Category Archives: Arts & Culture


‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream!’ 

The above quote may have been said by the British scholar and novelist – C.S. Lewis, but no one can prove it better than the maverick photographer turned actor – Boman Irani, who made his Bollywood debut at the age of 44 and made a mark for himself with his excellent comic timing and signature style of acting.

“If there is passion in your heart and fire in your belly there is no one who can stop you from moving forward,” says the Housefull 3 actor, who has done everything in his life with complete passion and honesty, be it acting in front of the camera, capturing photographs through his lenses or waiting tables at The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel as a waiter.

Yeah, today Boman Irani may be one of the most sought after actor who is known for his versatility and brilliant performances in films like Munnabhai M.B.B.SKhosla Ka Ghosla3 Idiots etc., but there was a time when this successful actor worked as a waiter and even sat in his ancestral shop selling chips.

“As a kid I had a speech defect, I had a lisp, I used to actually talk like my character Virus from 3 Idiots. To make matters worse I was dyslexic, who was not good at academics. People used to call me Boman the duffer. So I decided to do a course to be a waiter and joined The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel as a waiter. I worked there for 2 years and put my heart in it. My granny used to say – ‘gali ka mochi bano, toh bhi sabse acha mochi bano’, basically be the best in anything you do and that has stayed with me always,” says Boman.

However, Boman was not destined to be a waiter forever. His mother met with an accident and Boman had to take over his family shop. “I started sitting in our shop. I sat in the shop for over 14 years. It was a long time. So imagine sitting in a shop and saying to myself that I think I am a creative person, I think I need to do something with my ability to either writer, or to understand, or to put down words, or to breakdown a screenplay and understand it…I think I am passionate about all that. Actually, I was a student of cinema since I was 12-years-old. As a kid my mom used to encourage me to see films every day, over and over again. She told me to observe cinematography, acting, music, camera movements, lyrics, lightening… everything. I used to watch movies 30 to 40 times at Alexander theater, so I was passionate about cinema. So what do I do? At 32 nobody was making me an actor because that’s a funny age, you are neither too young nor too old to play characters. So what’s the next best thing to do? I bought a camera from the money that I had saved from the tips I got at Taj as a waiter and decided to become a photographer,” reveals Boman.

He juggled his photography career along with managing the shop and actually succeeded in turning his passion into a paycheck. Initially, Boman made about 25 rupees per picture but soon his go-getting attitude and talent coupled with his passion for succeeding helped him to make 300 dollars per picture. He recalls, “I needed to do something creatively and photography was my outlet. I started with sports photography, my pictures were getting composed pretty well and I used to make about 25 – 30 rupees per picture. I said this is a great outlet, if I can make a profession out of this, then I will be a happy creative soul. That happened too, I bagged my first big project as an official photographer for The World Cup of Boxing that was happening in Mumbai. Then I did some pictures for an international client, for which I got 900 dollars, 300 dollars for each picture. I was thrilled. I was finally a professional photographer.”

And though Boman was content to have found some creative outlet, he wasn’t afraid to experiment further as he says, “One day while I was doing a portfolio for Shiamak Davar, he told me that I need to be on stage. I was like why not, chalo karte hai. He took me to theater thespian Alyque Padamsee, who told me I had no talent. However, Shiamak coaxed him to take me and I did a small role of a pimp in a play called Roshni. The show was a disaster but the press talked about me. Then I did another play and another play and another play… and then suddenly I became a theater actor with successful plays. I started getting film offers but I said no to a lot of movies and a lot of television work. Then one fine day Vinod Chopra, who had seen an experimental film I had done – Let’s Talk, called me. He gave me a cheque for 2 lakh rupees saying he would like to block my dates for the next year. I humbly thanked him and returned the cheque. Six months later, he called me again for Munnabhai M.B.B.S, I turned down the offer. Few days later he again called me and insisted that I meet Raju Hirani. I was hesitant to meet him, but I still went. I was planning to finish that meeting in 20 minutes but I ended up spending 8 hours with Raju that day, and by the end of our meeting I said yes to play Dr. Asthana.”

The rest we all know is history. And while today Boman has a very successful career, the man hasn’t stopped dreaming. Recently he voiced his desire to direct a film someday. “I don’t want to keep anything unfulfilled in my life, so I will try it.”

