Carmen chameleons

Bollywood fashion at Bradford City Hall
Bollywood fashion at Bradford City Hall
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Bollywood Carmen dancers step out for a fashion show ahead of tomorrow’s spectacular. Stephanie Smith previews.

It promises to be an unforgettable night of passion, music, dance and exuberant, bold, bright colour. Carmen goes to Bollywood, Yorkshire style, tomorrow as Bizet’s opera of love and obsession plays out live from Bradford city centre.

Directed by Indra Bhose, Preeya Kalidas, formerly of EastEnders and Bombay Dreams, leads the cast as Karmen, while the role of AD The Bollywood Star will be played by Indian film actor Abhay Deol. The line-up also includes Meera Syal; Sofia Hayat; Strictly’s Chelsee Healey and Emmerdale’s Stephen Rahman-Hughes. As well as Bizet’s original music, there will be new music and pop song mash-ups from UK Bangra composer Kuljit Bhamra, with Bollywood-inspired choreography by Honey Kalaria. The performance includes hundreds of local community members as extras in spectacular dance numbers.

The costumes for the hour-long spectacular have been designed by Vicky Gill, who is also costume designer for Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice. “This is probably the hardest thing I have ever done,” she said. “You need to think creatively. Because the backdrop will be very grey, we need to have colour props as much as possible, so we have corals and pinks and vibrant blues.”

The clothes are a mixture of High Street and specially made creations. “It’s all about colour and movement. If we look at Bollywood, it has a real identity, with the clash of colour and the sparkle.”

The clothes for the wedding scene are being provided by Ranis of Bradford, whose outfits also feature here in our fashion shoot, modelled by three of the volunteer dancers, Rafi Usmaan Raja, 25, an actor and dancer from Bradford; Ria Meera Munshi, 24, who owns Ri Ri’s Dance Academy in Manchester; and Sinead Campbell, 22, dancer and dance teacher from Bradford.

The clothes seen here are from Ranis’ ready-to-wear collections, but the store also offers bespoke creations, costing from hundreds to thousands of pounds. Akeel Amini, of Ranis, explained that Asian fashions tend not to have seasonal trends, as with mainstream fashion. “They are forever changing – there are weddings all year with new pieces coming in all the time,” he said. “We don’t cater for the Asian market exclusively. We have all people coming in for bespoke dresses – just to have something different.”

Bradford College tutors and students will be assisting with hair and make-up for what promises to be a fabulous night of music, dance, fun and fashion.

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ

Bollywood Carmen Live is 
on BBC3 tomorrow night, live 
from Bradford City Park, starting at 9pm.