DUBAI: Lebanese filmmaker and fashion stylist Pam Nasr is having quite the week. Shortly after shutting down the Christopher John Rogers Fall 2020 runway wearing a strapless, sequined dress during New York Fashion Week, the “Clams Casino” director was unveiled as the face of Valentino’s new Spring 2020 campaign.
Nasr, who is based in New York and grew up between Beirut and Dubai, appears wearing an ethereal white gown with billowing shoulders from the storied fashion house’s Spring 2020 couture offering.
Lensed by Dutch fashion photographer duo Inez and Vinoodh, the filmmaker stars in the campaign alongside Sudanese model Adut Akech and Serbian Joanna Krneta.
Although she’s been featured in the pages of prestigious publications and served as a former cover star for Emirates Woman magazine, it is the first time that Nasr has appeared in a high profile campaign— And if the past week is any indication, we are certain it won’t be the last.
Film review: Great storytelling makes for fascinating watch in Netflix’s ‘Yeh Ballet’
Updated 24 February 2020
CHENNAI: Sooni Taraporevala gained immense fame by writing for Mira Nair’s films, such as “The Namesake,” “Mississippi Masala” and the Oscar-nominated “Salaam Bombay.” In 2009, Taraporevala stepped behind the camera to helm a small movie called “Little Zizou” about the Parsi community. It was a hit, and three years ago, she took up the camera again to create a virtual reality short documentary about two boys from Mumbai’s slums who became renowned ballet dancers.
Taraporevala converted her documentary into a full-length feature, “Yeh Ballet,” for Netflix, and the work, though with a somewhat documentary feel, is fascinating storytelling — a talent we have seen in her writings for Nair.
Happily, “Yeh Ballet” is no rags-to-riches story (of the kind “Gully Boy” was), but one of sheer fortitude and a bit of luck. The film begins with a breathtaking aerial shot of the Arabian Ocean on whose shores Mumbai stands — an element that points toward the director’s background as a photographer.
A story inspired by true events, “Yeh Ballet” chronicles the lives of Nishu (Manish Chauhan) and Asif Beg (newcomer Achintya Bose). The two lads are spotted by a ballet master, Saul Aaron (British actor Julian Sands) who, driven away from America because of his religion, lands in a Mumbai dance school.
Nishu and Asif, despite their nimble-footed ballet steps, find their paths paved with the hardest of obstacles. When foreign scholarships from famous ballet academies come calling, they cannot get a visa because they have no bank accounts. And while Asif’s father, dictated by his religion, is dead against the boy’s music and dancing, Nishu’s dad, a taxi driver, feels that his son’s passion is a waste of time and energy.
Well, all this ends well — as we could have guessed — but solid writing and imaginative editing along with Ankur Tewari’s curated music and the original score by Salvage Audio Collective turn “Yeh Ballet” into a gripping tale. It is not an easy task to transform a documentary into fiction, but Taraporevala does it with great ease. Or so it appears. Of course, the two protagonists add more than a silver lining to a movie that will be long remembered — the way we still mull over “Salaam Bombay” or “The Namesake.” But what I missed was a bit more ballet; the two guys are just wonderful to watch as they fly through the air.