Well, like he says — If there is passion in your heart and fire in your belly there is nothing that’s going to stop you, right Mr. Irani?

Image Credits: cochintalkies, magnamags, indiatvnews, talkingmoviez, parsikhabar

By Shweta Kulkarni

Anahita’s Law – a film by Oorvazi Irani

Excited to announce my next film
“Anahita’s Law”
Redefining the identity of women in the 21st century

Directed, Produced and Performed by Oorvazi Irani

Screenplay by Farrukh Dhondy

The short film is Releasing Online on Humaramovie on 3rd June 2019

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Pallavi Shroff makes it to Bollywood

Pallavi K. Shroff , our 24 year old pakki bawi with an unusual name has made her Bollywood debut in the field of special effects makeup in the Film Saand Ki Aankh . A cinematographer by qualification and a Prosthetics Artist by passion. She worked on a Kannada Film -Sakuchi and a Tamil Telugu Film – Game Over which are all yet to release. For the film Saand ki Aankh – She is the artist behind Taapsee Pannu’s look. First look is out- Releasing this Diwali.

Pallavi K Shroff

Mehr Jesia – Interview

Mehr Jesia,miss india,beauty pagaent

Mehr Jesia won the Femina Miss India 1986 and was part of the first generation of Indian supermodels

What’s the most Parsi thing about you?

My honesty.

What’s the most bizarre look you have tried in real life?

I think I was the first model in India to try all these bizarre hair extensions! I was so bad with the upkeep of it that every time I would walk, I’d leave a trail of hair behind me.


  • Date of birth: November 30
  • Sun Sign: Sagittarius
  • Place of birth: Kolkata
  • School/college: The J.B. Vachha High School / Sophia College For Women, Mumbai
  • First break: Lakme campaign
  • High point of your life: When I had my babies

Who’s your favourite Indian designer and why?

Apart from Rohit Khosla, it has to be Tarun (Tahiliani). He is like a brother to me and he has chosen me as his muse for the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2018.

The most vivid memory from the 1986 Miss India pageant where you won the title…?

There were five of us as finalists. The last common question was asked, and I see all these girls answering, but I hadn’t heard the question! I just heard whatever they were saying, processed it in my head and answered!

And what’s your most embarrassing moment on the runway?

When my zip split and I walked the entire show backwards!


  • Movie:A Star Is Born (2018)
  • Comfort food: Parsi dhansak
  • Holiday destination: Any beach!
  • Sunday activity: Chilling at home with my kids
  • Supermodel of all time:Chrissy Teigen

If you have five minutes to get dressed for a party, what would you pick?

A black dress.

One thing you really miss about the modeling days in the ’80s and the early ’90s…?

The friendships among the girls.

One thing you have learned while bringing up your daughters, Mahikaa and Myra….?

To always have gratitude and patience, and to always keep the child inside you alive.

What’s your favourite holiday activity with your daughters…?

For them it is of course shopping, but for me it is just chilling on the beach or indulging in some kind of water sports with them.

The Master Of Drawing Movement – Shiavax Chavda

Master draughtsman Shiavax Chavda, most well-known for drawing dancers, could always look to his wife, Bharatanatyam dancer Khurshid Vajifdar, for inspiration

Shiavax Chavda; his paintings (below)

The Nehru Centre Art Gallery, which has been regularly showcasing retrospectives of art masters for a quarter of a century, has chosen one of the pioneers of Indian modern art this month: late Mumbai artist and master draughtsman Shiavax Chavda.

The master of drawing movement

In 43 years of marriage, artist Shiavax Chavda and Bharatanatyam dancer Khurshid Vajifdar shared their life – their house and their office – as equals. In their circular workspace in Dhobi Talao, he took up one half as his studio, and she took up the other half to teach dance.

“He would hear a lot of tabla, harmonium and dance sounds: explanations, instructions, children asking questions,” says their daughter Jeroo Chavda. “It was a lively scene for him, because normally when you paint, it’s very solitary and quiet. You’re always by yourself. It added a lot of textures to his [paintings of] dancers. Even his abstracts, everybody says, ‘There’s so much movement in it.’ They’re not static.”

