The Netflix original film, Yeh Ballet by Sooni Taraporevala hit the streaming service just yesterday and is already making waves for its raw portrayal of dance, ballet and ambition. Not to mention how beautiful the shots of the dancers are, leaving you with tears in your eyes as they fly to great heights.
The movie is all that and more, as it captures the journey of two young ballet dances rising from their humble beginnings to become global dancers. What surprised us the most is that the movie is based on a true story.
Based on the lives of two ballet dancers, Manish Chauhan and Amiruddin Shah, it is a fictionalised version of their struggle in mastering a dance form that wasn't accepted by their families.
Interestingly, while debutant Achintya Bose plays the role based on Amiruddin, named Asif, in reality he has a background in contemporary and jazz dance. Manish Chauhan actually plays a fictionalised version of himself, called Nishu, bringing a refreshing shot of reality to the movie.
Amiruddin, fondly called Amir was discovered at the age of 15 and Manish at the age of 21 by ballet guru Yehuda Maor in Mumbai. The two fought their economical backgrounds, and Manish being the son of a taxi driver dared to dream of joining a global ballet company.
In an interview with The Hindu, Manish shared what it felt like to bring his dance to the big stage and being found by Yehuda.
I never wanted to become a dancer. I would hide in the school bathroom (when we had to dance). But as a teenage boy I was introduced to power moves, and backflips seemed cool. I don’t know what he (Yehuda Maor ) saw. I didn’t know ballet, my English was bad, and all the terminologies are in French. Everything he said (went over my head)! So he stayed after class with me the next day, saying ‘I’ll teach you, because you’re doing it all wrong!’”
- Manish Chauhan
The story of these two dancers came to light when Sooni Taraporevala shot a documentary on them back in 2017. And three years later, she recreated the magic of their story on Netflix.
Currently, Amiruddin Shah is at the Royal Ballet Academy in London and even won the school's sought after Nadia Narina Scholarship in 2017.
Manish on the other hand, has completed his training at the Oregon Ballet Theatre School in Portland and will soon be joining an international dance company. Their story is truly inspiring!