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Abu Dhabi Festival: Bollywood magic comes to the UAE

‘The Merchants of Bollywood’ star Carol Furtado talks to tabloid! about the musical

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The Merchants of Bollywood is an old musical about still older things: traditions, cultural mores and the nature of Indians.

So why should a global audience pay attention now?

Carol Furtado, who plays the woman that commands the story — whose will and actions will determine the fate of an old practice, the Kathak dance — says of the show: “It takes you through a gamut of emotions, it gives you an introduction to India; its culture, its traditions, its rituals. So I would just say, you know, I would be happy if people would just come and absorb the information that is imparted. At the end of the day it’s all about entertainment through education, and that’s what the whole show is.”

The 14-year-old well-worn trip down the lanes of Bollywood’s glittery streets sparkles with fantastic costumes, resound with body shaking music and offer jolts of raw energy. The Merchants of Bollywood is a tale of the House of Choreography, and what happens when the heir to a legacy decides she wants to break away from convention.

But power-charged performances are never easy. So what must Furtado do to stay in top shape? “I need to be really careful about my throat… I’m mindful about what I eat in terms of stuff that should not aggravate or irritate my throat, because there have been times that I’ve gone on stage — in months of cold weather — and I’ve had a sore throat and a runny nose and having the mike that close to your face doesn’t help.

“So yeah, lesson well learnt… I’m careful diet-wise; I try not to restrict myself because you’ll just jump back into the weight gain [after a tour]. Once you are touring you are really high on energy and you are burning [whatever you are eating] … But a strict regimen, routine — yes, I try to get a workout in but I also try to not tire myself out too much during the show so something I do is squats, because it’s a full body movement. And, if nothing else, I like to see the city [I’m in], so I like to walk.”

What: Merchants of Bollywood

Where: Emirates Palace Auditorium

When: March 8-9

Cost: Tickets start at Dh125