Drawing Movement

Chavda (1914-1990), an alumnus of Sir JJ School of Art and Slade School of Fine Art, London, had several phases in his four-decade-long career. From paintings of dancers to temple structures, portraits of tribal people to national leaders, from animals to abstracts, he pushed his art and research further and further into the unknown. “He always wanted to progress and evolve,” says Chavda. “He used to say, ‘If I’m stuck in a rut, I will never grow as an artist or as a person.’

Drawing Movement

His dancers were world-famous. I should not be talking as a daughter, but they used to say, ‘There is no parallel in the world. Nobody has been able to sketch and capture dancers in such precise form.’ Bharatanatyam looked like Bharatanatyam.”

The master of drawing movement

Although, he returned to abstract in the last 20 years of his life. “Because he had done enough portraits, figuratives, scenery, daily life, folk dancers, ballet dancers and Indian classical dancers. He was sent to Nagaland to sketch all the tribes, because they felt Indian missionaries were converting the tribes and they were losing their [way of life]. So, he had sketched everything humanly possible.

Drawing Movement

He kept saying, ‘I don’t want anyone to say this is my signature.’ Because there were a lot of artists who, you could just recognise them [their work], because of elongated limbs or a tiny head. He said, ‘If that’s the case, you might as well be a photocopying machine. So, how does it inspire me, or move me? My art has to satisfy me first before it goes into the public.'”

The master of drawing movement

At the Nehru Centre, in Worli, this month, a retrospective of his works will give “equal importance to the different phases,” says Chavda. “We have his nudes from London, drawings of temple sculptures, his horse races.” And, his dancers, of course, what with ready inspiration always at home. “My father was on the quieter side; my mother was the more bubbly and effusive one,” she says. “They were very balanced as a couple. Whenever dad did master sketches, he used to lay them out on the bed or the table, and ask us what we thought of it, what we saw in it. They fully respected each other and gave each other a lot of space because they always had this understanding.”

What: Indian Masters’ Retrospective Exhibition: Artist Shiavax Chavda
When: December 21 to January 6
Where: Nehru Centre Art Gallery, Dr Annie Besant Rd, Worli

NCPA Scholarships for Young Musicians 2019-20

Applications (bio-data on music education) are invited from students for a scholarship in advance training in Hindustani Music (vocal-khyal / dhrupad, percussion – tabla / pakhawal). The value of the scholarship is Rs. 7,500/- per month for one year (April 2019 to March 2020). Send in your application (bio-data on music education) via mail to or in an envelope marked ‘City – NCPA Scholarship for Young Musicians 2019-20 (Hindustani Music)’ to the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021 on or before 31st Dec, 2018. Please note, application received after 31st Dec 2018 will not be accepted.

The application must contain details regarding the individual’s name, date of birth, address, contact number/alternate contact number ,professional qualification, email ID, music teacher/gurus, number of year of total training and details of achievements / prizes /scholarships and performances, amongst other net worthy details. The shortlisted candidates will be informed via email or telephone. They will be required to appear for an audition at the NCPA, Mumbai, in the month of February 2017. The decision of the NCPA Selection Committee will be final.

Contact No: 022-66223872/3737 (Mon to Fri. 10:30 am to 5:30 pm)

Eligibility Criteria & General Instructions:

  • Age Limit-

               For Khayal/Tabla/Pakhwaj – 18 to 30 years of age (as off 1st March 2019)

             For Dhrupad – 18 to 35 years of age (as off 1st March 2019)

  • Students who are beneficiaries of other scholarship/grant in the field of music during April 2019-20, are not eligible to apply.
  • Professional musicians including those with ‘A’ grade from All India Radio are not eligible to apply.
  • Only Indian citizens are eligible to apply. 

Click Here for more –

Handbook Cover Art Contest at the United Nations

Calling All Designers!  Have your artwork prominently featured at the largest annual NGO Forum held at the United Nations.

We are gearing up for the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2019!

  • Held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11-22 March, 2019
  • Thousands of representatives from Governments, NGOs and Women’s Organizations worldwide
  • All working to advance Human Rights for Women and Girls.
Click here to learn more about the NGO CSW63 Forum Your artwork should incorporate the CSW63 Priority Theme: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Visit UN Women website here for more information. Deadline For Submissions: 14 January, 2019

Only travel world to market Pakistan: Jimmy Engineer

LAHORE: Internationally -renowned artist, social crusader and peace activist Jimmy Engineer on Tuesday said that the sole purpose behind his goodwill tours of different countries and displaying his creative art is to tell the world that Pakistan has great people, great culture and great artists.

