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The Bollywood live spectacular steams into London
This latest entertainment spectacular by sisters Shruti and Vaibhavi Merchant lands at the Peacock in an explosion of twirling hands, banging drums and billowing fabrics. It’s sort of a jukebox musical, sort of a film-within-a-play – ‘Taj Express’ being a Bollywood film in the making. The hero is its young composer Shankar (Mikhail Sen), who dreams of emulating the glories of his hero AR Rahman (who wrote the music for Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’). Unfortunately, he has a surly guitarist, tyrannical director and endless script re-writes to contend with.
The Bollywood numbers are pulse-quickening stuff: spirited, high-tempo and led fantastically by the film’s stars, Arjun and Kareena (Hiten Shah and Tanvi Patil). Bollywood aficionados will laugh at the satirical digs at India’s mammoth film industry; everyone will groan at the panto-esque gags and unneeded topical references to Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. But while Tony Gough’s story is undeniably flimsy and hackneyed, there’s no point getting too hung up on the mortar between the bricks: it’s the singing and dancing everybody’s here for. And by the time the encore came around, the aisles were filled with audience members, clapping their hands and stamping their feet.