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The Merchants Of Bollywood at Sadlers Wells

First Published 26 May 2016, Last Updated 6 June 2018

What’s it all about?

The Merchants Of Bollywood tells the story of the last of a dynasty of choreographers, Ayesha Merchant, who ran away from her Rajansthani home to Film City in Mumbai to become one Bollywood’s most highly acclaimed choreographers. Disillusioned with the commercialism of modern films, Ayesha returns home in the hope of reconciling with her grandfather, a master of traditional sacred dance. Offering a rollercoaster history of Bollywood via a string of high-octane performances, the show celebrates Indian dance culture in all its technicolour glory.

Who’s in it?

International dance sensation Carol Furtado plays Ayesha, who glides from style to style with effortless grace, while renowned film star Denzil Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Lunchbox) adds gravitas to the role of guru Shantilal. Not to mention a cast of 40 unbelievably energetic performers with seemingly liquid limbs and possibly the biggest smiles on the West End.

What should I look out for?

The precision with which the cast perform each movement, right down to the twirl of a wrist. Blink and you’ll miss them. Also some delightful moments of poetry in the script, which remind you of the sacred origins of Indian dance. Oh, and some very affectionate mockery of modern Bollywood stereotypes.

In a nutshell?

Classical meets contemporary in this breathtakingly energetic Indian dance spectacular.

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Will I like it?

The show is littered with references to classic Bollywood films, so it’s bound to be a favourite for hardcore fans. But even if it’s your first experience of Bollywood, you can’t help but get swept up in the dazzling whirl of colour and glitter on stage. I defy you not to smile. 

The Merchants of Bollywood plays at the Peacock Theatre until 11 June. You can book tickets via the official website.


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