Renowned Indian-Indonesian film and sinetron (soap opera) producer Raam Punjabi and his wife, Raakhee Punjabi, have contracted COVID-19, making them among the latest public figures to be infected by the novel coronavirus.
A photo of the couple celebrating Raam’s birthday at their hospital room recently circulated on social media, along with reports of them undergoing treatment for COVID-19. The news has since been confirmed by Raakhee, who said that they were celebrating Raam’s 77th birthday in their isolation room at a hospital in South Jakarta.
“Raam has been treated at the hospital since Oct. 2, I followed on Oct. 3,” Raakhee said yesterday.
Rakhee said both she and Raam had routinely taken rapid and PCR (swab) tests since the pandemic began, and tested positive for the coronavirus late last month. Raam was then admitted to the hospital as he reportedly felt weak due to decreased oxygen levels.
“Alhamdulillah (praise God), Raam’s condition is stable as of today, his oxygen level is back to normal, and he’s starting to get busy again with office work,” Raakhee said.
Additionally, the couple’s youngest son, Amrit Punjabi, said that both of his parents are recovering well at the hospital, adding that they were admitted to the hospital as a precaution due to Raam’s advanced years.
Born in Surabaya, Raam started his career in the film industry with his elder brothers, Dhamoo and Gobind Punjabi, in a film import company in the late ‘60s. They went on to establish a production house in the early ‘70s, producing a number of dramas to minor and moderate success. Raam then founded another production house, and his career as a film producer in the ‘80s flourished through comedies starring Indonesian legends Dono, Kasino, and Indro.
When the Indonesian film industry died down in late ‘80s-early ‘90s, Raam started producing sinetrons through his company, Multivision Plus (MVP). His first sinetron was a comedy series titled Gara-Gara, aired on Indonesia’s first private TV station RCTI. Due to his dominance in the industry, Raam is celebrated as Indonesia’s king of sinetron.
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