Solang Valley to Sweden - A Brief Interview With the Indian Junior Ski Team

by Michelle Job20. March 2017 06:00

Last Wednesday, Search Indie was privileged to interview two unsung heroes and their coaches! Alwyn Kanwar and Anil Chand - two of the leading Indian skiers proudly represented India alongside 41 countries at the 2017 FIS Junior World Alpine Skiing Championships that was held at Åre, Sweden! 

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Indian Junior Ski Champs at Åre, Sweden. Photo: Bhola Ram

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Indian Junior Ski Champs at Åre, Sweden. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram

Seated in the comfy little Indian Street Food & Co Restaurant with the Indian aroma wafting through the air, we asked the players and the coaches what it meant to go after a sport that is rarely spoken about in India. For that they replied, "To pursue Skiing in India requires a lot of perseverance, dedication, hard work and heavy investment from our pockets."

Coach Bhola Ram with the Champs. Photo: Bhola Ram

Coach Bhola Ram with the Champs. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram

Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur recall, "We grew up in the scenic Solang Valley of Manali, India. Skiing was a part of our lives. As kids we used to  go to school on wooden skis. It was later when our hometown started getting famous for tourism, we began to see international tourists and the ski equipments they brought along! We then requested our friends and family abroad to buy us professional skis."

Coach Ludhar Thakur with the Champs. Photo: Bhola Ram

Coach Ludhar Thakur with the Champs. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram

"Our love for skiing took us to the National Ski Institute, Gulmarg, Kashmir. After completion of training, we participated in several contests and won laurels. Today, we are privileged to train these two exceptionally talented and passionate sportsmen!"

Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

Alwyn is a BA Psychology student and Anil is a BSc Computer Science student.They are the leading skiers in the Indian Junior Ski category. They were selected for this year's Junior World Alpine Championships based on their merit and their FIS score. They contested in both the Slalom and the Giant Slalom. Although they did not win the championship, they optimistically shared, "We received a lot of appreciation and encouragement from the European contestants. Meeting other contestants, watching them Ski, exchanging ideas and techniques, gave us a world of exposure!"

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Leading Indian Junior Ski Champs. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Leading Indian Junior Ski Champs. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

"Given the conditions in India - lack of facilities, equipment and financial support from the Indian government, it is extremely challenging to rise to international standards unlike contestants from other nations. Since our mountain slopes are not manually groomed for skiing, we travel to countries like Turkey, Italy and Japan to practice and partake in competitions."

"Except for a very small percentage of financial aid from the International Ski Federation, we do not have any other support. It is our families, who believe in us and our talent, who invest in us!" 

With so many odds against them, we wanted to know what drives them to go after this sport. Alwyn replied, "It is in me. It has been my life. My parents are skiers and it was passed on to me from birth. It is my passion. My everything!"

"Our life's dream and goal is to participate in the Olympics. We are striving our very best. If we could have financial support from the Indian government, adequate recognition and motivation from the Indian media and our countrymen, our dream can come true!"

It was almost time for us to wrap up our interview as the team had an appointment with the honorable Indian Ambassador to Sweden & Latvia, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. While we shook hands and conveyed our best wishes for their future, we popped our final question - What does Skiing do to you as a person? What do you feel when you Ski?

"Happiness!" said Anil.

"Joy and peace!" said Alwyn.

"Thrill and joy!" said Coach Ludar.

"Each time I ski on some of the worlds most spectacular slopes, I feel very close to God!" concludes Coach Bhola Ram!

The Indian Junior Ski Team with Honorable Ambassador to Sweden & Lativa, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. Photo: Indian Embassy of Sweden

The Indian Junior Ski Team with Honorable Ambassador to Sweden & Lativa, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. Photo: Indian Embassy of Sweden

Here are two simple ways in which you can extend your support to our Junior Ski Champs -

  • SHARE THIS ARTICLE on your social media and spread their story and talent! Let's show our young sportsmen how proud we are of them!
  • SPONSOR - there are different ways in which you can invest in these future olympians! Write to us and we will tell you how!


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Blog | Interview | Sport | Stockholm | sweden

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017

by Administrator1. February 2017 23:17


Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 , Bengaluru, Karnataka 7-9 January 2017


Search Indie team attended PBD 2017 for the first time and we are overwhelmed how the the event was organised right from the point of registering the event online, the continuous information which was shared with us during the weeks before the event.

