Picture this: A noted woman editor promotes a promising young writer and the latter grows to be an illustrious writer, diplomat, politician, raconteur and speaker. The sleight of fate is such that the editor was well known then but she moved into oblivion as times changed. And, the young writer was Shashi Tharoor.
Gulshan Ewing was a celebrity journalist and the editor of women’s magazines in India from the mid-60s till the 80s. She died in London, aged 92, of COVID-19 on Saturday (April 18).
She belonged to the black-and-white and early-colour era when stars didn’t celebrate their personal lives or opinions on public forums like Instagram or Twitter. That’s where Gulshan made her mark, bringing news about top celebrities in Bollywood and even Hollywood, besides politics, having close access to the likes of Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Danny Kaye, Kirk Douglas and Roger Moore, besides all Bollywood stars.
Part of an eclectic club of writer-journalists in Mumbai such as Khushwant Singh, BK Karanjia, Dom Moraes and Vimla Patil, she was also known to be a close confidante of the late Madhubala.“There is a very lovely carefree photo with Madhubala and another lady but I don’t have any background on their relationship. She left Mumbai in 1990 for good,” her daughter Anjali Ewing said, according to Hindustan Times.
As the editor of Eve’s Weekly and Star & Style, she is known to have encouraged a lot of young writers.“She kept in touch with a group of journalists from Eve’s Weekly throughout. She didn’t do any writing in London. She loved to encourage new talent. They always talk about how kind she was to them”, Anjali was quoted as saying by HT.
Shashi Tharoor, in his 1990 book The Five Dollar Smile and Other Stories had acknowledged her support for his writing, saying: “By finding space for my work, they (Ewing and other editors) launched me on an adventure in which I am still, these many years later, happily engaged.”
Ewing belonged to a Parsi family in Mumbai and married Manchester-born Guy Ewing, who was working as a journalist in India, in 1955. They left Mumbai for London in 1990, and with that the Mumbai circle. Guy Ewing passed away in 2018.