Did you see the Academy Award-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire”? If so, you probably remember the closing scene, when the entire cast meets on a train platform and dances to the featured song, Jai Ho! Maybe you even got up and joined in on the festivities before the credits began to roll. Although made by a British director, this romantic drama was influenced by India’s Bollywood films and included several well-known Bollywood actors in the cast.
While the cinema of India is very rich and diverse, Bollywood remains one of the largest film producers in the country. Beginning in 1913, the Hindi film industry in Bombay (aka Bollywood) found inspiration in ancient Indian epic dramas and traditions as well as Hollywood musicals. Over the years, it became a requirement for Bollywood films to contain catchy music (also called filmi) and a handful of dance numbers sprinkled throughout the picture. The beautifully choreographed dance sequences often reflect a cultural blend of classical Indian dance styles with western dance, and the musical lyrics are often a comment on the action of the plot.
Costume is also an extremely important element of Bollywood films. Because many of the dance scenes are meant to be dream-like, the costumes usually take on a fantastical look, reflecting a mixture of traditional dress, like the sari and sharara, with the latest fashion trends. In the last few decades, the costume designers behind Bollywood’s colorful and exquisite fashions have begun setting the tone for street style in Southeast Asia and beyond.
With Bollywood’s energetic dance sequences, memorable music, and beguiling costumes, it’s no wonder this art form has captured the imagination of Indian and non-Indian audiences for generations. I mean, who wouldn’t want to perform in a Bollywood dance number?
So, we’d like to invite you to live out your Bollywood fantasy right here at The Ringling. To herald the opening of The Ringling’s center for Asian art, RIAF 2015 is presenting the vibrant work of performers expressing the many cultures of Asia. On Thursday, October 15th join fellow patrons and artists in the Museum of Art Courtyard for Bollywood Dreams, a cultural celebration where East meets West. Singer, choreographer, and dynamic entertainer DJ Prashant will be your host for the evening, and his one simple agenda is the creation of an enticing, engaging and memorable celebration. Now you too can dance to an irresistible blend of the world’s greatest dance beats as DJ Prashant transforms RIAF Opening Night into a full-fledged Bollywood dance party.
Your Opening Night ticket will include a champagne welcome, one Opening Night performance, Bollywood Dreams in the Courtyard with hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, soft drinks, and of course the annual RIAF fireworks display. Buy your tickets on Ringling.org, and I’ll see you there!