Bring on the Bollywood

This Bollywood extravaganza at the Rose Theatre in Kingston is bursting with colour, energy and fun. It's on until Sunday so catch it if you can

I saw my first Bollywood show last night, and it was exactly as I expected: colourful, energetic, funny and a little bit kitch. I loved it.

Bring on the Bollywood is schmaltzy kind of love story that intertwines the British and Indian cultures. The love theme filters through on several levels. There’s forbidden love, burgeoning love, broken love and enduring love. But the production also touches on themes of feminism and a woman’s place in society.

The story begins in Britain, but quickly moves to India when Dr Katrina Pawar returns home for a family wedding. On the plane, single Katrina meets Ronny, an architect who is on a journey to India to find holy water to help is ailing father.

In India, Ronny meets with his English-born cousin Amit, who has moved to India to pursue a Bollywood career, and is in love with Rekha, who is arranged to marry Katrina’a brother Lucky. Rekha and Lucky don’t want to marry, but are afraid to tell Lucky’s mother who is desperate for the union.

It’s a complex storyline, with a surprise twist. And although the running time is 2 hours and 40 minutes, it never seems drawn out or tedious. While the colour, music and dance would capture the attention of kids, the story would likely be difficult to follow, so it’s probably a show for grownups. That said, there was a mother and child of about 10 sitting in front of me, and he lasted the distance.

It’s is a vibrant show, brought together with brilliantly choreographed dance routines, a witty dialogue and contemporary Indian pop music and ballads. The songs lyrics are a mix of English and Hindi, which is testament to the skill and talent of the entire cast. And the costumes are fabulous.

A standout performer for me is Bobby Khela, as Ronny, who’s voice had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. Nisha Aaliya as Dr Katrina is also strong. Her spoken thoughts set the hilarious tone for the show.

Sakuntala Ramanee is also fabulous as Katrina and Lucky’s mother Lalita, an elegant woman hungry for a more glamorous life, who wants the best for her children and lives her life through social media. She’s funny, touching and likeable.

Bring on the Bollywood was created by Phizzical Productions and the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. It’s a dazzling, lively and joyful show. You’ll come out smiling.

It’s at the Rose Theatre in Kingston until Sun 28 May

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