On Feb. 23, the Gaillard presents Taj Express —
a show featuring film, dance, and music — which has taken over two years of scripting, casting, and costume design to perfect. The performance captures the animated and vibrant nature of Bollywood films through music and dance.
follows a composer who is creating music for his first Bollywood film. The show is about the composer’s creative fight with the industry and his struggle to create his best compositions. The choreographer of Taj Express, Vaibhavi Merchant, has been a director of choreography for over 75 Bollywood films, including smash hits Dhol Baaje, Jhoom Barabar, Kajra Re, Kamli, and Dhoom3.
Through the expressive nature of Taj Express
, assistant creative director Ankush Dhawan believes that audiences will experience the emotions of the male lead and gain insight into the true journey of a Bollywood composer. “For the U.S. show we created a new storyline, new choreography, and even added live music,” says Dhawan.
The high-energy performance, which attempts to express the joy of modern Indian culture and society, was specially designed for the United States. While the concept of the show has dazzled audiences in places such as China, Singapore, France, and Turkey, Dhawan explains that an entirely new production was created for American audiences.
In a strong display of heritage, the entire cast and crew (aside from three technicians) of Taj Express are Indian. Dwahan explains that the cast and crew come from all over India and are excited to spread their culture to audiences across the world. The cast is made up of 22 dancers who wear a total of 2,400 ornate costumes which were specially created for this U. S. performance. Each costume was meticulously embroidered, and some even took two months to create.
Dhawan speaks with not only a knowledge of the show, but a passion and love for it. He says, “Music is an integral part of the show. Even if people don’t understand the wording, they will understand the melody of the songs. Music is a universal language."