Mani Ratnam to appear in person with his trilogy: Roja, Bombay, and Dil Se
July 31–August 2, 2015 at Museum of the Moving Image

New York, New York (June 11, 2015)—Mani Ratnam (b. 1955, Chennai) is that rarest of film directors nowadays: an artist capable of making exquisitely crafted, hugely entertaining, yet intelligent and provocative films on a range of social and political issues. Museum of the Moving Image is proud to present a special tribute to Ratnam featuring the director in person with a trilogy of films that follow lovers against a backdrop of Indian politics: Roja (1992), Bombay (1995), and Dil Se (1998)—the last featuring one of the most famous scenes in all of Indian cinema, the “Chaiyya Chaiyya” musical number on top of a moving train. The series, Politics as Spectacle: The Films of Mani Ratnam, runs from July 31 through August 2, 2015. Ratnam will participate in conversations after each film, moderated by Richard Peña.

“Mani Ratnam is a treasure, and we are pleased to host him in New York with three of his most significant and beloved films,” said Christina Marouda, the Museum’s Deputy Director for Development and Founder of the Indian Film Festival in Los Angeles, who organized this program. “This weekend tribute offers audiences, both devoted fans and new viewers, a rare opportunity to see his gorgeous films on the big screen, presented in 35mm.”

Richard Peña, Director Emeritus, New York Film Festival and Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, added: “The false dichotomies that are used to categorize films—art vs. commercial cinema, entertainment vs. political filmmaking—disappear when one sees how easily Mani Ratnam is able to combine aspects of all of them into his work. A New York tribute to this important filmmaker is long overdue.

The three films in this series are also notable for featuring the music of A.R. Rahman, who made his debut as a film composer on Roja. Having heard Rahman’s work composing ad jingles, Ratnam persuaded him to work on this film, and thereby started Rahman’s astonishing career as a major movie composer. Time magazine listed Roja as among the “Ten Best Soundtracks” of all time (a list compiled by Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss in 2005).

Widely credited as the director who revolutionized Tamil-language cinema—an industry just as prolific as its far better known “Bollywood” Hindi-language cousin—Mani Ratnam was born into a film family, his father a noted film distributor. Ratnam was sent off to study business in Mumbai, and thereafter landed a job with a management firm, but there was celluloid in his blood, and he soon drifted into film production, writing and directing his first film, Pallavi Anu Pallavi, in 1983. Although it fared poorly at the box office, his talent was definitely noted, and soon he had invitations from a number of producers to develop projects. His 1986 Mouna Ragam was seen as a decisive new direction in Tamil cinema, with its closely observed tale of difficult first months of a newly-wed couple. That was followed by Nayakan (1987), Ratnam’s gloss on The Godfather, which became an enormous hit all over India and received three national film awards. Without any doubt, after Nayakan, Mani Ratnam was widely considered one of India’s leading directors, a position he managed to maintain for almost 30 years.

Special thanks to Richard Peña and Uma da Cunha. Politics as Spectacle: The Films of Mani Ratnam is part of the Museum’s community engagement initiative supported by the Ford Foundation. Additional support for this program is provided by the Consulate General of India in New York, The Pierre Hotel, and Con Edison. 

JULY 31–AUGUST 2, 2015
All screenings take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue in Astoria, New York.

Tickets for each screening are $15 ($9 for Museum members at the Film Lover, Dual, and Family levels / free for Silver Screen members and above). Advance tickets are available online at

Followed by a discussion with Mani Ratnam and Richard Peña
FRIDAY, JULY 31, 7:00 P.M.
Dir. Mani Ratnam. 1992, 175mins. 35mm. With Arvind Swamy, Madhoo. A marriage is being arranged for computer engineer Rishi and a beautiful young woman, but when he meets her she begs him to marry her sister instead. So Roja becomes Rishi’s wife, a development about which she is not happy. But when she discovers that Rishi is truly a good man, she decides to devote herself to him anyway. During a trip to Kashmir, Rishi is kidnapped by separatists, who hope to use him for a prisoner exchange; all alone, Roja moves heaven and earth to set him free, fighting against the indifference of the police, the Army, and government officials.

