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What do you fancy? Sex, satire or sitcom? Folk-funk fusion? Mumbai politics? Bollywood beefcakes? It’s all here, as the Edinburgh festivals go mad for Indian culture. Words: Paul Dale
y the very definition of its name,
: Bollywood is the Indian - well, Bombay
" anyway — equivalent of its Californian
"’ (almost) namesake. Where Hollywood
has always been synonymous with white
powder, glass tables and naive starlets
from the midwest, the Indo-supergenre
has always been about music,
movement, cheese-ball comedy, colour,
love and a will to usurp powerful censorship laws with metaphorical descriptions of sex.
Take any cinema billboard chart in the world and you will find a Bollywood movie in a poll position. It is perhaps now time for the first world to realise that, against all the odds, it is losing the imperial cinematic war to the third. Unless you are blind, deaf, stupid or living on the Planet Redneck you will have noticed that everyone is going Bollywood crazy. And, as is the way with these things, the Edinburgh festival in all its many facets is playing catch-up.
If you are about to purchase a ticket for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest assault on culture, Bombay Dreams, then please don’t: the real action is in Edinburgh this August. Fringe shows do not come much bigger than Sohaila Kapur’s
18 THE LIST 18 Jul—l Aug 2002
Yeh Hai Mum/mi Mari Juan. Written two years ago (before the Webber opus. which was written. coincidentally. by Sohaila's brother. Shekhar). this huge musical will be staged at the Traverse ( 6—] 1 Aug. times vary).
The production. with a ten—strong cast. is the theatres first ever play to be commissioned outside of the L'K and is a Bollywood screen pot—boiler transposed to the stage. Set in the 1970s and written in contemporary Hinglish. the play draws a portrait of the city of Mumbai. It touches on themes of politics and corruption. socialism and trade unionism and of course love and sex in that way that the Bollywood inspired truly can. Best of all. the sweet voiced Priyanka Bose and the excellent lsha Anand star. Book now, for this is bound to be one of the hottest tickets at the festival.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival earns its Bollyweird credentials with a celebration of the work of Indian beefcake Shah Rukh Khan. Still only in his 30s. Khan is Bollywood royalty. In his own country he is as big as Tom Cruise. You may know him from the widely distributed Asoka in the title role as the violent prince who became a remorseful Buddhist. Or if you do get to see Lloyd Webber‘s
It touches on politics and corruption, love and sex in that way that Bollywood can