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BOMBAY CRUSH! (article first published : 2005-10-17)

Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom in association with Anant Singh and Videovision Entertainment is proud to present Bombay Crush - South Africa’s first locally-produced major West End-styled Bollywood stage musical. The show is scheduled to preview at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino in Durban on November 29, opening at a glitzy VIP affair on December 1 (coinciding with the casino’s first birthday) and running until mid-January.

“This is one of the largest Bollywood-themed stage productions in terms of budget that has ever been staged in South Africa.” says Melville Vogel, General Manager of Sibaya. “We are really delighted to have commissioned Anant Singh and Videovision Entertainment and their enormously talented team to produce this show. The opening of this production will mark a truly historic moment for theatre in the country.”

Making his debut as a producer of a stage musical, is renowned film producer, Anant Singh who says, “The Videovision Entertainment Team is absolutely thrilled to be creating the first-ever Bollywood stage musical of this scale in South Africa. India and its various forms of entertainment, especially its films and music have captured audiences around the world, hence our decision to create an overtly Bollywood musical, with vibrant song and dance sequences, lots of colour and for the first time-ever, a high-tech set and stage design. We believe that this production will be the trend-setter and will certainly change the paradigms of stage musicals.”

Directed by well-known, award-winning Durban-based theatre and film director, Junaid Ahmed, Bombay Crush brings together a wide range of highly theatrical elements that will provide audiences with a spectacular visual feast. The script contains all the elements found in a typical Bollywood film. Created by Ahmed, it is based on original material written by Ahmed and internationally-acclaimed writer Achmat Dangor (nominated for last year’s prestigious Booker Prize).

Bombay Crush is a truly masala production” says Ahmed “We have used the trusted Bollywood recipe which we have all grown to know and love. It is melodramatic, employing readily recognisable ingredients such as star-crossed lovers and angry parents, love triangles, conniving villains, long-lost relatives separated by circumstance, dramatic reversals of fortune, and convenient coincidences – these are merged to the central fabric of interwoven narratives. And of course rounded up with a happy ending.”

“The script has a major South African focus.” says Ahmed. “The story revolves around two principal characters- one from India and the other from Durban. As such, it is unique – while remaining true to the Bollywood formula of storytelling it is also infused with a South African spirit. We have used some creative liberties to invoke energy, enjoyment and other emotional responses from as large an audience as possible. This is going to appeal not only to an Indian audience, but a much wider range of theatre-lovers.”

Choreographed by the award-winning Jay Pather, the musical will be driven through pulsating dance and music. Pather explains: “The core of the production lies in the vast range of dance styles. These range from glamorous and sexy Bollywood extravaganza and lyrical, emotive contemporary styles to an array of classical Indian dances such as Manipuri, athletic marital art dances of the northern regions, rousing folk and village dances such as those from Punjab and Gujarat, stick dance, modern, hip hop, Bhangra, jazz, tap dances, with a smattering of traditional Zulu and a of course a funky fusion of all of these styles. Suffice to say – audiences are in for a real dance treat.”

As in Bollywood movies, the songs typically comment on the action taking place in the production, in several ways. Songs are worked into the plot, so that a character has a reason to sing; other times, a song is an externalization of a character's thoughts.

Pather, Ahmed and the team from Videovision Entertainment have just returned from a trip to India to finalise the cast which while made up of local talent, may also include some performers from the sub-continent. The team also did extensive research into the latest Bollywood costume designs. Exotically costumed, the musical will be a visual feast of colour and spectacle. The costumes have been designed through South Africa/India collaboration, with all the glitz, glamour and style associated with Bollywood.

The set, stage and lighting design is by Tim Dunn of Gearhouse, who is known in the country for his vast sets created for productions such as Videovision Entertainment’s Now or Never Concert, the biggest Bollywood concert ever staged in South Africa. “I have had loads of fun working on this,” says Dunn. “It has been a truly creative process, and I believe that the audiences are going to be bowled over by the sheer size.”

The production of Bombay Crush marks the continuation of Videovision Entertainment’s relationship with Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom, which has seen quality shows like Shiamak: The Spirit Of Song And Dance and the Now Or Never Concert.

The 90-minute show runs from November 29 to January 15, 2006. Shows at 19h30 Tuesdays to Saturdays (Sundays at 15h00). Tickets R95 booked through Computicket or Sibaya Box-Office on 031 580 5555 (o/h). Some performances have been earmarked for sale to organisations as fundraisers. More information from sharlene@versfeld.co.za




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