Bollywood Jane

Commissioned by Leicester Haymarket (2003)

Photo: Keith Pattison

“Cinema … see? Even the word sounds like magic. But these days, it takes more than magic.”

Sixteen year old Jane has one GCSE and a swimming badge. Her mum Kate wants her out at work to pay the rent on their new home in Leicester. Yet when Jane stumbles into the local Bollywood cinema, life goes from black-and-white to Technicolour.

The romance, music and extravagance of Bollywood is a magical escape from Jane’s problems. She imagines herself as the star of song-and dance numbers from the blockbuster film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. A blossoming friendship with local boy Dini Kapur promises more but Jane soon finds life isn’t all sequins, saris and lip-synching love songs.

Facts & Figures

Directed by Kully Thiarai, the first production became the final show at Leicester Haymarket which closed in 2003.

Reset in Bradford and staged at West Yorkshire Playhouse, it was a fringe event of International Indian Film Academy Awards, which came to Leeds in 2007.

Nikolai Foster’s WYP production featured music by Grant Olding and dancing from a 40-strong community chorus

Joanne Froggatt played Jane in a 2009 adaptation of the stage play for BBC Radio 4.

Reviews

Bollywood Jane

“Underneath the floating saris and sequins, the swelling music and swelling bosums is an unsentimental examination of the relationship between a teenage daughter and a mother who was only 16 herself when she gave birth.”

The Guardian

“A show that honours brave hearts, even when they win what they had not known they wanted.”

The Times.

“Wow, wow and wow again. Here is unbridled joy and gloriously entertaining theatre.”

The Stage

“Bollywood is big in theatre at the moment but this is the most successful integration that I have seen.”

The Guardian

Also by Amanda Whittington