mainstream A-list DJ’s and is fast becoming force to be reckoned with on the commercial music scene. The Indian-born Indiraa rose in fame with her catchy electro pop hits, “I Get Off” and “Shrink”, however the singer/songwriter pushed the boundaries by openly discussing her battle with depression and how her music has helped slowly tackle this. Now the star returns with an upcoming collaboration with famed Reggae artist Maxi Priest and their new single “Yo-yo”.

Can you tell me what you have been up to in the last year after the release of Bollywood Queen?

I don’t know where to start, I completed my Album Never Too Late and I can honestly say it was really fun to do. I performed at various venues including Trafalgar Square, Portugal, Southampton and numerous venues in London including The British Indian Awards. I performed at charity events for Pancreatic Cancer Action and Great Ormond Street. A nomination for The Asian Women’s Achievement Awards saw me into the last five in my category of Arts and Culture. I spent the summer in Portugal and wrote all the lyrics for my new album. I am in the process of completing my new album Second Chance which features the Reggae legend Maxi Priest. I had a great time working with him and I also had the good fortune of working with a gifted musician who brought my lyrics to life, his name is Livingston Brown and he has worked with the biggest names in the industry. My latest songs on my new album were mastered at Abbey Road, for me just being within the holy grail of musicians was exciting, overwhelming and I am still in disbelief. I did a small role in a Danny Dyer movie which got me a lead role in another. I also shot four videos this last year, two abroad and one with Maxi Priest in London, all in all it was quite an eventful year.

How have you found the music industry so far?

The music industry is an exciting place to be a part of. Needless to say like in all aspects of life you will meet people who are good to you and people who can be hard to get on with, but that is life. The difficult part is waiting for something to happen, the fun part is meeting musicians, radio personalities and all the links in the chain of making an album and making a career. Going to places like Abbey Road was the most exciting thing ever.

In the last year do you feel you have developed as an artist and if so how?

The experiences of life will always help you mature in whatever you may do. Initially when I started writing lyrics I would go spontaneously by what I felt at the time. Like to ponder over past experiences and future expectations, another part of my experience over the last year is changing my voice to its natural singing voice rather than trying to be something I am not. When I first started singing I did a lot of club music and tried to sound younger than my years, I now feel my voice goes with my mature lyrics and my more experienced view of life. I find it very easy to sit in on interviews live or otherwise and just be myself rather than someone I think people would like me to be. I am what I am.
How did you come about working with Maxi Priest?

I believe in life everything happens for a reason and it will happen at the right time, in my early days my music was not mature enough to handle someone as amazing as Maxi Priest to work with. I had the good fortune of meeting Livingston Brown and started working on my new album with him. He loved my lyrics and said that it would be great to work with me further in the future. While we pondered over 300 sheets of paper of words written by me I chose one which I would love to do as a duet, to which he answered “let me run it by Maxi and see if he’s interested”. The rest is history I guess, Maxi knows a good song when he sees it and I certainly know a good star when I see one. I guess I was ready to work with the big guns, as I said everything happens for a reason at the right time.

What do the lyrics in your new song mean and what inspired them?

It is said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus and that is why we understand each other as we would someone from another planet. The song yo-yo is basically how you feel when you are in a relationship, like a yo-yo up-and-down! It is not just women who feel insecure about a relationship, men can feel as insecure, they just do not voice it as vocally as women do. In this song, a man and woman speak of the relationship from their perspectives and you realise we’re as insecure as one another. The days in a relationship a man and woman both feel “up and down, like a yo-yo, swinging on a string!” I think everybody has experienced this at some stage in their lives.

In your past interviews you have talked about depression and how your music has helped, how so?

Depression in my case is a clinical depression and it is not something that will go away without medication. It is like a diabetic having to take medicine or a heart patient having to take medicine for life, I accept that this is a something I have to bear with. We all have ways of making a tough job easier, I do not think that music will altogether takeaway my depression but I look at it as a crutch. For a person who cannot walk it makes it easier to walk but it does not create a miracle where you stand up and run a marathon. Hopefully as time goes by it will get easier for me to lean less on my crutch and yet I know it’s always there for me, music is in my heart, in my soul and also in my head. I will always need music in my life as much as I need the air that I breathe.

What would you say to someone suffering if they think they may be suffering from depression?

My advice to anyone suffering from depression is you may not eradicate it forever but one thing you can do is make it easier. It is “never too late” to do anything in your life that’ll make you happier. Anything that you aspire to be you can be, human beings are not limited, we’re infinite in our abilities. I found a way to deal with it and was fortunate. I do not believe I could have got through without medication, at times I have tried to give it up believing I was okay but I had gone one step forward and two steps back. If you need medication take it, that is my advice. If you feel you cannot get out of bed in the morning, you have nothing to say to people, or you just are not happy all I can say is one thing, it is the title of the very first song I wrote “I need a shrink!” if you need to see a psychiatrist you are not crazy you are clever enough to recognise you need help.

What have been your musical inspirations from yester years and do you find your music is inspired from your youth?

