Bollywood prepares to invade China!

By Hindustan Times

An Indian musical set to the tune of Hindi, Tamil and Marathi film songs is set make a rare if brief debut on national broadcaster China Central Television’s (CCTV) prestigious New Year eve’s programme, usually watched by millions across the country. The Taj Express, with a running time
on stage of more than one-and-half hours, revolves around the tried and tested theme of a love story between a poor boy and rich girl.

But for director and producer Shruti Merchant, the musical should give the Chinese audience a taste of what India never seems to get enough of — music, song and dance usually revolving around the theme of love.

Through the musical, viewers will also get a glimpse of India as the fictitious train — the Taj Express — chugs from Mumbai to Agra via cities in South India and then Varanasi and Lucknow.

Many in China continue to have fond memories of Raj Kapoor’s Awara — especially the title song — and recently the Life of Pi with Indian actors and themes made a splash.

Four shows of Taj Express have been held in China till now. At least 25 shows are planned across China till the beginning of February.

The response, says Merchant, was encouraging. “At the end of the show, many from the audience came on to the stage, started dancing. We had translations, so the audience understood the plot; cried and laughed as the show went on,” Merchant — the younger sister of well-known Bollywood choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant — said at the end of a press preview held at the Embassy of India in Beijing on Thursday.

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