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Interview with Bollywood choreographer Rajeev Goswami

1 April 2015 Laura Stevens

London Calling is very excited to catch Beyond Bollywood at the London Palladium, coming all the way from Mumbai to the UK. The West End will be hosting the sold out musical, and we had a chat with the producer, choreographer and director, Rajeev Goswami.

London Calling: What is Beyond Bollywood?

Rajeev Goswami: Beyond Bollywood is a musical with a lot of Indian folk and Bollywood dances. There’s a beautiful storyline to it where the daughter is on the mission to finish her mother’s dream – it’s an exciting and fun musical to watch.

There’s a lot of humour, tragedy, drama, light singing, acting – it’s a whole package. It’s a one-stop shop for India.

LC: You conceived, directed, choreographed and produced Beyond Bollywood! How did you manage all these different roles?

RG: As you know I come from the land of Bollywood and cricket, these are the two biggest entertainments in India. The musical theatre industry is not huge in India, so when I took up this project and conceived it, there was a lot of hard work!

It took me a lot of time to convince people to believe that this concept came from India. It’s very challenging, because not many people are aware of this musical culture in India – yet!

There were also challenges because the investment part of it is huge!

It’s an expensive production so the obstacles were how would I see it through.

LC: How did you get this new musical off the ground?

RG: God was kind to us and everything started falling in to place and we started finding the right people! When you know you have a team that was working so selflessly, you are able to put things together.

There was lots of research and development and now eventually here we are!

LC: How have you adapted the show for a London audience? What differences do you expect from the Mumbai crowd?

RG: Well, Mumbai audiences are mostly Bollywood moviegoers and cricket watchers, so the challenge was to perform to an audience who aren’t usually into theatres.

So that was a challenge that we had to bring in the audience and then make sure they enjoyed it, yelled, cheered, shouted and danced, that was a task. But, fortunately I have a very strong team, lovely performers and very enthusiastic dancers and we got the audience totally involved with the show and they were dancing.

For the London audience, the challenge is to make them believe that a musical of this nature could be produced in India. Here there are some lovely musicals like Wicked and The Lion King, so the challenge is to live up to the standard and take it at least two notches up

LC: What can a London audience expect from the show?  

RG: What we’re bringing to the people here is everything in one show. We have live music, we have live singing, we have dancing, we have costumes, we have colours, we have folk music – music that you have never experienced before.

So everything in one show! It really involves the audience and is a very fast paced show – there’s so much variety in terms of costume, in terms of music, in terms of dance.

People are going to say “Oh wow”, so much variety was never seen on one stage before!

Beyond Bollywood is at the London Palladium 8 May – 27 June. For tickets visit their website

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