Before I say anything I should tell you that I have a definite bias when it comes to Bollywood, I grew up on it and I love it! I even auditioned to be in a Bollywood movie once. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to watch Sex, Bollywood and Other Lies at the Toronto Fringe.
There is a lot I liked about this lighthearted musical. The singing and dancing was a lot of fun (especially since I knew the words to most of the songs), they did a good job with the costumes, the cultural references were pretty hilarious but for me the story fell a little flat.
First of all I think the show would benefit from some sort of surtitle situation as all the songs they have chosen are very fitting with the action onstage but I’m guessing most of the audience wouldn’t understand it. Secondly, there are a lot of Hindi words thrown in here and there and little South Asian movie references that I thought were really fun but a lot of the audience just didn’t get.
I saw Limitless Productions’ piece last year at the Fringe as well and have been a big fan of Imran Mohammed ever since. He’s a great dancer and just has that Bollywood suave going for him.
The rest of the company is comprised of graceful dancers who are able to incorporate classic Indian dance styles of Kathak and Bharatnatyam with Ballet and even Contemporary dance into their numbers. A lot of fun to watch. The physicality of the piece makes it a very high energy show.
The story basically revolves around a “good” Indian girl who goes out partying one night and has a one-night stand. She feels the weight of her actions and doesn’t want to see this guy again. Then the wooing and chasing part of the Bollywood movie begins.
It’s like there are very distinct labels: girls that sleep around and girls that don’t. There’s no gray area. You have to understand that sex is still taboo in South Asian culture. Parents are pretty strict, there’s really no dating per se and sex before marriage is something that parents delude themselves into thinking is not something their kids would do. It’s all very fitting.
There was a glimpse of the stigma of homosexuality, maybe, but I wish they had delved a little further into the subject.
All in all a very entertaining piece and I would strongly recommend seeing it.
- Sex, Bollywood and Other Lies plays at Venue 4, The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)
- Show times: July 05 11:00 PM, July 07 09:15 PM, July 09 06:30 PM, July 10 05:00 PM, July 11 07:30 PM, July 13 11:00 PM, July 14 04:00 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows