By Jane Wilson
The essence of India was portrayed on stage at London’s Peacock Theatre in a spirited performance of Beyond Bollywood. Romance, drama, storytelling, action, comedy and song were all on show.
Radiating from behind the curtain was the energy we witnessed in Slumdog Millionaire which, for many of us, captured our first vision and meaning of Bollywood. Authentic India swathed in dazzling multi-coloured costumes dressed the culture of dance under the spotlight. In high voltage with an ever-changing technical backdrop, a myriad of mesmerizing Indian dance genres unfolded. These included Kalbelia, Lezim, Bihu, Garba and Kathak. And with the audience’s attention drawn in, the theatre came alive with feet tapping, hands clapping, repeating, reflecting the rhythms and beats to unite with the cast’s storytelling journey.
Suitable for all ages from as young as five, this was family entertainment at large. It’s also an opportunity to appeal to younger generations as well as reach the emerging interest in global cultural entertainment.
The set was modern and impressive by its technological additions feeding even more movement and vibrancy to the extravaganza. Ancient moves and grooves together with graceful artful cameos showered our senses coating them in a spectrum of vivid colour.
The story follows Shaily Shergill as she leaves behind her German home to venture in to India. She is on a mission to fulfil her mother’s dying wish of reviving her family’s failing theatre. Beyond Bollywood is written, choreographed and directed by Rajeev Goswami. Music is by Salim-Sulaiman and lyrics by Irfan Siddiqui.
India has a diverse and distinct culture that has been developing for thousands of years and varies from region to region. Different forms of dance such as folk and classical find their origin from different parts of the country. The dances are complete dramas. Performers narrate the story through their gestures. Stories are often based on Indian mythology which are passed on from one generation to the other. Classical dances in India are strictly classified and performed according to the rules and guidelines prescribed in the Natyashastra. Folk dances mainly trace their importance to the rural areas, where performances depict the day to day life of rural inhabitants.
Bollywood, named during the 1970’s, is the name given to the dance-form used in Indian (Hindi) films. The most energetic and colourful Indian dance forms are Bhangra and Garba (originated in the state of Gujarat, India). These merged with other dance forms from around the world to become the famous Bollywood dance. It is considered a modern, Indian commercial dance – a mixture of many styles including Western dance and “Katha”
The name Bollywood, a portmanteau of “Hollywood” and “Bombay”. The term refers to the Hindi-language motion picture industry of India. Hollywood, named after the district near Los Angeles California is the American motion picture industry. Indian cinema evolved separately from Hollywood and retains its own characteristics. One of the most striking examples of Bollywood’s unique aesthetic are the movies’ use of song and dance.
As economic trade increased throughout the world, more Hindi films were subtitled and dubbed so that non-Indian and non-Hindi speaking audiences could enjoy them. This has led to the widespread commercialization and success of Bollywood films. Bollywood is India’s largest film industry in terms of films produced and released each year.
Bollywood is part of the globalisation era. The world is a stage and there is a thirst for culture in every style and form. Beyond Bollywood was last in the West End in 2015 and follows on its success in 2022 playing its part in the global shift to expand the appeal of Indian dance to a wider audience.
24 August – 3 September 2022
Tickets from £18
Jane Wilson is editor of www.thewellnesstraveller.co.uk
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