1) When did you start your acting/modeling/theatre direction career and how has the journey been so far? Ans – I was always a theatre actor. Ever since I was knee high, I had found my love for the performing arts. I had done my first ever professional and commercial stage show at the age of 7. I was in college when my first Bollywood movie was offered to me. I used to act in TV commercials back then as well. I have studied acting and hold two diplomas in theatre arts. Direction and writing happened as a by-product of my acting. I started with directing and writing school plays and then ventured into the commercial realms of directing and writing professional plays. The journey so far has been amazing to say the least. Ups and downs are a part and parcel of the whole game, and I just love it.
2) How difficult is it to enter Bollywood? Is it true that the casting couch exists? Ans- Indeed it isn’t the easiest to get your first big break in Bollywood. Hard work and perseverance is the key. Sometimes you do manage to get a role or two, but they might be cameos and you as an actor always want meaty, well fleshed out roles. Well for that, the hustle is real. But it isn’t impossible. You have to be determined to give your best, and you have to learn how to deal with rejection. Don’t let anything dampen your spirits. Keep your head held high, keep a prayer on your lips and march ever forward. For sure casting couch exists. This is not some made up phenomenon. To be honest, you find it in the corporate sectors as well. No body must act naïve and behave as if this doesn’t exist. It is a disgusting part of human society which needs to be uprooted and thrown away.
3) What advice you would like to offer to the aspiring younger generation wanting to pursue a career in Bollywood. Ans – As mentioned above, let nothing dampen your spirits. Learn to deal with rejection, march ever forward till you reach the zenith. If it doesn’t work out today, well then try again tomorrow. This is your dream, no one can live it for you but you yourself. Be strong, and work on yourself. If you want to be an actor then go work on your craft. Making a body is good, but working on your acting skills is way more important. We as Parsis, genuinely need to brush up our Hindi speaking skills. We cannot shy away from the fact that we are in India, and this is our national language. We must learn to speak it correctly if we want to make it in Bollywood. People have a tendency of type-casting. In order to break away from the type cast, work thoroughly on yourself. Every actor must find ways of generating hope and positivity, that will keep you going.
4) Please throw some light on your journey in theatre/plays acting and direction. Is it true that thanks to theatre you got an opportunity to audition for the film Yaariyan? Ans – Theatre, as mentioned earlier, has always been an integral part of my life. I have studied the art form, I hold two diplomas in it, and I also act in commercial plays as well as direct and write them. I teach theatre as well. Academically I am a clinical psychologist, so I conduct psycho-drama workshops too. I have conducted several such workshops at IIT Powai, at various schools and colleges in and around Mumbai and privately too. My tryst with theatre has been super special. Yes indeed it is very much true, I got my first movie Yaariyan all thanks to theatre. I was doing a play called the Gone Case at comedy store, canvas laughter factory. The movie team had come there, they loved my look and thereafter contacted me.
5) Your views on content consumption online and the surge of new YouTube, TikTok and Instagram stars and influencers. Ans – Anyone who creates good and meaningful content on any platform will always be respected by me. Anyone who creates humorous and entertaining content – I am a fan. Anyone who creates content in general (as long as it is not abusive, or wrong) I will always support you. As you are creating something, you are an artist in your own way. And I have huge regards for anyone out there, who tries to showcase their talent. For some people youtubers work, for some people tiktokers work – the point is not youtube and tiktok, the point is there is someone out there, who is putting out his or her work and needs our support to grow- so come lets support them. Full stop!!!
6) Funny dose of Parsi Humour and your depiction of Parsi Moms went super viral and has somehow made you popular 10 times fold.. Do you agree and what are your thoughts on the same? What made you think of trying this out? Ans – Yes, for many I have become popular and for a few I have become infamous. Majority are loving the Parsi humour and depiction, some feel otherwise about it. I am loving the good messages and blessings pouring in indeed. But truth be told, this is not me. Nothing is me. I personally don’t feel I have any power in me to attract and do all this. This is our Ahura Mazda’s grace by which I have been able to appease such a large crowd. Will you believe me if I tell you, I was never on tiktok until this lockdown. I was one day bored, got a tiktok id made a few videos and moved on with my life. Then one day I randomly out of the blue took my grandmother’s “matha-banu” (scarf), penned a few pointers down and made the video. The rest is history …
7) You have also recently released hilarious videos on Parsi Dads be like and a typical evening at a Parsi Wedding… how has the response been for the same according to you and what is the source of your inspiration to bring out such great humour through relatable characters… Also what next can we expect on these lines? Ans – The response has been tremendous. The love people are showering upon me is just so very overwhelming. As an actor, we are taught observation and personalisation. These are just many nuances I have observed over the years, and one fine day I decided to create a video in my own style. To be honest there is no one particular person who has been inspiration for these videos. Well you will have to wait and watch what’s next hahaha!
8) Any message to the Parsi youth and for the Parsi community? Ans – All I can say is, go back to the basics. Go back to what we learnt when we were kids; just before the navjote ceremony. We are all taught the three most important golden truths. Manashni Gavashni Kunashni- Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds. Please follow this. Be honest to these three teachings. I have often encountered Non Parsis and they always tell me with a big smile, Parsi people are the sweetest. I often wondered, what do they mean by sweet. Well over the years I have learnt a couple of virtues, our community members hold. The virtue of being ever Just, ever Loyal and ever Righteous. It is my earnest plea to the Parsi Youth, to keep these virtues burning within like flame spreading light. When we came to India, seeking refuge, we promised King Jadi Rana, that we will mix with the other folk and sweeten the people of this country. Let us live up to those words. Let’s spread the sweetness.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold at an alarming speed and as we are all doing our part by staying at home….Do you Need something light-hearted to cheer you up? Looking for maasti majah without Corona?
