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Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Show goes on for Bollywood play
 The cast of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan
The cast have been helped to find alternative props

Performers in a Bollywood-style stage production at the Edinburgh Fringe festival have opened their show as billed - despite losing the set.

The group of 160 performers actors and dancers of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan mislaid their elaborate props on the way from India to Scotland.

But - in the spirit of showbusiness - the cast and venue, the Traverse theatre, ensured it was full steam ahead on the first night by constructing a makeshift set out of hospital screens.


There should be a cast of about 110 but we have 11 actors who play many characters as well as props including trees

Director Sanjoy Roy

Its Delhi-based director Sanjoy Roy, of Teamwork Films, was philosophical about the play's set loss.

"We arrived at the airport to find only one suitcase waiting for us but the theatre has been brilliant about helping out with a new set. It's been put together with bits and bobs," he said.

"We are just trying to ignore the fact that it is as tacky as hell. The audience has not commented on it at all, probably because it is so horrific."

Complex

Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan, which roughly translates as I Love Bombay, is one of a number of Indian performances at the Fringe this year.

It draws on the themes popular in the Bollywood films of the 1970s.

Written by Sohaila Kapur, it is a tale of boy meets girl, they fall in love, someone does not want them to marry, followed by a dramatic bomb blast, all mingled with happy songs.

 The cast of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan
The production involves lots of singing and dancing

But where Bollywood films are known to run for up to four hours, the complex story for Ye Hai has been condensed down to just over 90 minutes.

"There should be a cast of about 110 but we have 11 actors who play many characters as well as props including trees," joked Mr Roy.

Although Mr Roy knew of the growing popularity of Indian films he was at first sceptical about putting on a Bollywood spectacular so soon after the opening of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bombay Dreams.

"When I first saw the script I thought 'we can't do this' because of Bombay Dreams.

"But the theatre was very keen on staging it I said we could have it ready for 2003. But they wanted it for this year.

"I was wary about putting it on because it was nowhere near ready but the theatre was taking a leap of faith so I decided to, and after six weeks of rehearsals here we are."

Glossy

Mr Roy is excited about Bollywood finally breaking on to the world stage.

"People are realising the glitz and colour that can be found in Bollywood films and it is having a positive effect on the industry," he said.

"There is a huge appetite for films in India and now that international sales are soaring films are getting glossier as well as better marketed.

"But I don't think there is a danger of Bollywood pandering to western tastes because it still has to satisfy its home market.

"It is probably one of the only industries which is not threatened by Hollywood because it is does not need its money."

Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan is showing at the Traverse theatre.

Coverage of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival from BBC News Online

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01 Aug 02 | Entertainment
01 Aug 02 | Entertainment
16 Jul 02 | Entertainment
07 Aug 02 | Entertainment
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