Film on Ballet Boys

Left to Right: Amiruddin Shah, writer-director Sooni Taraporevala and Manish Chauhan. Slum boys Shah and Chauhan have achieved a feat of making their way to prestigious global ballet institutes like London’s Royal Ballet Academy and the Oregon Ballet Theatre. (photo provided)

MUMBAI— The incredible and inspiring journey of two boys from the slums of Mumbai to the world of international ballet will be written and directed by Sooni Taraporevala for Siddharth Roy Kapur’s Roy Kapur Films (RKF).

The two Mumbai boys, Amiruddin Shah and Manish Chauhan, their families and their Israeli-American mentor Yehuda Maor, triumphed over their circumstances and achieved a feat no Indian ever had before – of making their way to prestigious global ballet institutes like London’s Royal Ballet Academy and the Oregon Ballet Theatre.

Taraporevala, known for her writing on “Salaam Bombay, “ “Mississippi Masala” and “The Namesake,” has previously directed a documentary on the same subject titled “Yeh Ballet,” for Anand Gandhi’s Memesys Lab.

When Kapur read about the boys and watched the documentary, he was so moved by their story that he reached out to her immediately and ask Tarapoevala to join him in telling it on the big screen. Kapur has also worked on “The Namesake,” which was co-produced by UTV Motion Pictures, and had stayed in touch ever since to discuss potential ideas for collaboration.

He said, “I am very excited about bringing this wonderful and inspiring story to the screen and thrilled to have Sooni write and direct it. I have always admired her writing, and she has outdone herself with the superb script she has written on ‘Ballet Boys.’ Having been involved in creating an enduring dance and musical franchise like ‘ABCD,’ we intend to bring the same unbridled energy, cinematic spectacle, spectacular dance and great music to this film.”

He added, “What makes this film even more special is that we will explore an unfamiliar western dance form like ballet and its impact on these boys while staying firmly rooted in our own culture and our more familiar dance esthetic. I do believe this will resonate in a big way with both Indian and international audiences.”

Taraporewalla expressed, “I have always admired Sid’s filmography and his drive to tell stories that matter. I hope this collaboration will successfully bring to light the incredible and emotionally-driven journey of the boys and their teacher and the fact that talent has no boundaries. We just need to recognize that sometimes it’s found in the most unlikely of places.”

With dialogues by Mayur Puri, music by Sachin-Jigar, choreography by Shiamak Davar and ballet sequences by Yehuda Maor and Cindy Jourdain, this is set to be a musical and visual treat for audiences. The film is currently in pre-production and will go on the floors in January 2019 and hit the screen later that year.

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