Vogue shines a light on Yara Shahidi, Priyanka Chopra and maybe even the Khadra twins

Yara Shahidi was interviewed by Vogue. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 21 July 2018

Vogue shines a light on Yara Shahidi, Priyanka Chopra and maybe even the Khadra twins

DUBAI: Vogue magazine is set to spotlight young talent in its August 2018 issue, with a feature on Iranian-American actress Yara Shahidi, possible photos of US-Palestinian DJs Simi and Haze Khadra and snaps of Bollywood-to-Hollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra.
The Khadra twins took to Instagram late last week to post a shot from their project with Vogue, which they captioned “(Behind the scenes) for @voguemagazine August issue.” The magazine has released scant information about the apparent collaboration, but it’s safe to say the final product will be interesting to say the least — the twins wore puffed up, oversized neon coats in the photo with each of their sharp hair-dos dyed to match the green and pink outfits.

BTS for @voguemagazine August issue Andrew had fomo and found a blue wig lol

A post shared by Simi & Haze (@simihaze) on

Born in Saudi Arabia and partly raised in Dubai, Simi and Haze Khadra, known around the world by their moniker “SimiHaze,” are regularly seen with the likes of Kendall Jenner, Selena Gomez and the Hadid sisters.
The pair regularly play DJ sets at parties and festivals and have even played for eager crowds at this year’s Instagram-famous Coachella festival in the US.
Iranian-American actress Shahidi, of “Black-ish” fame, is also set to be featured in the hallowed pages of the magazine.
Shahidi, who hails from a highly accomplished family — one of her cousins is the rapper Nas, while another, Anousheh Ansari, was the first Iranian-American astronaut — talks about her astonishing achievements in the interview, which is available on Vogue’s website.
“She has discussed political activism with Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey, is a brand ambassador for Chanel, and started a voting guide for young people called Eighteen x ‘18. She graduated last year from the Dwight School in New York, having received acceptance letters from every college she applied to, and will start at Harvard in the fall. She can tell you the year she becomes eligible to run for president off the top of her head,” an excerpt from the interview conducted by Vogue’s Carina Chocano reads.
The actress has, in the past, been vocal about her Iranian-African-American heritage and even called herself “a proud black Iranian” — her father, Afshin Shahidi, moved from Iran to the US when he was eight-years-old, while her mother is a US-born actress.
“One of my greatest fears is living a self-centric life. I think this industry is bred to create that — especially if your physical body is your tool or your face is what makes you money,” the wise-beyond-her-years 18-year-old told the magazine.
She is as known for her political activism as her acting chops, and famously opposed the proposed US immigration ban that caused uproar last year, shairng a message on her social media accounts at the time saying: “If my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama. I would not exist and I wouldn’t have two amazing brothers.”


‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

Updated 04 July 2020

‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

CHENNAI: Cinema sometimes looks to go back to its roots. Some years ago, European auteurs like Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and others introduced “Dogme 95” as a new form of moviemaking, which meant using no props, no artificial lighting and no makeup. It did not last long. However, Thomas Kail’s “Hamilton” — released to coincide with the Fourth of July and streaming on Disney Plus — is another experiment that reminded me of the very early days of motion pictures when some directors in India captured a stage play with a static camera and then screened it in remote regions, where it was not feasible to cart the entire cast.

Kail used six cameras to shoot what was originally a theatrical production. Over two nights in 2016, he filmed the play with most of the actors, including Tony Award winners, who were in the stage version. Every attempt has been made to make it look cinematic, with impeccable camerawork and editing. There is a bonus here. The movie enables you to be a front-bencher at Richard Rogers’ stage production. This closeness that allows you to see clearly the expressions of the actors establishes an intimacy between the audience and the cast.

Inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, the 160-minute show makes a fabulous musical. The release of the film with its intentionally diverse cast comes at a critical time when race relations in the USA have hit the rock bottom. When Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr) sings that he wants to be in “the room where it happens”, the lyrics are sung by a black man.

Alexander Hamilton (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, also the creator of the piece) is the least well known of the American founding fathers. An immigrant and orphan, he was George Washington’s right-hand man. Credited as being responsible for setting up the country’s banking system, Hamilton was killed in a duel by Burr.

The musical is inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton. Courtesy of Disney

The story is narrated through hip-hop beats. Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) sings his speech to Congression, and the debates he has with Alexander Hamilton are verbalized through lyrics. Hamilton also has a lot to say about America’s immigrant past. In one scene French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette tells Alexander, “Immigrants, we get the job done!”

Performances are top notch. Miranda is superb, and evokes an immediate connection between the film and the viewer. King George III is brilliantly portrayed by Jonathan Groff, and Hamilton’s wife, Eliza (Philippa Soo), is an endearing presence who has a calming effect on her often ruffled and troubled husband.

“Hamilton” is a great, if subjective, account of early American political history for those not familiar with that period. It must be said, however, the musical makes a long movie, which might be a trifle tiring for those not used to this format.