Gathas : Songs my father taught me

The Alliance Française de Pune 


Poona Music Society


concert called 

“Gathas : Songs my father taught me.” 


Ariana Vafadari 

under the label of 

Bonjour India 2017-18. 

Thursday, 22nd February | 7 PM
Mazda Hall, Dastur Primary School, Camp

The Gathas are the prayers of Zoroastrianism, the monotheistic religion of Ancient Persia. These poems from philosopher and prophet Zarathustra date from about 3700 years. They are surprisingly modern, expressing the life, doubts and choices of a man. As there are no records of the way they were sung originnally, Franco-Iranian Ariana Vafadari composed every song according to radifs or oriental scales. It results in music that constantly vibrates between its Oriental mystic foundations and their matching Western opera. Ariana Vafadari and her musicians have a common trait, they unremittingly stretch musical boundaries. In perfect continuity with their cultural and musical backgrounds, they were trained by traditional Iranian, Ottoman and Moroccan music, jazz, Western classical music or opera, in their improvisations and the practice of their instruments, they travel freely from one world to the next.

The third edition of Bonjour India 2017-18 is a four-month-long mega voyage across India that will celebrate Indo-French partnership as well as shape the next decade of human exchange between the two countries.



This concert is organised in association with Poona Music Society.


Exhibition of Water Colors & Sketches by Danesh Bharucha

Danesh Bharucha is a French Citizen of Indian origin…. his paintings will be part of a cultural exchange program between the two countries. Happy viewing!

Our New Coloring Book for Kids

Our brand new book is fresh off the press.
A unique take on a coloring book; it features 26 fun animals including a Uakari, a Viper, and an Iguana. It also has sets of 5 wild animals, 5 aquatic animals, 5 farm animals and 5 baby animals.
Printed on premium paper that is great for crayons but also

holds up well to watercolor!
Find it at our Etsy store for orders outside

or at for orders within India


Delzin Choksey

The Woman Behind the Golden Globes – is a Parsi lady Meher Tatna

The Woman Behind the Golden Globes Wants You to Take Them Seriously

No, the awards are not fixed—and more secrets from H.F.P.A. president Meher Tatna.

H.F.P.A. president Meher Tatna
Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock
On a December day after the agencies and studios had closed for the holidays, one office in Los Angeles was still a whirlwind of activity. Inside a quaint English tudor-style building in West Hollywood, through a lobby decorated with Saltillo tiles and giant portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Linda Evans, Meher Tatna, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, was busy preparing for Hollywood’s giddiest night: the Golden Globes.
“It’s like 100 weddings in one,” said Tatna, a Mumbai-born reporter for the Singapore daily The New Paper, who was elected to run the organization of 90 international entertainment journalists in June. “The Globes are like a machine. We have a pre-show with Facebook. A post-show with Twitter. And then we have a Chinese platform coming this year. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking, I didn’t answer this e-mail, I better get back to this person.
The Golden Globes are, frankly, relatively meaningless. But they are a damn good time—the most watched awards show besides the Oscars, and an opportunity for visibility in the entertainment industry. As head of the H.F.P.A., the oft-derided nonprofit organization that votes on the awards, Tatna is the evening’s unofficial hostess. In a way, she is also a perfect woman for this job at a moment when Hollywood is examining its own sexist, racist, dishonest habits. She has endured butt pinches as a waitress, offensive casting calls as an actress, and uncertain economics as a print reporter (Tatna declined to disclose her age). She’s interested in reclaiming the H.F.P.A.’s reputation, cemented years ago as a boorish group of semi-working, easily corrupted journalists. As acerbic Golden Globes host Ricky Gervaissaid during the 2010 show, “One thing that can’t be bought is a Golden Globe . . . officially. But if you were to buy one, the man to see would be [H.F.P.A. head] Philip Berk.
During our interview, Tatna rejected many of the adages about the group. The idea that the H.F.P.A. nominates films and TV shows based simply on luring the biggest stars to its show? “No. Otherwise we would have had Julia Roberts this year [for Wonder],” Tatna said. That they are won over by lavish gifts from studios? “We have a rule that no gifts in excess of $95 can be given to us,” Tatna said. “That’s what we remind all the publicists every year. . . . In the past, we’ve returned things.” Last year, for instance, they gave back Tom Ford perfume intended to promote his movie, Nocturnal Animals.

