A GIANT FEAST OF STAGE AND SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT ON THE WAY THIS YEAR
by ASJAD NAZIR
THIS will be another action packed year with a lot of things to look forward to in terms of entertainment in the UK, and tickets have already gone on sale for many events.
With that in mind, here is my look ahead to 20 entertaining things you can look forward to in 2020, in no particular order.
1. Shreya Ghoshal: The Bollywood queen returns to the UK for blockbuster arena shows in London and Birmingham on March 21 and 22. The award winning singer will once again mix up her blockbuster hits with film classics from years gone by.
2. Umrao Jaan Ada – The Musical: The first big theatre event will be a glitzy stage musical of the much loved Umrao Jaan, which combines familiar songs mixed up with new compositions. The 19th century tale of a courtesan will be staged at Sadlers Wells in London from January 22-26.
3. Man Like Mobeen: The biggest global British Asian television success of recent years has been the comedy headlined by comedian Guz Khan. It will be returning for a hotly anticipated third season and don’t be surprised if production for a fourth season starts straight after.
4. Arijit Singh: Arguably the hottest Bollywood ticket of this summer will be to see the undisputed king of Bollywood music on July 17 and 18. He promises to deliver two high-energy shows in London and Birmingham that are expected to be sold out.
5. Laal Singh Chaddha: The big Christmas release will be the high-profile Bollywood remake of iconic 1994 film Forrest Gump. Aamir Khan plays the title role in the story of a slow-witted man who unwittingly finds himself in the middle of important moments in history.
6. The Legend of Maula Jatt: The high-profile drama was expected to be the biggest Pakistani film release of 2019, but ran into legal troubles and will likely be released this year. If the film starring Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi and Humaima Mallick does release in cinemas, it is expected to smash every Pakistani box office record.
7. Tez Ilyas: The stand-up comedian has had impressive momentum behind him in recent years, which included a Channel 4 show in 2019. He will hit top gear in 2020 with a huge three-month solo stand-up comedy tour of the UK. Don’t be surprised if he gets a special on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
8. RRR: The most anticipated Indian film of the year isn’t from Bollywood, but a Telugu language production with the working title RRR. N T Rama Rao Jr, Ram Charan and Alia Bhatt head an impressive star cast in the period adventure, which will be released in multiple languages and is the next offering from Baahubali director SS Rajamouli.
9. The Kite Runner: The acclaimed stage adaptation of the best selling novel returns for another UK tour, which runs from February until June at theatres across the UK. The haunting tale of friendship, which spans cultures and continents, follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption.
10. Sukh Ojla: My favourite British standup comedian has been setting the stage on fire at shows across the UK, and this month will embark on her first big solo tour of the UK, which runs from January 31 through till April. Expect plenty of laughs from arguably the best British Asian female stand-up comedian.
11. Satinder Sartaaj: The popular Punjabi singer returns to the UK in March for a UK tour that will see concerts in Birmingham, Bradford, Wolverhampton, Leicester and Newcastle before a final performance at Royal Albert Hall in London on April 9.
12. Shaan: The popular singer will be touching down in the UK for shows on April 11 and 12 in London and Leicester. A full orchestra will once again accompany the singer as he offers a mix of his own hits and iconic classics.
13. Samsara: A big dance highlight of the year sees acclaimed British talent Aakash Odedra collaborate with Chinese performer Hu Shenyuan on a piece inspired by Wu Cheng’en’s classic 16th century Chinese novel Journey To The West. The extraordinary dancers will have a world premiere in Melbourne in March 2020, followed by a Chinese premiere a few weeks later and then the UK tour in June 2020.
14. The Muslims Are Coming: One of the best comedy tours of 2019 was The Indians Are Coming from Desi Central. The same team will come together in May for a UK tour that features top Muslim comedians from the UK and abroad.
15. Shankar 100: There are a whole host of events celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of late great sitar legend Pandit Ravi Shankar taking place at Southbank Centre in London in 2020. This includes a staging of his opera Sukanya (January 15), a grand concert (April 22) and a restaging of Akram Khan’s 2002 stage production Kaash (May 22-25). The biggest event will take place at Royal Festival Hall on the centenary of his birth on April 7 with a huge concert headlined by Anoushka Shankar, Norah Jones, Nitin Sawhney and more big named artists.
16. Mughal Mowgli: The British Asian movie to look out for this year is a powerful musical drama about a rapper on the cusp of his first world tour, who is struck down by a serious illness. Riz Ahmed plays the lead role in a movie he has co-produced and co-written.
17. ’83: Overall, it is looking like another year where Bollywood will struggle, but one film I am expecting to clock up huge numbers at the box office is this sportsdrama based on India’s shock cricket world cup victory in 1983. Ranveer Singh portrays Kapil Dev in a movie that combines India’s biggest three passions – cricket, Bollywood and patriotism. It will be in cinemas on April 10 and is expected to win big.
18. Romesh Ranganathan: The sensational British Sri Lankan continues his blockbuster latest stand-up comedy tour with dates across the country until early June. Most venues are already sold out, so look out for extra dates that are being added to meet the heavy demand. If you can’t see him live, look out for him on the many TV shows he is currently doing.
19. Dev Patel double: The British actor continues his incredible journey as a successful international film star with two more high-profile films. He plays the title role in comedy-drama The Personal History of David Copperfield and also stars in big-budget 14th century set tale Green Knight. Both films have star-studded casts, and Dev will no doubt be roped in for further projects.
20. Monsoon Wedding: A musical theatre version of director Mira Nair’s popular movie will be staged at Leeds Playhouse from June 17 until July 11 and then at London’s Roundhouse from July 17 to August 29. The Delhi set story revolves around a colourful wedding celebration to mark an arranged marriage that unearths some dark secrets.
Also look out for…
- Popular Bollywood singer Neha Kakkar returns to the UK for concerts in Leicester and London on September 25 and 27.
- Great cultural and classical Indian events at The Nehru Centre and The Bhavan in London.
- Midlands-based Desi Central will continue to deliver great stand-up comedy events.
- Wonderful classic Indian dance programmes that are produced by the UK-based Akademi.
- The London Indian Film Festival and UK Asian Film Festival return with more premieres and appearances from movie personalities.
- Asian Arts Agency will be delivering live music throughout the year, including a tour by Sufi duo Hashmat Sultana (with live band) in February and March.
- Watch theatre play Trojan Horse, including a performance at Curve Theatre in Leicester on January 30 and 31.
- Indian Idol 10 winner Salman Ali will headline a concert at SSE Arena In Wembley on February 15.
- Powerful film Chhapaak releases on January 10 and is expected to be the most important commercial Bollywood release of 2020.
- Look out for British actor Himesh Patel in high-profile science fiction comedy series Avenue 5.
- Apple TV+’s upcoming serial Shantaram, which is based on the best selling novel.
- Acclaimed stand-up comedian Ahir Shah continues his UK tour with new show DOTS in February and March.