He said that displaying his artwork in foreign countries carries a message as lots of people do not know about Pakistan and this is the best way to convey the message.

Jimmy said this while delivering a talk about his life, art and Pakistan during the display of his creative work while interacting with visitors at his talk in Ontario. The event was organised by his cousin Neely Engineer and was a great success as hundreds of community members including Pakistan’s Consul General Imran Siddique, members of the Canadian parliament and councillors also showed up.

Jimmy said he wears four hats. He is a social worker, an artist, a human rights worker and a peace activist. “As an artist, I am an idealistic person, as a social worker I have to be very compassionate as I have to help the people, as a human rights activist I have to fight for the people’s rights so, I have to be aggressive and as a peace activist I have to talk about peace,” he said.

According to a message received here, Jimmy highly praised those who visited the venue of the exhibition to view his paintings. The visitors included Senator Salma Ataullah Jan, MP Iqra Khalid, MPP Khalid Rasheed, Consul General of Turkey in Canada Erdeniz, Flato Developments Inc President Shakir Rehmatullah, Canada-Pakistan Business Council President Samir Dossal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mindshare Workspace Mississauga Robert Martellaci and Ontario Zoroastrian President Neville Patrawala.

The artwork displayed in the exhibition, which has since concluded after running successfully for more than a week. It depicted not just colours of Pakistani culture but also the suffering of a person in need. Some of the artwork took onlookers to the countryside and paintings of the Mughal architecture.

Rocking on – Zubin Ballaporia

EVEN before Zubin Balaporia earned his stripes as successful rock star, thanks to his band Rock Machine (later Indus Creed), much of south Mumbai knew him as the son of Jai Hind College’s formidable viceprincipal Mrs Vispi Balaporia. Post his stint on the keyboard, Zubin moved on to producing music and advertising. He is now pursuing a new passion, photography, and will showcase his first exhibition at Srila Chatterjee and Siddharth Sirohi’s beautiful furniture store in Lower Parel. This may be Zubin’s maiden venture in photography but the inveterate traveller’s journeys are chronicled in an insightful manner. “When Zubin brought them to show, I believed that what he was doing was what we should all do: expand horizons, explore new territories and embrace change,” says Chatterjee. 

Mehlli Gobhai moves on…

Mehlli Gobhai (1931-2018): An artist who approached the work of painting like a campaign

He came to his canvas with no feelings of certainty about what he wanted, with no pretense that it was a willing ally in the act of creation.

We were sitting in a Charles Correa-designed house, looking out at five acres of “cultivated wilderness” and talking about death and painting.

“Perhaps that’s why we create,” Mehlli said. “Because death is certain. And because we can’t believe it will happen to us, we react as children might. We try and throw something at the bogeyman, to scare him away. That something is art.”

Mehlli Gobhai, who died on Thursday morning at 87, was one of my closest friends. He was the man who taught me to eat cheese that smelled different and lamented my lack of a drinking habit. He taught me to look at modern art, he taught me how to respect the sacred geometry of a Chola bronze. He taught me the correct way to tie my shoelaces and he taught me to shake out my shoes before I put them on in the country lest a scorpion had sought the acrid shelter of my footwear for the night.

He was one of the greatest of abstract expressionist painters we had, no, one of the greatest painters we had and he took his work seriously. So seriously in fact that he often waited for a painting to begin happening for months. And then there would be the first approach, the black thread taken from his mother’s sewing box. This would be pinned carefully to the canvas and then he would sit back and light a Gaulois and consider what had happened to space and time and him and us by this simple intervention. When it seemed as if this might be able to bear the burden of what he wanted to magic into being, he would begin the work of painting.

But it wasn’t work; it was a campaign. Mehlli Gobhai approached his canvas with no feelings of certainty about what he wanted, with no pretense that it was a willing ally in the act of creation. He would often speak of what he was doing in terms that were spiked with violence. “I must brutalise that section,” he would say. “I must rough that up a bit.”

The early years

Mehlli Gobhai was born into an India that was still under British rule and went to Bombay’s Saint Xavier’s High School and Saint Xavier’s College. He even started a degree in law before he moved on to join J Walter Thomson to work in the creative department. There, he drew some magnificent roughs for the Air India campaigns being managed by the legendary Bobby Kooka. Kooka looked at the roughs and declared they didn’t need any refining.