Followed by a discussion with Mani Ratnam and Richard Peña
Dir. Mani Ratnam. 1995, 141 mins. 35mm. With Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala. Returning to his Southern Indian town, Shekhar falls in love with Shaila, daughter of a local brick maker. The only problem is that he is Hindu, she is Muslim, and their families are dead set against the match. The couple elopes to Bombay (Mumbai), where they hope, in the cosmopolitan capital, they can lead their own lives. Too late: Against the background of the riots following the destruction of the Babri Masjid Mosque in Ayodhya, interfaith strife soon engulfs the city. A passionate, deeply felt call for tolerance, Bombay puts a human face on an ongoing tragedy of devastating proportions.

Dil Se
Followed by a discussion with Mani Ratman and Richard Peña and a reception
Dir. Mani Ratnam. 1998, 164 mins. 35mm. With Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala. Screened to great acclaim at Berlin’s Forum for Young Film, Dil Se begins as All-India Radio reporter Amar (the indomitable Shahrukh Khan) is stuck in a train station, waiting for the express that will take him to his next assignment. He spies a beautiful young woman and is instantly smitten, but she disappears on him; she will return, unexpectedly, to become a factor in his life, again and again—even though her ultimate aim is not clear. Romance, separatist politics, terrorism, and some eye-popping dance numbers perfectly blend in this visual tour-de-force that remains one of Ratnam’s most beloved films.


Uplift Humanity Launches in India’s Capitol, New Delhi

(New York, NY – June 1, 2015) - Uplift Humanity, founded in 2011, is an organization that works towards enabling American youth to empower juveniles in India through education.  Since our initial launch in Vadodara, Uplift Humanity has established four juvenile rehabilitation centers throughout the Indian subcontinent including locations in Indore and Hyderabad. The latest addition to Uplift’s growth comes with the launch of its newest location in India’s capitol, New Delhi.

Uplift Humanity, a passion project of Founder Anish Patel, strives to empower juveniles in India to break the cycle of recidivism and achieve their full potential through education.

"I started Uplift Humanity with no idea that it would become a growing and sustainable non-profit organization. I founded it as a summer program where we would take a few American teenagers to India to volunteer and work with juveniles behind bars for a few weeks. Now, it has grown tremendously and we are educating hundreds of orphans and juveniles in India throughout the entire year" says founder Anish Patel.

Uplift volunteers perform a dance during a culture immersion activity in an outdoor classroom.Through various programs, Uplift Humanity India seeks to aid juvenile development, instill ambition and provide these children with the resources to materialize their ambitions.  One such way is Uplift Humanity’s summer rehabilitation program through which the organization takes 75 volunteer students from the United States to one of the four rehabilitation facilities in India. Volunteers teach orphans and juveniles life skills such as moral decision-making, self-esteem development, self–maintenance, daily etiquette and public speaking. Most importantly, we work to build close relationships with the juveniles and show them we care, something these juveniles are not accustomed to.

As part of the summer rehabilitation program, Uplift Humanity introduced a social media challenge for the 75 volunteers traveling abroad with the organization, titled: Uplifting the Veil: A Look through the Corrective Lens. The purpose of this challenge was to convey life inside the rehabilitative and transitory facilities located in India. Volunteers were asked to create a video using their smartphones and document their experience within the facilities. The videos, not to exceed in more than 3 minutes, urged volunteers to be creative, impactful and send a powerful message. Videos were judged by British singer-songwriter, Arjun, the brand ambassador for Uplift Humanity. Arjun selected Ruchir Nanavati, as the title winner along with a $2000 scholarship. Ruchir's video was picked for its impactful story and its sentiments. It was an eye-opener displaying the mindsets of the juveniles and orphans in India in addition to the living conditions and environment of these children. Ruchir creatively developed the video to effectively connect with other teenagers in the United States making his video impactful and ultimately go viral. 

You can view Ruchir’s Uplifting the Veil video here:

“Uplifting the Veil allowed me to bring life to a three week life changing experience.  It served as my outlet to display my experience and show the world what we encountered. I felt it was important to give light to our experience as it was a true sentiment to what life is really like for these kids. We were able to give the students something to look forward to. They wanted to learn, and more importantly, they wanted to learn from us. These kids haven't been able to express themselves before and we're finally providing them the outlet to do just that” says Uplifting The Veil winner Ruchir Nanavati.

