Shayan Italia beats all records for National Anthem on Youtube

The video top-trended on Twitter and Youtube as India chose it over politics, bollywood and cricket!

Shayan Italia, broke the global record for the most-viewed single video of a national anthem on Youtube, beating the French anthem’s 36 million views. It has now crossed 94 Million views, adding a million views daily!

Click Here for the full story and interview


Akoori Trailer

This Parsi Dysfunctional Family Will Leave You In Splits

Akoori, a new web series, which is all set to release on 30th August, on Zee5, shares a story of whacky family and their relationships

Akoori Trailer: This Parsi dysfunctional family will leave you in splits


Zee5 Original recently released a new trailer, named Akoori, which is based on whacky family ties. While the father, played by Darshan Zariwala tries hard to keep his weird family intact, his wife is under coma for a few weeks. Keeping the entire family sane and normal, Darshan falls for his neighbor, played by Lillete Dubey. Known for its own quirks, Akoori stands tall amidst the clutter of other dysfunctional family stories.

From falling in love at the second innings of his life to going strong with his daughter and his son who he thinks is Gay, a Bawa makes this one looks like a hilarious take on urban relationships.

Akoori is a ZEE5 Original, created and written by Nikhil Venugopalan, directed by Harsh Dedhia, starring Darshan Jariwala, Lillete Dubey, Shadab Kamal, Zoa Morani, Sohrab Sunny, Adi Irani and Harsh Nagar. Join this crazy family as they try to mend their relationships and come to term with their loss. The web series will release on 30th August only on Zee5.

Check out the trailer of Akoori right away:

Shayan Italia | 2018 Indian National Anthem (Jana Gana Mana)

“Within a matter of days, #IWouldStandForThis has generated a spectacular response, the most viewed online video of the Indian national anthem ever. Thanks for the thousands of great comments but we are now disabling them. This rendition is a heartfelt tribute to both Mother India and my dear Mother whom I lost early on. I would prefer to keep this precious space quiet. One and all–thanks very much for the respect. Keep watching, keep liking and keep sharing!” – Much love, Shayan

In just 48 hours, the Indian National Anthem #IWouldStandForThis version becomes the most successful Indian National Anthem video on YouTube securing over 8.6 million views. #IWouldStandForThis honours the Indian National Anthem (Jana Gana Mana), performed by Shayan Italia in 8K Ultra HD on the world’s grandest piano, to pay homage to his mother. #IWouldStandForThis brings together multinational cross-cultural music and video production talent from all over the world to inspire patriotism amongst the youth of India in its digital age. Incredible detail when viewed in Ultra HD and with headphones. Full 8K (8192 x 4320) resolution can be viewed via Google Chrome browser. Support the global initiative by adding the hashtag #IWouldStandForThis to the end of your comments across all social media platforms and join the movement.


Instagram –…

Twitter –

YouTube –


CHIEF PRODUCTION TEAM & SPECIAL THANKS Since 8K Ultra HD processing technology doesn’t exist in India as of yet, various studios from across the world (including USA, Russia, UK, Australia, Singapore and the UAE) came together in unison to make the processing of this video happen.

Arranged and Performed on Steinway Model D by: Shayan Italia Directed by: Dr. FarhadVijayArora Chief Audio Engineers: Tim Young, Ronan Phelan, ShantanuHudlikar Produced by: Shayan Italia & FarhadVijayArora Co-Producers: AmarjeetDahiya, RajanVanmali & ShyamGarg Co-Director: Sandeep Singh Khichi & Aapar Gupta Director of Photography: Mohammed ShahnawazAnsari Post Production & VFX Overview: Kalinath Roy & DilberVijayArora Associate Producers: Jagdish Ingle, ImranMalgunkar, & RajuDubeyEPs: SahilGulia & PankajKansara Photography: Jeetu & Kinnari Makeup: ArshisJaveri Styling: Shanaya Boyce Script: Atul Malhotra & DilnaazBharucha


Next stop: The #71for71challenge – it’s simple. Copy the text below, share the link, tag 3 friends and challenge them to UNITE India this independence:

