Netflix has unveiled a release date — February 21 — and trailer for Yeh Ballet, its next original movie from India. Directed by Sooni Taraporevala (Little Zizou), Yeh Ballet is “inspired by the incredible true story of two boys from humble backgrounds in Mumbai, who triumph over their circumstances and make their way to prestigious international ballet schools.” Newcomers Manish Chauhan and Achintya Bose play the two boys, dance show winner Nishu, and hip-hop rebel and competitor-turned-friend Asif, respectively. Yeh Ballet also stars Julian Sands (A Room With A View), Jim Sarbh (Neerja), Danish Husain (Bard of Blood), Vijay Maurya (Gully Boy), Heeba Shah (Afsos), and Kalyanee Mulay (Nude).
Yeh Ballet is a feature-length take on an eponymous 15-minute virtual reality documentary Taraporevala made in 2017. In fact, Chauhan is one of the two real-life boys who inspired the film. Taraporevala acknowledged that in a prepared statement: “Yeh Ballet is inspired by the real story of two young boys who were determined and dreamt big. It’s such an awesome and almost unbelievable story that it makes you believe in working with passion towards your goals. I discovered the boys a few years ago, when my son was working with Aanand Gandhi and I was asked if I’d like to direct a VR documentary.
“Out of various possible subjects, I chose this one since I learnt ballet in my youth. I felt connected to their story and instantly wanted to share it with the world. A film like Yeh Ballet on a global service like Netflix will hopefully pique curiosity about the angelic mystique of ballet, but also demonstrate how dreams, no matter how outrageous, can be realised.”
For the Netflix movie, Taraporevala tapped choreographers Shiamak Davar, Cindy Claes, and Vitthal Patil. Ankur Tewari (Gully Boy) has composed the background music. Yeh Ballet is a production of Roy Kapur Films. Taraporevala is best known for writing or co-writing the Mira Nair films Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, and The Namesake.
Yeh Ballet was first announced in April last year alongside nine other films from the likes of hah Rukh Khan, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee (Khosla Ka Ghosla!), Ronnie Screwvala (Uri: The Surgical Strike), Farah Khan (Main Hoon Na), and Sudhir Mishra (Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi). Of the ten, we’ve seen two: rom-com House Arrest, and horror anthology Ghost Stories.
Here’s the official synopsis for Yeh Ballet, via Netflix:
“The story features two dancers, Nishu, the winner of a dance show, and Asif, his fiercest competitor turned friend, a hip hop rebel. Their lives completely change when Saul (Sands), a greying ballet teacher discovers them fortuitously in a nondescript dance academy in Mumbai. Saul pushes them to set out on a tough yet fulfilling journey, mastering a dance form that is totally alien to them. They break through the shackles of society and family pressures to become male ballet dancers. With rooted emotional moments and electrifying performances across various dance forms like free-style, desi hip-hop, and ballet, this story captures the beautiful and rapturous world of dance and the sheer grit of the ballet boys’ triumph.”
Yej Ballet is out February 21 on Netflix in India and across the world.