PBD 2017 had an amazing idea of connecting the attendees with an app, by which one can book meetings with other attendees a week before the event.



We had really good discussion with IDF at the event and the projects they are doing together with the support of NRIs




Dr. Carani Balaraman Sanjeevi from Karolinska Institutet won Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards-2017


Photo Courtesy : Karolinska Institutet


 PBD 2017 was streamed live, so all the sessions can be watched through this link. 


Tags: , , , ,

Ashwathi Pillai signed contract with Täby RacketCenter

by Administrator23. June 2016 10:07



Ashwathi Pillai the young talented Badminton player from India signed a contract as Professional Player with Täby Racket Centre on 21st June. This means she will be getting more opportunities in International tournaments and Täby Racket Center will be supporting her more to achieve her dream of becoming the best player from Sweden.




During the short meeting Kent Kote Managing Director of Täby Badminton AB talked about the history of the club his experience with badminton and Ashwathi’s acheivements till now.He also explained the vision for Ashwathi with the 2020 Olympics.



Cecilia Trojmar Coordinator, Product Information, FLIR Systems AB and Joakim Pedersen HR Business Partner, FLIR Systems AB also present at the occasion as they signed a contract for sponsorship. Cecilia talked about the background of the Täby based company and its vision to have more Engineers especially female. FLIR Systems AB has 400 people at their office at Täby mostly engineers in Electrical, Mechanical, IT background. They want their employees to be physically fit and this partnership with Ashwathi will strengthen their vision for that.




Agata Rzepczyk, Digital Street who is also a badminton player helped to design the logo for Ashwathi. She also collected Ashwathi’s inputs for designing the official T-Shirt. She explained the dynamics behind choosing the colors for the T-Shirt to the detailing of the logo for Ashwathi.

Ashwathi also signed a contract with ELITE Hotels which was founded by Bicky Chakraborthy which has now 27 hotels all over Sweden.







Later Kent published the official Facebook Page of Ashwathi Pillai. The official document with the club also signed.

Joakim, presented her accessories from FLIR Systems.





Now you can follow Ashwathi Pilliai through her official Facebook Page

Tags: , , , , ,


Priya Sharma - My Dream , Bollywood

by Administrator14. February 2015 00:00


Tell us about your days in Sweden your schooling, college, professional life.

I am born and brought up in Sweden. I have been in College for Business Administration. I have also worked with various dance schools to perform in various Indian events and Mohippa. I am a graduate of Business Administration.

I have worked in Sweden for 7 years with companies IDG , Telia as Project Manager and Business Consultant.

How are you introduced to Bollywood?

From my childhood my father and my mother always speaks in Hindi , Punjabi in home and followed all cultures. My father and mother used to listen to cassettes of Mohamad Rafi and watch lot of Hindi movies. 



While my sister was so much attracted towards to Swedish culture.


How often do you visit India ,  during your childhood days?

Every year till my age of 15 I used to visit India every year. Bust since then I never visited for 11 years. I was really obsessed in with each of my visits to India. One interesting fact that I forgot to change the timezone in my watch even after reaching Sweden and followed for some days.




Are you able to learn Indian Dance and Music in Stockholm ?

I learned Bharatnatyam from Usha Balasundaram which given me more inspiration and courage. I also learned Bollywood from Anuradha/Brinda for short period and some Odissi also which given me much confidence.

I also had a short stint with classical music for 1 year with Cornia from Bengladesh.

Stockholm has lack of good teachers in Bollywood dance. 




 Tell us about some of the Indian events , programs which you where part of in Sweden?

I have done lot of Mohippas in Stockholm. I have also done some events with Usha , Brinda , Sunitha Singh.


Cracking Bollywood is a dream for millions of people , How did you gain the courage for it?

It has always been a dream for all girls from small age to be part of Bollywood and get famous. My biggest dream was to make my mom happy. That’s how I moved to a very professional life which was just perfect. But I got depressed after working at office for 8 - 5, so I wanted more challenges in life.

So I went to India in 2013 to Delhi and it was an amazing trip after a long time and got a great feel of India. I felt like lot of things happening in India like festivals, dance, music, food. I felt like lot of things happening in India rather than in Sweden where everything is almost PERFECT.



