I have succumbed. I held off writing about Orry for more than five years, when he reached out to me at the previous newspaper I worked at. I may have declined him then, but now I have been made to eat crow. Orry has turned himself into a social media phenomenon and a national obsession, just by the dint of his hustle. Heck, if Karan Johar can interview him in the finale of Koffee With Karan, who am I to be so smug?
Orhan Awatramani hails from the Awatramani family that owns the West End Hotel in Mumbai’s Marine Lines. His aunt is the journalist Priya Ramani, now known for being acquitted in a defamation case her former editor M.J. Akbar filed against her. Orry and his parents live in a charming old building on Altamount Road with most of their family as their neighbours, and are known to be warm and friendly folk.
Orry broke into the South Bombay circuit when he was hired by Isha Ambani of Reliance Industries to consult with her on various matters. It has been reported that his LinkedIn bio says he is a Special Projects Manager at RIL Chairperson’s office. He remains vague about what exactly he does for them. I am assuming he takes care of the family’s public image via social media and paparazzi. I have to say he is the right guy for the job.
But it is his own public persona that the nation is obsessed with, me included. I love all that Orry stands for. He is famous for being famous, and in the age of social media marketing, this can be the goose that lays golden eggs. Johar, on his show, called Orry “a human startup”.
Orry offers lessons in fame, he literally wears it on his sleeve. He arrived on Johar’s show in a blue suit with his own face as various emojis on it. On the show he called them “Orryjis”.
He is happy to fuel the mystique around his day job. When the entire country asks, “But what does Orry do?” he replies with clever quips like, “I am a liver”, to Salman Khan on Bigg Boss, and “I do my best”, to Johar on Koffee... How dare he be an ordinary guy with an ordinary job? In Orry-land, we are not defined by what we do at work, but what we do with ourselves.
He claims to have three doppelgangers who fill in for him at events. He does get paid for attending events and promotions on his social media. Pictures have duly emerged on social media of Radhika Merchant, the soon to be Ambani bahu, with a couple of Orry doppelgangers.
He has also launched a T-shirt line as gifts for friends. The ‘Working on Myself’ text T-shirt is a hoot. I love the ‘I am a Liver’ series and the ‘YOLO: You Only Love Orry’ tees. There’s one with him and Salman Khan called ‘Bhai Jaan’.
Orry is a signifier of how one can market oneself as a mood fix. Orry’s game may be fame, but he uses it to motivate others to think out of the box. Famous friends (we’ve all got a few), cool clothes, clever quips—and anyone can be what they want to be.
My favourite Orry quote is from an interview last year where he said, “Talent without hard work will get you nowhere, but hard work without talent will take you places.”