Stakes are high for an entertaining show Sunday night—this year is the H.F.P.A.’s 75th anniversary, and the group’s broadcast rights contract with NBC is set to expire. The H.F.P.A. is also adding new elements, including an overflow room at the Hilton to accommodate the many people who wish to attend and can’t fit in the bustling main ballroom. “I have no idea whether it will be shut down by the fire marshal or nobody will come,” Tatna said. “No idea.”

The first major awards handed out in the #MeToo age, this year’s Golden Globes will likely be different than all that came before, with actresses pledging to wear black gowns and the usually frivolous red carpet taking on a new seriousness. “I am really glad that women are finally feeling safe enough to come forward and talk about their experiences,” Tatna said. “I am totally in solidarity with them. It’s not just in Hollywood that this happens. I was a waitress—the groping and pinching happened . . . back then, nobody felt safe enough to say anything. You thought you’d be fired; you thought you would be ostracized. So yeah, I’m really glad that they found that power, and I hope that this is a time of profound change.”

There have been some suggestions that the H.F.P.A. itself ought to evolve, including from actress Jada Pinkett Smithwho called out its members’ failure to attend a screening or to nominate her film Girls Trip. “We did have a screening of it. We were invited to the premiere as well. There was a junket in New Orleans that we didn’t attend, but we were invited to go,” Tatna said, in response to Pinkett Smith’s remarks. “We always look at the distribution in our territories. If the movie doesn’t open there, then people generally don’t need the press conference. . . . I myself saw it on a screener. I didn’t make the screening. There’s a difference between being a journalist and being a Golden Globe voter. I’m not sure if everybody understands that.”

Tatna did make it to a dramatic, last-minute screening of Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World after Scott raced to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in time for the group’s early December deadline. “We went over to Sony at 10 in the morning. It wasn’t totally 100 percent finished, it needed some color correction . . . but we’ve seen movies in that shape before. Silence, Martin Scorsese’s film, was not completely finished. So we are used to that.”
Tatna’s path to the Beverly Hilton ballroom has been a long and winding one. Her father imported liquor in India (“He was a lousy businessman,” she said) and she grew up with a particular affinity for Hollywood musicals, like My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. She wanted to act—but as a compromise with her parents, who were skeptical of a career in the arts, she majored in economics on a scholarship at Brandeis University.
After graduation she moved to New York City and pursued acting, appearing on a soap opera and at one point voicing various Indian women on The Simpsons. “They always told me to crank up the accent,” Tatna said, of her acting days. “That was very annoying, but that was at a time when the only Indians that you saw were 7-Eleven clerks and taxi drivers, and that was what I was up for. And you either decide to do it or you don’t and when you don’t have too many choices, sometimes you do.”
Eventually, she moved to L.A., bought a Plymouth Reliant on a salvage license, and began to pay more of her bills with entertainment journalism than acting. The state of journalism, especially newspapers like the one that employs her and many of her colleagues in the H.F.P.A., is an issue that weighs on her mind. “A lot of us are finding that our outlets are shrinking and the work is not as much as it used to be,” Tatna said. “Now you are competing with the influencers and the kids who make videos rolling around in bed.”
When Tatna took on the H.F.P.A. president job, one of the first things she did was reach out to studio executives. “I would call up and say, give me 10 minutes, let me come say hello and tell you who I am. . . . Just give us more access, set visits, lift embargoes earlier for us. That kind of thing is important for the members.” She’s also eager for people to remember the H.F.P.A. is a nonprofit, which doles out much of the millions it earns from the Golden Globes TV rights to schools, theaters, and film preservation efforts. Though her Golden Globes votes are secret, she’s still a fan at heart—Game of Thrones and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are two particular favorites.

