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)
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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. 


Lindsay Lohan says ‘I’m back!’ teasing new single amid pandemic

“I’m back!,” the 33-year-old star of “Mean Girls” posted on social media. (AFP)
Updated 8 min 6 sec ago

Lindsay Lohan says ‘I’m back!’ teasing new single amid pandemic

LOS ANGELES: Actress Lindsay Lohan, whose promising movie career crashed a decade ago in a string of legal woes and substance abuse, on Tuesday announced she was making a comeback with a new music single.

“I’m back!,” the 33-year-old star of “Mean Girls” posted on social media, with a video compilation of news clips from the ups and downs of her career.

Lohan also posted a link for fans to pre-save her single on a music streaming platform. She offered no title, release date, or other details.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Im back!

A post shared by Lindsay Lohan (@lindsaylohan) on

Her surprise announcement quickly became a top trending item on Twitter but caused mixed reactions.

“Sorry sis, we are in the middle of a global pandemic,” tweeted user CaliRae, referring to the coronavirus that has upended life around the world and killed more than 40,000 people.

Other Twitter users wondered if Lohan was pulling an April Fool’s Day stunt.

Lohan, once one of Hollywood’s most-sought after young actresses, went to rehab six times between 2007 and 2013, and was in and out of jail and court repeatedly for offenses ranging from theft to drunken driving and drug possession. She later moved to London, Dubai and Greece.

In February, the star returned to the UAE after announcing she was leaving her adopted home of Dubai to go to the US earlier this year. 

While best known as an actress, Lohan last released a single, the dancy “Bossy,” in 2008.

In 2019, she starred in the MTV reality show “Lohan Beach Club” about her efforts to launch a nightclub and restaurant business in Greece. She also appeared in a 2018 British television comedy crime series “Sick Note.”