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Major ‘Bollywood’ Shakespeare production to head to UK

Major ‘Bollywood’ Shakespeare production to head to UK

Note the date – yes, thanks for all the interest! Keep flying high with the bird! April Fool’s Day 2017 – see below for previous. Enjoy! 😂

  • Star names attached
  • Ensemble currently being assembled from Mumbai
  • Venue to to be confirmed – Shakespeare’s Globe and Stratford Upon Avon in running
  • Part of UK India 70 year celebrations

A STAR-STUDDED troupe of actors is being recruited for a Shakespeare play to be performed in the autumn in the UK, has learnt.

Producers have not disclosed the names of the stars attached to the project, but say they are very close to finalising the main deals.

‘Project Shakespearewallah’ has been doing the rounds in Mumbai, London and New York and there is fevered speculation both about the play and the star who might head the cast.

Acting on a tip-off yesterday, tracked down the main producer, Anand Pillaison in Mumbai.

He agreed to talk to us under strict conditions and said he could not disclose any of the names who have been approached already.

“It is still quite delicate with some,” said the producer who has worked both in film and theatre in Australia and the UK before settling back in Mumbai last year.

“We have a serious High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) who has good contacts with the British Council and the Department Media, Culture and Sport.

“This been in the planning for around year but artist recruitment was always going to be the most difficult aspect of this.”

When asked about the play to be performed, Pillaison said he could not say too much.

“It really depends on the final star or stars we get; we want to play to our main actor’s strengths. You can be rest assured that it is one of Shakespeare’s finest – if not the best – but that is subjective, isn’t it?”

Katrina Kaif in a recent FB selfie

One rumour doing the rounds is that the play is ‘Hamlet’ and that Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan has been sounded out and Bollywood beauty Katrina Kaif might play Hamlet’s doomed love interest, Ophelia.

Pillaison laughed: “The thing is, few Bollywood stars have done much or any theatre. This would be a great leap, but it is also exciting and part of the reason why it has got people talking. Some love the challenge and we are here to support them.”

Asked when he might be able to confirm the details, he told that contracts needed to be drawn up and signed by the end of April.

“We’re looking at coming to the UK in October. There will be a lot of prep and things. We’re still talking to venues in the UK, but we can only really confirm that once the cast is all in place. We have contacts with The Globe and Stratford-Upon-Avon.

“There’s a going to be a month of rehearsals here in India first. Co-ordinating dates is another massive headache. Some are trying to see if they can get a week release window just to be involved in the UK. It’s really fired some talent’s imagination.”

He declined to name the backer or other people involved.

“Talking to you is bad enough, but we think some publicity may help focus a few wavering minds.

“This shouldn’t be about the money for the actors. It is about extending their craft and connecting with people outside India.

“We are going to have some UK actors as well, good character actors.

“This is about cultural exchange and we can afford some Bollywood glitz, that’s the difference.”

Pillaison told the backer had seen Benedict Cumberbatch play Hamlet in 2015 and it had set them thinking.

“They are fans of ‘Sherlock’ and had the opportunity to see him in ‘Hamlet’ at the Barbican. We got talking last year and it just went from there.”

He agreed special security would be required and producers were toying with the idea of drawing lots for one or two performances, if demand proved overwhelming.

2016: Bollywood stars in real life Indian version of Best Exotic Marigold
2015: Statue of Shah Rukh Khan headed for London
2014: English Morris Dancers take battle against naked movement to India

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture