Review: Shilpa Shetty’s Miss Bollywood

Musical: Miss Bollywood

Cast: Shilpa Shetty, Anousha Dandekar, Nicholas Brown, Peter Rylands, Swini Khara, Amit Sial, Anand Tiwari and Wayne Perry

Producer: Farhath Hussain

Rating: 3.5/5

The much publicized musical Miss Bollywood, featuring Bollywood beauty Shilpa Shetty, is nothing more than a beautiful celebration of Indian movies. The lavishness present in our films finds itself being contained in Shetty’s first ever musical. Though the plot is not strong enough as anticipated and the sets being practically nonexistent, there is a high level of energy that flows from start to finish, enough to keep one entertained.

In actuality, it’s basically a show of Shilpa’s lissome dance moves and Anousha Dandekar’s acting craft; coupled with performances by a really talented troupe of dancers.

The thin and just-for-the-heck-of-it story line involves Maya (Shilpa), a newbie choreographer who discovers her dance studio is about to be demolished, courtesy the London mayor (Peter Rylands).   Meanwhile Mansukhlal (Amit Sial) and Hasmukhlal (Anand Tiwari) get Maya to meet Nick (Nicholas Brown), a leading London choreographer who is preparing his troupe to bid for a performance at the 2012 Olympics due to be held in London. Here Maya meets Jay (Wayne Perry) and love between the two seems unavoidable.

But like all stereotypical bolly dramas, the villain aka Nick has his way, and it is up to Maya to choose the course of actions. Eventually love succeeds and the house is saved, the how in it is a joke and honestly inconsequential. < Page Break >

As mentioned earlier, watching this musical is as good as watching live dance shows where a story is thrown in just to weave various performances together. The amount of energy Shilpa brings onto the stage is commendable, and thus the banal plot is easily overlooked. If one were to point out the many follies in the manner in which it is showcased, they may very well do so.

Elements like stage partitions to distinguish places, giving life to imaginary props and convincing the audience to see them or something as simple as leveraging the AV screen to benefit the play best seem to have been deemed less important. Also, the dialogues were so plain and drab that there is nothing that the actors can do to make sound any more entertaining, nonetheless the humor certainly gets a few laughs or more. While these are the major hassles with the production, there is so much good in it that there is no one place to start.

The costumes designed for Anousha and Shilpa certainly deserve a special mention, it is not only spectacular to look at but seem to have been created understanding what looks best on stage. Even the troupe’s costumes were rich and appealing. However, the same was not the case for the leading men’s clothes which seemed rather shabby and unfitting. Choreography by Ganesh Hegde is first rate and the amount of interaction they bring about in the audience is fun and praiseworthy.

The troupe is so well synchronized and crisp in their movements that even at times when Shilpa is not on the stage, there is no dull moment. The final act, where the entire troupe including Shilpa performs to, is one that leaves you gob smacked and in awe of them and Bollywood films in general. Performances on hit songs like Kajra Re, Dhoom again, Oh Humdum and Silsila yeh chahat ka just reiterate the fact that Shilpa is for sure a very refined dancer.  < Page Break >

Performances by the actors varied from great to bad. While Shilpa danced with mounds of grace and looked like a million bucks, the scenes where she was meant to deliver lines felt cold. Swini Khara, though does not seem like an expert on her cues just yet is adorable. Anousha holds forth with her act and proves to the audience that she for sure knows how to dance, but then on many instances to catch the beat of the music she fails to complete her step; this while the dance troupe seemed to have mastered all the finer details.

Peter Rylands looks bored through the musical. Wayne Perry and Nicholas Brown certainly know how to use the space, but then the weak character created leaves you with a weak performance delivered by them. The best performances came in from Amit Sial and Anand Tiwari who are well timed, funny and have amazing stage presence.

All in all there are tons of corny lines like describing Maya’s character as ‘Dignity of the Himalayas’, some brilliant performances especially from Shetty and Dandekar, good amount of humor and all the masala  you would expect a typical Bollywood film to have. It’s thumbs up for Miss Bollywood, if anything it only reinforces Shetty’s position as a cultural brand ambassador.

Shilpa Shetty’s Miss Bollywood Show