On Sunday, Tatna will appear on stage at the Beverly Hilton for 45 seconds to deliver some remarks during the telecast—a rare moment in the spotlight after a decade toiling backstage in the press room, where reporters from some 200 outlets, including Vanity Fair, sit elbow-to-elbow. “I always have to watch the show on tape to write my article,” Tatna said. “I’m really looking forward to sitting in the ballroom this year.”

Kaizad Hansotia seeks to redefine fashion

It gives me an immense pleasure to announce that after working tirelessly hard for months for countless nights, our team has launched #RedefineFashion social movement whose aim is to challenge the status quo that fashion is not just about glamour or trends, but in reality, is about the people who create it. People such as the artisans and craftsmen who give their blood sweat and tears to bring a designer’s imagination to life. These skilled people in our country and declining and so are India’s traditional crafts. So together, let’s recognize and support them as we truly believe that Individually we can make a difference, and collectively we will bring change.

Please see this 2 min video and share your review and feedback. If you feel inspired then kindly sign up and help us share this video.
Warm regards,
Kaizad Hansotia

A labour of love spreading peace and harmony

Nothing in the soft-spoken bearded man clad in salwar kameez gives an inkling that he is famous, but Pakistani artist, social worker, philanthropist and stamp designer Jimmy Engineer is an international artist and a global citizen who loves and cares for fellow human beings, especially the less fortunate.

But, above all, he is a “servant of Pakistan”, a name by which he does not mind going. And a being striving for excellence.

“All my life I wanted to achieve excellence. I wanted to show that Pakistan can be as positive and creative as any other nation. I served for over 40 years my country. In all exhibitions I promoted the positive side of Pakistan.”

And many are the countries and the exhibitions he held in the course of his life as an artist, so far: over 80 exhibitions in both his native country and abroad. 

His works are in private collections in 28 countries; the themes are historical, philosophical, land and seascapes, architectural and cultural compositions, both figurative and abstract, calligraphy, portraits and miniatures.

The artist’s name is the result of a Zoroastrian tradition whereby the profession becomes the name. Both his father and grandfather were engineers, a tradition he did not follow, having different inclinations early in life.

“I started drawing and using powder colours when I was 4,” he says giving an overview of his life and work at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts where he is exhibiting paper prints of his original oils on canvas and original drawings on paper.

His teacher? 


And when you learn from a perfect mentor, “you will always remain a student”, he says with sincere humility.

When he was six, in 1960, doctors gave him three months to live because his kidneys were failing. He defied medicine and nature — subsequent X-ray showed he had “two new kidneys” — in an act he considers a “second chance”. And because he was given this second chance, he believes he has to give back. 

He does, generously.

“Nearly all my proceeds go to charities dealing with blind children, orphans, prisoners, widows, homeless and sick people.”

It makes this altruistic artist who lives in a two-room rented house happy to give.

“For me it is important to be a good human being. To serve humanity.”

Which he does through his art.

His charity work, including the many walks for different causes, is all about changing perceptions: of his country, Pakistan, when he exhibited in the US or Europe, of children with special needs when he took them to public spaces — zoos, 5-star hotels, restaurants — of inmates, particularly juvenile, for he believes “nobody is born a criminal. Society makes them what they are”.

His dedication has contributed to the bettering of the lives of hundreds of people, in his home country and elsewhere. But he also wishes to spread the message of peace and raise awareness about problems plaguing people, for which, besides painting, he would walk: for cancer, leprosy, education, law and order.

In one instance, in 1994, he went on an arduous 4,000-km walk on foot, sleeping in villages, “seeing what people need”. In 2001 he walked for peace between India and Pakistan, “daring” to pin the flags of both countries on the long white shirt he walked in — “now in the Peace Museum in Beijing” — an act of courage and peril.

Spreading harmony and peace seems to be his mission in life. 

In 2009, after an exhibition in Houston, Texas, the mayor made Engineer an honorary citizen of the city and a goodwill ambassador.

