• Sun / 16 June 2019 / 14:29
  • Category: Social
  • News Code: 98032612114
  • Journalist : 99999

Irani Chaiwalas (Tea Sellers) of Hindustan

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By Dr. Payman Doosti

Tehran (ISNA) - In early 2019, we travelled with some colleagues to attend a scientific event in India. Our honorable host was an Indo-Iranian great man-Professor Ali Irani, the president of Indian Physiotherapy Association.

Being renowned as a prominent academic, Dr. Irani is also an intellectual social and cultural activist who will be introduced in a separate report. He has recently assumed a helpful supportive role in producing a successful documentary.

During our course in Mumbai, Dr. Irani was invited to the screening ceremony of the film as a chief guest. As we were Dr. Irani's quests in Mumbai, we were also invited to that cultural event.

There, we met many academics, intellectuals and dignitaries of India in BOMBAY ART SOCIETY BANDRA. The ceremony was the screening of the documentary film 'Cafe Irani Chai' and a trailer of “Homeless” or “Khana be Doosh”, produced and directed by Dr. Mansour Showghi Yazdi. Before any comments on 'Cafe Irani Chai', I will present a brief biography of Dr. Showghi who has honored to be an Indo Iranian documentary film maker of India which was extracted from the manual for 33rd World Congress of Medicina Alternativa / Science and Spirituality:

Born in Yazd, Iran, on 23rd September 1957, Mansour Showghi Yazdi, the well-known documentary film maker of Mumbai, came to India with his mother in 1962, to join his father. His grandfather was an Irani Restaurant owner and his father followed in his footsteps and carried on the family business.

After university education, he joined the modeling industry and became one of India’s top models and model coordinators. In 1988, he entered the film making profession as a director and producer of documentary films and act as an actor in many documentaries as well.  

Through Zoroastrian College, he was awarded an Honorary PhD degree for his hard work of documenting the arrival of the Irani Chaiwalas (Tea Sellers) who came walking all the way from Iran in the 18th and early 19th century and made beautiful India their permanent home, many of whom have become renowned for their Bun Maska (a mix of white butter and fresh cream) and Irani Chai, setting Cafes, Restaurants and Bakeries mainly in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad.

He is founder Chairman of the CAFE IRANI CHAI FOUNDATION through which he promotes development of peace, Indo- Iranian Culture and Goodwill between Iranians and Indians. For this, he was honored by being selected Vice-President of Indo Iranian Friendship Society in 2012.

He is the founder of UNIVERSAL PEACE, FRIENDSHIP & BROTHERHOOD FOUNDATION in 2013, through which he organizes peace marches and peace gathering in Mumbai and Pune and many other places. Young people of all different religions and cultural backgrounds join his peace movement, doing many useful civic activities.

Dr. Showghi presently holds Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, appointed as NGO Culture and Peace Representative. He is also honored by the Prestigious Indo-Iranian Friendship Society Award for working hard to spread the cultural ties between India and Iran. Dr. Showghi has received many other prestigious and brilliant international and United Nations’ awards for Service to Humanity and is honored as the best documentary film maker by Asian-African Leadership Forum in 2019.

Between 1986 and 2014 he made a number of documentaries. He was an Executive Producer for the film Flowing Dreams under the banner of Hillman Films Pvt Ltd. He Produced a Documentary Film titled “Moharram” based on the martyrdom of IMAM HOSSAIN A.S. and another Documentary titled “Ziarat” based on the Sufi Saints of India. Moreover, he produced a biography film on one of India’s greatest Dj Akbar Sami.

He has directed a film titled “Homeless” or “Khana be Doosh”, related to the Iranian Origin Tribal Gypsies who came walking all the way to India from Iran about 500 years ago who still retained their mother tongue Farsi.

The most outstanding of all his films is the one which has become a runaway International success - “CAFÉ IRANI CHAI”. This film has won 16 International Film Awards for the best film in Documentary Category.