Volunteer Hursh Desai and his student smile for the camera during a peer-mentorship exercise, a lesson in Uplift Humanity's curriculum A Look To The Future After successfully running the summer programs for two years, Uplift Humanity launched a Continuation Program that makes a larger impact by educating juveniles and orphans throughout the entire year by providing English and technology literacy through local volunteers. The continuity program is perhaps the most crucial element of the on- site work at juvenile centers. As a part of the program, local Indian educators make weekly visits to the juvenile facilities, in order to administer lessons on a year round basis. The continuity program provides UH with a year-long period of evaluation of the juvenile class, allowing making more informed decisions about scholarship grants and educational sponsorships for program graduates. In fact, each year, Uplift Humanity awards those juveniles who have transformed the most with scholarships totaling over Rs. 150,000 ($2500) across all of its locations.

In March 2015, Uplift Humanity also released A Look Inside, narrated by Hollywood Actress Janina Gavankar. This short film brings to light the injustices occurring in India's institutionalized facilities, and highlights what Uplift Humanity is doing to combat this problem. 

Link to A Look Inside:

About Uplift Humanity:

Criminals are often created from children who have experienced gross neglect and poverty as children. They fall into the same habits, the same crimes, and the same people their surroundings provide them with. They are victims of recidivism.  Uplift Humanity India is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of juvenile inmates in South Asia. Its founding motto epitomizes the method by which it seeks to empower youth through hands-on education, mentoring, and technology training. Uplift Humanity’s goal is to spread its specialized curriculum throughout the continent to give youth opportunities to flourish once they reenter society.

For more information on Uplift Humanity, please visit:



Manish Dayal To Star In New York-set boxing film, "Uppercut"

(New York, NY – March 24th, 2015)- Manish Dayal ("The Hundred-Foot Journey") is attached to star in the New York-set boxing story, "Uppercut," penned by Black List writer Neeraj Katyal ("The Amazing Adventures of the Monogamous Duck").  

Following "Hundred-Foot" finding success at the global box-office, Dayal expressed his passion for "the sweet science" to New York-based producer Atit Shah ("A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island").  Longtime friends, Dayal and Shah, subsequently began putting the project together via Shah's Create Entertainment banner.
Dayal will play Shiva Singhavi, a young boxer raised in the blue-collar, Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights. As he moves up the ranks of fighters, Singhavi struggles to navigate the gritty underworld of fixed fights, grimy gyms, and dirty cops. Racial tensions escalate following a shooting that Shiva is the sole witness to, and the street-smart athlete soon finds himself caught between a police force that protected him and the community that raised him.

Manish Dayal most recently starred opposite Helen Mirren in DreamWorks' The Hundred-Foot Journey, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Juliet Blake.  Dayal is repped by UTA and Industry Entertainment.

Manish Dayal“I'm excited to be a part of this film.’Uppercut' is a story about a world we still haven’t explored on screen. It portrays a resilient, unseen part of New York and a community that is confronted with evolved injustices like NYC’s stop-and-frisk program, racial profiling, and growing, underreported crime -- all seen through the eyes of a young man whose dreams and ambition are at stake” says Manish Dayal on his upcoming role.


SHIAMAK USA Dances for Good with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

(New York, NY – April 9th, 2015) SHIAMAK USA kicked off their first Dance for Good (D4G) initiative in the US by supporting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Young Voice of NYC event.

The Dance for Good program urges individuals or groups to DANCE for a GOOD cause. DANCE FOR GOOD aims at sharing the joy of dance to heal, bringing a smile on people's faces and giving them hope, reaching out to various locations and supporting multiple causes, bringing communities together, creating awareness and empowering performers with an opportunity to make a change through dance. The talent show, which was hosted by Events Cherished, benefitting the Special Events for St. Jude fundraising program, was held to find the next Youth Ambassador for St. Jude. St. Jude is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases.

SHIAMAK Dance For Good Team


The SHIAMAK Dance Team – USA performed at the event extending their support for the cause. Participants were also invited on stage as part of the SHIAMAK brand Dance for Good endeavor.  Additionally, senior instructor and Manager at Shiamak Davar International, Ms. Deeba Patel was on the panel of celebrity judges alongside Ms. Joya Dass, News Anchor at NY1 and CNN, Ms. Karen Hoyos, Celebrity Speaker and Life Coach, Ms. Thara Natalie, Manager at Jay Sean and Certified Yoga Instructor.

