Shazneen Arethna – Dance Alone


Shazneen Arethna is one of the first female rock singers as part of the 90’s and early 2k’s brewing scene when the country was realizing the real potential of independent music in India. Her erstwhile band with a literal name “3 Guys and a Girl” consisted of her fronting the band with guitar player Warren Mendonsa aka Blackstratblues, drummer Sidd Coutto and bassist Johan Pais. Arethna, has recently released her new single “Dance Alone” after a long hiatus and promises to bring back more music with an EP and going live. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

 

RSJ:  It’s such a pleasure to see you back to singing and making music again! Where have you been and what have you been up to all these years?

SA: I’ve been working on to striking just the right balance between motherhood and my passion for singing. I have 2 wonderful daughters who capitalize on my time, but music has been a constant part of our lives. Live performances and studio sessions and song writing never really stopped, but releasing my own music, kinda took a back seat until now.

 

RSJ: You have seen the independent music scene change since 3 guys and a girl. What do you think about the current scenario!

SA: I think the indie scene is totally thriving right now. Our Indian Indie audience is more appreciative and receptive than it ever was.  It’s such a pleasure to see numerous bands and acts emerging from every part of the country. They’re not afraid to experiment and merge genres. I think it’s a great time to be an Indie artist in India especially with music festivals mushrooming all over.

 

RSJ: Your cover of “intehaa ho gayi” got tweeted by Amitabh Bachchan! How come you did that cover?

SA: Chandresh Kudwa and I had worked together on a Bollywood gig recently where we did our own versions of Bollywood hits. We thought of putting something down in the studio, and that’s how our version of  “Inteha Ho Gayi ” came to be. It turned out pretty well, as Amitabh Bachchan appreciated it and shared it on Social media as well.

RSJ:  Tell us about the new single! What is your new music about? Tell us about the writing process. How did it start and what are the plans? Are you going live anytime soon?

SA: You know time has a wonderful way of showing what really matters. I’ve been writing songs for a long time, but never been brave enough to release them until now. Now at this point in my life, I feel the need to share my music. It’s probably the best way of expressing what music means to me, as a singer song-writer, singing straight from the heart, trusting my soul for direction. I decided to start by putting out an EP of 4 songs and when Warren Mendonsa aka Blackstratblues came on board as producer, everything just fell into place. I knew my songs were in the best hands.  With Nathan Thomas on bass and JJ on drums, Warren has spun his magic on my songs and i was delighted with the outcome. ‘Dance Alone’ is my first release from the EP. It’s a song that’s very close to my heart , it’s one of those songs that you write start to finish in the shortest time, and you have a good feeling about. It’s about living, loving, losing … and learning to live and love all over again. And yes! I’m definitely looking forward to performing live. I’ve put my heart and soul into it and would love for it to reach as many people as possible.

 

RSJ:  You also are an active part of making the music video yourself. How did that happen? How come you took that role too?

SA: Since ‘Dance Alone’ was my song, I wanted to be involved in making the video. I was contemplating ideas for the video and shot some footage on my phone. One thing led to the other and finally ended up shooting and editing the entire video. Though there’s an overtly amateur vibe to it, there’s a rawness that I intended for. I have to admit thoroughly enjoying the process.

 

Watch & listen to Arethna’s “Dance Alone” below:

 

http://rsjonline.com/buzz/shazneen-arethna-releases-new-single-dance-alone-listen-.html

Navroze in Udvada, Where The Sacred Fire Never Goes Out


Can you spot Boman Irani and Ratan Tata?

All pictures by Shantanu Das

About 206km north of Mumbai on the NH8 to Agra is the sleepy town of Udvada on Gujarat’s palm-fringed southwest coast. It is to Zoroastrians what Vatican City is to Catholics. The holiest of holies. Not the town itself as much as the Iranshah Atashbehram which stands monument-like at the heart of Udvada. It is one of the oldest and most important spiritual centres for Zoroastrians in the world. They are a fire-worshipping people. And the Iranshah is a fire temple. It is where the holy fire that was consecrated in 1742 when the Zoroastrians came to India to escape religious persecution in Persia is still burning. I understand that Zoroastrians living in Yezd and Homuz in Iran make pilgrimages to Udvada to pay homage at the Iranshah even today.

I visited Udvada one Navroze out of curiosity. Navroze is the dawn of the spring equinox, when the sun crosses the celestial equator, signifying the passage of winter and onset of summer. It always falls in March. This year the festival is being celebrated today, starting at 3.58 o’clock and 40 seconds. Not just by the Zoroastrians of India, but also those of the faith in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Udvada is a four-hour drive from Mumbai, most of it on appalling, bone-jarring roads. Finding a place to stay is easier. The pilgrims can choose from a number of inexpensive dharamshalas in the coastal town. These are all located in the Udvada village that is huddled around the Iranshah.

A lack of money and soul has reduced it to a decrepit pilgrim centre Zoroastrians visit only occasionally. But yet it has a certain charm…

I stayed at a friend’s bungalow on Udvada beach. It is a dirty beach with a dark and forbidding sea on whose waves, I am told, smugglers come riding at night with liquor from the duty free union territory of Daman a few nautical miles away. Udvada, like the rest of Gujarat, is under prohibition. But the Zoroastrians there down their Parsi pegs at night with grateful thanks to the friendly neighbourhood smuggler. If Narendra Modi did not change the prohibition rule when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat for two terms, he won’t do it now as Prime Minister. Visitors who are non-Zoroastrian and who do not enjoy local patronage like I did, can stay at Percy Sidhwa’s Globe Hotel, the Mek Hotel or Ashsisvang Hotel, all of which are simple and friendly.