The Toronto Parsi Drama Group is here to ease your “mann” and “tann” with the best medicine around – LAUGHTER! The Following Natak was performed live at the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Centre, in Oakville, Ontario Canada in 2018.
We bring this to you on April 18th, 2020 from 7.00 pm onwards, for 24 hours, with a hope to lighten your day.
7pm viewing is known as a Premier event Meaning you can participate online in chatting via typing to others that are watching (You cannot rewind it if you join this session late)
9pm April 18th to 7pm April 19th viewing is open for anyone to connect and watch at their leisure.
You can watch the Natak by Clicking on the link below:
Virtual Reality project ‘Living Zoroastrianism’ from Anna Sowa and Almut Hintze from SOAS Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies and Chouette Films has received a Special Mention at the 2020 British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) awards ceremony in the Best Practice Research Portfolio 2020- Installations and Video Essays Special Mentions (Best Practice Research Portfolio 2020)
The judges said that they “found the piece informative and creative, dealing with ancient cultures and rituals, using new VR technology to evoke both the sense of the place and the experience of strangeness in terms of visiting unknown spaces. The work offers a strong contribution to the field of anthropology too as well as creative practice research. It has a documentary aspect which we found fascinating.”
This unique interactive exhibition engages the public in the Virtual Reality (VR) experience of a three-thousand years old Zoroastrian ritual in which the viewer will be immersed by means of VR glasses. Originating in ancient pre-Islamic Iran, the ritual was filmed in Mumbai 2017 with cutting edge spherical video technology. Visitors can also experience contemporary Zoroastrian Iran via the digitized oral testimony of over 300 interviewees. Displays of manuscripts, costumes, paintings and artefacts provide additional information about this ancient religion.
About the film
“Living Zoroastrianism” showcases the performance of the core ritual of the religious tradition of pre-Islamic Iran, Zoroastrianism, whose influence is arguably embedded in Judaism, nascent Christianity and Islam. Being some 3500 years old, this ritual, called Yasna, is a highly endangered human inheritance. Today it is performed only in India by the Zoroastrians, or Parsis, but access is limited to members of the microsophic Zoroastrian community of ca. 120,000 members world-wide. For the first time ever, a full-length performance was filmed in Mumbai 2017 by Chouette Films with cutting edge spherical video technology as part of ongoing Arts and Humanities research at SOAS. Opening up the Yasna as a Virtual Reality (VR) experience to world-wide audiences, this 4.08 minutes film shows key scenes from the 3 hours ritual in a creative format. Viewers are immersed into the performance by means of VR glasses and are led by the voice of a Zoroastrian priest explaining that the Yasna is the story of the human soul travelling through the universe. The ritual begins with the act of fetching water from the well – just as the human soul comes into the world – and ends with the libation being poured back to the well – in the same way as our souls return to where they came from. This film not only opens new horizons to both Zoroastrians and non-Zoroastrians but also documents and preserves a highly endangered human inheritance. Moreover, the VR technique documents visual detail of the ritual never seen before, such as the contents of cups, and allows the viewing of scenes happening simultaneously. The film is thus an invaluable source of information which has never before been available, and preserves it for posterity for both scholars and the general public.
Our community has supported us in so many ways on our creative journey, and now we want to say thank you! During this time of quarantine, pop some popcorn, dim the lights, and enjoy the award-winning shadow theater epic Feathers of Fire.
In the last 24 hours, over 2000 people have watched the show. Don’t miss out. Watch Feathers of Fire on Vimeo all weekend long. Share this link with your friends and family, leave us a comment, and celebrate the coming spring with adventure and beauty.
This link is only available through this Sunday night 11:59 PM.
Exclusive Rare old Clip : This is a very rare video in which V. BALSARA, ( a Parsi musician who contributed very richly to Bombay and Bengali film industries)known for his versatility with an array of musical instruments like Piano, Univox, Melodica, Sitar, etc., plays ‘Bol Radha Bol’ on Univox & Accordion. After that, he plays Shehnai on Univox. And the man listening to him is none other than one of the greatest music directors and singers, HEMANT KUMAR!
‘Freddie Mercury Close’ was officially unveiled on February 24, by Freddie’s sister, Kashmira Bulsara, and the Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Tony Louki. Personally I would have preferred ‘Freddie Balsara Close’. (Balsar is a small town in Gujarat.). But then Fareydoon Balsara never wanted to be known as a ‘desi’.
LONDON — A street in the London suburb where Freddie Mercury lived as a teenager was renamed Freddie Mercury Close on Monday at a ceremony attended by the late Queen frontman’s sister.
Their family moved to Feltham in west London after fleeing the revolution in Zanzibar in 1964.
Local authorities agreed to rename part of Hanworth Road – the address of the headquarters of the World Zoroastrian Organization. Mercury was born a Zoroastrian and practiced the ancient religion as a child.
The family actually lived a short walk away at 22 Gladstone Avenue. That site was marked with a blue plaque in 2016.
Mercury died in 1991 aged 45 due to complications from AIDS. The Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity set up after his death, supports projects fighting HIV and AIDS worldwide.