See “THE ODE” based on “Ode to Lata”

In 2008, Dhalla’s groundbreaking debut novel, Ode to Lata was turned into the motion picture, The Ode, which he co-wrote and produced.

Shot on location in Los Angeles and Kenya, it features a cast including Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards, The Mindy Project), Sachin Bhatt (Bollywood Beats), Wilson Cruz (Star Trek: Discovery, My So-Called Life), Rebecca Hazlewood  (The Good Place), Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced) and Anil Kumar (24, The Cape).

The Ode premiered to a sold-out audience at the OUTFEST Film Festival in Los Angeles (July 2008), and was showcased at festivals around the world to tremendous acclaim. Largely unseen outside the festival circuit, for a limited time, the movie is finally available for you to see (link below, click on blue Vimeo button).

Praise for “THE ODE” —

“A beautiful portrait of the American experience for many first and second-generation Indian-Americans” (CineQueer, 18 July 2008)

“A film with performances that are “memorable” and filled with “cinematic intensity” (Planet Homo, 19 July 2008).

“Inspires after-film contemplation” (The UCLA Asia Institute)

“Performances that are “noteworthy”  (Asia Pacific Arts, 8 August 2008).





The Indian Express, Free Press Journal name “The Exiles” as one of the must-read books to celebrate Section 377

On Sept 6th, India’s Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality as it struck down Section 377. India’s leading daily newspapers, The Indian Express and The Free Press Journal both listed Dhalla’s novel “The Exiles” (HarperCollins) as part of their list of must-read books reflecting the LGBTQ journey.

In a response to The Telegraph, another leading paper, Dhalla said, “By making this groundbreaking decision, the Supreme Court has taken an important step in dismantling the “closet” which is destructive not only to LGBTQ people, but equally to heterosexuals. When people are not given the dignity and freedom to live authentically, they create a web of deceit that impacts not only their own lives, but also the lives of other people and the society they inhabit. Cases of partners who feel duped and betrayed when they discover their spouses are gay are not unusual, and often, we blame only the so-called deceitful, closeted individual. But, are we also not to blame as a society for refusing to recognize their right to live freely and proudly, and thereby enforcing the closet?

“Let’s be clear on one thing: Hinduism has never seen homosexuality as a religious sin. The normalcy of same-sex desire, which had always been evident — even celebrated — in Hindu scriptures was perverted only recently by the British, who ironically, have long moved on from their own draconian laws.  It’s about time that India, too, which is doing such a commendable job of recognizing the destruction that colonialism caused, shake off this legacy of human oppression.”

The full list of recommended books on The Indian Express can be found HERE and The Free Press Journal HERE.

Award-winning movie “Embrace” now Streaming

Embrace, a short film written and directed by Dhalla, and starring Rebecca Hazlewood (Outsourced) and Ajay Mehta (The Mindy Project, Royal Pains) is now available for free streaming on platforms like PLEX and Filmocracy.

Based on a true story of the 2008 Mumbai Terror attacks, Embrace was an official selection at festivals including NYIFF, Louisville International Film Festival, and IFFCA — where it won the Audience Choice – Best Director Award.  It was the first ever dramatization of the tragedy, and was filmed in under 2 days.

The Huffington Post praises Embrace as a movie that “captures the raw intensity of two ordinary people — a couple — caught in hotel crossfire that lasted three days…How they held each other in the midst of Hell was a fascinating glimpse of humanity in crisis. The film delivers a message of the defeat of evil and triumph over adversity.”

Randy Ryan (Ben), Rebecca Hazlewood (Meera) with Director Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla on the set of Embrace. Photo: Lora Solanki

Hazlewood, who plays Meera, says, “She’s a wife, she’s a daughter, but ultimately she’s a Mother. She’s a lioness. She goes from being a victim and potentially falling apart to making a difficult choice so that her child isn’t orphaned by the brutal terror attack. She makes the ultimate sacrifice and I have incredible respect for her.”

Nostalgia and Desire in “Ode to Lata” – LiterAfrica (Spain)

LiterAfrica (Spain) highlights Oda a Lata, the Spanish version of Dhalla’s critically-acclaimed debut novel, Ode to Lata (Baphala Ediciones) in their August 2018 issue.

“Ali (the protagonist) has come a long way from his native Kenya to a hostile Los Angeles. His life is divided between his love for his mother’s curries, his devotion to the filmi music of the great Lata Mangeshkar and his desire to belong to a society that doesn’t seem to notice his presence. The author weaves a story that is torn between the crudest realism and fragments of a quasi-dreamlike nature…nostalgia mingles with the desire for freedom. Ali never finds what he had come for and never gets rid of what he was escaping.” — M.J. Lorenzo

Full Spanish article below:

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