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A Bollywood Rainbow Over Miller

NAACH

Photos: Navin Mediwala

By Malay Vyas

HOUSTON: Naach Houston painted a rainbow of Bollywood in Broadway colors over the Miller Outdoor Theatre on night of Sunday, April 24. The rains had just left the Houston area and Naach stole the thunder with ‘Bollywood Broadway’, produced in collaboration with India House. Col. Vipin Kumar, the executive director of India House warmed up the audience with a welcome speech and the art of Bollywood was once again on display at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Naach Style.

Directed & Conceptualized by Naach Houston’s founder and Artistic Director Mahesh Mahbubani.      The title Bollywood Broadway, Both Bollywood and Broadway share their roots in the genre of musical theatre using global dance forms. Broadway is located in the Western world whereas Bollywood is a global melting pot of the world, with its essence being truly Indian, a reflection of Mahesh whose professional background and dance experience is international and yet truly Bollywood in essence.

The Larger than life dance production was lavish and elegant with breathtaking Visuals, an eclectic mix of sound design, with complex choreography created by Mahesh Mahbubani into a magical theatrical experience, transporting the viewer into another realm of being.

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Mahesh and The Naach Faculty comprised of 6 talented choreographers and instructors, Anita Vyas, Shah Ahmed, Star Gilani, Zohair Alam, Nirju Tailor and Disha Sapna Thadani worked with over 70 performers of diverse age groups, culminated into a visual treat for the eyes, synchronized perfectly with acoustics pleasing to the ears, while carrying an emotional appeal to the viewers’ hearts at all times.

The Overture – the curtain raised to feature a court scene with the King and Queen played by Anil Rana & Marcela Bodeya, symbolizing a new empire of Naach to Azeem O shah Shahenshah followed by foot thumping ‘Malhari’ from the movie ‘Bajirao Mastani’, setting the entire stage ablaze with electric energy.

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Act 1 -The Juke Box, showcasing diversity in Bollywood. This act included three sections displaying various dance styles from Disco to Latin, Folk, Indo Jazz and Hip Hop.  Christopher Rangel stole the audiences’ heart by a very vibrant performance to ‘Tharki Chhokro’ from the movie PK accompanied by the Naach Performers.

Act 2 – An Ode To Romance, depicted the 4 stages of love- Friendship, Romance, Yearning and Union. This section opened with Shah Ahmed in a bicycle across the stage to woo Disha Thadani in the flirty ‘Tukur Tukur’, followed by a mischievous group piece led by Zohair Alam and Prita Kapoor.

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Ode to romance featured our very own King of Romance at Naach –  Zohair Alam, his Duet with Nirju Tailor was one of the highlights of this act. The Aerial Act in this duet was sponsored by Fenyx Arts performed elegantly by Nirju Tailor to the music of Gerua, Zohair’s end pose elicited shouts of ‘Shah Rukh’ from the audience.

Maestro Mahesh Mahbubani himself featuring in the heart-rending song ‘Aayat’ epitomized Naach’s rich repertoire of Contemporary dances. Mahesh’s dance inspired by the whirling dervishes and Kathak in a spell bound performance, moving the audience to tears. He danced gracefully with such effortlessness, gliding like an ethereal being through space.

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The finale of ode to romance was a beautiful dance work called Sufi mix symbolizing love as devotion performed by the Naach Instructors.

The third act titled ‘Apsara Lounge’ was dedicated to the goddesses of Bollywood featuring the classical style in contemporary India,  ‘Deewani Mastani’ led by beautiful performer Star Gilani, a heavenly vista of celestial dancers in a five layered gold costume and intricate dance formations, this breathtaking number was followed by ‘Ang Lagaa De’ a highly sensual and poetic rendition of the goddess in human form. Zoya Gilani wowed the audiences with her mesmerizing performance of the Kathak special ‘Mohe Rang Do Laal’ to conclude this act.

The final act Utsav, a celebration of dances from the festivals of India. Naach performers got the audience going with ‘Mast Kalandar’ building the excitement with ‘Nagada Sang Dhol’ from Ram Leela and the Bhangra-Hip Hop track Nache Farhate to bring the house down. The audience was treated to an epic finale with all the Naach dancers on stage, led by Mahesh Mahbubani dancing to the popular high-energy track ‘Gallan Goodiyan’ inspiring the audience to dance as well.

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Arif Memon of DMMS designed the light with Mahesh Mahbubani to create stunning visuals transforming the Miller Outdoor Theatre. Back Stage Manager Shefali Jhaveri and Malay Vyas did an amazing job cueing the performers, and stage properties creating a seamless flow to the performance.

Naach would like to thank their sponsors, Manish Rungta, Larrissa and Ajay Sharma and St Luke’s Hospital for their generous support in investing in local Talent.

The rainbow over Miller eventually faded leaving the colors of Naach imprinted on in the minds of the audiences. Naach had once again enthralled the audiences for 90 minutes nonstop, raising the bar of Bollywood Performances in Houston. There will be more shows to come and more rain storms as well, but a unique combination of a visually moving show with a range of global dance styles will be remembered and cherished for a long time. As someone in the audience pointed out… “Whenever there is rain, bring on Naach”.

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