 The Judges for Young Voice of NYC

Participants ranged from 6 – 14 years of age and performed a variety of talents including art demonstration, singing, dancing, piano and even a young opera singer. The St. Jude young Ambassador title went to 11 year old Sparsh Shah who mesmerized the audience with his rendition of “Let It Go’ from Disney's blockbuster animated movie ‘Frozen”.  Shah, a wheelchair bound child with multiple sclerosis, wowed the audience with his positive energy and uplifting personality. As the newly crowned Ambassador, Sparsh won a one year dance scholarship with SHIAMAK USA and will be performing a the first SHIAMAK Summer Funk show to be held on June 13th at Montclair State University. 

The Judges with winner Sparsh Shah

  “Young Voice of NYC” was hosted at the Queens Theater in New York on Saturday April 4th. This vision, started by Events Cherished 3 years ago, was created to raise funds for kids battling cancer.  “It was an honor to work with the SHIAMAK USA team for our 3rd annual Young Voice of NYC Spring Talent competition to benefit St Jude Children's research hospital. I’m overwhelmed by the support from the Queens Theatre, our sponsors, participants, volunteers and Judges. We are excited to welcome 2015 ambassador Sparsh Shah to our team and look forward to continue to raise funds to aid cancer research while spreading the message of St Jude, where no child ever pays for treatment.” says Events Cherished Founder, Sonia Singh.

To learn more about Young Voice of NYC please visit: To learn more about SHIAMAK Dance Academy, please

Shiamak Davar on Dance For Good:  


SHIAMAK Dance Academy


Wishwas Fundraiser hosted by Celebrity Power Couple, Ranjana and Naeem Khan, a huge success! 

(New York, NY – November 3rd, 2014)-  Wishwas, a non profit organization held their annual cocktail soiree in New York City on October 28th, 2014 to raise funds for their charity. Celebrity fashion designer Naeem Khan and his wife, jewelry designer Ranjana Khan helped support the cause by hosting a spectacular fundraiser at their fashion studio in Manhattan.  The evening raised funds for the charity via ticket sales and auction items. Wishwas is a New York City based nonprofit organization focusing on two initiatives; empowering low-income immigrant women assimilate within society and training them in vocational skills to make them financially self sufficient.

Ranjana Khan, Naeem Khan, host Jessica Minhas, Nivedita Chandrappa. (Photography by Asim Farooki Photography)"I am so touched and honored for the support Wishwas has received from our community. The funds we raised at our gala will help us a great deal to better the lives of so many women.” says Wishwas Executive Director, Nivedita Chandrappa. 

The gala was orchestrated by boutique PR firm, Neerja Public Relations, and managed by Rashi Shyam of Event Nirvana. Over 200 guests, including Congresswoman Grace Meng came out to support Wishwas and enjoyed an evening of cocktails, fashion and shopping via the elaborate silent auction.  Auctions up for bid included a range of jewelry from Board Chair for Wishwas, and noted jewelry designer, Ranjana Khan, as well as accessories from Exclusively.In and a Five Star Luxury Johnnie Walker VIP Tasting from Le Malt, amongst many other things. The most coveted items at the gala were 2 tickets to Naeem Khan’s runway show at Mercedes Benz Fashion week, and a dinner date with the designer himself.  Additionally Naeem Khan matched the highest bid, making that single auction item worth $7,000!

Sonali Skandan, mesmerized the guests with a beautiful traditional dance piece, while The SA Dance Company showcased a breath taking performance inspired by Indian folk, classical, and Bollywood dance. The beautiful Manhattan studio was donned with a fashion display from Naeem Khan’s spring 2015 collection. Naeem Khan is an Indian-born American fashion designer who has styled celebrities such as Beyonce, Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, Debra Messing and many others. Another fan of Naeem Khan’s exquisite designs is First Lady Michelle Obama, who stunned in a NK collection at the 2013 Oscars!

The evening was catered by Devi Restaurant and desserts were sponsored by Chocal8Kiss. Wine 34, Fair Trade and 1947 Beer, provided cocktails for the evening.  The event was hosted by human rights activist and speaker, Jessica Minhas. Official photography for the evening was captured by Asim Farooki Photography.

For more information on Wishwas please visit:

Full gallery of pics:

Fashion Designer Naeem KhanNivedita Chandrappa with Wishwas women and Congresswoman Grace Meng










Asim Farooki PhotographyP.S. Personally, I had a wonderful time managaing this event. Naeem and Ranjana are so gracious with their space and time and dedication to their commitments. Its been an honor to get to know them and work with them in this capacity. xo Neerja