The weekend I was there, Navroze fell on a Sunday. I explored the entire town the Saturday before in one hour flat. Udvada is in a sorry state of neglect. A lack of money and soul has reduced it to a decrepit pilgrim centre Zoroastrians visit only occasionally. But yet it has a certain charm, with its crumbling old houses. Some have been sold, others pulled down and replaced by modern structures that look incongruous in the old township with their modern, indifferent architecture. It appears nobody wants to stay in Udvada anymore. Except the old and original residents who have nowhere else to go. They are a quaint people whose children left them to go to colleges in cities and jobs abroad. And now their grandchildren come visiting Udvada like the rest of the Zoroastrians do, on an annual pilgrimage.

Click Here for an interesting essay with some exotic pics!

Udwada’s life style on 14th December 2010. Udwda is the holy place of Parsi religion.

Boman Irani in Udvada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Rites of Spring”


As I try extending to you the Zoroastrian New Year  Greetings, The Earth is spinning towards the Spring Equinox, the Moment of NOWRUZ, an appropriate time to share with you,  this link to a beautiful multimedia show on YouTube, “The Rites of Spring” created by Niloufar Talebi, that,  I’m sure every Zarathushti  would enjoy.

Though she starts of in Farsi, the explanation in English follows,  60 seconds later.

Have a blessed NOW RUZ.

Rusi Sorabji

 

Sam Balsara on Daughters


I always encouraged my daughters to achieve something significant: Sam Balsara, Madison World

I always encouraged my daughters to achieve something significant: Sam Balsara, Madison World

Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director of Madison World, is one of the most influential persons in the Media & Advertising world. He is also a loving dad to his two daughters, Lara and Tanya. Lara Balsara Vajifdar works with him as Executive Director at Madison World. Here, Balsara and Lara tell us how they drive each other to be the best version of themselves.  

Creating a legacy

The proud father tells us about how he wanted his daughter to find her own path to success. “Ours is a culture that celebrates achievement. People respect you for what you do. Looking back, I always encouraged my daughters to have fun and enjoy their lives, while also urging them to achieve something significant. I am delighted to have Lara join me at the workplace.  She helps me take important decisions in a very cool, distant manner without getting too emotionally involved. I learn from her every day,” he says, adding that she challenges the common stereotype that women are less rational and more emotional at the workplace.

Lara tells us how her early years at Madison set a strong foundation for her future. “More than 12 years ago, when I started working at Madison, I received no special privileges and had to work my way up from an executive level. My father’s philosophy, integrity and the way he conducts himself have really inspired me and helped me make tough decisions as I took on bigger roles.”

Why daughters are special

Balsara tells us he never felt disappointed at not having a son. “I was delighted to have two daughters, and now I have a little grand-daughter too! I am not sure why we, as a country, focus on having male children but I am confident that this attitude will change eventually. In fact, I never treated my children differently just because they were girls. I gave them the space and encouragement they needed to grow, and I would have done the same if they were sons.”

Nayi Soch

Lara is specific that being a woman is no impediment to success. “It is advantageous being a woman in the Advertising & Media world. This industry is full of successful and talented women. I take it for granted that I am an equal in this organisation, in the industry and even at home,” she says.

Balsara adds, “While our family has never believed in gender typecasting, there is a need to gently nudge the vast majority of the country towards gender equality. Parents need to recognise that their daughters can do as much as their sons, if not more. The Nayi Soch campaign is an excellent step in that direction.”

Sam Balsara and Lara Balsara Vajifdar on Star Plus’ Nayi Soch 

‘Akuri… And a Pinch of Hope’ to release on March 20


As a tribute to the Irani cafe culture, Parsi filmmaker Jamshid Roointon is releasing a short feature film “Akuri?And a Pinch of Hope”, on March 20 which is also happens to be the Parsi New Year, Jamshed-I-Navroz.

Produced under Axis Jump Films, the film, being released digitally by Humaramovie, features Darshan Gokani, Sushant Kandya and critically acclaimed veteran actor Firdaus Mevawalla, read a statement.

“‘Akuri? And A Pinch of Hope’ is a story full of hope and positivity, which reinstates our belief that life is not just a rat race. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense, the short periods of time people come in our lives, or the outcomes from what they say or do.

“However, if one lets them in and allows things to happen, one will definitely see the big picture thereafter,” Roointon said in a statement.

“This is the story of one such experience for Sadiq Sheikh and Cyrus Irani, who are poles apart in their characteristics. What transpires between them makes up for the interesting plot that ‘Akuri?And A Pinch of Hope’ is. Its story has been told not only with a lot of charm but also sensitivity, and we are sure it will resonate with the audience,” Roointo added.

The movie’s title song “Hope Ki Rope” has been penned and composed by Shubhankar, while singer Shaan has lent his voice for it.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/akuri-and-a-pinch-of-hope-to-release-on-march-20-117030800575_1.html

The Power of Finding Your Voice: Parisa Khosravi


At some point in our lives, most of us have silenced our own voice…Be it at home, at school, at work or in our communities. Why do we do that?
With an inspiring and emotional story, Parisa Khosravi, a veteran award winning journalist and executive, talks about the power of finding your voice. Parisa shares her personal journey about giving voice to the voiceless.
Editor’s Note: Communication can be cerebral and visual, but it is most effective when it is emotional — This Ted Talk is worth listening to. A message – a Payam !
Courtesy :  FEZANA 

Unforgettable Gujarati Old Songs


Unforgettable Gujarati Old Songs sung by Geeta Roy, Asha Bhosle & Mukesh in Original Gramophone..gujarati-songs

Raakhna Ramakda

Nazar na Jaam Chhalkavine

Tane

Pankhida Ne Aa Pinjroo

Tari Aankhno Afini

Tame Thoda Thoda

Courtesy : Dolly Contractor