Frankie Goes to Bollywood

A Bollywood musical is coming to Wolverhampton next month.

Brought to stage by Rifco Theatre Company, Frankie Goes to Bollywood is a spectacular all-singing-all-dancing tale of heroes and villains, with all the costumes and the spectacle of a Bollywood feature film. It tells the tale of being British in Bollywood and explores what it takes to get to the top.

Frankie never wanted to be a star, all she’s ever really wanted is a close and loving family – but after a chance encounter with an up-and-coming director, she finds herself transported to Bollywood, cast in a movie and thrust into the limelight. Might the Bollywood world provide her with the family and community she has always dreamed of? Suddenly Frankie is immersed in the world of fame and fortune but as she climbs the sparkling staircase of stardom, each step makes her question what she is willing to do, or be subjected to, for success.

Drawing inspiration from both traditional Bollywood music and the best of western musical theatre, the music for Frankie goes to Bollywood is a carefully integrated hybrid – designed to appeal to lovers of the Bollywood genre and also lovers of a good old West End extravaganza.

Bollywood as an industry generates over £2 billion a year, and globally the films have an audience of 1.3billion. In the UK a successful Bollywood film can be expected to take as much as £4 million – so it’s little wonder that the glamorous lure of Bollywood stardom appeals to many British-South Asian young people.

The musical, conceived by Artistic Director of Rifco Pravesh Kumar MBE, is inspired by those true stories of young men and women who make the journey to India to become Brits in Bollywood.

Pravesh says “A lot of the story is about a question of belonging. In some ways in the UK, British born South Asian people, will still forever be seen by many as immigrants, no matter how many generations their families have lived in Britain. So forging a career in Bollywood, be that in front of or behind the camera can be seen by those who go out there, as somewhat of a homecoming. But then, being British born, and new to a lot of the culture, many of the women who go to work in the industry become acutely aware of the deeply ingrained sexism, not just within the industry itself, but displayed on screen. And that’s something they have to address and decide how much of that disparity they can put up with.”

“I wanted to highlight this issue, because as the world fights the good fight for increased equality between genders, it’s men’s responsibility to shine a light on sexism, and to call it out when they see it – at work, amongst their friends, and in the wider world.

I love Bollywood fiercely and this musical is at heart, a celebration of the genre and the art and the people involved. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still hoping and pushing for change. So my hope is that is this work a celebration of Bollywood, but at the same time, a small catalyst for improved social standing for women in the industry, both behind-the-scenes, and how they are portrayed on the silver screen.”

Frankie Goes to Bollywood comes to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from 11 – 15 June. For tickets and more information visit: FRANKIE GOES TO BOLLYWOOD | Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

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