My article for The Platform, see here: Bollywood Carmen
Bradford prepares to host celebrated British and Indian actors in this one-off BBC Three production
The classic opera Carmen will be given an Indian twist in Bradford this June, in a theatre performance to be broadcast live on BBC Three.
The stars from British television and Indian cinema will be led by Preeya Kalidas (EastEnders, Bombay Dreams, Four Lions) as “Karmen” and Abhay Deol, of the legendary Deol acting dynasty, in the updated male lead role of Bollywood hunk “AD”.
In the words of Preeya Kalidas: “Bollywood Carmen really does have something for everyone, it’s an amalgamation of music, dance, story and a lot of fun.”
The one-off is being performed as live theatre in Bradford’s City Park to celebrate the centenary of Indian film.
Local actress Hema Johar faced tough competition auditioning in front of assistant producer Rebecca Mounsey and famed Bollywood choreographer Honey Kalaria to win a supporting role in the show.
She was overwhelmed by the amount of people who came in from different fields of the arts wanting to get involved with this community project. Miss Johar, who has been working in the acting industry for over seven years, said: “I’m looking forward to the show because it’s exciting and will change people’s perception of Bradford. It’s so multi-cultural here and it’s good to bring the arts side out. So I hope that anyone with a negative perception of Bradford will get to see there are some really talented people here”.
It was reported this week that the latest additions to the star-studded cast include one of Britain’s much-loved actresses, Meera Syal, as well as David Schaal, who has starred in TV comedies The Officeand The Inbetweeners.
Other notable appearances will come from Bradford’s own Rachel Leskovac, who played serial killer nurse “Kelly Yorke” in Holby City, Strictly Come Dancing’s Chelsee Healey, and British Bollywood star Sofia Hayat.
Leskovac, who also starred in Coronation Street said: “I’m really excited and feel very proud to be working in Bradford and hopefully I might see some familiar faces in the crowds dancing away. This is going to be a one-off experience and us Yorkshire folk like a good party.”
Carmen is one of the most popular operas in the world and is widely acclaimed for the brilliance in its storytelling devised by French composer Georges Bizet. Having been the subject of many screen and stage adaptations, it is going to be interesting to see how British TV director Indra Bhose executes this latest version in Bradford.
The performance is set to include hundreds of local community members as extras in spectacular dance numbers. Rehearsals for the big Bollywood-inspired numbers have already begun and audiences can expect to hear pop-song mash-ups by UK Bhangra pioneer and composer Kuljit Bhamra.
The production has been commissioned for and on behalf of Zai Bennett, Controller of BBC Three, by Jan Younghusband, Commissioning Editor for BBC Music and Events, with additional funding from BBC North and BBC Learning.
Bennett said: “Bollywood Carmen is a unique and extremely ambitious live arts event for BBC Three. I’m delighted we have attracted such a high calibre cast and production team to bring it to life.”
Bollywood Carmen will take place on 9 June 2013. Members of the public can register for free tickets atbbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/events/bollywood_carmen_2013.
To make the distribution of tickets fair, a random draw will be in operation with 60 per cent of tickets going to Bradford postcodes and 40 per cent to the rest of the UK.
Miss Johar added: “I hope that this show opens up more opportunities for Bradford’s arts scene and brings back live theatre”.
Image from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-22365944