Buckingham Palace is to swing to the hefty rhythms of Bollywood music and dance on Tuesday in what promises to be a boisterous celebration in anticipation of a coming visit by President Pratibha Patil.
British Asian dance group Nutkhut is to stage its massive dance, Bollywood Steps, inside Buckingham Palace Tuesday in a reception in advance of Patil’s October 24-27 visit - a first for the 172-year-old royal residence.
The dance, which played out to audiences of thousands at the Town Hall in the city of Birmingham October 9-10, has been choreographed by dancer Simmy Gupta, whose rehearsals were so loud she blew speakers, she said.
“There were eight ‘dhols’ on the stage. They were really loud, so we had to have the music really loud. We literally blew a speaker during rehearsals. We had it on full blast…. we had smoke coming out of it, but it really sounded amazing,” Gupta said.
While she has described Bollywood Steps, created two years ago, as “spectacular” and a “really big show”, it remains to be seen if the dance will shake the 775 rooms of Buckingham Palace.
A Palace spokesman would only say the show will run for 15 minutes inside the palace ballroom before a reception for some 250 invited guests - prominent members from among the two million strong British Indian community.
Invitees who will be received by Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip include screen actors Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, cricketers Monty Panesar and Vikram Solanki, TV newsreader Krishnan Gurumurthy and Tim Singh, founder of the successful New Look chain of high street fashion stores.
“There will be a cross-section of guests. The reception will be Indian-themed,” said a spokesman for Buckingham Palace. The guests will be drawn from Indian nationals who live or work in Britain, or British nationals with a strong connection to India or those who work for Indo-British organisations.
The Indian food and canapés served at the reception will be cooked by chefs from Buckingham Palace and London’s oldest Indian restaurant, Veeraswamy.
The Palace spokesman wouldn’t speculate if the Queen was a fan of Bollywood music and curry, saying, “I wouldn’t really want to go into it. That’s not really the reason for the reception. It’s a tradition for the Queen to throw a reception in advance of all state visits.”