He moved for a while to England where he lived and studied in London before moving to New York, a city that suited him perfectly. It was rich, it was vibrant with energy. But there was also his home by the Arabian Sea, Bombay, with its dramaturgy of monsoon cloud and rain greys; and the foothills of the Himalayas where creeks ran muddy brown and a water snake lurked in the pond where he drew his water. There he earned his money by working on a series of children’s books that Speaking tiger will bring out soon translated in a variety of languages: Punjabi, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu.

Finally, he returned home and it was when he was having his first show at Gallery 7 in 1985 that I met him. He kept encouraging me to buy the papier mache creations that Pushpamala N had produced. We next met in 1994 when Ranjit Hoskote curated “Hinged by Light” for Pundole Art Gallery. I was a mathematics tutor then and worked in the area around his home on Carmichael Road. I would often drop in for coffee and cheese and endless conversations about everything from whether naïve art could really be naïve to the mathematics of Carnatic music. In the background, a painting would be burning quietly, its colours rich and strange and interior…can a colour be interior? On a canvas? You have to look at a Mehlli Gobhai work to see how that can happen.

He began to come to the Poetry Circle, enjoying working with words and having them critiqued. I think now of how Tagore said that art was a release because there were no expectations. But Mehlli took his writing seriously. Whether it was an ode to Bombay or a catalogue essay for his good friend the artist Sheetal Gattani, he worked out what he wanted to say and then sat down to work on it.

Untitled, 2007. Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy: Gallery Chemould
Untitled, 2007. Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy: Gallery Chemould

A big thing

A few years ago, a stroke knocked him over. When I went to see him, I asked: “How does the other guy look?”

“Don’t make a big thing out of it,” he snarled. Making a big thing out of anything, even if it was a big thing like a stroke, was a cardinal sin in the Gobhai theology. But a few days later when he began to slur some words, we went to see a doctor. We were sent to a neurologist. Peripheral neuropathy, one of them said. It was a cruel thing this disease. It took his hands from him and then his feet. It took his work from him. He was the man who had once wondered if his skill at life drawing was making his line glib and so he had shifted to his left hand and found that drawing came just as easily. Now he could not work with precision. And if he could not do exactly what he wanted to do, if he could not control everything, everything, he was not going to do anything.

He stopped working.

And then he began to withdraw. Just a little. The long phone calls became shorter and then telegrammatic. His wide circle of friends, from postmasters upcountry to aspiring artists, from kindergarten school teachers to egg ladies, shrank and shrank until it was a man in front of a television set with the images playing on and on, the hysteria of news, the accretion of meaningless detail. I tried to slow things down. Sheetal Gattani tried. His brother Cavas, a midwife of ideas in the United States and now felled by a similar stroke, tried. His nephew Dinshaw tried. But without the ability to lob another work of art in the face of time, Mehlli was having none of it.

Going away

Ten days ago, he began to experience respiratory distress. He was admitted to hospital. He had been there before and come back in a day or two. This time he would not return.

Ranjit Hoskote, noted art critic and cultural theorist, said: “Had Mehlli’s career trajectory been managed differently, or had he belonged to a later generation that benefited from globalisation, he would undoubtedly have been acknowledged as a key figure in the history of global abstraction. His art was not derivative of Western exemplars. Rather, it stood its ground beside Rothko, Newman and the other masters of Abstract Expressionism. In the specific context of Indian abstraction, also, Mehlli was unique. He made no concessions to the phantoms of landscape, or to inherited symbolism, or to the evocation of retinal reality, to which some of his confreres in Indian abstraction remained wedded. He was proud to describe his art as a ‘non-objective’ art. And in the late phase of his work, he experimented boldly with blurring the line between painting and sculpture, to produce results that were neither and yet more expansive than both. I used to speak of these as ‘image-objects’. They remain among his most compelling work. While many (and careless) observers believed that his work remained more or less similar across the decades, the reverse is true.”

Hoskote explained: “Any consideration of his oeuvre demonstrates the clear shifts from one phase to the next, the emphasis on the incised line yielding to a devotion to the saturation of colour as palimpsest, this yielding in turn to a sculptural interest in edge and mass. Too many in the art world saw him as a genial eccentric. Too few saw the driven, inspired nature of his artistic explorations.”


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