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August 28, 2009

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Thrill to the glamor of Bollywood

A spectacular music and dance show based on India's glittering film industry is a treat in store for Shanghai audiences, says Nie Xin.

The music and dance spectacular "The Merchants of Bollywood," also known as "Bollywood Show," is a homage to Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, India.

The story pays tribute to the Merchant family and celebrates the dazzling wonder of Bollywood while creating an enjoyable high-octane escapist night out.

The dazzling show is coming to the Shanghai Oriental Art Center in October.

Beneath the glitter and glamor, the bangles and the beads, this is the true story of a granddaughter's search for her destiny and for the love and approval of her grandfather, a tale of sacrifice and rebellion, a conflict of generations, and a journey to the sacred heart of dance.

"This is a tale of families, dynasties and dreams. The music and dance come from India, but the message of the story is universal. Make peace with each other while we have the chance," says Toby Gough, the director.

Gough is an international award-winning writer and director from Scotland. The inspiration of the show was a coincidence.

During a tour of the musical "Lady Salsa" in New Zealand, Gough and producer Mark Brady were dining in an Indian restaurant called "Bollywood." They were surrounded by screens showing film clips of glamorous heroines dancing in the rain in fabulously glittering costumes.

They were captivated by the bright colors, the emotions, the exotic and energetic choreography and the gloriously triumphant happy endings. Over a chicken tikka and a Kingfisher lager, the idea for "Bollywood Show" was born.

"This booming industry has provided us with the perfect platform to produce a truly dynamic feel-good production that is full of color, spectacle, music and dance," says Brady.

The show premiered in Australia in 2005 to rave reviews, and an ecstatic audience response.

The Times said: "Their energy is electrifying, their movements suffused with a rush of joy." The Manchester Evening News regarded the show as "the most exhilarating musical" that year.

The show received the same overwhelming reactions in New Zealand, Zurich and Berlin, with much stamping of feet, wild dancing in the aisles, with people of all ages never wanting the magic to end.

The show features more than 40 Bollywood performers on stage, 20 behind the scenes, 1,200 costumes and 2,500 pieces of Indian jewelry in a production destined to travel the world for years to come.

"Never before has India or the Hindi film industry been represented on stage with such passion," says Brady.

The key word of this production is "authentic," for this show has been created at the heart of Bollywood, one of the world's largest and most prolific film industries. The statistics are staggering - more than 800 films are produced each year; 15 million tickets are sold each day.

The creative team behind the show are some of the most renowned artists in today's Hindi film industry.

The highly acclaimed and award-winning choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant is the heartbeat of the show and the brilliant musical score from Salim and Sulaiman Merchant provides the life blood for this powerful life-enhancing experience.

The actors are all major players on stage and screen. The dancers have performed in the best of recent Bollywood movies including "Lagaan," "Dhoom" ("Uproar"), "Paheli" ("Riddle"), "Bunty Aur Babli" ("Bunty and Babli"), "Rang De Basanti" ("Paint It Saffron"), "Krrish" and most recently the hit film "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" ("Never Say Good Bye").

The costume, hair and makeup artists have been hand-picked to recreate the legendary gorgeous Bollywood visions on stage and to carry out the whirlwind costume and hair changes backstage.

"Our family has been producing shows for 40 years and we are proud to announce that we are the first to bring this story and spectacle to the world stage," says Brady.

Date: October 5-17, 7:15pm

Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 180-880 yuan

Tel: 6854-1234


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