The Merchants of Bollywood

September 28, 2010

After its triumph in Asia and Europe, including 16 sold-out performances in London, the international hit, "The Merchants of Bollywood" is makes its North American premiere at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University this weekend. An international musical dance spectacular, "The Merchants of Bollywood" charts the history of the world's largest and most prolific film industry and pays tribute to a dynasty of Indian film stars. Bold and colorful production numbers highlight hit songs from the biggest Bollywood blockbusters. At the heart of the lavish musical production is the story of a young girl, her grandfather and their love of dance.

"The Merchants of Bollywood" has been seen by more than two million people worldwide. This original production was developed in Mumbai, India, with 50 performers, 500 lavish costumes and 3,000 pieces of glittering jewelry. Written and directed by Toby Gough, "The Merchants of Bollywood" is loosely based on the real-life story of the Merchant family dynasty, whose members have been prominent choreographers and filmmakers since the beginning of the Hindi film industry in the 1920s. The production features choreography by the internationally renowned Vaibhavi Merchant, who is regarded as Bollywood's top choreographer today, and is set to music by Salim-Sulaiman.

The cast is led by Carol Furtado (Ayesha), Dipender Singh (Uday) and Arif Sakaria (Shantilal). Carol Furtado (Ayesha) broke into the industry at the 1996 MTV Launch in Bangalore, where she performed with Slash of Guns & Roses. Since that time, Carol has shared the stage with musicians and entertainers including: Shweta Shetty, Baba Sehgal, Asha Bhosle, Stereo Nation's tour of India, Kumar Sanu, Akshay Kumar, Collonial Cousins (Lezz & Hariharan), Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, AR Rehman, SB Balasubramanyam, Sukhvinder, Shankar Mahadevan, Javed Jaffrey, Chitra, Sadhna Sargham and STOMP both in India and Internationally (U.S. and Canada). She has also been featured in and hosted televised yoga programs, modeled in international fashion magazine "La Mode" and designed costumes for U.S.-based dance company, Naach.

Dipender Singh (Uday) has trained in Jazz and Street-style Hip Hop in Los Angeles, and has performed in numerous international stage shows and live events with stars of the Hindi film industry. He has also been featured in several films including "Dhoom," "Musafir" and "Hum Tum." A choreographer in his own right, Dipender has now come to forefront of the industry as a dancer-storyteller with his leading role in "The Merchants of Bollywood."

Arif Zakaria (Shantilal) began his career on television in 1988 and made his film debut with a lead role in "Darmiyaan," directed by Kalpana Lajmi. He was subsequently nominated for Best Actor in the National Awards and Best Debut in both the Filmfare and Screen awards for his work on the film. Zakaria went on to starring roles in several films including Pamela Rooks' "Dance Like a Man," which won the National Award for Best Film In English and Most Creative Film at the lACC Festival (New York, 2003), "Kahani Gudiya Ki" (2005) and "Sab Golmaal Hai" (2005).

Two performances of The Merchants of Bollywood will take place at 8 pm on Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2. For tickets visit the Auditorium Theatre Box Office, 50 E Congress Pkwy, or order online at or by calling 800-982-2787. For more information, visit .

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