For the last decade, Shree Kothari has attended the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles as a way to reconnect with his home country. But at the five-day festival earlier this month at the Arclight Hollywood theater, he was reminded of home in a surprising way.

That’s because he watched the movie “Patang.”

“I didn’t know much about the movie. But as it turns out, the movie was about the city, Ahmedabad, I grew up in,” said Kothari, vice president at Santa Monica accounting services firm Gumbiner Sabett Inc.

“This movie was about someone who was out of town and goes back to town to celebrate the (kite-flying) festival. It shows the generosity, love and warmth of the city. It was a total surprise. It was like a walk down memory lane,” he said.

But Kothari, 45, who has been a board member for the film festival for three years, said watching the movie made him long for the kite celebration, which he hasn’t seen since moving to the United States 25 years ago with his wife, Roopa. But scheduled every year Jan. 14, the festival isn’t exactly at a convenient time.

“It’s the beginning of tax season and the kids never have time off,” he said. “So when the kids are in college, I plan to go one day.”

Saving the Horse

Charles Winner has a new circle of friends on the California Horse Racing Board after Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to the group April 3.

Winner, 71, is co-owner of the Beverly Hills political PR agency Winner & Mandabach Campaigns and has owned racehorses since 1989. He is serving on the board’s medication and track safety committee because of a near-tragic experience six years ago.

During a race at Santa Anita, horse Go Bob broke two ankle bones and tore a ligament in his right front leg. As owner, Winner decided to try to save the horse’s life with surgery that involved 26 metal plates and some airplane wire to hold the leg together until it healed.

“A lot of people would have put that horse down, but I say if you don’t have to, don’t,” Winner said.

Go Bob now enjoys his retirement at pasture.

Staff reporters Jacquelyn Ryan and Joel Russell contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at

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