His good deeds are too many to mention. Talking to this unassuming man one would not guess that Mother Theresa knew and embraced him, that personalities far and wide court him, that he received accolades, travelled the world over and received over 70 Shields of Honour from various Pakistani and foreign organisations.

The prolific artist spent three years at the National College of Arts. He left without waiting for his degree, a paper validating an obvious talent, and has been living in Karachi ever since. 

His works count over 3,000 paintings, more than 1,000 calligraphic works, over 1,500 drawings and 700,000 prints in private collections.

He paints in different styles, always claiming to be the disciple of a perfect master, nature, and, as such, having to perpetually learn more.

Seeing his works, it is difficult not to find him modest.

The drawings, original, are mostly magnified details of the bigger paintings. The lines flow easily, masterfully, meeting and separating to form images of tender parent-child love, caring beings helping or consoling each other, sadness and desolation, or peaceful animals from some bucolic landscape the artist must have seen in his many walks.

The exhibition could not have had a more apt title, “Lines That Talk”, because Engineer’s lines do indeed tell stories of myriad people.

Like in the prints of his oil paintings — which must be a wonder to behold — which tell the story of the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, with all the accompanying human dispossession, misery and tragedy.

They are also a “tribute to the struggle and sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who created Pakistan”.

The images show masses in flight from burning villages, caravans, huddled people under a tree, the story of refugees everywhere, maybe more poignant here, where the narrative of dispossessed Palestinians is so familiar.

The colours, earthen with much reddish-maroon tint, are warm, soothing, almost belying the images they create.

Engineer’s architectural compositions are a labour of love. Painstaking details, layered, rich, images reflect Pakistani architecture, but also structures from India, Yemen, China and several other countries.

The compositions are such that “no building is off balance, jumping around”. Dense, yet with each image enjoying primacy, the filigree details of mosques, churches, buildings keep the eye prisoner, hungry for more.

The idea, in the artist’s 58 architectural compositions is that “if architecture [of different countries] can be brought together, people can be brought together”. Not surprising for someone seeking peace, harmony and the wellbeing of fellow human beings.

The “lines” Engineer makes talk are mesmerising. A quick glance would not do. One needs time to take all the details in, and then go over the images again and discover, with surprise, so many overlooked.

The exhibition runs through November 25.


The renowned Parsi artists contributed to the theatre and Indian Film Industry.

The theatre is blended with Indian culture for such an extended period. You’ll be amazed to know that Indian theatre has started near about 5000 years back and since then so many talented actors and actresses have given outstanding performances on this platform. Various Parsi actors and actresses are noted on this list. They have made an invaluable contribution to Indian Theatre and Hindi film industry.

Source: Indian Express

The development of the Indian theatre is primarily divided into two parts, the classic period and the modern period. The classic time is known up to 1000 A.D. Now we are standing in this modern era or the age of Bollywood. But the British had significant influence in Indian theatre. In the 1850s a small community of great Parsi actor and actresses started acting Shakespearean plays in India. The dance and the song become so popular that they began to perform the same act in Hindi, Gujarati, and Urdu.

So today we are going to explore the distinguished Parsi actors and actresses who have contributed to the theatre and movie since long.

Boman Irani

Boman Irani is one of the most accomplished actors in Bollywood. With his most unusual and compelling roles, he has proved that you can achieve your dreams anytime in your life. Boman was born on 2 December 1959, and before getting success, he struggled a lot in his life. His mother encouraged him a lot to watch films. When he was in school, he went to the Alexander cinema to watch movie regularly. Very few people know that Boman is not only an excellent actor but also a competent photographer and a skilled vocal artist and singer. People got surprised when came to know that this multi-talented person once sold sports pictures just to earn twenty to thirty rupees per day. But today he has already proved that dreams can be real if you have that patience and passion towards achieving your goal.