Challenge text copy (copy exactly and post on any social media platform)

I accept the #71for71challenge to #unite #india! To make acquire 71m views by India’s 71st Independence. Show your #patriotism: I challenge @friendtag1 @friendtag2 @friendtag3 to accept and further refer 3 more! #IWouldStandForThis 

Best wishes,

Farah Ghadiali Wins ‘All India Western Classical Vocal Competition’ In New Delhi

Soprano Farah Ghadiali recently won the Joint First prize in ‘All India Western Classical Vocal Competition’ held in New Delhi, on 27th April, 2018. Organised by the Neemrana Foundation of Music and the French Embassy in India, Farah received the ‘Neemrana Voice Competition – The Godrej Talent of India’ Award, based on three selection rounds, that rounded up five finalists who battled it out at the Akshara Theatre, New Delhi. Having to sing one compulsory piece and one classical piece of the singer’s choice, Farah sang the ‘Aria Of The Fairy’ from the Opera La Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot as the compulsory piece and ‘Der Holle Rache’ from the opera Die Zauberflote (the Magic Flute) by WA Mozart, as her choice in the finals.

Currently a music teacher in Bombay, Farah completed her MBA from the University of Mumbai and worked as a Senior Marketing Manager at the NCPA, before taking the leap of faith and signing up to study classical music at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in London. Having completed her Masters in Music in 2016 and the Post Graduate Advanced (Artist) Programme in 2017, studying with Soprano Patricia Rozario (OBE, FRCM), Farah is on the coveted student scheme of the Philharmonic Chorus and has delivered various operatic performances in London and India.

Speaking to Parsi Times, Farah Ghadiali said, “The award validates all those who supported and believed in me. Pursuing Western Classical Music in India is a real labour of love and I am very happy that there is a growing interest in encouraging Indians to do well in this field.”

Currently, Farah is busy with her project, ‘Duo Farinaldi’, established in 2017 by Steinway Artist and award winning Italian pianist, Paolo Rinaldi. Together, they have curated and performed in two seasons of concerts in the UK and are set to perform concert tours in Italy and India, later this year.

‘Bombay Meri Hai’: How a party song from Bandra spread around the globe in the 1960s

Sung by Uma Pocha, who died last week, the tune travelled to Sri Lanka and beyond, serving as a reminder that it’s impossible to predict how sounds travel.
Uma Pocha with her husband Jimmy Pocha (right) and theatre personality Adi Marzban (middle) |
Bombay Meri Hai is among my earliest musical memories. When I was a child, the song was always being played on Saturday Date, the pop music request show on All India Radio. But mostly, I heard the tune being performed week after week by wedding bands at the Bandra Gymkhana, opposite my grandparents’ home. Bombay Meri Hai is among the songs in the “masala” section of Catholic wedding parties – the fast-paced crescendo during which revellers wave white handkerchiefs above their heads to conjure up a long-forgotten aboriginal past as they dance to Marathi and Konkani folk tunes.

Perhaps because it’s invariably performed alongside tunes like Galyan Sakli Sonyachi and Sonyachi Kavla, I’d always thought of Bombay Meri Haias a traditional Bombay Catholic tune. So I was more than a little intrigued when, deep into the graveyard shift at The Times of India in 1991, my Parsi colleague Roxanne Kavarana told me that not only did she know the man who had composed the tune, she was actually related to him. Over the next few years, I’d come to learn a little more about how Mina Kava came to compose the first-ever Indo-pop hit.

Mina Kava and the Music Makers. Kava is at the back, playing the drums.
Mina Kava and the Music Makers. Kava is at the back, playing the drums.

This photo was taken in 1958, when Mina Kava – peering out from behind the drums – was still a few years away from his burst of success (or at least success as defined by the standards of the tiny world of Indian dance music). It was shot at the Bandra Gymkhana when his band, the Music Makers, was staffed with best-known performers of the Bombay jazz world: pianist Toni Pinto, trumpet player Chic Chocolate and saxophonist Norman Mobsby. If you look closely, you’ll see that the photograph was signed at the bottom by two visiting American musicians: Dave Brubeck and Joe Morello. (Not pictured here are six men who were vital to the smooth functioning of the Music Makers and indeed, most Bombay dance bands of the time – well-muscled coolies. “Sure, we had to transport the piano from venue to venue,” Kava explained.)

