Colourful costumes, elaborate dance sequences and lavish sets — all the things associated with Bollywood and its larger-than-life films were in place for the Mumbai Nights 2 experience at Louvre Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The four-night event takes a look at what goes on behind the scenes of a Bollywood film — an imaginary blockbuster titled Mumbai Nights 2 in this case — with an immersive theatre production.
It involves a very enthusiastic producer, an actor who loves the camera a little too much, a social media star turned actress and a washed-up actress jostling to make her presence felt.
Set in three locations under the dome of Louvre Abu Dhabi — a recreation of the Flora Fountains of Mumbai, the ghats of Varanasi and an auditorium — the experience starts outdoors beyond the ticketing area with an upbeat dhol performance, before the audience are whisked away for some fun pictures on a colourful cycle rickshaw.
The action then moves to the first location, where the stars and director of Mumbai Nights 2 are introduced. “Shooting” takes place at two locations, ending with the climax at the production's auditorium, followed by a grand finale.
Punctuated with dance performances and featuring a lot of drama, the experience is unique and definitely one that won the approval of guests.
The immersive concept makes the audience a part of the action — from auditioning for a part in front of a camera, playing extras in a scene, dancing along to the dhol music and even asking questions at the press conference, the audience were eager participants.
Encouraged to dress up in their favourite Bollywood-inspired attire, it was heartening to see most members of the audience, whether Indian or not, dress for the theme and eagerly take part.
The experience itself is about 90 minutes, and the acts include all the tropes Bollywood is known for, such as the “accidental” meet cute (where a potential romantic couple meet for the first time), the slow-motion sequences, the cheesy dialogue, the hero getting more spotlight than his co-stars and the focus of the film on the songs instead of a solid script.
That said, the dance sequences were a big highlight of the whole experience. Whether it was the energetic performances to Muqabla Muqabla, or the more traditional Radha Kaise Na Jale and Pinga, the dancers were stellar.
The audience gets to fully immerse themselves with the dancers at the end as part of the after-party.
The sets were very well done, especially the Varanasi Ghat, with its wooden boat tethered at the water’s edge, flowers, diyas and even down to the incense fragrance — it's clear a lot of effort went into putting Mumbai Nights 2 together.
A truly immersive experience, the cast and crew make it thoroughly enjoyable for anyone who may or may not have been on a set of, or watched a Bollywood film before.
Secret Soiree: Bollywood Superstars Presents Mumbai Nights 2 starts at 8pm on February 11, 17 and 18 at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Tickets cost Dh190 from platinumlist.net. More information is at louvreabudhabi.ae