• Monday, April 22, 2024


24 entertaining things to look forward to in 2024

By: Eastern Eye

WITH so many great-looking concerts, theatre productions, films, comebacks of popular stars and more already in the pipeline, 2024 looks set to be a thrilling and action-packed year.

There will also be new talent, surprises, horizon-expanding moments, great music, free shows, and events celebrating the best in south Asian popular culture.

Eastern Eye looked ahead to highlight 24 top things that are worth looking forward to in 2024.

  1. Music marvels: In terms of live UK tickets sales, 2023 was perhaps the most successful year for concerts headlined by major south Asian stars from around the world.

There will be more of the same this year, starting with major shows at OVO Arena in London in January headlined by the Bollywood duo, Vishal Shekhar, and the south Indian sensation, Dev Sri Prasad, who will deliver two separate shows in Telugu and Tamil. Arijit Singh has already sold out his August O2 Arena show in London.

Other major international stars who have already confirmed live dates for 2024 include Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam, Jubin Nautiyal and Javed Ali.

  1. Ensemble laughs: There will be many great ensemble stand-up comedy shows in the next 12 months. The best of these will be presented by Luv Entertainment, which will start off with their Ladies of Laughter tour this month. The Birmingham-based promoter will also present successful tours like The Muslims are Coming, The Indians Are Coming, Desi Central and others headlined by solo stars. Also look out for the monthly Brown Sauce comedy night in London, which combines exciting newcomers with more established acts.
  2. Solo comedy tours: There are some great solo stand-up comedy tours to look forward to, starting with Guz Khan performing live throughout January and February. Rapidly rising Indian star Urooj Ashfaq will embark on a debut UK tour with her Edinburgh Fringe-winning show Oh No! British funnywoman Sukh Ojla will present her new solo show Hot Aunty Summer to audiences from May.

The hottest tickets will be for Romesh Ranganathan’s new tour Hustle from January which has already been sold out in most places.

  1. Free shows: There will once again be plenty of free entertainment available throughout the year, including melas, community events and live shows. A variety of events will also be made available around the UK during the South Asian Heritage Month in August. The Nehru Centre in London will lead the way in terms of making the most events available for free to the public.
  2. Top theatre: Leading British Asian theatre organisation RIFCO will present their new musical Frankie Goes to Bollywood, which embarks on a UK tour from April. Bhangra NationA New Musical will premiere at Birmingham Rep in February. The musicals promise colourful journeys filled with epic songs and spectacular dances.

Also, look out for other great plays, from small independent shows to major productions such as Life of Pi, which continues its year-long tour.

  1. Film festivals: The annual London Indian Film Festival and the London Asian Film Festival will both return with packed programmes around the UK. They will feature premieres of cuttingedge movies, with top talents being interviewed on stage and short film competitions. The annual London Film Festival and Raindance will once again have a strong south Asian presence. The London Bengali Film Festival is also set to return in April.
  2. Soho splendidness: In terms of introducing comedy acts from India to UK audiences, the Soho Theatre in central London will once again lead the way with stand-up shows throughout the year. They will also present many of these top talents at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

In addition, the iconic venue will host shows from leading British Asian comics, including Ahir Shah and Priya Hall, in January.

  1. Dance delight: Whether it is UK talents or international acts performing in the UK, there will be many Indian classical dance performances in 2024.

Perhaps the biggest highlight will bring both worlds together in Mehek, which embarks on a UK tour in April. It will have Indian Kathak queen Aditi Mangaldas team up with British dance sensation Aakash Odedra on a production centred on love across generations.

  1. Party starters: There will be plenty of great party nights throughout the year. The most variety will come from Bombay Funkadelic, as they present everything from Bollywood club nights to Holi celebrations, boat parties and even some centred around cricket matches. All of them will play the biggest music hits.

The UK’s longest-running Bollywood night show, Kuch Kuch, will continue to delight partygoers.

  1. Hollywood Brits: Whether it is exciting newcomers such as Rish Shah or more established names including Riz Ahmed, Archie Panjabi and Ritu Arya, British Asian actors in Hollywood will keep on breaking new ground with an exciting array of highprofile projects this year.

The most interesting ones will be headlined by Dev Patel, who stars in the 1973-set horror film, Rabbit, as well as the superhero adventure, Monkey Man, which he has written, produced, directed and played the lead role in.

