A SPECTACULAR tribute to the Bollywood film industry will form the centrepiece of next year’s Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland on Sunday has learned.
Performers from India and Scotland will come together for the first time to perform a spectacular sequence on the Castle esplanade every evening during the Tattoo’s three-week run.
The project – likened to the dazzling Slumdog Millionaire finale – will see around 100 dancers and musicians appear in the capital for several weeks next summer.
A full 40-minute version of the show will be staged during the annual Edinburgh Mela Festival from 28-30 August.
It is hoped enough funding will be raised to allow the show – which is expected to feature one of India’s leading military musical outfits and some of the country’s top dancers – to go on tour around Scotland, as happened with the Mela’s centrepiece commission this summer.
Organisers hope the joint venture will help raise the global profile of both the Tattoo, which will have an “east meets west” theme next year, and the Mela, Scotland’s biggest multicultural event.
Earlier this year the Tattoo unveiled plans to try to increase the worldwide TV audience to more than a billion people by striking up new broadcasting agreements in India and China.
At the time, the event’s producer, Brigadier David Allfrey, said a key part of the strategy would be attracting more Indian and Chinese performers to the event.
The Tattoo, which will be held for the 66th year in 2015, will coincide with the Mela for the first time in years next summer under a shake-up in the festivals calendar. The world music and dance event has followed the lead of the Edinburgh International Festival by moving forward a week to be in line with the last weekend of the Fringe for the first time.
Chris Purnell, director of the Edinburgh Mela, said the Bollywood-inspired project would be one of the biggest ever undertaken by the event.
He said: “The project is still in its infancy at the moment, but the idea is to recreate that kind of Slumdog Millionaire finale, if you like, with the scale, colour and drama of a Bollywood love story. That will be the essence of the show.
“We will hopefully have around 15 or 20 dancers coming over from India to work with performers here. We’ve already identified four different dance groups in Scotland who are in the mix for the project, which in many ways is a natural fit for both events.
“We’d also be very keen to take this on the road again and give it a life outside Edinburgh.”
Allfrey said: “It really just took one conversation between us to agree to do it. At the moment, the challenge is about raising the funding.
“All of the festivals are trying to sell more tickets and run events for which people want to pay to come. We are all involved in that in some fashion. That is our individual and collective challenge.
“In order to do that I’d suggest we are not necessarily in competition with one another and that we should strive to be more integrated. We are always looking for opportunities to partner with other festivals, it’s very important to us.”
Purnll added: “Our ambition is really only limited by our imagination.
“We really do have great ambitions for the event and have only scratched the surface of the potential the event has so far.”