I initially thought of working in India, doing some business but when I saw Indian Idol, I thought I can try singing and dancing.

But I went for both singing and acting auditions. After going for LOTS of auditions in a one of the auditions I showed my acting skills which didn't worked quite well, but my singing got impressed.

Jitender Pawar one of the best directors in Bollywood helped me in my debut promotional song a lot.They also offered a role in the position in the promotional song since I had good dance skills. 

Even though I got the break in 4 months, there was a lot of struggle with lot of auditions and practice and waits for phone calls.


What’s the major cultural difference you saw when you landed in India , since you are born and brought up in Sweden?


There is always positive and negative. The main change I feel is people in India are really helpful. In Sweden there is a private life but India is a big family in which we need to take opinions from others in family and may be neighbors too :).

In Sweden nobody cares or bothers for others, but in India people with tell their opinions.

Positive incidents, 

We went to ironing man to give my shirts and my brother was with me who's just 18. He told I am craving for chips and told me I want it immediately. The iron man heard this and told ‘Son, go and buy the chips. Hunger is more important, you can give money some other day.’




I think media spreads wrong news in Sweden about Delhi with all these rape news, but things are not like that in the ground here, ladies get more priority everywhere.

Tell us about how you landed in your 1st movie and your experience facing the camera?





I was very nervous because it’s my 1st time and there was around 50+ watching me. And when the assistant told “ACTION” it was a really scary experience.

It was a team of almost 20 artist who was doing this shoot the whole night for this promotional song. It was a quite good performance since we done this whole video in just 1 night.


The crew was very happy and they felt that I am confident and comfortable with my performance.

The promo song launch was during the audio launch and the response from the people in the launch was really nice, since people started dancing and whistling on seeing my entry in the video.


 I showed the video 1st to my mom.




My mom told I am very beautiful in the video that was her first expression. She told she paused the video many times to see me and told she's really of me.


One fan said to me ‘Tune to sabka poput banaya’ which i felt was really interesting.




 Your upcoming projects?

I am now trying to get a PR for me to manage my things. I also get lot of enquiries regarding events. So I am now trying to figure out what should be the next thing.

I want to be unique in Bollywood, like I am an overall artist, who can sing, dance and act.






I don’t want to be labeled as a singer or actress or item girl. So now I am really choosy since I am getting lot of offers both for small and big films. But I am waiting for good to happen which really challenges me.


Have you met with Elli Avram in Mumbai ?

I don’t know her so well, so I haven’t seen her yet.

What’s your advice to young talents in Sweden who dream of a career in Bollywood?

I think it’s a dream of everyone to be a part of fame and Bollywood, but it’s all about will power. And if you have that will power they can really achieve it.

There can be 100 questions arise when you think of India and more when you think of Bollywood. The attitude should be ‘JUST DO IT’, it’s difficult to convince your parents about these. But do what your heart says, have faith about yourselves.

It’s the time of your life to take the risks, so don’t overthink.


Don’t be scare to fail!!!




Vyjayanthi Iyer - From Showbiz to Tulip City

by Administrator9. January 2015 00:00




Tell us about your days in India. Schooling, First Job

 I am from Mumbai and studied in a school where I participated in dance and music events from a very early age, for events like teacher’s day, Independence Day, annual gatherings, etc.


Hmm my first job, I always wanted to be independent, so I started working when I was 18, while doing my college. I worked part-time as a counsellor with a computer institute in Mumbai, and I can never forget this job, the amazing feeling of earning while studying J


How are you introduced to showbiz?


After my college days I got quite interested in modeling, but it took me a few years to get started. I had to get a good portfolio done before I reached out to the ad agencies and production houses, so I thought of reaching out to the best. I searched for the contact details of ace photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha, who had worked with famous film actresses for several decades, and was delighted to find him so kind and approachable. We connected instantly and I got my first portfolio shot. After that, there was no looking back.



Do you remember the 1st moment you faced camera?

 I always loved being in front of the camera. However, professionally, the first break I got was for a print/hoarding ad for Bajaj kesh kalp from the advertising agency Lowe Lintas formerly called as Lintas. I couldn’t stop talking about this assignment. The first TV commercial that I did was for Rainbow milk (UAE), which was also a wonderful experience.


