About Us

Founded in 2001, Sholay Productions is a New York based organization bringing dynamic events to diverse communities. We provide safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQI+ South Asians, friends, and allies to come together and celebrate our shared love of music, South Asian cinema, and dest-queer culture.


Atif Atif Toor (Founding Partner and Creative Director) first fell in love with Bollywood watching Zeenat Aman on a bootleg video of Satyam Shivam Sundaram while visiting Karachi. Atif’s a Pakistani-born American bred art director who’s behind the camped-out Bollywood glitz themes and visuals for Sholay’s events. When he’s not at his Mac station, you can find Atif getting down on the dance floor. Email me


Rajesh Rajesh Parwatkar (Founding Partner and Business Development Director) was born in the very late 60s in Mumbai (Bombay), the home of Bollywood. His mother was at one time a big fan of Rajesh Khanna, so she named her son Rajesh. Maybe that is why he is especially fond of songs from the 50s and 60s. His favorite dancer to date is Helen and he is enamored by Rekha. Sholay (the company) just seemed the right place to bring to life his passion for Bollywood and event promotions. He has a strong business sense and manages relationships with club owners, promoters, publicists and other industry people. Email me


Ashu Ashu Rai (Founding Partner and Resident DJ) did not grow up watching Bollywood movies (except for the wonderful memories of seeing Muqaddar Ka Sikandar in a Delhi cinema in the late 1970s). Her best memories of suburban Northern California include saving her school lunch money/allowance on every new record in Tower Records’ Imports section and an early curfew, allowing her to o.d. on USA Networks’ Night Flight. Ashu finally escaped to San Francisco where she was involved in various scenes and movements, including Act-Up and Queer Nation. Her passion for music led to graveyard and late-night slots in college radio (KUSF) and sets at short-lived parties around San Francisco. Fast forward to March 2002 where Ashu debuted at the first Desilicious party in NYC and the rest is history! Email meFollow Me on Twitter and check out my SoundCloud page.


NeerajNeeraj a.k.a. Lotus Visual (Digital and Visuals Director) has been providing the dazzling Bollywood inspired big screen visuals at Sholay events since 2005. His internationally recognized visual artistry has been projected in New York, London, Mumbai and Amsterdam. Venues include clubs such as Pacha, BB King, Highline Ballroom, Paradiso (Amsterdam) and other spaces such as MOMA PS1, Cooper Union and Tribeca Performing Arts Center. He collaborates with event promoters, DJs, bands and other performance artists to complement their artistic expressions by providing the Visual element. Check out his website for samples of his work. Email me


Posted: August 4th, 2009

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