Bollywood Blast 2014 is a Hit


Rhythm India’s contemporary styled performance of the song “Bahara” got rave reviews from the audience for its choreography and beautiful costumes. Photos: Navin Mediwala

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By Vanshika Vipin

HOUSTON: The skies cleared up for Miller Outdoor to host yet another Bollywood Blast on the traditional Sunday of the Labor Day Weekend. In the Eighth year of being presented by Samskriti, Bollywood Blast 2014 was directed by Arzan Gonda of Rhythm India Bollywood Dance Company in collaboration with AK Lodi Films.


Samsrkiti, under the leadership of Dr. Rathna Kumar has been associated with Indian flavored shows at the grand Miller outdoor theatre for a long time. Shows like ‘Incredible India’ and ‘Bollywood Blast’ have attracted diverse crowds to appreciate the culture of India. 2014 also marks 20 years of Samskriti’s establishment in Houston. Consistent with the previous years, the Miller Outdoor Theatre was packed to the top of the hill to witness this popular event.


Bollywood Blast 2014 opened to a great applause precisely at 8.00 PM on August 31, with a movie about a guy called Raj auditioning for a lead role in Bollywood but gets rejected by the choreographer and the director because he cannot dance. In comes the family, its Bollywood after all, to plead the director. Raj is given a new lease of life as he is told to return in 2 weeks for another audition. This is where the journey begins in an epic Indian street vehicular icon – the Rickshaw. Raj and his family get on this magic rickshaw and fly back into time for a ride down memory lane via different eras of Bollywood dancing and its evolution through the past decades.

The first act carries us to the golden years of Bollywood when western and classical Indian influences were found far and wide in movies. Raj’s grandmother guides them through this era as we are treated to an elaborate costume arrangement from that period. Rhythm India’s dancers are choreographed well in the execution of classics like “Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu”, “Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua”, “Ina Meena Deeka”, “Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe… Yahoo”. The classical influence then takes over with a jugalbandhi of Kathak and Bharatnatyam on “Dheem Tana De” followed by folk Bollywood with Bhangra (Hadippa), Lavani (Chikni Chameli) and Garba (Nagada Sang Dhol). The seventies and eighties in Bollywood were synonymous with the advent of Disco. Foot tapping numbers like “I am a disco dancer”, “Bachna E haseeno”, Laila Mein Laila got the Miller Theatre audience going as the segment ended with a Madhuri Dixit medley with songs like “Dhak Dhak” and “Chane Ke Khet mein”.


Like all Bollywood movies, there was an intermission after the first act. Houston’s young and desi Rap artist Yash P performed during the break and kept the audience entertained.

The 90’s opened up the second act. Arguably the mot romantic era of Bollywood was well represented on the stage by dances to “Are re are ye Kya Hua” (Dil to Pagal Hai), “Tu Cheez Badi hai mast mast”, Salman Khan’s famous number “O O Jaane Jaana” and “Koi Mil Gaya” from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The millennium then turned on the stage as energetic dances represented the 2000’s. The stage came alive with dances to popular songs like “Balam Pichkari”, “Dilliwali Girlfriend”, “Battameez Dil” and kids finishing up with “Sunny Sunny” and “Besharam”. Rhythm India’s contemporary styled performance of the song “Bahara” got rave reviews from the audience for its choreography and beautiful costumes.


Lately, item numbers have been a big hit in Bollywood movies. How could Bollywood Blast 2014 have shunned these pretty peppy ladies. The Cabaret / Item Girl Medley featured “Yeh Mera Dil” from Don; the current hit “Baby Doll” and “Sheila Ki Jawani”. The word Bollywood has its root in Bombay (now Mumbai) and the influence of street style dancing in movies cannot be understated. Rhythm India’s young dancers performed the ‘tapori’ style numbers on songs like “tattad tattad” and “tune maari entry” from Gundaay – this song had about forty people on stage.

This brought us to the finale of a fun filled and entertaining evening. The ultimate aim of Bollywood dancing is to have fun and what better to end it with “Dhating Naach”. Naach is dance in Hindi but it’s the word “Dhating” that is undefined – in street colloquialism, “Dhating” means fun, it also means without thinking or with full energy. Dance of infinite energy it was as about 150 dancers along with the actors took to the stage in this finale; even the magic rickshaw was there.


For a well-executed show, Director/Choreographer Arzan Gonda thanked all the sponsors, media partners, her own team including Rachna Oak – the backstage manager who ensured that everything ran like clockwork. In Arzan’s own words “This show has been a labor of love. I am extremely grateful to the wonderful team of dedicated dancers, filmmakers, our film director, actors, back stage managers, technicians and volunteers who have all gone above and beyond of what was expected of them. With over 150 plus performers and over 1000 costumes straight from India, the coordination and team work has been crucial in making this production come to life.”

For the past eight years, every Bollywood Blast has brought its own unique charm and personality. This year’s show combined film and on-stage performances weaving a story line that took us back with nostalgia and ended with ‘dhamaal’. Thank you Samskriti and Thank you Arzan Gonda, the audience of Bollywood Blast 2014 really had a blast – ekdum Bollywood style.