Today we started the day by meeting with Leila Alvares, the Founder-President of the C.A.U.S.E. Foundation. Leila puts on musicals in Bangalore – and it is believed that they are the only musicals promoted in India. They have been putting the events together using good amateur singers, actors and dancers for 11 years. Leila is doing most of it herself and is keen to look at a succession plan because the people involved are keen to keep going – but she feels the weight of expectation on her shoulders. The productions clearly have a good following in Bangalore attracting full houses for 4 or 5 days at a time (4 – 5000 people).
Musicals such as Grease, Fiddler on the Roof and the Sound of Musical have gone down really well with the local audiences – and this access to musicals is rare because no professional productions travel to India and so the opportunity to see live musicals is welcomed by those interested.
In the afternoon we met with Atul Chitnis who amongst other things is Senior Vic President of Geodesic. He talked passionately about independent Indian music and the possibilities for musicians and companies through the use of new technologies. Atul is an advocate for Free and Open Source software. We had a conversation about lost of things but we kept coming back to how independent musicians can break through using technology. In India the possibilities are endless but often legislation and red tape seems to curb some of the opportunities that musicians can use. He is very keen to make links in the UK and will be traveling to the UK soon – so we might all get to meet him again.
Then this evening we headed into Bangalore to see the new Bollywood release Dostana. In many ways Dostana is a typical Bollywood movie with beautiful people, cheesy plots, epic songs and flamboyant dancing. However, this is the first Bollywood film with a big gay plotline and even a kiss of the gay variety! The last few Bollywood films I have seen noone kisses – so clearly the genre has moved on somewhat!
We all enjoyed the show – helped by the packed and lively audience of wolfwhistling locals!