Bring On The Bollywood returns to the Belgrade this year, with a freshly adapted script and score. Exploding with dazzling colour, witty dialogue and a vibrant score, it’s a love story that has all the twists and turns to mirror a classic Shakespeare romance.
Staged in the Belgrade’s B2 stage, the thrust staging is ideal for this performance as it allows the audience to really feel involved in the production. Sitting on the front row, I could literally feel the beat of the music on my feet, which brought the strength of the Bollywood music alive. The set is designed beautifully with colour and decadent gold across the two levels of the stage. The striking colour is also reflected in the lighting, which excellently changes the ambience of each scene.
Intricately designed, the costumes are remarkably impressive. Each scene boasts a new set of visually stunning costumes that catch the light, creating a cacophony of colour. Overall the plot is rather gimmicky and essentially your usual musical theatre love story, except with an unexpected plot twist at the end of act 1. The dialogue is pacy and witty, and the characters amplify this comedy well. With a contemporary and relevant dialogue that challenges the traditional Indian culture stereotype, I was particularly fond of the frequent jokes about modern technology and social media.
Leading lady Nisha Aaliah plays the intelligent Dr Katrina Pawar, and she brings a brilliantly witty approach to it, Nisha Aaliah’s characterisation mirrors that of a much more stylish Bridget Jones. She is unlucky in love and fights against her overbearing parents. Heartbroken Ronny (Robby Khela) sings of his inner pain through haunting yet powerful vocal numbers that display his painful romantic past. Standing out on stage with his performance, Yanick Ghanty plays hot-shot Bollywood director Amit. His naturally strong performance, wit and comedy timing is superb.
However, the spotlight belongs to the fantastically funny parents of Katrina, Lalita and Colonel Pawar played by Sakuntala Ramanee and Rohit Gokani, whose constant conflict is punchy and quite frankly hilarious.
What makes this piece so alive is the excellent choreography by Dr. Leena Patel, Sonia Sabri and Subhash Viman who create dynamic movement that intertwines both traditional and contemporary Indian Bollywood dance. The ensemble numbers are slick, tight and rich with flavour, creating a dance spectacle that oozes Bollywood flair.
Bring On The Bollywood is a high-energy love story that promises to be a fun night of theatre, as it challenges Indian traditions and stereotypes with clever comedy and sensational dance.
On at the Belgrade theatre until the 13th of May, tickets can be found here.