Click Here for the full article

Interview With Actor BEHZAD DABU | A Unique Perspective

The era of technology and social media brought us the possibility to have an open dialog with those whom we admire most. Now, we can follow our favorite people on Instagram, reply to them on Twitter and like them on Facebook. In that sense, we seem to be closer than ever to them being aware of what they do and say about a variety of subjects that touch us all. This kind of exposure has also affected the consciousness of those who want to use the global platform to promote their ideas on how to make our world a better place. American actor, producer, and activist Behzad Dabu is no exception. He is in love with his acting career, which is reflected in his constant expansion as a professional and a person. Behzad has a unique perspective on how acting can contribute to the general wellbeing and anything that has a positive intention is always a reason to celebrate. 

Click Here for the full interview



That distinct Parsi touch

If we go by their numbers, Parsis do not amount to more than a minuscule minority in the country. Their total population in India was around 61,000 according to the 2011 census. Unfortunately, the population of Parsis has been steadily decreasing and demographers say that by 2030, they may even cease to be a minority and may become a vanishing tribe.

There are several reasons behind it — the chief one being that Parsis are an insular community when it comes to matrimony. They marry within their own community and are quite strict about it. If anyone breaks this rule and marries outside the community, he or she may cease to be called a Parsi.

But barriers of caste and creed are now breaking down and the young generation of Parsis today do not always go by the strait-jacketed rules of their community. So, inter-religious marriages between Parsis and other communities now take place more often than ever before.

Parsis, unlike other communities of India, are not as procreative. “Be responsible — don’t use a condom tonight,” was a light-hearted advertisement inserted by the Central government in newspapers to encourage Parsis to be more procreative.

Aruna Irani with Amitabh Bachchan in Bombay to Goa.


Being Zoroastrians who faced Islamic persecution when Islam reached Persia, a large number of Parsis emigrated from Persia to India more than a thousand years ago and settled mostly in Sindh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

But in matters matrimonial, the community was orthodox right from the start which has not changed much even today. In fact Parsis are afraid of losing their identity by inter-marrying with people belonging to other religions in India. So, marrying within the Parsi community is the rule and marrying outside is an exception.

However, the importance of the Indian Parsi community lies more in what it has achieved in various walks of life than in its insignificant numerical strength.

Affluent, enterprising, and highly intelligent, Parsis have done remarkably well in the field of science and industry. Homi J Bhabha, Homi N Sethna, JRD Tata, and Jamshedji Tata are distinguished Parsi names. Godrej, Cowasjee, and Wadia are other well-known Parsi families in India owning massive business empires.

The Parsi contribution to Hindi cinema is also of considerable value. Hindi cinema in its initial years was greatly influenced by Parsi theatre, beginning from India’s first silent movie Raja Harishchandra (1913), which was a filmed version of a stage play of the same name, to the tales of Shirin Farhad, Leila Majnu and other such legendary lovers, the influence of Parsi theatre was clearly visible in the acting style. In fact, some actors of Parsi theatre switched to films when sound recording techniques enabled filmmakers to produce talkies (speaking films).

It was Ardeshir Irani, a Parsi, who created a sensation in 1931 by making India’s first talkie titled Alam Aara. The original film has been lost now, but Ardeshir Irani’s name shall remain immortal in the history of Indian cinema.

Sohrab Modi


One of the earliest actors to come from Parsi theatre to the film industry was Sohrab Modi who not only acted in films but also produced and directed them. His first film Khoon Ka Khoon (1935) was based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

In this film, for the role of Ophelia, Sohrab Modi introduced Naseem Banu, mother of actress Saira Banu. His next film was Said-e-Havas (1936), also based on Shakespeare’s play King John.