He started his career in theatre. And in 2000 he made his first debut with the film ‘Everybody says I am fine.’ He proved his versatility by playing so many different characters like Jolly LLB, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Three Idiots, Ferrari Ki Sawaari and a lot more. Last but not the least how can we forget Dr. Asthana from the hilarious movie Munna Bhai M.B.B.S? This Parsi actor will always remain in our heart because of his spectacular performances.

Kurush Deboo

Another versatile Parsi actor Kurush Deboo was born in Mumbai on 12th September 1963. He is not only a great artist but also counted as one of the well-educated actors of Bollywood. At first, he completed his Graduation in Commerce in Commerce in 1984. After that, he did his Post Graduation in Advertising and Marketing from Xavier’s Institute of Communications, Mumbai. On the very next year, in 1987 he completed his Diploma in Marketing Management from Mumbai University. Before his debut in Bollywood, he also finished the diploma in acting in 1988.

This talented Parsi actor made his debut with the film “Percy.” Soon after his first appearance, he got the recognition of the Best Actor in National Awards. But he had become a celebrity after playing the role of Dr. Rustom Pavri in “Munnabhai MBBS.” With his extraordinary performance, he won many hearts and proved his versatility as an artist. Apart from that, he performed in various other films like “Apne,” “Kasoor,”  “Page 3”, “Taxi No.9211”, etc.

Dinyar Contractor

Dinyar Contractor, the famous multi-talented personality, was born on 23 January 1946. He was not only an excellent actor but also a successful stage performer and a great comedian. Dinyar is also acclaimed as a renowned theatre artist. He acted in various Gujarati as well as Hindi theatres. Later on, in 1966 he started working in Hindi films and impressed everyone with his witty acting skill.



When Mumbai Doordarshan launched their DD-2 channel, it became one of the most prominent hits. That time this Parsi actor started acting in Gujarati program named Aavo Mari Saathe. Another renowned Parsi theatre artist Adi Marzban also joined him in this program which was exceptionally loved by the audience. Apart from that, no one can forget his magnificent acting in the films Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Baadshah, 36 China Town, Khiladi and a lot more. Sometimes he appeared on the screen as a Principal, sometimes a Casino Manager or a servant. But every time he proved his versatility in front of the Indian audience. Now, this 71 years actor is much famous for his hilarious performance as Sodhi’s Father-in-Law in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.

Adi Marzban

If you are a theatre lover, you must have heard about the Parsi Theatre and the renowned theatre artist Adi Marzban. Nothing can be more exhilarating than the Parsi Theatre which was established in Bombay near about 50 years ago. Though he was an Indian theatre artist, he was a Parsi by birth. That is why acting and the passion was in his blood. This eminent personality was born on 17 April 1914. He was not only an exceptional actor but also a great director, and a celebrated playwright and broadcaster. The government of India was honored him in 1964 with the Padma Shri award.


Source: Mumbai Theatre Guide

This renowned dramatist was also the author of various remarkable plays such as Maasi no Maako, Mazandaran, Makhai Mohoro, etc. Not only that but he was also the founder of two Gujarati newspapers Mumbai Samachar and Jam-e-Jamshed. This unparallel artist acted over 100 plays, and more than 5000 scripts were written by him for the All India Radio. In the year 1970, he also received Sangeet Natak Akademi award. In February 1987 the Indian theatre lost this multi-talented personality. Till now he is ruling many hearts because of his extraordinary performances.


Shammi, a renowned actress of Bollywood, was born on 1931 in a Parsi family. The father of this artist was a priest in a Parsi temple. Her father died when she was just three years old. So to earn money, her mother used to cook in various religious functions. The Parsi communities usually organized these functions.


Source: Beete Hue Din

After a lot of struggles, ups and downs in her life finally she got selected for Begum Para. The producer of this film Mukhtar was very much worried about her Hindi speaking skill that time as she was a Parsi by born. But he got utterly impressed with her because she spoke Hindi like it was her mother language. She is indeed an inspiration because this 84-year-old actress still wants to continue her work on a daily basis. This versatile actress played various impressive roles in the movies like Khuda Gawah, Coolie No 1, The Burning Train, Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi and the number goes on and on.

