THE creative behind a critically acclaimed production centralising on an Indian wedding has revealed the inspiration behind the show’s storyline.
Mrs Kapoor’s Daughter’s Wedding is set to return to theatres after an initial successful run, as it recently announced new dates in London, Bradford and Leicester.
Written, directed and choreographed by Archana Kumar, the show follows mother-of-five Mrs Kapoor, whose daughter is getting married.
Audiences are taken on a “kaleidoscopic journey in true Bollywood style”, complete with comedy, action and an array of musical numbers.
Speaking to Eastern Eye, Kumar said her inspiration for the show came after she witnessed a number of British Asian weddings during her work as a Bollywood dance choreographer. Having seen the build-up to an Asian wedding first-hand, she was keen to show how “glamourous, fun and joyous” they can be.
“I get to work with lots of couples and families for their wedding dance pieces, and I also get to see lots of family drama, culture and automatically become part of the build-up to their big day,” she revealed. “I wanted to open the doors to a typical family household and show that we all go through this (and) it’s something we can laugh about together.”
Although the play focuses on an Asian family, Kumar is adamant that the production is not specifically targeted at one type of audience. It is for anyone who loves entertainment, she promised and wants to have fun.
Non-Asian audiences members have approached Kumar after previous shows and agreed that some of the scenes were relatable to their own lives. “(They would also say) how much they love Indian weddings,” the dancer remarked.
Audience members varied between young children to older viewers, she said, and many were non-theatre goers.
She emphasised that as the show is child-friendly, families can attend together. The script is set out to attract the younger audience and also capture the mature, Kumar said.
“We have songs that go back in time, which is a great hit with the elderly crowd and some fantastic current hits for the younger ones,” she revealed.
Some shows were sold out in the first run, and Kumar admitted that the response had been “overwhelming”.
According to Kumar, every city that the show had toured to had been welcoming.
“We’ve had hugs, standing ovations and people asking for autographs,” she enthused. “These are people we didn’t know, but they warmed to what they see and have felt a part of the Kapoor household and the wedding.”
Actor and popular YouTuber Parle Patel play the role of Mrs Kapoor. Why did Kumar decide to cast a male performer in a female part?
“When I wrote the script and envisioned Mrs Kapoor I knew it had to be a powerful character,” Kumar revealed. “Being a male or female isn’t something that occurred to me – what I was looking for was a strong British Asian artist that would be able to take this character brief and create something ‘wow’ from it.”
Kumar is also the founder of AK Productions and AK Bollywood Dance. The latter is a dance school which hosts over 250 students.
In creating the school, her aim was to teach, educate and let children enjoy Bollywood dance, art and culture.
As a young girl, Kumar started dancing at a very young age. Her dad was a “very creative” person who would let her take part in local community projects.
He would choreograph her dance routines while her mum would help design costumes.
“The interest and support was there from a young age which encouraged me to learn more and dance more,” she reminisced.
Later, Kumar went on to win the title UK champion in Bollywood. Then, with help from her husband Hiten Kumar, she started her own dance school.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have a supportive family and also in-laws who not only encourage and support me but also go the extra mile to make sure we are able to go and make our dreams come true,” she said.