Recreating Beauty | Dr. 90210 – Raj Kanodia
Recreating Beauty was originally published as a feature story in The Statesman, after Ruchi Mukherjee visited with Dr. Kanodia at his Beverly Hills home.
BORN and raised in a middle-class family in Kolkata, Raj Kanodia is now a highly acclaimed plastic surgeon in living in a $9 million mansion Beverly Hills. His seems never content with anything less than perfect and that brought him where he is today.
He is immensely focused and “improvement” is what he keeps trying. “Beauty is skin deep and, therefore, all facial surgeries need good skin care,” says Raj. “I am lucky to be able to recreate God’s beautiful creations and given a chance I will love to do it all over again.”
Raj is a strong believer of holistic medicine and likes to describe himself as “an artist who is constantly craving for perfection”.
It was in Kolkata that his desire to be the best was kindled. “Actually my father, mentor too, sowed the seeds of discipline,” he said.
His middle-class background couldn’t stop him cultivating his passion to a dream, a dream for the top. And today while he sips chai in his extravagant mansion in Beverly Hills, Raj’s fairytale success is hugely reflected. Those who watched Dr 90210 , America’s most talked about tele series, on the E! Entertainment Channel, would vouch for it.
Dr 90210 is a reality series that features plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills, the Silicon Valley of plastic surgery in the world. The series chronicles the personal lives of the surgeons and their professional accomplishments. Raj was described as one of the best in Beverly Hills.
Donald Bull, Dr. 90210’s executive producer, said Raj’s balanced lifestyle and a flourishing medical career made him ideal. “It’s not easy to be at the position where he is today. With all the competition around it is really a tough challenge and Raj has done it. What enamored me most, other than his success, was his ethnic background,” Bull said.
As a child Raj, always preferred hanging out with friends who were a couple of years older than him. But that “helped me look at life in a different way that is more mature and sincere”. In his odyssey to strive for the best and the biggest, he landed in Chicago after completing his MBBS from Calcutta Medical College. And his obsession for beauty is easy to explain why he chose plastic surgery.
Several annoying phone calls notwithstanding, Raj could not be convinced to reveal the names of his Hollywood clients. But for our satisfaction the television series did show Raj performing surgical procedures on the supermodel/actor Cindy Crawford.
What sets him apart? His blunt and honest approach towards his patients. “If I do not see any potential reason in facial surgery , I never hesitate to tell the truth,” says Raj. Nor does he believe in changing a face. “It’s basically a job that entails refinement,” he says. “I try to fix the problem and do what suits an individual.”
Raj is all the time surrounded by beauty and beautiful people. “That’s my job,” he says. On an average, he does about 15-20 botox treatments and nose jobs a day. And a nose job can costs anything from $9,000 onwards. Of his 20-odd bookings, 50 per cent are Hollywood and Bollywood clients. “Most of the time I have patients flying from London also,” says Raj.
“Cosmetic surgery has become an increasingly acceptable procedure in the present lifestyle,” says Raj. In order to give the best possible treatment Dr. Kanodia leans towards the goodness of both ayurveda and medicine. An ardent gardener, he felt the need to combine the time-tested healing doctrines of Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old Indian science of life, and combine them with today’s most advanced dermatological research. The result? AYUR-MEDIC, a revolutionary new line of skin care products that preserves the perfect balance between natural holistic principles and the art of medical knowledge.
“Facial surgeries bring dramatic results and my effort is to produce no scars at all, and the wonders are because of these herbs,” he explains. These days one does not have to worry about long sessions. “No big budget shootings have to be cancelled because of a facelift,” he says. “The can return to work in a week.”
“For dramatic results,” says Raj, “yes, one has to have surgery but with my chain of products one can get rid of lines and wrinkles by chemical peels and good skincare products.” Deep lines, wrinkles or dents can taken care of with injections of soft natural materials. The effects last between six months and a year before the whole process is repeated.
Raj’s lavish lifestyle is a talk of the town in California. Not only does he rub shoulders with some famous names, Raj is a good host too. With a private guesthouse for VIPs, Raj has hosted several Hollywood/Bollywood parties at his mansion for Indian beauties like Aishwarya Rai and Pretty Zinta. As for himself he has been a guest to most famous functions and parties. He believes in “having fun and that’s the way I balance my life”.
So much hard work and he “never had the time to get married”. But the surgeon admits: “I now feel the need.”
Raj enjoys his travels to Europe or St Moritz for skiing with his patients (most likely celebrity patients). He often visits India to meet his family and friends.
Gardening is a passion for him. “I love growing all kinds of fruits, vegetables and flowers, just like in India,” muses Raj. One can find everything in his garden — from mogra, chameli to papaya and mango.
The doc is happy with his accomplishments but hardly content. “Contentment is something that stops you from growing further,” he says.
With a flabbergasting mansion in Beverly Hills, friend of the world’s most beautiful woman, Aishwarya Rai, star of a successful TV show, and with an appointment book full of Hollywood clients, Raj continues to be a dreamer.