UPAJ Improvise

CDDC Repetoire - UPAJ Improvise
UPAJ Improvise
UPAJ takes us behind the scenes to watch the birth and journey of India Jazz Suites, a phenomenal East-meets-West collaboration featuring Indian kathak master and guru Pandit Chitresh Das and tap star Jason Samuels Smith.

Das is a 70-year old artist who exemplifies the elegance and mathematical precision of kathak - a classical dance of North India. Jason is a 32-year old African American tap dancer who hails from the freestyle, streetwise American tradition of contemporary tap. As the two join forces, an unlikely friendship develops that bridges continents, generations, cultures and communities.

The journey of India Jazz Suites poignantly unfolds Das’ and Smith’s personal stories – stories wrought with loss, struggle, and perseverance. As the two artists tell their truths and come to terms with their demons, they show us that our struggles are worthwhile and that Upaj:Improvise paves the way for hope and redemption.

Shot backstage and on the pulsating streets of India, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Upaj:Improvise captures the exhilaration and magic of the India Jazz Suites tour and offers a kaleidoscopic view of Indian history, culture and tradition. Das’ and Jason’s journey together offers a message that resonates deep in every heart and soul.

  • image "...working on a documentary about one's teacher is a complicated proposition. 'It's a tough line to walk. I realized I shouldn't try to direct; there needs to be some distance from the subject." India Currents
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Screening //  November 8, 2014, Castro Threater, San Francisco CA

Cast & Crew //
Pandit Chitresh Das, Actor
Jason Samuels Smith, Actor
Hoku Uchiyama, Director
Antara Bhardwaj, Producer
Rina Mehta, Executive Producer
Shaun Jefford, Consulting Producer
Tech Specs, Bookings & Images // Contact Antara Bhardwaj



Upaj Improvise


  • 2014 National Television Premiere Dates

    January 20, 2014 PBS SoCal World, Los Angeles
    January 20, 2014 WLIW21 World, NYC
    January 20, 2014 WGBH World, Boston
    January 20, 2014 WTTW Create, Chicago
    January 20, 2014 WYES World New Orleans
    January 21, 2014 WGBH, World, Boston
    January 21, 2014 KQED, San Francisco/San Jose
    January 21, 2014 WYES World, New Orleans

  • 2013 Film Festival Dates

    October 5-6, 2013 - Indian Film Festival of Hague, Netherlands
    October 6, 2013 - Raindance Film Festival, UK
    October 9, 2013 - Kansas International Film Festival, KS
    October 12-13, 2013 - Mill Valley Film Festival, CA
    October 16, 2013 - New Orleans Film Festival, LA
    October 23, 2013 - Pacific Rim Film Festival, CA

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