“Shalom” is perhaps the last word that comes to mind when most people think of Bollywood but one man is out to change that. Danny Ben-Moshe, an award winning documentarian, is working to finish a film that explores the lives of the Jewish stars of the world’s largest film industry.
Ben-Moshe was inspired to tell the story when he stumbled upon the obituary of one of these stars, Florence Ezekiel Nadira. That discovery turned into an 11-year-obsession with finding these forgotten stars and telling their stories on the big screen.
Ben-Moshe relied heavily on the families of his subjects, as most of them passed away before he began his research. The Australian filmmaker and professor made five trips to India to track down these families, both to tell their stories and to confirm that the star in question was, in fact, Jewish. He told the Hindustan Times in an interview that he was sometimes misled to believe certain deceased actors were Jewish, only to find out through their descendents that this was not the case.
Although most of the shooting and research is finished, Ben-Moshe is attempting to raise $20,000 dollars by June 19th for post-production and film licensing. The Indiegogo page he created to raise funds promises “groovy dance moves” and “sitar-infused music.” As of now, Ben-Moshe has raised $1,279 by 16 backers.
Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter at @arr_scott