Freishia Bomanbehram

With over 10 years of theatre experience, 4 international feature films, 100s of corporate events and dozens of Indian TV commercials to my name, I am blessed to do what I love doing. I’ve had the opportunity to have worked with stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Sachin Tendulkar, Saif Ali Khan, Kareen Kapoor, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty and Katrina Kaif, Salman Rushdie, to name a few.

I’ve interviewed global CEOs and launched some of the most popular products in the market worldwide, be it the latest gadget, watch by Rado, Mercedes Benz or Maruti Nexa’s new car. When it comes to hosting conferences it doesn’t matter whether it’s for banking, fashion, IT or even start up’s, I have a natural flair of picking up the right points and keeping the momentum going at the event.

A travel lover, big foodie, and fitness enthusiast I joined NDTV Good Times as an anchor with my own travel series ‘Hangout Amreeka’. Since then there has been no looking back, I’ve hosted many shows on the channel like Band Baaja Bride 5, Filmfare awards red carpet 2 years in a row, Dubai Diaries, India with Marriott, Lakme Fashion Week, GQ Man of the year, India Couture Week.

While I am travelling the world for my Tv shows & hosting some of the sub continents biggest corporate events I also create videos for my rapidly growing YouTube channel ‘Whack’ which has crossed 1-lakh subscribers.
This led to me being the face of Stayfree India’s digital YouTube cam

Freishia is India’s only female science and lifestyle YouTuber. She has over one lakh followers on Youtube and more than 30K followers on Instagram.


Bombay and Mumbai, as Seen by Sooni Taraporevala’s Sharp Eye

Parsis, children and faces familiar and strange all find a place in the photographer’s black and white world.

Koli fisherwoman, Bombay 1977. Image Copyright ©Sooni Taraporevala, Image Courtesy: Sunaparanta

Koli fisherwoman, Bombay 1977. Image copyright ©Sooni Taraporevala, image courtesy: Sunaparanta

For Sooni Taraporevala – scriptwriter, filmmaker and photographer – Mumbai is more than just home; it is also a muse, a character with a distinct personality and, it must be said, a loved one who pleases and frustrates at the same time. Except that, on her part, she continues to bestow her affections and fondness on it all the time.

In the 1988 film Salaam Bombay, Taraporevala’s script delved into the very sordid underbelly of the city, exploring it through the eyes of children who lost their innocence very swiftly. It was an insider’s journey and brought Taraporevala international attention.

But long before that, Taraporevala was going around Bombay with her camera and shooting its many eccentricities which have almost totally disappeared from view. When did one last see a camel on Marine Drive? A lone Premier Padmini in the background completes the picture of a city long before liberalisation came to the country and brought with it swankier cars and traffic jams.

Children, uninhibited and joyful catch her eye the most, also spots the young balloon seller who is out on his cycle and must sell all of them to earn his daily living. And of course there are the Parsis, in and out of their finery, a subject she has explored in detail in an earlier book on the community.

All these and more are in her latest book, Home in the City: Bombay 1977-Mumbai 2017, which will be released on October 14 to time with an exhibition of her works.

In the words of Salman Rushdie, who has written one of the introductory essays in the book (the other is by Pico Iyer): “I first began to write about this city at approximately the same time that the earliest photographs here were taken. Back then I was thinking of childhood, of my own Bombay childhood and the many childhoods around me, rich and poor, Hindu, Muslim, Parsi and Christian, and so I’m struck by how powerfully, how intimately these images look at children, how the innocence of dance and play is suddenly complicated by the arrival of a very real-looking toy gun, and while the boy at whom the gun is pointed is laughing – perhaps a little too uproariously for comfort – the boy holding the gun doesn’t seem to think it’s funny at all. The children of Bombay-into-Mumbai, ragged, cigarette-smoking, hustling on the street, stare out of these photographs, with too much knowledge in their eyes. Sooni Taraporevala has been showing us these children ever since Salaam Bombay.”

Click Here for some more pics and the full story at