My biggest inspiration while growing up in music was George Harrison as I believe he is one of the best lyricists in the world. George Harrison had insight into life and lives to come. He also had the ability not just to make his “guitar gently weep” but to make the people who listened deeply to what he had to say, he made their souls gently weep. I spent a lot of my youth listening to music memorising lyrics and during the concert for Bangladesh I went door-to-door singing songs from the concert collecting money for Bangladesh. It is a part of my youth I fondly hang on to. He taught me to feel for other people who are less fortunate than I. George Harrison taught me not to listen to what people say but why they are saying what they say. My modern-day hero is Bryan Adams. In my new album I have written a song called “rock guru” which I have dedicated to my rock guru – Bryan Adams. Bryan Adams is not in external showman he is a true musician.

You have a daily routine which keeps you physically fit, can you describe a normal day of exercise and is it getting harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

I do not pretend to be the most disciplined person in the world but I have always battled with my weight and try and keep my weight at the low end of my height bracket which is for various reasons. These are vanity and health. I have always had to battle with my weight and used to play tennis at a fairly good level and played in a lot of competitions, this enabled me to keep fit from a very young age. As a result whenever I run I do a minimum of 5 to 6km on certain days of the week. Alternatively if I am near a swimming pool when I am travelling I try to do a minimum of 100 lengths. I try to eat as healthily as I can but I cheat now and again. I like to kickbox occasionally and have a boxing ring in my home in my gym. I do not tend to do a lot of weight training anymore and I do not ride horses as I suffered a severe back injury a couple of years ago. I feel that when I am on stage or anything to do with the entertainment industry people expect you to look a certain way. We should not judge a book by its cover but sadly we will do hence I trying keep myself as trim and groomed as possible.

You talk of relationships in your lyrics, what advice would you give a single woman in today’s world and do you think women have caught up with men in the game of love and equality.

I can honestly tell a single woman that if she is unhappy being single then all she has to do is go on a manhunt. Men and women are very devious in the game of love, the fact that we dominate the game of love in itself suggests that it entails strategy and ultimately a win or lose situation. I was once told that women give sex to get love and men give love to get sex, single women must bear this in mind. Having said that human beings are very manipulative, we are all capable of playing games, mind games or otherwise, but do not play with the person’s heart as you can only lose!

Yo Yo will be released on 16th March 2015.

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Karanvir Bhupal

The highly anticipated new series PREMature comes to screens and lifts the curtains on life’s struggles. Teenager Prem Mehta must overcome the death of his grandmother and sudden divorce of his parents to learn to grow up fast, however the strained relationship with his parents and constant obstacles make this a tough journey to make. Whether it is family, bullying, marriage or the trials of youth, director Rohith Katbamna brings a fresh and surreal window into the troubled lives of our characters. We sat down with debut actor Karanvir Bhupal who plays troubled teenager Prem. Karanvir talks about his new role, fighting your demons and what makes PREMature stand out from the crowd.

Tell me about your character and his role in the plot.

Prem is the lone wolf of the series, it’s a time where he’s carving out the rest of his life but with certain restraints. The death of his grandmother and separation of his parents add to his already dull daily routine. The role for Prem is simple, he is there to show that no matter what is thrown at you, you continue and try and bring the best out of that situation even if it means helping others first and thinking about yourself later. He’s just a boy realising its time to become a man and stand up.

In your own words, what is the overall theme of the series?

Honestly, that there is a light in that very dark tunnel.

Were there any aspects of the show that you could personally relate to?

Many, at times it was like I was portraying myself. Prem’s character has allowed me to contribute my own life lessons into this project, I guess it’s that realistic. Having had periods of my life which were quite dark I can sympathise with Prem and have a great respect for him. Depression, anxiety and death have a massive effect on one but it’s how you channel these things, what you do with them that separates you from the people that give up.

There was a lot of improvisation to make the dialogue sound real, was this easy to do as an actor?

To be honest it wasn’t hard at all, acting for me is a lot more than just becoming someone and learning their lines. It’s living and breathing them, actually taking the time out to think about why something should be said in a different way or why it should be changed, it’s all about being comfortable. I give props to Rohith for this as the script was amazing and he gave us ownership of the characters which allowed us to make certain dialogue choices.

Could you tell me a bit more about your acting background before PREMature?

PREMature is my debut project, however I had the chance some years ago to work with Rohith on a short, this was my first time meeting and working with him, I knew from that day I wanted to work with him again. A few years later I was given the opportunity to audition for Prem and here I am.

What drew you to this project?

The project will speak for itself when released, it’s so different, it’s real. The amount of heart that has gone into making PREMature is what blew me away. We’re all family, everyone who is part of this means a lot to me and I guess for something that was shot in a very tight eight weeks you would think we hardly got to talk to each other and build bonds, but we did. Everyone on the project wanted to be there, from love to tension everything was felt in the air.

What do you want the audience to take away from this series?

I understand that PREMature will not be everyone’s cup of tea however, it can change lives, I know for me and some of the cast this has been the case. If just one person attaches himself or herself to a character or a storyline, I honestly think we have all succeeded.

Finally do you have any future roles you can tell us about?

I wish I could, I’m going to let this sink in first because its huge for me, everything is all new to me and I’m loving it. I have nothing on the table right now but I would love to work with Rohith and Terry again given the chance, both great people who I consider to be family. But right now I’m enjoying the experience.