“Like a kick of chilli, its dance numbers overpower with their energy, hot rhythms and kaleidoscope of eye-scorching costumes.”
That’s what The Guardian had to say about the musical The Merchants of Bollywood. Even though the show, written and directed by Australian Toby Gough, has shared its set of brickbats along with the bouquets, it has gone beyond 1,000 performances across 20 countries and been watched by over three million people in the 12 years of its existence. And now, starting tomorrow you will get to watch it in Dubai at Global Village.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” the producer of the show Mark Brady exclusively told Gulf News tabloid!. “I’ve produced the show right from concept to finish and to date it’s one of my proudest productions. I think the show is very unique and will endure for years to come”.
Featuring over 40 performers, Merchants… has been inspired by the colourful Indian cinema. It is the story of Ayesha Merchant, a young dancer conflicted between following family tradition and creating an identity of her own. Merchant belongs to a family of Rajasthani dancers and dreams of making it big in Bollywood as a choreographer. But she’s soon disillusioned of the bright lights of commercial cinema and returns home in hopes of a reconciliation. With 1,200 technicoloured costumes and 5,000 pieces of jewellery, Merchants… promises to take you on a rollercoaster ride with music and dance.
“This is about [Ayesha’s] journey and [the] story of her grandfather and herself where he represents the old values of traditional India while she represents the values of modern India,” said Carol Furtado, who has played Ayesha since the show started. “The producers were holding auditions in Mumbai in 2006 and my friend who was working with them on a project basis, recommended me to them. He insisted on me going to the auditions and when he realised that it’s not my thing and I wouldn’t go, he shared my details with the producer without my knowledge. They called me and it was the shortest meeting for the longest project I have ever done”.
Ace Bollywood choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant is the one behind the creation of various dance forms — from Rajasthani folk to disco and beyond — that you will see on stage. Interestingly, the inspiration for the musical is apparently her grandfather Hiralalji Merchant, who was a Bollywood choreographer too, and herself.
Brady informed us that the show has been performed in the UAE earlier but this is the first time it is coming to Dubai in its super-successful current format.
“Firstly the show is totally original, authentic and genuine, direct from [the] film city Mumbai. Therefore the show has a real sense of what Bollywood is all about,” Brady said about why people should watch the show.
“Colour, energy, culture, movement and mind-blowing Bollywood hits from all their favourite films. The show is a powerhouse and will light up the nights in the Global Village... Our expectations are to see our audience enthralled with the diverse nature of music, choreography and spectacle that is The Merchants of Bollywood,” he said.
“It’s a musical journey and a visual treat with beautiful costumes and high octane energy performances,” agreed Furtado. “It is a subject that at any given point of time everyone can relate to it, irrespective of their generation, as it’s all about the traditional versus the modern, the tug of war between old versus new values”.
Don’t miss it
The Merchants of Bollywood will run until December 24 as part of the international shows at the 21st edition of Global Village at no extra charge. Entry is included in the normal fee of Dh15. For more information go to globalvillage.ae