Our community has been known to gift Bollywood some seriously talented and critically acclaimed artists and personalities including Boman Irani, Ronnie Screwvala, Nauheed Cyrusi, Shiamak Davar, Perizaad Zorabian and Amyra Dastur, to name a few. Two names to watch out for, that add to this booming clique of budding Parsis in Bollywood, are Cyrus Dastur, first-time Producer of the just-released Bollywood flick, ‘Sweetie Weds NRI’; and Shreyas Porus Pardiwalla, who acts in the capacity of character artist in the same film.
Parsi Times Asst. Editor Delaveen Tarapore catches up with the duo…
“I’m thrilled that the songs I handpicked for my film are doing so well!” beams an ecstatic Cyrus Dastur who added ‘Producer’ to his cap comprising many feathers – including pioneering India’s first Short Films Club – Shamiana. He adds, “I’m a simple South Bombay Parsi guy, with zero connections in the film industry – no famous surname, no Godfather and certainly no moneybags as a backing – to produce a full-fledged Hindi commercial feature film that’s released across 950 screens in India. The experience has made me more patient and has brushed up my technical learning about numerous aspects. Coming from a theatre background, I’ve acted, directed, produced and written plays, delivering top-quality live entertainment for our audiences. But producing films is a game-changer – you realize that making a good film is only 25% of the task! The real challenge lies in handling a team of over 200 people, getting the film ready on time, within the budget, and then ensuring it is released appropriately – things you only learn once you’ve made a film. With just one film under my belt, there is a long way to go, but I’m now experienced in taking a film from the cradle to the theatres!”
Shreyas Pardiwalla, who plays ‘Einstein’, a fun-loving and comic character whose love for theatre knows no boundaries, and is also the ‘best friend’ of the lead actor in the film, shares, “The character of Einstein and I have a lot in common, we both love theatre and adore the stage. I’m elated being one of the few Bollywood’s Bawas. Bollywood has been very welcoming, but of course the struggles are real and I have to make a conscious effort to improve my Hindi… hehehe!”
Two other Bawas, Adi Irani and Farzil Pardiwalla (Kodak), are also part of this film. Adds Shreyas, “At my auditions, I met Producer Cyrus Dastur and I must thank him for taking me on. Having fellow Parsis as cast and crew members is a blessing and Cyrus has been particularly helpful as a mentor.”