In 1936, Sohrab Modi built his own studio called Minerva Movietone. He produced, directed, and acted in many memorable films based on fictionalised history. His notable films were Pukar (1939), Sikandar (1941), Prithvi Vallab (1943), Sheesh Mahal (1950), Jhansi Ki Rani (1953), Mirza Ghalib (1954), Kundan (1955), and Raj Hathh (1956).

In the 1930s, a Parsi named JBH Wadia, a post graduate in English literature with a degree in Law, entered the film industry. JBH Wadia had initially started his life as a lawyer, but he was soon won over by the world of movies and he worked hard to learn the craft of filmmaking.

He also had a flair for scripting film stories and he was joined by his younger brother Homi Wadia who together, set up their film production unit called Wadia Movietone on 13 April 1933.

Since talkies had now caught the fancy of movie-goers, Wadia brothers mastered the technique and started making action movies which in those days were known as “stunt films”.

At this time the Wadia brothers came across a tall and well-built Australian girl named Mary Evans, a trained circus artist who could perform breathtaking stunts. The brothers saw in her the future heroine of their stunt films and they gave her a new identity, renaming her Nadia — the fearless Nadia.

Nadia was cast as the dare-devil heroine in a number of Wadia Movietone films. Her outlandish looks, skimpy dresses, and speech in an anglicised version of Hindi fascinated the cine-goers. Her outstanding films were Hunterwali, Diamond Queen, Miss Frontier Mail, and many others.

Boman Irani in 3 Idiots.


The hero of most of her films was an Englishman named John Cawas who had learnt to speak Hindi and had thus made India his home. These movies made Wadia brothers the most successful filmmakers of their time.

Aspi Irani, a filmmaker of Parsi origin produced and directed many films in the 1950s and 60s. Among his well-known films, Oomar Qaid, Shirin Farhad, Smuggler, and Garam Masala deserve a mention. Faredoon A Irani was a star cinematographer of the film industry in the 1940s and 1950s reputed for his excellent lens skills.

To him goes the credit of cinematographing a large number of films produced and directed by Mehboob Khan. A few famous Mehboob Khan films for which Faredoon A Irani wielded the camera are Anmol Ghadi, Andaz, Aan, Amar and Mother India.

Two Parsi sisters joined the film industry as child artists in the 1950s. The elder sister Daisy Irani was the first Parsi child star whose performance in films simply bowled over viewers.

She was seen in numerous films of the 1950s as a child star, among which Ek Hi Rasta (1956) and Naya Daur (1957) are well known. Soon she was followed by her younger sister Honey Irani who too took to films as naturally as a duck takes to water.

Among Parsi actresses who have earned name and fame, Aruna Irani has had quite a distinguished career in Bollywood. She started her acting career as a child star with the Dilip Kumar-Vyjayanthimala starrer Ganga Jamuna (1961). In due course Aruna Irani graduated to adult roles in films.

In Bombay to Goa (1972), she was cast as the heroine opposite Amitabh Bachchan. As a versatile actress, having attempted both positive and negative roles with equal ease, Aruna Irani has acted in hundreds of films and TV serials.

Among the present day film stars of Parsi origin, Boman Irani is well known for his versatility, gaining fame with Munna Bhai MBBS and later, 3 Idiots.

In the role of a principal of a medical college being riled by a roughneck student from the streets of Mumbai, Boman Irani gave an outstanding performance in Munna Bhai and has since acted in numerous films and won accolades for his acting.

Choreographer Farah Khan and her brother Sajid Khan are also partly Parsi- their mother was a Parsi and their father a Muslim. Similarly, actor-director Farhan Akhtar is the son of Honey Irani and lyricist Javed Akhtar.

Homi Adajania

John Abraham is also of mixed parentage with his mother being a Parsi. Homi Adajania, a Bollywood director known for films like Being Cyrus, Cocktail and Finding Fanny is also of Parsi heritage.

Mehr Jasia former Miss India, Nauheed Cyrusi, a model and Bollywood actress, and Shaimak Davar, a noted choreographer are other noteworthy community members.

All in all, Parsis are creative people who have left their mark in all walks of life, including cinema.

