London Fest ends with Bollywood extravaganza

MUMBAI: This year’s Trafalgar Square Festival, which runs from 2 – 19 August, takes its inspiration from the Mayor of London’s India Now season and will finish in style with a specially commissioned four-day Bollywood-inspired aerial and visual spectacle.


Visitors to the finale (16 – 19 August) will be transported to the streets of Mumbai as they witness film poster painters – Sushant Sandal, Suresh Sandal, Satyayya Devsani, Alam Choudhary and Santosh More, create a giant Bollywood film poster at the foot of Nelson’s column. This 15 metre-wide and 12 metre-high poster will evolve over four days and be jointly designed by French aerial troupe ‘Les Passagers’, who, whilst suspended on abseiling equipment, will paint the poster and perform a spectacular vertical Bollywood dance extravaganza at the same time.


Entitled Namastey Trafalgar Square, the poster will see the painters re-imagine London as an Indian city, with an Bollywood style transformation of familiar London architectural icons and scenes. This event, a collaboration between five Mumbai poster painters, London-based choreographer Joan Pires, composer Niraj Chag and the aerial theatre group Les Passagers, will be held as one of the most visual highlights of India Now, a three-month season celebrating London’s relationship with India and exploring India’s culture and its contribution to London life.


The annual Trafalgar Square Festival, which is organised by the Mayor of London, features three weeks of outdoor dance, theatre and spectacle, designed to illustrate the creative connections between London and India. The programme of free events includes new collaborations and outdoor commissions from London-based, Indian and other international artists and is a key event in the three-month India Now season.


The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said, “Throughout the summer, London is proud to be hosting India Now, a citywide season celebrating the riches of this diverse culture. The sixth Trafalgar Square Festival is very much a highlight and guarantees to be nothing short of spectacular, celebrating Indian culture through dance, theatre, music and visual art.”


Les Passagers director Philippe Riou said, “India Now gives us the opportunity to create a very exciting project based on a new artistic collaboration between Europe and India. The original idea for the project was the meeting of two civilisations: India and the United Kingdom, with of course the sense of love… without love, nothing would be possible!”


India Now will see over 200 cultural organisations contribute to the season, including a selection of London’s most well known museums and galleries such as the British Museum and VandA. Over 1,500 events will take place during India Now, with well over one million Londoners expected to participate in the season.


Other Trafalgar Square Festival highlights include Dreaming Now, an entrancing dance extravaganza combining ballet with Bharatanatyam from Akademi South Asian Dance UK and Shiva Dance, a newly commissioned, poetic, aerial dance piece directed by Vena Ramphal inspired by sacred geometry and evoking the Chola bronze sculptures of Southern India.