Glamourous, cultural and hilarious, the Leeds South Asian society’s ‘Fusion’ The Bollywood Show really delivered on its promise of being one of the biggest and most entertaining productions of the year. The society aims to celebrate all things South Asian, and their show did exactly that.
I was initially a little worried by the warning the presenters gave that some of the non-Asiatic members of the crowd would fail to understand the inside jokes of the show. Thankfully, the event managed to find a balance that educated ‘outsiders’ without failing to be amusing.
Fusion kicked off with a dance solo followed by a fashion show. Eastern fashions from neighbouring cities (apparently Bradford is a popular place for this niche of designers) were presented with sassy style by the models. The crowd was almost part of the performance during the show, cheering for friends on stage with remarkable joie de vivre. I was particularly taken by the colourful, glittery dresses worn by the models, most of which came from traditional bridal wear shops. The vibrant designs made me question why anyone would want to wear a boring old white gown!
I cannot mention stunning outfits without talking about Vibes, the Leeds University Bollywood dance society. The group turned up in their best gear to give it their energetic all in a Bollywood/Western pop mix. Also sporting a host of jealousy-inducing outfits were the Belly dance society, who shimmied and shook their way around the stage like beautiful butterflies. Similar zest and enthusiasm was found in the Street Dance and Irish Dance performances. While not strictly South Asian, they helped make the show as inclusive and enjoyable as possible.
As well as big performances, the show was spiced up with solo acts. Different singers serenaded the hosts, sang traditional Hindi and Punjabi songs, wowed the crowd with a bit of Ed Sheeran and provided an authenticity that can only come through personal performance. A highlight was comedian Kiran Morjaria’s tasteful jibe about Leeds Beckett changing their name because too many students had trouble spelling ‘Metropolitan’ on their CVs (nothing like bonding over a similar arch enemy, is there?).
Another part of the show I was very impressed with was the catering during the intermission – any show that involves free food wins in my opinion!
The second act ended with the Indian/Bollywood adaptation of Cinderella, titled Nainarella. Here, the seamlessness of the show began to waver: quite literally in the case of Nainarella’s prince, who completely ripped his trousers during one of the dance moves. However, the degeneration of the show’s seriousness only added to the levity of the audience, who got lots of laughs out of the stereotypes in the play (I must admit, at this point the host’s warning had some truth – I was so lost on some of the jokes).
For every split trouser there were double the amounts of sides split and the show ended on a high note, with a feeling of community between the actors and the audience. As far as intercultural shows go, Fusion managed to combine a great mix of acts that delighted the audience until the very end.
LSA offer many events throughout the year, which are undoubtedly as fun as this one. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, take a look at the various GIAGs this semester: there’s no better way to get involved!
photo: Lucie England-Duce