Sunday, 30 April 2006


What to say about Bharati? Well as photography was banned you have to look at the picture gallery here for photos of the show and here for a video and the main song.

I did enjoy the spectacle, the musicians and singers were superb and I don't think I've ever seen better filmi dancing. Bhavna Pani is excellent as Bharati; Gagan Malik makes a handsome Siddharta, though he only gets a couple of dance numbers; Rahul Vohre (who was in Monsoon Wedding and Swades) does a good job as narrator.

But. The plot (allegedly based on the film Swades) is rubbish - not that I was expecting Great Literature but it's basically boy (NRI) meets girl (adopted daughter of Domraja), girl is to be the subject of an arranged marriage, boy overcomes father's opposition (quite how is unclear, unless it's because he seems to become a Bollywood actor at one point) and ends up being allowed to marry girl - and off they go on their honeymoon in an autorickshaw.

The whole thing smacks of someone sitting down and making a list of what the world knows of India and then cramming it all into a show: yoga, meditation (audience gets to do "ommmm" or as they spell it in French "aum"!), holi, Kathakali dancers, kalaripayat (martial art), non-violence, Mallakhamb acrobatics, cricket, making Bollywood movies, a wedding.... only 3 common clich├ęs were missing: snake charmers, hijra and the Taj Mahal. The programme says it is "an Indian spectacle created in Bombay". Well the producer (Gashash Deshe), who apparently got the idea for an India-themed show after seeing certain Irish and Brazilian ones, is a Belgian-born Israeli citizen currently living in Brussels, although of course he did put the show together in India. It was first shown in Israel, for an Indian take on that show, see here and here.

I am being churlish, after all why not rush about from Varanasi to Rajasthan to Kerala to Punjab, via (a dream sequence in) Khajuraho...? It's a good excuse for some excellent singing and dancing, and as a whole it's hugely colourful, entertaining and well-executed. I had a good time.


At 30/4/06 09:48, Blogger Kayanush said...



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