Anyway, at the end of the ceremony, I managed to talk with Dr. Showghi, regarding “CAFÉ IRANI CHAI”, the details of which are as follows:

Dr. Showghi, please give a brief explanation of the movie plot

CAFE IRANI CHAI is a 28-minute Documentary film which revolves around the migration of the Iranis from Yazd and Kerman who came walking all the way from these two provinces in the 18th and early 19th century. When famine took place they traveled the distance for around 6 to 7 months with great hardship. Most of them settled in Mumbai, Pune and Hydrabad and with their hard work opened up Cafes Restaurants and Bakeries which served the famous Bun Maska and Irani Chai.

Would you introduce the main actors and actresses and other members involved?

The actors involved were Jackie Shroff, Ali Asghar, Dj Akbar Sami.

The original Iranians who are the owners of the Cafe Restaurant and the Bakery, were also invited to act alongside the main actors.

In what year was the movie made? When was the film released for the first time?

The film was completed in 2014 and it was screened in the same year.

How long did it take the movie to be completed?

It took around five years with research work to complete the film.

How did the primary idea of the movie evolve? Whom did you consult to start, develop and finalize the film story?

In fact, it was my very own idea. Just being an Iranian and a filmmaker gave me this idea.

Were the actors merely Indian or Iranian actors were also invited to star in the movie?

The main actors were actually Indian. But the original Iranians who are not actors, were arranged to act in this film.

Has the movie been released outside India?

The film was screened throughout Hindustan and in other countries like Germany, Nepal and San Francisco, USA.

Has the movie gotten into any Indian or foreign film festivals?

CAFE IRANI CHAI has won 40 National and International Awards up to now.

It was present in about 50 festivals such as IRANIAN Film Festivals San Francisco, New York University and the United Nations UNESCO through Parzor.

Café Irani Chai has the privilege of being shown at the New York University and a copy of the film has been added to the South Asian Studies Library.

How have the people liked the movie? What has the audience’s impression of the movie been?

The people have loved the movie. I got many heartwarming feedbacks from people watching the film.

What was the opinion of the critics about the film?

Besides their evaluation and analysis, the critics have tremendously praised the movie.

What are the potential problems when making documentaries? What kind of problems did you encounter while making the movie 'Chai Irani'?

Making documentaries presupposes many problems and is a heavy responsibility for the film maker. However, I really enjoyed every moment of it as the subject was very near to my heart, since my own Grandfather Late Haji Mohammed Showghi Yezdi was one of the migrants who walked all the way with great hardship from Yazd to Mumbai in the year 1890..

What persuaded you to become a film director or a movie maker?

I was inspired by the great film maker Dr. V. Shantaram one of the finest filmmakers of India.

How do you compare India film industry with that of Iran?

Indian film industry is the world's largest film manufacturing with entertaining and meaningful films. Iran also has been producing great meaningful movies. They are among the finest talents in the world.

What are the reasons for Bollywood success?

Bollywood has all the reasons to celebrate fine artists, fine subjects, beautiful locations and the best equipment to give their movies a great finale.

We have Fajr film festival in Iran. What similar festivals are held in India?

India has The Dada Saheb, Phalke Award and many world renowned film festivals in different events and in every seasons of the year.

Have you ever think of making a movie with the performance of both Iranian and Indian actors?

Yes, I’m planning to make an Indo-Iranian feature film soon IN SHA ALLAH.

And the last comment …?

I am known as The Irani Chaiiwala of Hindustan for preserving the deep rooted culture and brotherhood between India and Iran through my Documentary CAFE IRANI CHAI that I am so pleased to assume this rewarding role. I wish all success and prosperity for Iranian people settling in India.

Sahib, I really appreciate your joining us in this dialogue.

I hope to see Dr. Showghi in Iranian festivals as well and we will be given the opportunity to watch more documentaries produced by him, especially those illustrating the rich history and culture of Persia Land.

While wishing all the best for him, we also wish we would be following more success for Dr. Showghi in making powerful ties between the nations of Iran and India.

Dr. Payman Doosti is Managing Director of "Kermanshah Health" News Agency.

End Item

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