Posts Tagged ‘Musical Extravaganza’

 For- Vancouver Sun

Expect high-energy at musical extravaganza, says Bollywood choreographer

 
By Deborah Meyers, Special to The Sun April 2, 2013
 

  ‘Dance guru’ Davar Shiamak cranks up the voltage at the Times of India Film Awards
 

New Bollywood marries classical styles like Bharata Natyam and Kathak, or folk dances like Bhangra with western genres like contemporary, jazz and hip hop.

When the lights go down and the music starts at the inaugural Times of India Film Awards in Vancouver on Saturday, the place will be crammed with Bollywood celebrities. But don’t expect the proceedings to begin with a monologue. This may be the Academy Awards of Bollywood cinema, but the film industry it celebrates is all about song, and especially dance. Both the awards ceremony, and the musical extravaganza that precedes it tonight, will be defined by large-scale production numbers devised by Shiamak Davar, an A-list Bollywood choreographer who divides his time between Mumbai and Vancouver.

“TOIFA is an extension of the cultural exchange that has been taking place between Canada and India for years now,” says Davar, reached in Mumbai where he is putting the finishing touches on elaborate dance acts that will erupt on both stages. Participating B.C. dancers — many of them members of the Shiamak Davar Dance Team, the professional wing of his North Vancouver dance school affiliated with a string of international Shiamak style dance schools, including centres in Victoria and Toronto — are concurrently in rehearsal in Vancouver.

Davar, who serves as both director of choreography and design for the Vancouver events (and will perform himself in a single number on each evening), is widely credited with re-positioning Bollywood dance for an international market.

“When I started off 20 years ago,” he said, “Bollywood dance did not have a structure. The first movie I choreographed went on to win a national award, and introduced jazz technique to Bollywood. It was a first for Indian cinema to have properly choreographed pieces with dancers who were trained and had fit bodies. This movie — Dil Toh Pagal Hai — is considering a turning point for dance in Bollywood movies.”

A marker of his success is the fact that the term Bollywood now refers to a dance style, as well as to the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai. One of the largest centres of film production in the world, Indian popular cinema has multiple roots in the culture: ancient epics and Sanskrit dramas, traditional folk theatre, and especially Parsi theatre, with its melodramatic plot lines and use of elaborate stagecraft to conjure a unique brew of realism and fantasy. Hollywood musicals and Western musical television, especially MTV, with its focus on pace, camera angles and octane-fuelled dance sequences, have also shaped the form.

The influence goes both ways. Australian director Baz Luhrman (son of a ballroom dance teacher) has said that his 2001 film Moulin Rouge was directly inspired by Bollywood musicals. That film led to a revival of the Western musical film genre with movies like Chicago, Dream Girls and Mamma Mia!

If old Bollywood dance was modelled on classical styles like Bharata Natyam and Kathak, or folk dances like Bhangra, the new Bollywood marries those older forms with western genres like contemporary, jazz and hip hop. The structure is usually a hero or heroine with a troupe of backup dancers, supported by frequently shifting staging and costumes that are almost baroque in their embellishments.

The old and the new meet in defining themes: star-crossed lovers, dramatic reversals of fortune, kind-hearted courtesans. Florid to some, timeless to others, it depends how you look at it. “It’s about interpreting the emotion of a particular scene through dance movements,” says Davar.

The choreographer, known as a “dance guru” in India for his work on television reality shows like Dance Ke Superstars (Superstars of Dance), Jhala Dikhla Ja (Dancing with the Stars), Dance Premier League and India’s Got Talent, is no stranger to large-scale undertakings. He has directed, designed and performed at events like the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010) and The World Economic Forum Davos (2006), and was the designer and choreographer for the Indian International Film Academy Awards for ten consecutive years (2002 to 2011.)

But the first Times of India Film Awards is special to him, uniting two cities to which he has deep connections.

“It’s like inviting my friends and family from India to beautiful Vancouver”, he says. What do Western audiences need to know to understand Bollywood dance? Not a thing, according to Davar. “Just feel the music and dance,” he says. “The audience will be in for a lot of high energy and high voltage performances.”

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The Vancouver Sun

By Larissa Cahute, Postmedia News April 5, 2013
 
// Times of India Film Awards get Bollywood-style kick-off in Vancouver
 

Shiamak Davar (centre) is pictured at the Times of India Film Awards Musical Extravaganza opener at the Pacific Coliseum on April 4.

