Birthday tributes for Shanina Shaik flood social media

The part-Saudi model turned 29 on Feb 11. File/AFP
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Updated 12 February 2020

Birthday tributes for Shanina Shaik flood social media

DUBAI: Saudi-Pakistani-Australian-Lithuanian model Shanina Shaik turned 29 on Tuesday. For the special occasion, the Melbourne-born beauty hosted an intimate dinner in London for her closest friends.

Ahead of the event, Shaik provided her two million Instagram followers with a sneak peek of the dinner table, which was beautifully set up with sterling silver cutlery, white linen napkins, candles and flowers in white vases. “My birthday dinner,” stated the model in the video.

Guests who attended the candle-lit feast included one of Shaik’s best friends, Austrian model Nadine Leopold, who shared a video of the part-Saudi beauty, clad in a black leather mini-dress, giving a speech and blowing out candles on a white birthday cake. Snippets of the intimate dinner were posted alongside a series of sweet birthday tributes to Shaik on her Instagram Stories.

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty took to Instagram to wish Shaik a happy birthday. Instagram

Leopold wasn’t the only one to post meaningful public messages on social media for the newly-minted 29-year-old. On Instagram, the birthday wishes continued to pour in from Shaik’s loved ones.

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty posted a photograph of herself and Shaik together, writing: “Happy birthday to my fellow Aussie @shaninamshaik — wishing you a birthday as bright as you.”

“Happy birthday to my favorite person to pick on,” wrote Victoria’s Secret model Jasmin Tookes in the first of a series of several throwback photographs of herself with the birthday girl uploaded onto her Instagram Stories. “So many memories,” she captioned the second image of the friends at US-based music festival Coachella. The last photo was a snap of the pair backstage at a past Victoria’s Secret fashion show, alongside the text “Hope you have the best birthday. Love you!”

Portuguese model Sara Sampaio also took to the social media platform to celebrate her friend, while Russian supermodel Irina Shayk and Dubai-based fashion blogger Mr. Moudz shared heartfelt birthday messages on their Instagram Stories.

Shaik, whose father is Saudi-Pakistani and whose mother is Australian-Lithuanian, celebrated her birthday mere hours after landing in London from Los Angeles, where she attended the Vanity Fair x Oscar’s afterparty on Sunday.

Wearing a black, figure-hugging sparkling design from Lebanese couturier Nicolas Jebran, the model was certainly dressed for the occasion.  

Film review: Great storytelling makes for fascinating watch in Netflix’s ‘Yeh Ballet’

“Yeh Ballet” is no rags-to-riches story, but one of sheer fortitude and a bit of luck. (Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2020

Film review: Great storytelling makes for fascinating watch in Netflix’s ‘Yeh Ballet’

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. 

The film chronicles the lives of Nishu and Asif Beg. (Supplied) 

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.