Yeh Ballet is the authentic dance Film that ABCD could have never given to us. Watch the trailer of the Billy Elliot of India.


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Netflix has released the trailer of Yeh Ballet, it’s next India Original today, 11 February. Dance forms that involve technique and training are the rich person’s hobby or career in India. But as you see in this film based on a true story, boundless talent is unstoppable, given one opportunity.

A coming-of-age story directed by Sooni Taraporevala, Nishu and Asif’s lives take a dramatic turn when Saul (Julian Sands), a greying ballet teacher, arrives at a dance academy (owned by Jim Sarbh) in Mumbai to teach ballet. Nishu (Manish Chauhan), the winner of a dance show, and Asif (Achintya Bose), his fiercest competitor-turned-friend, a hip-hop rebel, find their home in ballet, as Saul pushes them into the unthinkable, two Indian boys becoming internationally recognised male ballet dancers. Watch the trailer here.

Yeh Ballet is a feature-length fiction film take on an eponymous 15-minute virtual reality documentary Taraporevala made in 2017. In fact, Manish Chauhan is one of the two real-life boys who inspired the film! Taraporevala is best known for writing or co-writing the Mira Nair films Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, and The Namesake.

The film is based on the true story of two boys from humble backgrounds in Mumbai, who were given a scholarship via The Going Home Project by Ashley Lobo to train under Israeli ballet master Yehuda Ma’or at The Danceworx. Manish Chauhan, the 18-year-old son of a taxi driver and 12-year-old Amiruddin Shah had talent Ma’or could not ignore. He trained them and helped them to dream of becoming principal ballet dancers in big American companies.

But a scholarship to study in New York’s prestigious Joffrey Ballet School didn’t materialize after they were rejected for United States visas. In September 2017, the Royal Ballet School in London, one of the world’s greatest centers of classical ballet training, reeled Shah in with a three-year scholarship. He is being funded by a billionaire Indian scientist Dr Yusuf Hamied chairman of Cipla for living expenses.

The Going Home Project sadly ran out of funds but perhaps this film can inspire people to get in touch with Ashley Lobo to fund more dreams.

You can watch the short film virtual reality documentary here, made with Memesys Culture Lab and Anand Gandhi.

The Netflix Original has been produced by Roy Kapur films and choreographed by Shiamak Davar, Cindy Claes, and Vitthal Patil. Ankur Tewari (Gully Boy) has composed the background music. Yeh Ballet also stars Danish Husain, Vijay Maurya, Heeba Shah, and Kalyanee Mulay.

Yeh Ballet is slated to release on Netflix on 21 February.

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Deepa Bajaj
Deepa is the founder of FilmTribe, who discovered her love for Indian cinema when she moved to New York, and the world of indie film living and working in the arts and film industry in Mumbai. Alice fell down a rabbit hole she didn't climb out of, even as she moved to London.


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