Photograph by: Aziz Dhamani , Special to The Sun

The extravagant Bollywood lifestyle has officially taken over Vancouver.

Amidst the bright lights, vibrant colours – and even fire – was, of course, the Hindi film industry’s trademark song and dance from their top performers and singers, who all came together for the Times of India Film Awards’ impressive kick-off event.

Thursday night’s Musical Extravaganza at the Pacific Coliseum erupted with intense and deafening cheers from the crowd as Indian actress Neha Dhupia, known for roles in the 2004 Bollywood film Julie and 2008 Singh is Kinng, first took the stage.

The glamorous Dhupia, host of the premier event, officially welcomed Bollywood fans from across the globe to the first-ever TOIFA.

“Welcome to the most happening musical extravaganza of the year,” she shouted to the crowd, encouraging them to “burn the dance floor.”

The actress and 2002 Femina Miss India embodied the perfect image for Vancouver’s dive into Bollywood culture: dressed head to toe in a sleek, black salwar kameez with glittering gold trim and jewellry.

But Dhupia didn’t waste much time as she quickly introduced the evening’s first performer – or “guru,” as she excitedly put it.

“The choreographer who can sweep you off your feet with his voice,” she said, introducing world-renowned choreographer Shiamak Davar.

There was nothing more fitting to set the tone than Davar’s exuberant personality and signature Bollywood style – which has transcended borders, spawning dance studios in Vancouver, Toronto and right across the world.

But Thursday night wasn’t just a song and dance performance for Davar – he’s been devoting countless hours to the inaugural TOIFA weekend directing both the Musical Extravaganza and the grand awards ceremony Saturday night.

But he went back to basics at the Pacific Coliseum, starting out with a slow and solemn one man show with his song Jaane Kisne.

Usually surrounded by a throng of dancers, the spotlight was just on Davar in a trim black suit.

But he was soon joined by two scantilly clad dancers who performed alongside the seductive beat, Davar almost serenading them.

Naturally his second number picked up the pace and he was joined by his throng of colourfully dressed dancers for some upbeat songs and friendly crowd banter.

“I know I’m not Shahrukh Khan,” he joked, adding that he’s still “sexy.”

Next to take the stage was Shalmali Kholgade, playback singer from Mumbai who won this year’s Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her song Pareshaan from the 2012 movie Ishaqzaade starring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra.

So of course she opened with the award-winning number, surrounded by a sea of dancers swaying to the mystical start of the song.

But the temperature quickly rose as the beat picked up and the dancers began to move – the bursting flames may have also helped bring the heat.

The night’s third performer touted some hometown pride with Canadian born singer – from Ottawa, but raised in Paris – Abbas Hasan.

Hasan’s short and sweet performance switched up the Bollywood vibe as his one man show delivered some westernized hip-hop with his latest single Away right into his debut single Sona.

The concert then took a complete turn as Dhupia introduced “the party queen” -British Indian rapper and hip-hop artist Hard Kaur.

Surrounded by a clan of dancers, Hard Kaur offered an abrupt twist with her intense and harsh beats – like her latest single Peeney Do, boasting offbeat lyrics of “I need a drink” and “if I get out of control it’s not me it’s the alcohol.”

But after her few songs of rugged dance and hip-hop, it was a 360 right back to the Bollywood romantic ballads, with – as Dhupia put it – “the prince of romance,” Mohit Chauhan.

The two time Filmfare Award winner for Best Male Playback Singer brought the crowd back to a calm state with his acoustic set, opening with old favourite, Dooba Dooba, which shot him to fame in his since dissolved band Silk Route.

Even with his laid back acoustic vibe, he managed to joke with and get the crowd to sing along with him.

And the atmosphere continued as Dhupia introduced “the queen of good times,” Kavita Seth.

“Her music is going to touch your soul,” said Dhupia.

And the Filmfare Award winning singer’s voice alone did so, as she opened with an a capella number, her vocals dominating the entire stadium, before she went into her infamous song Ik Tara.

While most performers had brief stints on stage, they all managed to get in their appreciation for the grand event and how pleased they are to be right here in Vancouver.

And Dhupia of course continued to maintain the crowds’ excitement for Saturday’s grand awards ceremony which will bring the extravagant weekend-long event to a close – but undoubtedly with a bang.