Tel us about some of the reputed brands you worked with?


I was quite lucky to work with reputed agencies, directors and photographers for these brands:


Toyota Innova was a great experience, working with Aamir Khan and Ashutosh Gowarikar. Onida, Microwave, Saffola, McDonalds, ING Vysya, Big Bazaar, Good Knight, Surf Excel, Worldspace Radio, Horlicks, Pillsbury, Titan Eye care, Shyamrao Vithal bank, Karnataka Bank, Dabur Vatika Hair oil, are some of the other ads that I did.







Was there any unforgettable experience?


There were many such experiences, but one that I will always cherish forever is the time I had with (late) Gautam Rajadhyaksha while doing the portfolio shoot. He made me feel very special, and in the midst of a shot, he used to call out to the makeup dada in Marathi, “arre bagh ekdum nutan tai disthe apli vyjayanthi” (Look, Vyjayanthi resembles Nutan so much). Such encouragement got the best out of me, and I will always be grateful to Gautamji for giving me the boost I needed to get started in my modeling career.


How about the Bollywood experience?


I was keen on doing only modelling and had done many ads already. Acting was something I wandered into quite naturally. I did a few TV serials, short films, movies for film festival and documentaries.



 Serial Rooh



One day I received a call to give an audition for a role for the movie “Johnny Gaddar” directed by Sriram Raghavan. I was very excited as it was a mainstream Bollywood movie, and thrilled when I got selected for the role. That was one hell of an experience for me, to work with an amazing of creative people.



From the busy world of showbiz, how did you land in the Tulip city?


It’s a long story, but to put it briefly, my husband travelled a lot to the US and UK for his work. He came to Amsterdam for few months for his work and fell in love with this city. He called me once from Amsterdam, told me how cozy and beautiful this city was, and that it would be wonderful for us to live here for some time. I came over for a few months, and decided to stay back for a longer period. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave everything behind and come to a new country/city where I had to start over, however the journey has been an adventure.




Are you still doing modelling work in Amsterdam?


Yes I do, and have worked with several brands like Philips and Hoya.


You done the 1st Bollywood flash mob in Amsterdam , tell us about the experience and the response from the crowd?


It’s already 8 years since I landed in this beautiful city and over 4 years since I have been teaching Bollywood dance. I had been thinking about the flash mob for quite some time, and I knew no one had done a Bollywood dance style flash mob in Amsterdam, at the Dam square. I brought together an amazing group of my dance students and told them about the flash mob idea. They were very excited, and even more when I told them about the occasion – the Indian Independence Day.



 Navras Flash Mob Amsterdam and Performances 

Flash mob at Valencia , Spain 

The weather was unpredictable that day, and it was expected to rain around the time we were to start the flash mob. I was checking the weather forecast every 15 – 30 minutes, hoping that the rain would stay away. And it did. One of the comments that we got from the lovely crowd who were cheering, clapping and watching the flash mob said:  “Even the gods wanted to see you all dance, the sun is shining only for you”. We could see the crowd’s excitement, curious tourists stopping by to watch, few people dancing as well, taking pictures and videos. The funny thing was the grim reaper (guy with the skeleton mask on the dam square) who was standing right opposite to me, was dancing as wellJ




I can now proudly say that my amazing team of dancers/students and I were the first to make Dam Square dance to the tune of Bollywood music. It is a huge sense of achievement.


Is there any plan to return to showbiz? Did you get calls from Bombay still?


I think I am still very much in it, but in a different country, and using a different creative medium. I am still in touch with lot of people from the industry and you never know what life has in store for you.


Vyjayanthi is currently running her Bollywood dance school in Amsterdam , Navras.
 started NAVRAS- 9 emotions 5 years ago.  In the last 5 years, her passion for dance has expanded into conducting workshops for smaller & bigger groups and companies, fitness classes (Bollyzumba) and for special occasions like bachelor parties etc.


Vyjayanthi tells ,


"Bollywood dancing is lively, it is fun, exciting and the one thing I have never failed to notice is the smile it brings to the faces of people who participate in my workshops. I look forward to taking this endeavour further to exchanging knowledge about Indian culture and take Bollywood dance moves to more people in the Netherlands and beyond."




Tags: , , , , , ,


© 2013 Search Indie  
Trademarks belong to their respective owners.