Edinburgh Military Tattoo to stage Bollywood tribute in 2017

A lavish tribute to Bollywood musicals will be a centrepiece of this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as part of a year-long celebration of cultural links between the UK and India.
Bollywood dancers will be taking centre stage at the Tattoo on the Castle Esplanade. Picture: AFP/GettyImagesBollywood dancers will be taking centre stage at the Tattoo on the Castle Esplanade. Picture: AFP/GettyImages
Bollywood dancers will be taking centre stage at the Tattoo on the Castle Esplanade. Picture: AFP/GettyImages

The showpiece at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade will come during a month-long programme of special events in the Scottish capital in August.

Scottish dancers will join forces with Indian musicians to create a spectacular sequence during this year’s Tattoo show, which organisers are planning to sell to Indian broadcasters as part of a drive to boost the event’s global audience.

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Organisers of the Tattoo said the sequence will be set among India’s seafaring communities and will feature a special appearance from that country’s naval band.

The Tattoo will be among a host of events and institutions embracing the UK India Year of Culture, which aims to strengthen the relationship between the two countries this year, which is the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.

Other institutions hosting celebratory events include the Tramway arts centre in Glasgow, the Barbican, Southbank Centre and Shakespeare’s Globe in London and the Birmingham Hippodrome.

At least five shows being staged at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival will also be part of the “India @ Edinburgh” strand, which will showcase the best music, dance, theatre and crafts from India in August.

The celebration coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe.

Festivals Edinburgh director Julia Amour said: “Over 70 years, Edinburgh’s festivals have become Scotland’s globally renowned meeting point for arts and creativity. We’re delighted to be able to share our dynamic platform with key cultural players celebrating their own landmark moments.”

The Tattoo has already unveiled plans to give clan members from around the world a starring role in this year’s event, while audience members are being urged to wear “tartan clothes, headgear and accoutrements” to help turn the esplanade into a sea of colour.

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Tattoo producer Brigadier David Allfrey said: “The Bollywood piece we are planning this year will be a celebration of fishing and the coastal communities of India, which have a tremendous seafaring past.

“We always look to have civil society alongside the military. We will be integrating the Bollywood dancing with the display of the Indian Naval Band, which will hopefully be something pretty special.

“These collaborations are extremely important for the Tattoo as we are living in a very challenging world at the moment.

“Difference is a source of friction, rather than celebration. Having different cultures and showcasing what they do at the Tattoo is about celebrating glorious difference.

“You never quite know where it’s going to lead at the start the process, but invariably great things come out of it.”