Persis Khambatta, The First Indian Woman To Make A Mark In Hollywood

Modern-day Bollywood divas Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone have established themselves as an international stars and, time and again, earned the appreciation for it too. However, that stardom is an extension of what they enjoyed in Bollywood. Long before they made their forway into Hollywood, there were many other Indian actresses who tried their hands at acting in international films. Some gave memorable performances, while a few others made us question our fandom. In focus, today, is a pioneering woman, Persis Khambatta, who belongs to the former set of ladies who gave us performances to cherish.

Persis was a former Miss India and model, who became an international sensation in 1979. She created history by appearing in the popular sci-fi film Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Lieutenant Ilia. For her character, Persis went bald in real life – a big deal for women in the 1970s. And, let’s not forget, she was also the first Indian to present an award at the Academy Awards.

Born in a middle-class Parsi family in 1948 in Mumbai – then Bombay – Persis first came into the limelight at the age of 13, through her appearance in a soap brand commercial. It wasn’t intentional at all. It happened after a well-known photographer from the city took her candid pictures and used it for this campaign. Thereafter, she was offered a number of modelling assignments. The Indian beauty, then, went on be the second winner in the Femina Miss India beauty pageant in 1965. After this, in the mid-60s, Persis became the third Indian to participate in the Miss World pageant in Miami. As per news reports, during this time, she was even offered a Bond film, but the beauty queen turned down the offer as she had promised her mother that she’ll return home. Now, that was the first version of the story. A few other news reports say Persis wanted to explore the Hindi film industry and hence, she returned.

The First Indian Woman To Make A Mark In Hollywood

Around the late 60s, she debuted in the Hindi film industry with Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein in the role of a cabaret dancer. But, soon after, Persis left for London to make a career as she found this industry unprofessional and boring. She went on to become a popular model in Britain and even worked in a bunch of international films thereafter –The Wilby Conspiracy, Conduct Unbecoming, Warrior of the Lost World and Mega Force.

At the age of 29, she bagged the challenging role of Lieutenant Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for which she had to shave her head. Her courage and talent paid off and she earned a lot of appreciation for her character. It was after the film’s success that, in 1980, she got the opportunity to present an award at the Oscars and became the first Indian to present an award at the prestigious award ceremony.

Persis passed away in 1998 of cardiac arrest – five years after her last acting appearance, which was on an international TV show titled Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Zephyr Khambatta

“It is my firm belief that good music is one of the most vital ingredients in creating a better world for all of us.” – Zephyr

Sail Away: Zephyr Khambatta

imageAn engineering dropout from the National University of Singapore, it did not take long before Khambatta topped various classes at LASALLE College of the Arts across music and performing art disciplines. A creative force to be reckoned with, Khambatta most recently featured in Eric Khoo’s In The Room (2015), Mediacorp Channel 5’s Tanglin (2016) and launched “More”, his 1st single on 4th December 2015, [ ~ 6000 views on YouTube ]. His 2ndsingle “Sail Away” released 3rd December 2016, met with positive reviews across the Singapore music scene, and is set to be the song for his first official music video in 2017.

After graduation with a BA (Hons) Music and starting as an intern at Prime Focus World in 2013, Khambatta provided input on the final mix sessions for Nikhil Advani’s film D-Day (2013). In 2014, Khambatta composed and produced the music for and featured a rap performance in Ministry of Funny’s song and YouTube video, Snapback, [ > 40,000 views on YouTube ].

In 6 short years in entertainment, his body of work also includes performing on drums with musical theatre and percussion groups in Singapore, modeling, hosting and teaching drums. Khambatta also won 2nd place in the Band Category at the “IGNITE! Music Festival: Clash of the Bands 2012” competition. In addition to that, he was invited to play drums as part of Urban Drum Crew for “China-Singapore In-Concert 2010” which was screened to 100 million viewers.

Zephyr is currently working on new music for 2017 and on the acting front is working with brands and agencies like HBO, Citibank, HP, Mediacorp Channel 5, and YouTube/Facebook channels JUO Productions and Sure Boh? Singapore. He has previously also been profiled on Mediacorp Vasantham’s TV show, Mudhal Payanam, and in the Singapore papers Today, The Straits Times, Berita Harian etc.

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.