The Story

Mahish in alley Mumbai

Manish is captivated by the athleticism of dance but doesn’t tell his hardworking parents that he has dropped out of business school and used the tuition to pay for his classes.

Manish is a young and talented street dancer from Mumbai who is struggling against his parents’ insistence that he follow a traditional path because they are counting on their only son to support them. 
When he secretly attends an inner-city dance school and accidentally walks into a ballet class he meets Yehuda, a curmudgeonly 70-year-old Israeli teacher, and a hunger develops within him. Ambitious and passionate, Manish is determined to make it as a professional dancer, but the odds are stacked against him.

Call Me Dancer is a story of hope, heartache, and hard work. Together, Manish and Yehuda transform each other’s lives, searching to uncover who and what they are. Yehuda seeks a purpose and a place to call home. Manish dreams of dancing on the world-stage but struggles to break free from the confines of his own economic and social circumstances.

Manish and Yehuad in class

“Dancing is a hobby for rich kids,” his father tells him.
The extended family criticizes his parents, shaming them because Manish isn’t employed.

Manish with is parents
Filmed in India, the United Kingdom, Israel, and the United States. With two original songs by Jay Sean, music by Bangladeshi American hip-hop artist Anik Khan, and a score by award-winning, British-Indian composer Nainita Desai and Nina Humphreys

International pop icon, singer and songwriter Jay Sean executive produced Call Me Dancer because the story resonated with his own; as a British-Indian, Sean’s parents wanted him to pursue medicine rather than his dream of becoming a singer.

Director’s Statement of Intent

“Dance films are typically created by looking into our world from the outside. They convey the difficulty of the profession, but what is often lost is the passion and inner joy that pushes dancers past the pain. I knew, as a dancer, I could offer an insider’s sensitivity and perspective. I gathered a talented international team made up of Indian film professionals with insights into the culture and socio-economic reality of Mumbai. This is a story that I hope inspires people across the globe.”

— Leslie Shampaine
Director, Call Me Dancer, and former professional dancer from New York City