  1. Bridgerton returns: When season two of Bridgerton was streamed in 2022, it was an absolute revelation. The hit Netflix show presented Indian protagonists, culture and music in a way never seen before on the small screen.Breakout star Simone Ashley will return for the hotly anticipated third season of the historical fiction romance, which promises to offer fans plenty of surprises and visual splendour.
  2. Spiritually soothing: The recent popularity of Hindu spiritual music will continue with concerts which bring different generations together, performed by artistes such as the British singer Bhavik Haria. Also, look out for Sufi music shows and kirtan-led concerts. To book tickets, check sites such as EventBrite.
  3. Quality qawwali: Sufi music has had a resurgence in recent years and that momentum will continue across diverse platforms, ranging from leading concert venues to major music festivals like Womad. Qawwali maestro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will return for his annual UK tour. Homegrown talent like Chand Ali Khan & Group, will embark on a British tour in February. Pakistan’s Chahat Mahmood Ali Qawwal will also continue to delight British music lovers.
  4. Exceptional books: There have been a lot of brilliant books from British Asian authors in recent years, and that impressive trend will continue with many great reads in 2024. A big highlight will be Saima Mir’s Vengeance: The Khan 2, the powerful sequel to her boundary-breaking 2021 novel. Check out Eastern Eye’s literary preview (Page 26) to see the other great reads.
  5. Allu awesomeness: The most hotly anticipated film sequel of the year will be Pushpa 2: The Rule, which is due in cinemas worldwide on August 15. The next instalment of the smash hit 2021 movie, Pushpa: The Rise sees Allu Arjun return in the title role. The Telugu language action-drama is one of the most expensive Indian movies ever made and will be dubbed in various languages, including Hindi. It is already a hot favourite to become the highest-grossing Indian movie of 2024.
  6. Pakistani serials: Limited Pakistani serials have proved to be hugely popular and that will continue this year with more brilliantly written shows, including a second season of the super hit drama, Tere Bin. The most exciting of these will be Jo Bachay Hain Sang Samait Lo. The first Pakistanthemed Netflix original has a stunning star cast that includes Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Ahad Raza Mir, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Maya Ali, Iqra Aziz and Hania Aamir.
  7. Mega-multi-starrers: The upcoming film Singham Again has assembled one of the biggest Bollywood star casts of recent years. The latest offering from filmmaker Rohit Shetty’s supercop universe is headlined by Ajay Devgn in the title role. He is joined by Deepika Padukone, Akshay Kumar, Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Vicky Kaushal, Jackie Shroff and Arjun Kapoor.

Meanwhile, the action comedy, Welcome To The Jungle, stars Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta, Jacqueline Fernadez, Disha Patani, Arshad Warsi, Raveena Tandon and Paresh Rawal.

  1. Regional cinema: Successful films in Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Malayalam, Kannada and Gujarati languages demonstrate quite comprehensively that Hindi cinema is no longer the sole dominant force in India. Expect a lot of movies in regional languages, including across streaming sites.
  2. Daily dramas: Streaming sites, social media and super hit films have not been able to stop popular Indian TV serials from attracting huge audiences around the world. So, existing rating winners including Anupamaa, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain, Happu Ki Ultan Paltan and Kavya – Ek Jazbaa, Ek Junoon will offer prime entertainment. There will also be plenty of new shows for soap fans.
  3. Classical comfort: Master musicians will deliver classical Indian concerts throughout the year. From top UK talents such as Roopa Panesar to great Indian legends, there will be all types of live experiences for music connoisseurs, ranging from free, intimate performances to huge arena concerts in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall in London.

The best of these will, no doubt, be at the annual Darbar music festival, which brings together great global talents every year. Also, look out for shows at cultural venues such as The Bhavan and the Nehru Centre in London, respectively, and from organisations such as Sama Arts.

  1. Underwater adventure: British Asian actor Shazad Latif will headline the underwater drama, Nautilus. He will play Captain Nemo in the reimagining of Jules Verne’s classic novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and present an origin story of the iconic character, an Indian prince who becomes a crusading scientist deep beneath the oceans.
  2. Bangladesh rising: Bangladeshi filmmaker Nuhash Humayun followed up an Oscar-qualifying short film in 2022 with the award-winning feature, Pett Kata Shaw. Look out for more such surprises from a growing Bangladeshi film industry. Writer and director Humayun will likely be at the forefront of such international ventures.
  3. New British talent: Whether it is music, comedy, dance, poetry, acting or writing, get set to welcome new talent. They will add exciting elements to popular culture, and the best will be featured in Eastern Eye, the UK’s most prominent supporter of top British Asian newcomers.
  4. Content creators: Social media stars are no longer restricted to dance videos, comedy and influencers. From financial advisors to those tackling taboos, environmental issues, geography, cooking and fitness, now there are more content creators than ever before. With their content including an educational dimension, mindless scrolling has been replaced with something more meaningful.

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