CALL ME DANCER, a documentary film by Leslie Shampaine and Pip Gilmour, had its official trailer launch, hosted by Meridian International Center in Washington, DC, on Wednesday evening. More than 80 people filled the room to hear lead protagonist and Indian ballet dancer, Manish Chauhan, reveal his inspirational story about pursuing the arts professionally despite growing up in the slums, accompanied by director Shampaine, Executive Producer Jitin Hingorani and moderator/host Rina Shah. The conversation was followed by an intimate, contemporary dance performance by Chauhan, choreographed by Lucy Bowen McCauley and accompanied on tabla by Broto Roy. Chauhan’s U.S. solo debut will take place at the Kennedy Center on September 14, 2021, which will also be filmed as the climactic end of the documentary (release date January 2022).
“Meridian is committed to highlighting the important ties between the United States and India through meaningful cultural engagements like this Call Me Dancer film discussion and performance,” said Terry Harvey, Vice President for Meridian’s Center for Cultural Diplomacy. “We believe dance is a powerful tool of diplomacy to connect people around the world and facilitate cross-cultural understanding through cultural exchange.”
The dance documentary is aiming for a January 2022 film festival world premiere. It is a production of Zee Entertainment and a co-production of ARTE.
Shailja Kejriwal, Chief Creative Officer, Special Projects, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL): “CALL ME DANCER is about artistic assertion against all odds. It is about pursuing your dreams, even when reality seems overwhelmingly harsh. We all need uplifting stories, hope and motivation, and this docu-film is all the more inspiring because it is not a figment of imagination, but true to life. It explores emotions of hope, heartache and sheer perseverance that are universally known and felt, and that’s what has brought us onto this journey. We are humbled to be a part of this story which narrates how passion, fate, serendipity and multiple strands of creativity can coalesce to create miracles.”
Film Synopsis: When a hip-hop dancer accidentally walks into a ballet class in Mumbai, his world opens up, and a passion is born. The tough ballet master recognizes his talent and dares him to fulfill his dreams of dancing professionally — giving him the courage to defy family, culture and poverty. Watch the entire three-minute trailer HERE.