Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bollywood 2008 Extravaganza

Abhishek Bachchan was everywhere on Friday night at Nassau Coliseum: walking through the windows of the stage surrounded by bodyguards; soaring above the crowd on a platform emphasizing women and serenading; rapper, in a red leather jacket, with the duo Vishal - Shekhar; current scene to hug his wife, actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, while she made please to the public on sustainable development.

All this movement, and yet she could not quite overcome the long shadow cast by his father, Amitabh, a veteran of more than 150 films. He worked half disk that his son, but the focal point clears of the unforgettable Tour, a four-hour song and dance and most extraordinary featuring several stars of Indian cinema.

There is no American equivalent of this show, in which the actors, joined by dozens of dancers, recreating numbers popular film music. Here, all the talents - acting, singing, dancing - are equal. Well, not always singing in most Bollywood films, the voices are provided by reading the singers while the stars on the screen lip-sync.

And so has most performances here, making it an extravagant yet curiously chosen case. For a large part of the exhibition - most of whose solo series of lithe actress Preity Zinta, who was dressed as a drum, and energetic comic actor Riteish Deshmukh, who, during the theme song of the film "Cash", danced in front too awkwardly $ 100 - the crowd responded as if they were watching a film: seated, silent consideration.

These performances have also been saddled with a contrived intimacy. Actors had jumped off the screen on stage, but are still at a remove. Success requires the removal of the veneer unattainability. This was done best by Madhuri Dixit, the oldest women performers, who is also the most graceful and subtle, its performance with Ms. Rai Bachchan, in a dance routine from "Devdas", was one of the night's most stirring.

Curiously, some of the most enthusiastically received performances were also less traditional. Vishal-Shekhar, a young duo better known for his work progressive band that dabbles in hip-hop, were enthusiastic, especially on "Deewangi Deewangi", "Om Shanti Om." They also played with an orchestra, upending the issue formality.

Although the musicians remained on stage for Amitabh Bachchan the first solo series, they were less accordingly. His appearance was more an exercise in collective memory of an excellent performance. A star of stratospheric proportions, it was celebrated with hagiographical video and voice-overs. ( "Even the way he made an impact." "They APED his hairstyle.") The young Mr. Bachchan made one of his father's best-known routines, "Don", while images of the film flashed on a screen behind him.

With a silver goatee and short dark hair, the elder Mr. Bachchan cut a figure August. But he, too, has not been immune from pick pocketing inheritance. Towards the end of the show in a segment that was part oral performance, part "Inside the Actors Studio", he discussed his own parents with emotion. First, he recited a few lines of "Agneepath, "A poem by his father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, who was, he says," written to inspire the Indians. "(Friday was the 61 th anniversary of India's independence.)

Then he talked about his mother, who died last year and has slipped into his character of the film "Deewaar," who prays for his mother's health. As Mr. Bachchan delivered the lines, has increased its voice deep, medium and unlikely raspy. And then just as quickly as it had begun, he broke back to normal and was greeted with the night's most heartfelt ovation. On a night full of carefully choreographed moments, this flagrant act explosion also proved to be the most authentic.